Improved Lenovo Laptop Hotkey Support Coming To Linux 5.10

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The Chinese Lenovo Group promised to Linux certify their laptops and make laptops with Linux available in a big announcement back in July. They have been offering one ThinkPad X1 model with Fedora pre-installed since mid-August. Linux 5.10 will have support for four additional hotkeys on that one laptops Lenovo sells with Fedora pre-installed thanks to RedHat developer Hans de Goede.

Lenovo-G50-45 laptop 20200914.jpg
A Lenovo G50-45 laptop running KDE on Fedora 33.

The Lenovo Group announced that they would Linux certify their entire line of ThinkPad P Series "workstations" (laptops) in a press release in June 2020. It is still not possible to buy any of their ThinkPad P series "workstation" laptops with GNU/Linux pre-installed, but they do offer other laptops like the Thinkpad X1 Carbon Gen 8 with Fedora Linux "workstation edition" pre-installed. The base Thinkpad X1 Carbon Gen 8 model will set you back a good $1287 if you use the coupon "THINKSALE".

Some of the special function keys on the Thinkpad X1 Carbon Gen 8 do not work with current kernels. IBM/RedHat developer Hans de Goede has rectified that with a patch titled Thinkpad X1 Carbon Gen 8 that will make it into Linux 5.10. The patch adds support for four special keys on the X1 Carbon 8th gen and the new T14 gen1 model to the thinkpad_acpi.c platform driver for Lenovo ThinkPad laptops.

Lenovo ThinkPads are getting better support in the upcoming Linux 5.9 kernel too. SUSE developer Takashi Iwai has had a patch merged that fixed some unfortunate regressions in the ALSA sound system on Lenovo Thinkpad X1 gen7 and gen8 machines. Those will be a thing of the past when Linux 5.9 is released towards the end of this month.

Lenovo has still not made good on their promise to make ThinkPad P53 and P1 systems with GNU/Linux pre-installed available. Perhaps increasingly good Linux kernel support will convince them to move forward.

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