Linux (ubuntu) on the Yoga 3 Pro

I love my Yoga 3 Pro, but a lot of its functionality has never just worked on linux. Here’s my notes for whenever I have to reinstall the machine.

Power management/profiles (i.e. terrible performance!)

Lenovo basically abandoned these laptops after windows 10 came about (and never supported linux). They used to have a Energy Management tool on Windows 8.1 that would let you set the performance policy, they replaced this with a ACPI driver for Win10. Unfortunately, this new ACPI driver locks the system on a “balanced” energy profile which heavily throttles the CPU/GPU package under load. For example, you start a video then your laptop will stutter under load after around 30s just moving the mouse. The issue is the balanced profile limits the average power-draw of the package, thus this isn’t even a temperature issue but some brain-dead “energy saving” measure.

Amazingly, Linux has the tools to fix this and windows 10 does not. You need to install some tools:

sudo apt install linux-tools-generic linux-oem-5.6-tools-common

If you run the tool, you should be informed you’re on the “balance” profile:

sudo x86_energy_perf_policy 
cpu0: EPB 6
cpu1: EPB 6
cpu2: EPB 6
cpu3: EPB 6

The 6 means balanced. You then need to set the Energy Performance Bias (EPB) to balance-performance or performance.

sudo x86_energy_perf_policy --epb balance-performance

Running the tool again gives you a 4 and a useful laptop once again!

sudo x86_energy_perf_policy 
cpu0: EPB 4
cpu1: EPB 4
cpu2: EPB 4
cpu3: EPB 4

Battery life is nearly unaffected and the system remains responsive under heavy load. To make these settings permanent, install a tool like TLP to manage this.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:linrunner/tlp
sudo apt update
sudo apt install tlp tlp-rdw

Then edit the configuration in /etc/tlp.conf and uncomment (and change) the lines.


Really, you do not want anything less than balance_performance. I also set p states to allow max on battery and a few others, but this is to your taste rather than essential.

GRUB/terminal text size (and rendering speed)

While I don’t mind the extremely small font, the console actually renders slowly due to the enormous screen resolution. Following advice from here, I modified /etc/default/grub to have GRUB_GFXMODE=1280x1024. This sorts out grub. Once modesetting takes over its nice to just bump the font size up a little to make working without X more pleasant. I also modified /etc/default/console-setup to have FONTSIZE=16x32 and FONTFACE="Terminus".


All works now with 20.04. Only issue seems to be with the touchpad being alternately disabled/enabled on suspend resume. I’m guessing the touchpad enable key is incorrectly bound but I’ve not dug to figure that out. This is a real problem as the actual tocuhpad enable key is non-functional too, so lets fix that.

Special keys

We need to bind the key, dmesg show’s that this key is currently unmapped. Create a file at /etc/udev/hwdb.d/90-custom-keyboard.hwdb with the following content:

 KEYBOARD_KEY_0xbe=f21 #Re-enable touchpad!!

Be warned though, this may match against external keyboards

Automatic screen rotation and backlight brightness

I’m on Kubuntu, which seems to miss automatic brightness controls in the Power control panel (like Ubuntu/Gnome supposedly has) as well as automatic screen rotation. To fix this I wrote the script below and placed it at /usr/bin/

# Auto rotate screen based on device orientation

# Receives input from monitor-sensor (part of iio-sensor-proxy package)
# Screen orientation and launcher location is set based upon accelerometer position
# Launcher will be on the left in a landscape orientation and on the bottom in a portrait orientation
# This script should be added to startup applications for the user

# Clear sensor.log so it doesn't get too long over restarts
> sensor.log

# Launch monitor-sensor and store the output in a variable that can be parsed by the rest of the script
monitor-sensor >> sensor.log 2>&1 &

MAXBL=$(cat /sys/class/backlight/intel_backlight/max_brightness)

# Parse output or monitor sensor to get the new orientation whenever the log file is updated
# Possibles are: normal, bottom-up, right-up, left-up
# Light data will be ignored
while inotifywait -e modify sensor.log; do
# Read the last line that was added to the file and get the orientation
ORIENTATION=$(tail -n 1 sensor.log | grep 'orientation' | grep -oE '[^ ]+$')
LUX=$(tail -n 1 sensor.log | grep 'Light changed' | gawk '{print $3}')
echo "Orientation " $ORIENTATION " LUX " $LUX

#IFF there's a lux value change, then compute the brightness
echo "PONG"
if [ ! -z $LUX ]; then
    MinBackLight=0.2 # Minimum fraction of backlight power
    DeltaBackLight=0.8 # Maximum fraction of backlight power

    #Just linearly scale the range LowLUX->HighLUX onto the range of backlight percentages above
    BL=$(echo "print(int(($MinBackLight+$DeltaBackLight*min(1.0,max(0,($LUX-$LowLUX)/($HighLUX-$LowLUX))))*$MAXBL))" | python3)
    echo $BL > /sys/class/backlight/intel_backlight/brightness

TRANSFORM="Coordinate Transformation Matrix"

# Set the actions to be taken for each possible orientation (IFF an orientation change was detected)

# If you are using Ubuntu you might want to adjust the launcher position, e.g.
#&& gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Launcher launcher-position Left
#&& gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Launcher launcher-position Bottom

echo "PING"
case "$ORIENTATION" in
xrandr --output eDP-1 --rotate normal && xinput set-prop "$TOUCHSCREEN" "$TRANSFORM" 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 ;;
xrandr --output eDP-1 --rotate inverted && xinput set-prop "$TOUCHSCREEN" "$TRANSFORM" -1 0 1 0 -1 1 0 0 1 ;;
xrandr --output eDP-1 --rotate right && xinput set-prop "$TOUCHSCREEN" "$TRANSFORM" 0 1 0 -1 0 1 0 0 1 ;;
xrandr --output eDP-1 --rotate left && xinput set-prop "$TOUCHSCREEN" "$TRANSFORM" 0 -1 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 ;;

If you want to get this script to run as a normal user (rather than root), you need to modify the systemd script and also allow a particular group to access the backlight controls. Putting the following script into /etc/udev/rules.d/backlight.rules allows users in the plugdev group to do just that.

ACTION=="add", SUBSYSTEM=="backlight", KERNEL=="intel_backlight", RUN+="/bin/chgrp plugdev /sys/class/backlight/%k/brightness"
ACTION=="add", SUBSYSTEM=="backlight", KERNEL=="intel_backlight", RUN+="/bin/chmod g+w /sys/class/backlight/%k/brightness"

I then add this to my X startup using the Autostart tool in the menu. I’ve tried to get this for the login screen but getting the Xsession variable set up right was too much. I just run the script whenever I want rotation.

The LUX sensor seems to be particular about when it decides to report the light levels. The device is somewhere under this /sys/bus/iio/devices/iio:deviceX where X changes value from boot to boot. Usually in the range 0-4. There’s two issues that might be stopping the sensor. First, its buffer might not be enabled, i.e. for X=2 /sys/bus/iio/devices/iio:device2/buffer/enable. If you can’t set this to 1, then check that an appropriate trigger has been set. In this system, /sys/bus/iio/devices/iio:device2/trigger/current_trigger should be set to ```als-dev2`` (again assuming if X is 2).

Enable GPU acceleration

Its not the beefiest CPU by any stretch, so GPU acceleration is a must especially for modern web which has tons of rasterisation etc. Force enable GPU acceleration in Chrome, install and check video is accelerated using vainfo and install libva-glx2 or libva-x11-2 (maybe).

USB ethernet adapter support

I use a cheap USB3.0 RTL 8153 GbE adapter to give me wired internet access. This tends to crash out network manager and prevent restart holding up the TLP process. To fix this we disable autosuspend on usb for the device using a udev rule. Make a file /etc/udev/rules.d/usbethernet.rules and put the following in it

ACTION=="add", SUBSYSTEM=="usb", ATTR{idVendor}=="0bda", ATTR{idProduct}=="8153", TEST=="power/control", ATTR{power/control}="on"