Replacing the kernel

The second thing to do after installing the 64-bit daily build of Ubuntu Linux Version 15.04 (Vivid Vervet), and updating the Wi-Fi network connection, was to replace the Linux kernel with a patched version specific to the T100.

The main issue on my system is a series of timeout errors produced by the mmcblk0rpmb partition on the T100’s solid state drive. A fix for a 32-bit kernel was produced earlier (T100 Timeout Issue Solved!) by Ruslan Kuznetsov on the “Asus T100 Ubuntu” Google+ Community.

Subsequently, Brain Wreck has posted a 64-bit patched kernel (based on the 3.18.0 kernel) that not only fixes the timeout issue, but also enables a number of specific features of the T100’s hardware.

To implement this kernel, go to the Asus T100 Ubuntu Google+ web site. Navigate to Asus Files – 318 64 Bit Kernel – 318 Kernel and download the two files (linux-headers-3.18.0+_3.18.0+-3_amd64.deb and linux-image-3.18.0+_3.18.0+-3_amd64.deb) from this folder.

Open a Terminal window and enter the following commands:

sudo dpkg -i linux-headers-3.18.0+_3.18.0+-3_amd64.deb
sudo dpkg -i linux-image-3.18.0+_3.18.0+-3_amd64.deb

This patched kernel eliminates the SSD timeout errors. Other features that are enabled include the ability to use the touch screen, and displaying a battery monitor in the panel. In addition, the machine will correctly restart or shut down (rather than hanging).

Now, we just need to wait until the patches are included in a mainstream distro!

References:

Asus T100 Ubuntu
https://plus.google.com/communities/117853703024346186936

Asus T100 Linux&Ubuntu › 318 64 Bit Kernel
https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B4s5KNXf2Z36MlhrQVplZC14UWM&usp=sharing&tid=0B9C1WK1FQhjfcXNrbzN6djQzajg

Installing Linux on the Asus Transformer Book T100
http://linuxnorth.wordpress.com/2014/08/23/installing-linux-on-the-asus-transformer-book-t100/

T100 Timeout Issue Solved!
http://linuxnorth.wordpress.com/2014/08/27/t100-timeout-issue-solved/

Posted in Asus T100, Commands | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Finding the MAC address of the wireless card

After installing a 64-bit daily build of Ubuntu Linux Version 15.04 (Vivid Vervet). As described in the previous post, I switched the Internet connection from the temporary use of a wireless USB adapter to the T100’s on-board wireless card. I followed the instructions given earlier (Establishing Wi-Fi connectivity on the T100) with one exception.

The change was using a Linux utility to identify the wireless card’s MAC address rather than running the ipconfig program in Windows. In particular, I used the command:

/sbin/ifconfig

On my system, the MAC address is shown on the line commencing with “wlan1” and after the string “Hwaddr”. The address is in the form: 40-16-7E-91-6F-75.

References:

How can I find out my WiFi adapter’s MAC address on Ubuntu Linux?
http://superuser.com/questions/239701/how-can-i-find-out-my-wifi-adapters-mac-address-on-ubuntu-linux

How to find your MAC address – Linux
https://www.dur.ac.uk/cis/lan/mac/linux/

Installing Linux on the Asus Transformer Book T100
http://linuxnorth.wordpress.com/2014/08/23/installing-linux-on-the-asus-transformer-book-t100/

Establishing Wi-Fi connectivity on the T100
http://linuxnorth.wordpress.com/2014/08/28/establishing-wi-fi-connectivity-on-the-t100/

Posted in Asus T100, Commands | Leave a comment

Installing 64-Bit Linux on the Asus Transformer Book T100

In a previous post (Installing Linux on the Asus Transformer Book T100) I provided details of how to install a specific 32-bit distro of Ubuntu Linux on the T100. Subsequently, many people have spent a lot of time improving the available software in order to get most of the T100’s hardware features (e.g. touch screen, battery monitor) to work. In particular, it is possible to install a 64-bit version of Ubuntu, with a 32-bit bootloader, on the T100. This includes the current release, Utopic Unicorn (Version 14.10), or even the development version of Vivid Vervet (Version 15.04). However, the steps required to do this are somewhat different than for the custom ISO, so this posting attempts to consolidate all the required instructions in a single place.

As before, a highly-recommended (almost required) step is to make a backup of the system that can be restored in the event of a meltdown when following the following guidelines. Steps 1 and 2 in the earlier posting provided details of how to make a disk image on the T100’s drive and how to update the system BIOS. Step 3 is also desirable in order to provide an area of unallocated disk space that can be used to create an Ubuntu partition on the T100.

We need to disable Secure Boot Support, and set the machine to boot from the USB drive (see Step 7 in the earlier post for details).

If (like me) you are one of the “lucky ones”, your T100’s SSD will produce a whole bunch of timeout errors during boot-up and installation. Patience is required. There is currently no distro that has a fix for this issue. However, once we get through the initial install, we can update the system with a kernel that has been patched to work around this problem. (See: Replacing the kernel)

Wi-Fi connectivity on the T100 is a problem under Linux. A workaround for the installation is to use a wireless USB adapter plugged into a USB hub. We can fix this issue once we have a working Linux system (see: Establishing Wi-Fi connectivity on the T100)

Finally, we will use Rufus (http://rufus.akeo.ie/) to create a bootable USB drive as the installation medium. The detailed instructions for this process are listed in Step 4 in the earlier posting. We will follow the same build procedure, but will use a different ISO file.

Assuming that all of the above are already in place, to install a 64-bit version of Ubuntu on the T100, do the following:

(1) Download a 64-bit Ubuntu distro. For example, use the “64-bit PC (AMD64) desktop image” link from:
Ubuntu 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn)   http://releases.ubuntu.com/14.10/ or
Ubuntu 15.04 (Vivid Vervet) Daily Build   http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/daily-live/current/

Use Rufus to create a bootable USB drive using the downloaded ISO file.

(2) Download the following additional file: Unpackit.tar.gz  Extract the boot and EFI folders from the archive file. Copy these to the bootable USB drive (I find it easier to delete the existing folders on the USB drive and then copy the extracted folders to the drive).

(3) Navigate to the casper folder on the USB drive and remove the .efi extension from the file vmlinuz.efi (otherwise, you will see a vmlinuz not found error).

(4) Boot the live-USB. The machine will boot into a grub menu. Select “Try Ubuntu without installing” and press Return.

(5) Establish a Wi-Fi connection by left-clicking on the network icon, selecting your wireless network, and entering the security password.

(6) Press Ctrl-Alt-T to launch a Terminal window and enter the following commands:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install grub-efi-ia32
sudo umount /dev/mmcblk0p*

(7) Navigate to System Settings – Brightness & Lock. Uncheck “Dim screen to save power” and set “Turn screen off when inactive” to “Never”. Select “All Settings” and “Power”. Set “Suspend when inactive for” to “Don’t suspend”.

(8) Double click on the desktop icon labelled “Install Ubuntu 14.10”. Install Ubuntu, using the “Something Else” in the disk partitioner and setting the unallocated space as the / (root) partition.

Make a note of the disk partition that has been used for root (e.g. on my system this was /dev/mmcblk0p5)

Don’t try to create a swap area as this will cause the installer to fail.

Leave the “Device for boot loader installation” set as the default value [something like “/dev/mmcblk0 MMC HCG8e (62.5 GB)”]

(9) The machine will reboot and display the dual-boot grub menu; however, do not try to boot into Linux just yet. Instead, press the letter “C” on the keyboard to enter grub’s command system. We now have to enter a few grub commands to set up the Ubuntu system for booting.

In the subsequent commands, “hd1” proved to be the correct hard drive designator for my system. If this is not the case, try a different number until grub is happy! The “gpt5” designation comes directly from the number of the hard disk partition where Ubuntu was installed (see Step 6 above).

At the grub> prompt, type:

linux (hd1,gpt5)/boot/vmlin

If the numerical designations were not correct, the same text that you typed will be repeated on a new grub command line. In this case, you would need to edit this line and try a different “hd#”.

If the hard drive designation was correct, grub will autofill the name of the vmlinuz file and you will have something like:

grub> linux (hd1,gpt5)/boot/vmlinuz-3.16.0-25-generic

Continue the same command by typing a space and then the following:

root=/dev/mmcblk0p5 video=VGA-1:1368x768e reboot=pci,force

Once again, in the above string, the “5” in “mmcblk0p5” is the number of the hard disk partition where Ubuntu was installed.

The command line now reads something like:

grub> linux (hd1,gpt5)/boot/vmlinuz-3.16.0-25-generic root=/dev/
mmcblk0p5 video=VGA-1:1368x768e reboot=pci,force

Press the Return key, the command will be executed, and a new grub prompt displayed.

On the new command line, type:

initrd (hd1,gpt5)/boot/initrd

Press Tab, and grub should once again complete the file name giving something like:

grub> initrd (hd1,gpt5)/boot/initrd.img-3.16.0-25-generic

Press Return once more. At the new grub command line, type boot and press Return.

(10) The machine will now boot to the Linux desktop. Press Ctrl-Alt-T to launch a Terminal window and enter the following commands:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install grub-efi-ia32

(11) Reboot the machine. The grub menu will be displayed with options for booting into either Ubuntu (as default) or Windows Boot Manager (which will load Windows 8.1). This time – finally! – you can select your operating system of choice.

References:

Installing Linux on the Asus Transformer Book T100
http://linuxnorth.wordpress.com/2014/08/23/installing-linux-on-the-asus-transformer-book-t100/

Replacing the kernel
http://linuxnorth.wordpress.com/2014/12/12/replacing-the-kernel/

Establishing Wi-Fi connectivity on the T100
http://linuxnorth.wordpress.com/2014/08/28/establishing-wi-fi-connectivity-on-the-t100/

Asus T100 Ubuntu
https://plus.google.com/communities/117853703024346186936

Backup, backup, backup…
http://linuxnorth.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/backup-backup-backup/

Updating the Asus T100’s BIOS
http://linuxnorth.wordpress.com/2014/08/17/updating-the-asus-t100s-bios/

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Correcting for DST with FreeFileSync

Synchronizing my dedicated data partition with my external USB backup drive has always been problematic when daylight saving time (DST) comes and goes. The problem is that – instantly – all the files on the external (FAT) drive appear to become one hour older (or younger) than the same files on the hard drive. Some versions of FreeFileSync have a fix for this issue. An alternative is to reset the time stamp on the files on the external drive.
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Restoring a Linux partition on the T100

Having been disappointed that Ubuntu Linux Version 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn) didn’t seem to provide any new support for the Asus Transformer T100 hybrid tablet, I decided to give Fedlet a try. This customized version of the Fedora distro is specifically aimed at computers with Bay Trail CPU’s, but with an emphasis on the Dell Venue 8 Pro (i.e. the developer’s machine).
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Unicorn remains a mythical creature

For those of you owning an Asus Transformer T100, who were anxiously anticipating that the newest release of Ubuntu Linux (Version 14.10, Utopic Unicorn) would boot effortlessly on this hybrid tablet, you can stop holding you breath – it won’t!
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Establishing Wi-Fi connectivity on the T100

Now that we have Ubuntu Linux installed on the T100, it’s time to move on and establish a Wi-Fi connection using the computer’s own wireless card rather than a plug-in USB wireless adapter.
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