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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10 Replies to “Armbian Ubuntu 23.04 can now run on Lenovo X13S Arm laptop”

  1. From must have features – camera is not working and won’t work anytime soon while status of 5G modem is unknown to me.

    1. How about the “Secured Core pc” feature?
      That sounds like “Works only with Microsoft”. Is it a game-breaker?
      (The possibility to disable secure boot was required by law some years ago. But that law never included Arm hardware and it has expired anyway.)

      1. This was assembled for fun / promo / best effort. If we would receive support to cover the loss dealing with this further, more could perhaps be done. Until then we will provide best effort maintenance for features that exists. Already that is difficult enough considering it eats scarce resources while brings little on the table. If law maker would give us some conditions to meet, we would just remove images at once and stop dealing with …

  2. Yes, definitely the camera is not working and from what I hear might not work soon or ever. 5G modem does show up as wwan0, but I haven’t tested it. Also the USB ports are a bit slow, so booting from USB might be a bit tardy, but you can deploy to the NVMe for some very fast disk access speeds.
    Thanks to steev & jhovold and others for the kernel, ironrobin for the config, and Ubuntu’s x13s Concept folks for the userspace. This is far from finished, but is usable, and will only get more so; 6.5-rcX already landed quite a few patches, and Ubuntu’s snaps might soon pick-up the mesa patches for the Adreno.

    PS: Make sure to create Lenovo’s Windows USB recovery disk before wiping your Windows install though, you might require it to deploy firmware updates or resort to some pretty complex hacks later. Windows arm64 on this machine is Lenovo-specific AFAIK and the generic Win arm64 images you can find won’t work.

  3. Thank you! I just recently purchased a x13s to see if i can get Linux running.
    Im looking forward to trying Armbian, looks like you assembled the best of all the great x13s contributors to get this working.

    Lenovo listen! People want full Linux capable drivers, help us out here!

  4. Huh. Mine got delivered 2 weeks ago. I actually managed to boot Linux 23.04 on it, through an accident 🙂 Didn’t come around to do the whole FEX or Linaro routine. I actually cloned my WDK2023 rootfs to the SSD, installed grub-efi-arm64, forgot to replace the DTB(!), and it booted, although without screen, and with an USB3 to Ethernet adapter for sshing into it. After “righting” the installation with the current DTB, it will boot but stall due to battery management issues. I will try this armbian way, since booting from USB appears to be the ultimate mystery. Thank you for the information.

    1. Mine just booted up with the armbian Gnome 23.5 USB stick. Even the Bluetooth Mouse works 🙂 This will be fun research 🙂

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