Friday, June 12, 2015

Toughpad FZ-M1 with Linux

Today I got Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 for one project and this tablet rocks with Linux. I installed Ubuntu 15.04 (AMD64) for evaluation and almost everything worked out from box.

Basically this is not tablet, it's more like a tablet form computer. Meaning that you find full and easily accessible BIOS setup and it allows you to boot Ubuntu installation. I've played with Toughbooks over last ten years and I hardly never had any issues with them supporting Linux.

Since I installed Ubuntu with integrated hard disk encryption (LUKS), I believe I need to have keyboard present (to give passphrase on boot). That's why there is this wonderful iKey attachable keyboard.

This keyboard has nice backlight and totally waterproof keys. They are not as usable as normal laptop keys, but they withstand elements. So this is a thing.

Backlight issue

FZ-M1 backlight needed some tweaking to work with Ubuntu, but I managed to google solution for this. You need to create file /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-intel.conf and place this in file:

And add this into file:

Section "Device"
            Identifier  "card0"
            Driver      "intel"
            Option      "Backlight"  "intel_backlight"
            BusID       "PCI:0:2:0"


So, if you're after Linux tablet with serious professional touch - I would recommend this Toughpad in fully.

Update on modem

Sierra Wireless EM7305 MBIM vs QMI modes. It seems that Modem Manager has an issues with MBIM mode, so we have to enable QMI mode with this:

echo 1 >  /sys/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:14.0/usb1/1-3/bConfigurationValue

After this, modem manager works and you can create your mobile connection just fine. Just remember to insert MicroSIM to your device:


I am working on project where we are looking for small, almost phone sized PC hardware - capable to run Linux as vanilla as it could be. It seems that this FZ-M1 is closest what we have tested. I've checked out Lenovo tablets (Miix), some ATOM based tablets (HP), some Acer's etc. but all them failing either to install or support Linux in this extent. Most miserably is Lenovo MIIX, which has this Intel & Microsoft UEFI32 bit installation quirks.


Tommy Matala said...

Does the hot swappable battery functionality work on this with Linux?

Great post by the way!

PPaFin said...

Yes it does. I have CF-AX2 with hot swappable battery and it works nicely, Linux even recognizes two different batteries and allows discharge both of them while using. And same with this Toughpad, works like a charm.