Lenovo T540p woes

I spent a good chunk of this week setting up my new work laptop. It’s a Lenovo T540p with some pretty beefy specs (i7-4800MQ, 16GB Ram, SSD), however it hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing.

A fresh Fedora 20 install left me with no way to enter a LUKS password. Since I didn’t want to give up my graphical boot, the following commands got be back up and running:

> sudo yum install dracut-nohostonly
> cd /boot
> sudo mv /boot/initramfs-$(uname -r).img /boot/initramfs-$(uname -r).img.bak
> sudo dracut --no-hostonly -a "rescue" initramfs-$(uname -r).img $(uname -r)

The next issue I ran into was being unable to connect to wireless reliably. I’m working around this by setting my wireless to not automatically connect (and I have to restart NetworkManager after resuming at times). I plan on digging a bit deeper into this one, but there were bigger fish to fry.

The out of the box configuration of the ClickPad was also a major annoyance, I was able to make it more workable by playing with the hysteresis settings, but will be trying out these settings when I get a chance.

The biggest annoyance though, was that the docking station is completely unusable with an external monitor. It turns out that there are two issues at play, a firmware bug for the docking station and a bug in i915 kernel module.  The firmware update is only available as a windows executable (yuck). Since I refuse to install Windows just to update the firmware and I’m too impatient to wait for the fix to be released as an update I decided to do a scratch build of the latest fedora 20 kernel with the patches applied. After a quick yum install and reboot I am now able to use my docking station with external monitors:

> sudo yum install http://kojipkgs.fedoraproject.org//work/tasks/4096/6554096/kernel-3.13.3-202.fc20.x86_64.rpm \
> http://kojipkgs.fedoraproject.org//work/tasks/4096/6554096/kernel-headers-3.13.3-202.fc20.x86_64.rpm \
> http://kojipkgs.fedoraproject.org//work/tasks/4096/6554096/kernel-modules-extra-3.13.3-202.fc20.x86_64.rpm

I offer no warranty or support in the case that this patched kernel does anything to your system, I can only say that it works for me.

After finally being able to use the docking station, I hit yet another bug.  It appears that the UltraDock functions as Multi-Stream Transport Hub to provide multi-monitor support.  Until the i915 module provides MST Hub support all of the docking station outputs are mirrored.  I’ve been working around this by using the VGA out on the laptop with the DVI output of the docking station.

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