Armbian Ubuntu 23.04 can now run on Lenovo X13S Arm laptop

The Lenovo X13S Windows 11 Arm laptop based on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 processor can now run Armbian-built Ubuntu 23.04 Lunar images with GNOME or XFCE desktop environment. But before getting too excited note that this is a work-in-progress (WiP) port, so while it’s a nice development, there may be some issues. Let’s have a look at the available information.

When laptop manufacturers started to sell Windows Arm laptops with Qualcomm processors, people wondered whether it would be possible to run Linux on the device, and a community formed around the idea of porting Linux to the Windows Arm laptops, and that gave rise to projects such as Aarch64 laptop. But the latter has not had any activity for a couple of years, and all the supported laptops are only partially supported. But Ricardo Pardini did some work to create an Armbian build for the Lenovo ThinkPad X13S laptop.

Lenovo X13S Arm Laptop Armbian

Ricardo explains a bit more about the build in a reply to a Tweet shared by Armbian:

This is using grub-with-DTB, @steevdave’s x13s kernel and the @ubuntu “Concept x13s” userspace for Lunar. Performance is stellar. Everything’s done on top of the Armbian UEFI-arm64 support in a single file Boot from USB, without Secure Boot. Contribute!

While we don’t know exactly what works and what doesn’t, the screenshot below shows all eight cores are enabled, the display is working along with 3D graphics acceleration using Freedreno open-source driver, battery charging and monitoring look to be working fine too, and so are the laptop’s speakers through ALSA.

Lenovo Thinkpad X13S Armbian Linux 6.4

The screenshot above shows Linux 6.3.8, but the build script on GitHub has already been updated to the latest Linux 6.4 branch, so the laptop is basically running mainline Linux with some extra patch sets. So it’s unclear what is not working… Previous Linux ports on Windows Arm laptops had mainly issues with 3D graphics acceleration (now taken care of) and support for the cellular modem whose status is unclear in the Armbian images.

If you happen to own a Lenovo X13S Windows 11 Arm laptop, you can download and try out the pre-built Ubuntu 23.04 images, or build them from scratch with the Armbian build script.

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