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Debian 12 Bookworm on Lenovo Carbon X1 Gen 10 Notes

Finally made the call here to go Debian 12 as my daily driver on the relatively new Carbon X1 I bought last year in 2022. Here are my notes around installation and making things work.


Installation off a USB installer with the standard 64bit installer ISO went very well. I did remove the stock nvme ssd that shipped with the laptop and replaced it with a 2TB Samsung SSD just to give me some more room. I wasn’t sure how much I would need to VM Windows stuff later so wanted the space for that. Also, the Samsung 990 Pro is faster. Installer recognized everything nicely and was able to get going


This was the biggest concern for me going into this. The Intel AX2xx chipset didn’t play nice with Debian 11 previously when I tried some installations last year on a Thinkstation so I was worried this was going to be an issue. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t reliable either. I was able to get through the install fine and was running mostly fine for the first few days. But, it was iffy and would struggle on performance and drops if you really had some continuous downloads and high bandwidth.

So, I messed around with driver options and other areas but the only thing that stabilized it was to get the latest git firmware over at

Extract that and move all “iwlwifi*” into /lib/firmware to overwrite the distro items. I saw an immediate improvement after that. I downloaded the May 15th, 2023 tar.gz so anything after that is probably fine.



Another concern was the Intel Arc chipset, but all good there right out of the install. I also have a Thunderbolt dock driving two 27′ monitors at 75hz so was worried that I was going to lose that. But all good no extra playing on that.


Again here, I was expecting something bad but all worked very well. No issues after the Debian 12 install. Recognized everything fine.


No problems off the install and the firmware manual firmware update may have helped as well. Have a bunch of Bluetooth devices from a mouse, to Jabra to speakers, etc. All okay.


My HP Laserjet on the wireless network was auto-sensed by Debian 12 and added. I made it a default. All good.


I have a Keychron Q6 that I love. Works fine but I can’t config/update key maps or anything through VIA as I could through Windows 11, but supposedly there is a fix I need to play on updating the firmware on the keyboard


I run VMware Workstation and have always used that when I have dipped into Linux as my daily driver over the years and nothing different here. I had to install linux headers for the kernel version and was able to install Workstation 17 no problems. I also dd imaged the old nvme Windows 11 I removed when I upgraded the SSD for this install and used qemu to turn it into a .vmdk to run Windows on this that was running directly prior to Debian 12 (and for a fallback) but all runs very well.

Key Communication Applications: Zoom and Slack

These were key for me. Both Zoom and Slack have .deb packages. They are stable and run well natively in Debian 12. There is a little lag right now with bookworm just recently released, so all references to Debian 11, etc. but all okay and run great without messing around. These are running 24×7 for me.

Browser: Vivaldi

I’m a Vivaldi guy with workspaces and tab stacks. Easily have 10-15 windows and a dozen or so tabs in those under workspaces, etc. All very very fast and memory management is MUCH better than on Windows 11. Tons RAM left for everything else and the Intel i7 12th Gen is not overwhelmed like it was on Windows 11. Chrome and Chromium, and Firefox, of course all good as well.


I was a big/huge SnagIt user forever. I’m okay with the built-in Gnome screenshot tool and the additional step of using something like Drawing for now. Not awesome but workable. I do want SnagIt for Linux of course, but what are you going do?

Desktop Environment

Flipped through all of them (KDE, MATE, Cinnamon, Gnome, etc.) as one does when you do these type of operations and have settled on Gnome Wayland. It’s great and clean. Also, as long as you are using the gdm3, it does great around screen locks, etc.

Music Player

Going with Rhythmbox for now. Does great on my personal music library across Nextcloud and for internet radio. Been happy so far with it. I was a big Musicbee user on Windows.


Debian 12 as a client for Nextcloud is great. The Nextcloud Client is also working well syncing files, etc. No virtual files support yet that I know of that I loved on Windows, but I have the space and can be selective on resident files vs. on-demand.

Will add more here as things come up, but Debian on X1 Carbon has really unleashed the power of this laptop. Not going back.

About the author

Jonathan Mergy


  • Just wanted to say thanks for this article. This is what pushed me (last year) to get a X1 and put Linux on it. I’ve been a long time debian fan for servers, but I couldn’t be happier with this setup and glad I took the plunge (with a few tweaks). I went with KDE Plasma desktop and absolutely love it. Use Virtualbox to run my Windows 11 work VM. I use the Debian testing releases, which are great (I’ve used them for a long time on some servers).

    • How nice of you to post this. Thank you so very much for taking the time. I’m now around around a year in to having Linux be the daily driver for me and I have continued to be impressed and super-happy with it. Virtualbox-kvm also is surprising awesome performance-wise. Not to mention the greatness of Teams For Linux.

      Hey, thanks again for this. Makes my day.

      Best, Jonathan

      • +1 on Teams! I use it daily. It seems to be a couple of months behind the Windows releases feature-wise, but it makes the move to Linux (in a MS Shop) much easier. I should have also pointed out that I was coming from a Mac. Apple pretty much forced me to look for something else with their ARM architecture. Sure, ARM is great for mobile devices, but I still work on mostly SW development for server applications. ARM just doesn’t work for me. I’m wishing now that I’d made the move earlier. One doesn’t realize how much time they spend trying to work around the arbitrary restrictions of Apple’s walled [Kindergarten] until they break out. 🙂 With Debian and KDE, I can configure the OS and desktop exactly how I want and the support community (like this article) are amazing!

        I’ve tried Linux desktops many times over the last 25 years. For one reason or another, they just didn’t cut it (usually due to driver issues). It’s awesome to see how far they’ve come.

        Thanks again for this insightful article! I’m sure it’s helped others as well. Honestly, this Gen 10 Carbon X1 with a Linux desktop is the best laptop experience I’ve ever had by far.

          • Re-reading this post from last year around this time and I see I have shifted a little from when I first got going.

            Stawberry is the music player now. VirtualBox-KVM is Windows, Nextcloud is great. XFCE on desktop environment.

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