FreeBSD on the Lenovo Thinkpad T480
Last updated: January 6, 2023
Recently I replaced my 2014 MacBook Air with a Lenovo Thinkpad T480, on which I've installed FreeBSD, currently 13.0-RELEASE. This page documents my set-up along with various configuration tweaks and fixes.
- WQHD screen (HiDPI)
- WiFi (802.11g)
- IR & visible light camera :)
- Suspend / resume
- Sound (see note about headphone jack)
- Trackpad & trackpoint
- USB ports
- Bluetooth (see detailed article) (caveat: seems to cause problems with suspend/resume)
Not working: 802.11ac (no support in FreeBSD, but in progress). I don't have any Thunderbolt devices to test and don't have a fingerprint sensor installed.
X11 and Intel Graphics
Xorg requires the Intel video drivers from the package
drm-kmod). I've found building them from ports to work more reliably than installing from packages. After installation, load them at boot by adding
I've had the best success using the
xf86-video-intel driver. The default
modesetting driver works but has frequent screen tearing. You'll want to install
xf86-video-intel and use the SNA acceleration option (the default UXA method is very slow — e.g. rendering marching ants in GIMP will freeze the program). I use the following configuration file placed in
Identifier "Intel Graphics"
Option "AccelMethod" "SNA"
Option "TearFree" "true"
Trackpad / Trackpoint
Good news is that since udev/libinput was merged into the default
xorg-server trackpad setup is much easier than previously. My configuration is inspired by a blog post by Michael Gmelin.
I've found that setting
kern.evdev.rcpt_mask to 12 rather than 6 (as suggested by the
xorg-server package) exposes more keys to X to be settable as hotkeys.
To have the trackpoint, buttons, and trackpad working as expected I use the following configuration file in
Identifier "libinput keyboard catchall"
Option "XkbRules" "evdev"
Identifier "libinput touchpad catchall"
Option "NaturalScrolling" "on"
Option "Tapping" "on"
Option "DisableWhileTyping" "on"
Option "AccelSpeed" "0.42"
5GHz WiFi networks
5 GHz networks won't be visible unless the country code is properly set for the WiFi interface (otherwise connectivity will be limited to the 2.4GHz band). I set the country code (for me, Canada, "CA") on this line in
ifconfig_wlan0="WPA country CA powersave"
WiFi is also limited to 802.11g speeds for the Intel 8265 Wireless card. I've tried using PCI passthrough with a Linux virtual machine in bhyve to use 802.11ac speeds, but haven't figured out how to keep this working after suspend/resume.
Suspend / resume
To enable suspend / resume on lid close, add
Note that the TPM must be disabled in the BIOS for suspend/resume to work. Supported TPM models are listed in
man tpm and I guess the T480 TPM is not yet supported. According to the manual page, the TPM must be told to save its state before suspend; otherwise resume will fail.
I'm currently using
acpi_video, see my article on brightness increments for details.
Works great since 12.2-RELEASE.
On 12.1-RELEASE, sound is great on the speakers but really bad from the headphone jack. Lots of static and distortion, and at lower volumes nothing can be heard. As of March 2020, this problem is not present in 12.1-STABLE or 13.0-CURRENT (I suspect it was fixed in r351325). For a temporary fix, I downloaded the source code for the
hda driver from the stable branch (
stable/12/sys/dev/sound/pci/hda/) to the corresponding directory in
/usr/src and rebuilt the kernel and kernel modules. Until these changes get merged to the RELEASE branch, this has fixed headphone jack audio for me.
The IR camera is the only camera option included with the WQHD screen. Setting up
webcamd with default settings has the infrared camera working fine but only as creepy night vision!
usbconfig shows two camera devices:
ugen0.2: <Bison Integrated IR Camera> at usbus0, cfg=0 md=HOST spd=HIGH (480Mbps) pwr=SAVE (500mA)
ugen0.3: <SunplusIT Inc Integrated Camera> at usbus0, cfg=0 md=HOST spd=HIGH (480Mbps) pwr=SAVE (500mA)
To use the visible light camera instead of the IR camera, set
/etc/rc.conf to indicate the right device to use, e.g.
webcamd_0_flags="-d ugen0.3 -B"
Alternatively, set up both cameras (as shown below in
/etc/rc.conf) so that apps will ask which one you want to use.
I'm able to use the webcam in Firefox after adding my user to the
webcamd group and installing the packges
Window manager (i3) and HiDPI GUI issues
For HiDPI support, the scaling factor must be set using xrandr. I do this in my
xrandr --dpi 140 && xrdb -merge $HOME/.Xresources
exec i3 # start the window manager
For i3wm, the generated configuration is more limited than the default loaded configuration (e.g. the generated config does not have a hotkey to exit i3). Copy the example configuration as a starting point:
mkdir -p ~/.i3 && cp /usr/local/etc/i3/config ~/.i3/config
By default the cursor will be tiny. To increase the size of the cursor, select a cursor theme that has multiple cursor sizes and set the cursor size in
However, this only seems to work if you create the following symlink:
ln -s /usr/local/share/icons ~/.icons
At some point I had an issue where the cursor would still be very small in GTK apps (Firefox, xfce4-terminal); to fix, set the same cursor theme as in
If using an external monitor, by default the HiDPI scaling in
xinitrc will be applied. To use a different scaling, e.g. 96 dpi, first calculate the quotient of
hidpi/ext monitor dpi (in my case, 140/96 = 1.485), then set up the monitor using a command such as:
xrandr --output "HDMI-2" --mode 1920x1080 --scale 1.485x1.485 --right-of "eDP-1"
This works well for displaying, but the mouse appears to be unable to exceed the dimensions of the internal monitor on the external display. This appears to be a common issue but I haven't figured it out yet.
For anything not described above:
# Added by installer
# Set dumpdev to "AUTO" to enable crash dumps, "NO" to disable
# Power saving, see https://www.c0ffee.net/blog/freebsd-on-a-laptop/
# Intel Graphics driver
# Readable font size at console
# For XOrg
# Don't pause during boot for DHCP
# Networking; use ethernet if available, otherwise use WiFi
ifconfig_wlan0="WPA country CA powersave"
# Same as em0 MAC address cloned_interfaces="lagg0"
ifconfig_lagg0="up laggproto failover laggport em0 laggport wlan0 DHCP"
webcamd_0_flags="-d ugen0.3" # visible light camera
webcamd_1_flags="-d ugen0.2" # IR camera
# CUPS (allow printing)
# Added by the installer
# Allow sleep on lid close
# Disable system bell / bell everywhere
# Allow mounting FUSE filesystems
# Added by installer
# Improved power and video support
# For webcam
# Touchpad driver
# Place devices in low power state when suitable driver not found
# (man 4 pci)