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*
[Note, in the above, “…0p*” is zero-p, not the letter “o”.]
(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:
Press Tab. 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:
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.
Installing Linux on the Asus Transformer Book T100
Replacing the kernel
Establishing Wi-Fi connectivity on the T100
Asus T100 Ubuntu
Backup, backup, backup…
Updating the Asus T100’s BIOS