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Thread: Linux Install Directions

  1. #11
    Soundwave
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    Vampirex cites very good links. Those guides collectively give the full details of installation. My notes just point out a few more gotcha's specific to the T100-CHI.

    T100 family works fairly well with linux except for the T100-CHI. The CHI's keyboard is connected by bluetooth. No known version of linux (currently 4.4-rc6) detects the CHI's bluetooth radio. So under linux, the CHI lacks the native keyboard. Bluetooth is better supported for some of the other T100 models. ASUS and windows obviously know where the CHI bluetooth-keyboard is hiding, but...

    For the CHI, an external USB keyboard works and is recommended during linux installation (use a powered hub on USB3.0 port, an OTG cable will handle the connections). With an external keyboard, press the escape key while the CHI is powering up to get to setup mode. From setup mode you can choose, USB device or Windows (or grub if already installed.) Setup mode should see a properly prepared (live)USB linux distro. You will likely need a USB wifi adapter during installation and for initial updates. A kernel upgrade to something > 4 is highly recommended, preferably from the G+ T100/Ubuntu group (kernel 4.2.3). Internal wifi will probably work fine after upgrading the kernel. Note: Bluetooth will not be active at boot time (no keydock even with an external USB adapter, so you may need to add a timeout to grub... At the risk of stating the obvious, linux on the CHI is not a good novice project - yet.

    Frankly, if I had to do it over again, I'd wait until Linux is fully supported on the CHI. At the moment, the CHI under Linux lacks support for bluetooth(so no keydock), sound, web cam, and microphone... But USB support is very good. It is possible to pair the CHI keyboard to an external USB bluetooth adapter. The display, touchscreen, active pen, wifi and most USB devices do work well. Even without all the peripherals running, I find linux more reliable than windows. The CHI should be a great linux platform - eventually! Right now, it is a work in progress. For now, my ultra portable seems permanently tethered to a powered hub!
    Last edited by jbMacAZ; 12-26-2015 at 04:44 PM.

  2. #12
    Soundwave
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbMacAZ View Post
    Vampirex cites very good links. <snip>

    T100 family works fairly well with linux except for the T100-CHI. The CHI's keyboard is connected by bluetooth. No known version of linux (currently 4.4-rc6) detects the CHI's bluetooth radio. So under linux, the CHI lacks the native keyboard. Bluetooth is better supported for some of the other T100 models. ASUS and windows obviously know where the CHI bluetooth-keyboard is hiding, but...
    Update: Beta software to support bluetooth on the CHI is starting to wind its way through the system. I've run a patched 4.3.x/i386 kernel with a T100 custom Ubuntu 15.10. The CHI keydock works as well as it does in Windows (short inactivity timeouts, slow wake ups.) It might still be a while before a standard linux kernel fully supports the CHI. It might be worth waiting a little longer and getting an HA instead once it becomes supported by linux.
    Last edited by jbMacAZ; 02-04-2016 at 02:50 AM.
    Swipe likes this.

  3. #13
    Soundwave
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    Linux on the ASUS T100CHI

    The ASUS T100CHI “Transformer” is an good choice for creating a fully capable Linux tablet. It has many desirable features, the foremost being the beautiful 1920x1200 IPS display with both touch and stylus/pen interfaces. It is good enough to do serious photo editing with GIMP and working with a pen instead of a mouse is really nice. The accessory keyboard/cover allows it to be used as a notebook when significant data entry is required (until we get usable speech recognition). It has reasonably good performance and the micro-SD card slot allows storage expansion. It has USB2 and USB3 ports and an HDMI port for an external monitor. It has excellent battery life and a sturdy aluminum case although it is a little heavy for its size.

    The Bluetooth keyboard is a mixed bag. It can be convenient to use it without having it attached to the tablet in some situations (it has some tendency to tip over when attached). It is possible to use the keyboard on other equipment with a Bluetooth interface. The keyboard has its own battery which has to be charged separately but the battery seems to last forever. The OS has to be up for Bluetooth to work, so it is necessary to plug in a USB keyboard to work the boot menu or firmware setup. At the present time, the Bluetooth implementation in Linux does not seem to remember previous equipment. The keyboard must be paired after power down or reboot. It will re-attach automatically after log-out or suspend. Keep in mind that the keyboard is strictly an accessory on this machine.

    The T100 has a lot of weird hardware in it and requires some fairly technical finagling to make everything work. It is a bit of a project and this discussion assumes that you can do command-line operations and edit configuration files. Aside from the material specific to the pen interface, the following should apply to the other T100 models. I have not checked the T102HA which has a lower resolution monitor, a different pen interface and a direct connection (probably USB) keyboard. The TP301U runs Linux perfectly with no special configuration but the touch interface does not have enough resolution for graphic work with a stylus. It is also too big and too heavy for the kind of carry-it-anywhere portability you have with the T100.

    Using the 64-bit version

    The most recent version of the T100CHI, the one which comes with 4 GB RAM and 128 GB storage, also has 64-bit UEFI firmware. This allows it to install and run most 64-bit Linux distributions. Some may require “Secure Boot” to be disabled in the firmware setup but most of the mainline distributions now have the necessary keys to run with “Secure Boot” enabled. This version also seems to have better performance than the 64 GB version. Unfortunately, it seems to have been discontinued and many of the units which retailers have in inventory are non-functional. I received four DOA units in a row from Amazon before I got one which worked but it was worth the effort. I was able to install Fedora, my preferred distribution, without any problems. A dual-boot installation is quite practical in 128 GB. I have put a fair number of hours and charge cycles on this machine and it seems to be reliable. When I received it, the battery was completely discharged and seems to have lost about 5% of its capacity so these machines have been sitting around. They will not run (and the charge light will not come on) until there is a minimal charge on the battery so the defective machines probably have bad batteries. It is not too difficult or expensive to replace them but we will hope that a bunch of refurbs will be coming on the market!

    Using the 32-bit version

    The earlier units with 32 GB or 64 GB of storage have 64-bit processors but come with 32-bit UEFI firmware and no support for “legacy” BIOS. This is a major problem because the 64-bit Linux distributions assume 64-bit UEFI while the 32-bit distributions assume BIOS. As far as I know, the only distro which will install directly is the Debian “multi-arch” version. Ian Morrison has recently published a beautiful script which will modify an Ubuntu installation image to install and run on these machines. The “Cinnamon” desktop is pretty well set up for use on a tablet. He also has two other scripts which install the proprietary firmware and other components for the Bluetooth and sound interfaces, solving two other serious problems. The latter scripts also work with Fedora if you have the 64-bit firmware. You can get the scripts and documentation from his “Linuxium” site here.

    Hardware accessories

    You really need a stylus/pen to get the full benefit of the high-resolution display. The correct pen is the Dell 750-AAGN, available new or used from Amazon. This is probably the same unit that ASUS originally sold. Dell sold other pens which are not compatible so make sure you get the correct part number. It is powered by an AAAA cell which you are not likely to find in stores but they are available from Amazon. The interface will track the position of the pen when it is held within about 1/2” of the display although exactly how this works depends on the desktop environment used. Touching the display causes a left-click. Pressing the pen button is supposed to produce a right click but the Linux interface is likely to interpret this as a center-click (see note below). You hold the pen above the surface and press the button to avoid generating a left click first. If the interface is tracking the pen, the touch function is disabled and you can rest your hand on the screen. If the pen is moved away from the surface, it will respond to your hand. The pen is pressure sensitive and this works in applications such as GIMP. The pen shuts off if held away from the display for more than a few seconds. It turns back on automatically if brought back to the screen but it can be slow to wake up, especially after extended use with a battery which is not fresh. This problem occurs with Windows and with two different pens so it is a hardware design problem. Keeping the pen close to the display prevents it from turning off. An active touchscreen stylus can also be used although it is less precise. A thin glove will make it easier to rest your hand on the screen. Search Amazon for “artist’s half glove” to find specially made versions but thin cotton gloves of the kind sold by pharmacies for treating skin problems work fine.

    The adapter for the USB 3 port is hard to find. It must not be “On-the-go” (OTG)! An OTG adapter will work with USB 2 units but not with USB 3 units. Nearly everything with that pesky Micro-B plug on it is OTG. This odd part is the only one I have found which works properly with USB 3 devices. The micro USB 2 adapter and the micro HDMI adapter are standard items.

    Because the Bluetooth keyboard only works with the OS fully booted, development work on this machine requires a USB keyboard and preferably a USB mouse or trackball. A USB network interface, either Ethernet or WiFi, is handy for the initial load and update since a recent kernel and a hardware finagle is required to get the internal WiFi working. It can probably be done off of the initial installation, however. A flash drive must also be plugged in so a 4-port USB hub is needed.

    Fintie makes a nice notebook-style cover especially for the tablet part of this machine. It provides fairly good protection and is a convenient way to carry and use the tablet. It is necessary to file away a bit of plastic to make the micro SD card slot accessible. With the cover folded out of the way, the keyboard can be mounted but it has to be carried separately (a padded mailing envelope works well).

    Hardware initialization

    WiFi requires a fairly recent kernel and an arcane but well-documented finagle. From a root shell or “sudo”, execute the command:

    cp /sys/firmware/efi/efivars/nvram-74b00bd9-805a-4d61-b51f-43268123d113 /lib/firmware/brcm/brcmfmac43241b4-sdio.txt

    Reboot and WiFi should work.

    Bluetooth requires the 4.12 or later kernel and proprietary Broadcom firmware. Install the mainline kernel if your distribution is not up to 4.12, then download Morrison’s "broadcom-drivers” script referenced above. Copy the script into the /usr/local/bin directory and give it execute permission. “cd” into the directory and execute the script (these operations must be as “root” or with “sudo”). Reboot and Bluetooth should work. It may be necessary to install a Bluetooth manager but some desktops do that automatically.

    Sound can be troublesome. It requires a recent kernel (probably 4.12), some firmware and special files and likely some configuration. Download Morrison’s “UCM-files” script and run it as described for the Bluetooth script above. Install the Pulseaudio Volume Control utility “pavucontrol” and the “pacmd” command if not already installed. Run the volume control utility, select the “configuration” tab and set the default “sink” to the internal analog audio device. At least with Fedora 26, the PulseAudio daemon will not start when invoked in the usual manner. Programs using “Gstreamer” for audio (such as the “Florence” on-screen keyboard and “RhythmBox”) seem to be able to start it. It may also start if the system is suspended and then restarted. The errors suggest that the current kernels and scripts do not support the HDMI audio channel which causes the daemon to fail although the basic analog sound will work. Setting “--fail=no” does not solve this. I am still working on this issue.

    If you are using the Asus or Dell pen and find that the button produces a middle click, it can be switched to a more useful right-click. Open a text editor and create a file with the following lines:

    Section "Input Class"
    Identifier "Pen Button"
    MatchProduct "Pen"
    Option "ButtonMapping" "1 3 2 4 5 6"
    EndSection

    Give the file a name such as “90-PenButton” and save it to a working directory. Then copy it to the directory “/etc/X11/xorg.conf.d” (root or “sudo”). Log out to restart X Window and verify that it works as intended. This will not affect other pointing devices.

    The Ubuntu “Cinnamon” desktop and the version of Gnome used on Fedora install on-screen keyboards and these display automatically when a text input field is selected. Otherwise, the “Florence” keyboard seems to be the best although it is buggy and maintenance does not seem to be very active.

    Some of the desktops have an option to use “long touch” for a right-click. This is usually part of the “Universal Access” options.

    Early versions of the 4.13 kernel had problems but these seem to have been fixed in the later releases.
    dps likes this.

 

 
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