Sunday, January 13, 2013

Ubuntu Linux, Thinkpad R61 (w/nVidia), and ICM Color Profiles

Despite the age of my laptop (Lenovo Thinkpad R61) - which implies an aged display (for which I shouldn't depend upon a stock ICM color profile) - I set out to obtain the truest color known to man (on an aged laptop, using a stock color profile). If your desire is similarly misguided, here is what you'll need to know.

What you will need: nVidia X Server Settings utility (installed if you're using the nVidia driver (nvidia-current as opposed to nv)), Lenovo's ICM color profile for the R61 (from Lenovo Support), and the package "edid-decode" (`sudo apt-get install edid-decode`). Note: the read-edid package doesn't work properly with nVidia hardware, hence this post.

Ready? Okay.

First, launch the nVidia X Server Settings utility. One level under "GPU 0" is the menu DFP-0. Following selecting this, click on the "Acquire EDID..." button on right-hand side of the screen. You will be asked where to save the EDID file, and whether you would like the file in binary or ASCII format. Select binary and save the file somewhere handy.

Second, launch a terminal and navigate to the location of your newly acquired edid.bin file. Once there, simply type:
edid-decode edid.bin | grep Manufacturer
Which will result in output such as this (bold emphasis my own):
Manufacturer: LEN Model 4031 Serial Number 0
Bolded above is where you will find the information you will need in order to select the correct color profile from among the many color profiles packed into the single file you've downloaded from Lenovo.

Third, follow these instructions located elsewhere. I'll wait.

Finally, in Ubuntu's System Settings, select the "Color" applet and load up the ICM color profile you've selected from the prior step(s).

Congratulations, you're using an outdated ICM color profile! This is better than using nothing at all!