Ubuntu on HP Touchsmart tm2

Update January 10, 2011: Read my latest post for some updates.

Encouraged by this post I recently bought HP’s tablet PC the “touchsmart tm2-2000” and installed Maverick on it. The support has been improved since Brian’s post so I thought I’d share my experience.

The biggest improvement is that touch, multi-touch and the pen now work out of the box. The only thing that is a bit awkward is that when you rotate the screen display, the touch and pen input forget to rotate along. I made a small program that monitors screen rotation and rotates these input devices accordingly. I hope that others can benefit so here’s install instructions (type the following into a terminal):

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:tkluck/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install wacomrotator

There’s still a bug that sometimes the backlight does not come on when you start your computer. That’s pretty bad because the screen is really unreadable when the backlight is off. Here’s the bugreport. My workaround for now is to rotate the screen when this happens; for some reason this makes the backlight come on.

Another thing I noticed was that the pen input seemed to be shaky when you have closed the lid with the screen in front (‘tablet mode’). It turns out that the back of the screen accidently triggers the touchpad. You can just disable the touchpad to work around this. Actually, the script above already does this when you rotate the screen display (because I only and always rotate the display when going into tablet mode).

Also, multi-touch on the trackpad does not work out of the box. You can tweak the settings of the Synaptics driver to do this. Put the following in /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-two-finger-scroll-touchsmart-tm2.conf

Section "InputClass"
   Identifier "enable synaptics SHMConfig" 
   MatchIsTouchpad "on"  
   MatchDevicePath "/dev/input/event*"
   Driver "synaptics"
   Option "SHMConfig" "on"
   Option "EmulateTwoFingerMinW" "5"
   Option "EmulateTwoFingerMinZ" "60"
   Option "VertTwoFingerScroll" "1"
   Option "HorizTwoFingerScroll" "1"

(I got these tips from this bugreport). The driver seems to forget these settings once in a while; I think gnome-settings-mouse interferes. If I found out what to do about it, I’ll edit here. For now, I just type this into a command line whenever scrolling stops working:

synclient VertTwoFingerScroll=1
synclient HorizTwoFingerScroll=1

Maverick now ships with the vga_switcheroo module compiled into the kernel. That means that you can actually choose whether you want to use the ATi or the Intel videocard. The drivers for the latter seem to work better, so I chose that one. I put the line

echo OFF > /sys/kernel/debug/vgaswitcheroo/switch

into /etc/rc.local to turn of the ATi card. That saves a lot of battery!

What you should most definitely do is install Xournal (it’s in the Ubuntu Software Center) by Denis Auroux. It is a note-taking application that lets you write in a notebook with the pen. There’s also a very useful patch by Rumen Zarev that gives you the option to ignore touch. Of course Ubuntu always ignores touch when the pen is near the screen, but you also don’t want to draw accidental lines when you rest your hand on the screen. I put a patched package into my ppa:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:tkluck/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install xournal

22 gedachten over “Ubuntu on HP Touchsmart tm2

  1. RParr

    First, thanks. I have TM2 running Ubuntu 10.04 and was wondering about upgrading it to 10.10.

    Second, I really find the tablet mode almost unusable without a decent method to enter text using the pen. Do you know of any decent methods of entering via an on-screen keyboard (like on my mobile) or (even better) pen recognition (like available in XP on the TM2)?

    Thanks again
    R.Parr, Temporal Arts

  2. admin Bericht auteur

    HI RParr,

    First to answer your question: an excellent application is “CellWriter”, it’s in the software centre. It sports both a keyboard and handwriting recognition.

    Another thing is that I just downgraded to 10.04 because of the issue with the backlight and some issues with suspend/resume. At one point, my computer even failed to boot. I suspect my messing with vga_switcheroo, but I am not sure. I will update this blog with a caveat!

    In 10.04, I did have to install the recent linux wacom packages, or else the “ignore touch” option in Xournal I mentioned does not work. I may package all this for Lucid at some point.

  3. aba kuki

    very interesting. did u install the proprietary graphics drivers in lucid? i had the problem with maverick that after installing them i got a black screen after a reboot. i was able to fix it by by booting with a live cd and chroot into the system and purging the fglrx modules. but external hdmi (1080p) won’t work without fglrx. i ask u because i can’t fiddle around with it, it’s my girlfriends notebook and she’s got lots of work :-( many thanks for your insight.

  4. admin Bericht auteur

    I haven’t tried the fglrx modules and I don’t really want to do that, because it broke my Maverick install when I had it. I also don’t have any hdmi hardware so I can’t tell you anything about that. Sorry!

  5. Mike

    I also have an HP Touchsmart Tm2 (but a 2050us). I am running Ubuntu 10.10 with very little problems. I have the problem you mentioned about the black screen after boot up, but believe it or not, all you have to do is close the display once or twice and it works again (I figured this out by accident). The Intel HDA 5 series/3400 card will not allow input with the current alsa drivers I have. The battery is not bad (I average about 5 to 6 hours with a dimmed display). The touchpad does not allow multi-touch gestures, and the multi-touch gestures (all except right click) don’t work very well and are laggy/unresponsive (e.g. two finger scrolling, pinch, etc.). The digitizer pen works with no problems at all. Sometimes the cursor shakes and freaks out if you have the PC completely closed with the display facing out.

  6. Mike

    In my previous post, this segment was about the touchscreen, not the touchpad, sorry. “…the multi-touch gestures (all except right click) don’t work very well and are laggy/unresponsive (e.g. two finger scrolling, pinch, etc.).”

  7. topo

    Thanks for sharing with us this info. Yesterday I’ve done a clean install of Ubuntu in my HP TM2 1010a. The only bad thing is I can’t find any good “how to” to install ATI drivers. So who knows any good tutorial please post the link hear! The good point is that the ubuntu driver for ATI it’s seems to work fine for me!

  8. admin Bericht auteur

    Hi Mike, It turns out that the shaky cursor is due to the touchpad being triggered by the back of the screen. I wrote something about it ^ and I also have a script that disables the touchpad when rotating the screen.

  9. admin Bericht auteur

    Hi topo, Does system -> administration -> additional drivers work for you? (hope these are the right names in English locale). On my setup, I can just click a button there to install the proprietary ATi drivers.

  10. topo

    Hi thanks for asking me. Yes, System ->Administration -> Aditional Drivers has the driver for ATI graphic card, also is it possible to install the driver from there but after installation I have to restart the laptop and is not starting up anymore ….
    Any ideea or workaround for this?

  11. Vigliag

    Hi, thanks a lot for your guide. I own a Tm2 too, and it’s been very helpful.
    Regarding Ati drivers, is there a reason to install them? We’re going to disable them anyway, or am i wrong? I didn’t install them. The first time I did, I had the same problem as topo.
    Anyway, I have some problems with wacomrotator (on Ubuntu 10.10): it gives an error message during package installation and when I launch it:

    ** (wacomrotator:2316): CRITICAL **: gnome_rr_screen_new: assertion `error == NULL || *error == NULL' failed

    ** (wacomrotator:2316): CRITICAL **: gnome_rr_screen_list_crtcs: assertion `screen != NULL' failed

    Is it normal? (am I using it wrong?) When I rotate the screen through the utility in gnome, the inputs don’t rotate along.
    Thanks (sorry for my English)

  12. admin Bericht auteur

    The problems noted by Vigliag have been corrected in today’s version 0.1-3.

  13. nazca

    Does anybody knows how to use the ATI card? I have a HP tm2t 2100 with Ubuntu 10.04. I’ve seen posts to switch off the ATI card but it is a decent card that I want to use frequently for OpenGL stuff.

    Please let me know if anybody is able to successfully make it work or even better, being able to switch between the ATI/Intel easily for good power management.

  14. Hunter

    the proprietary ATI and NVIDIA drivers do not yet support hybrids with Intel on linux. So basically you HAVE to use the OSS drivers if you want to use your system at all.

  15. Carlos

    Hi there!I just submitted a bug report for the Finger print reader! bug # 744310 in launchpad.net. I hope you can collaborate! Cheers

  16. Rohit Bansod

    Problem: During the installation of Ubuntu on HP TouchSmart tm2 the display turns off.

    Solution: Press f3 to increase the brightness.

  17. Lalo Martins

    Hi, have you stopped using Ubuntu? I wanted to install your rotator, but your ppa hasn’t been updated since maverick :-(

  18. admin Bericht auteur

    @Lalo Marins: I’m sorry for not having updated the rotator packages. I’m still using Ubuntu, but newer versions of Ubuntu needed a new version of the script, which I haven’t packaged. I’m e-mailing it to you now.

  19. Pingback: Ubuntu Linux on HP Touchsmart tm2 with vgaswitcheroo « Spazio personale di Vigliag

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