Upgrading (and Downgrading) Skulls on a Thinkpad laptop

Published: Nov 16, 2020
Reading time: 2 min
Tags: Guides, Hardware, Linux, Software

After posting my previous guide regarding Skulls I had been running version 0.1.8 on my laptop without issue. Never wanting to leave something good alone though, I decided to endeavor to upgrade the BIOS image to the latest version, because why the hell not.

The first thing you’ll want is to install the two dependencies the script requires.

sudo pacman -S dimdecode flashrom

Now grab the latest release from the projects Github repository and extract the archive using tar -xf skulls-x230t-0.0.2.tar.xz.

Now, reboot your computer and interrupt grub using your arrow keys before pressing e to edit your boot options.

You want to replace the quiet parameter on the linux line with iomem=relaxed then press F10 to boot with these new options.

Once booted, navigate back to your extracted skulls directory and run the shell script that will internally flash Skulls:

sudo x230t_skulls.sh

Note: One step I had to do (as I was upgrading from an older generic x230 version to a specific x230t version) was to skip a compatibility check by altering the -p internal parameter to -p internal:boardmismatch=force.

Once completed, you’ll now be prompted to shut the computer down. Reboot it and you’ll be greeted by the new skulls version. Congratulations!

GRUB

During the upgrade, I decided to use the free BIOS ROM image, which has the fortunate quirk of booting at native resolution immediately, which makes GRUB’s 640x480 resolution look a bit unusual during switches. This can easily be amended by editing /etc/default/grub and adding the line GRUB_GFXMODE=1366x768x32, before running sudo grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg to apply these changes.

Downgrading

Unfortunately, not was all well with my upgrade. Even thought the process completed without issue I noticed strange issues with the computer and firefox crashing intermittently. I tried flashing the non-free image which gave me the exact same response.

So with only a few moments hesitation I decided to revert to version 0.1.8 again. The process is mostly the exact same as installation (albeit with a different release), however I did get a strange error while installing relating to Reading old flash chip contents. As mentioned (and fixed) in this issue report, it can be fixed by simply replacing flashroms' -p internal parameter with with -p internal:boardmismatch=force --force --noverify-all.