Avoiding timeout errors when installing Linux on the Asus Transformer Book T100

While a kernel patch for the mmcblk0rpmb timeout errors experienced on the T100’s solid state drive is available, the fix hasn’t yet made it into a Linux distro. Consequently, one has to suffer through the long delays produced by the timeouts while installing Linux, before being able to replace the kernel with a patched version that eliminates the timeouts in all future operations. At least, one had to do this before a temporary fix was suggested.

The Asus T100 Ubuntu Google+ Community is working hard to develop a stable, fully-functional version of Ubuntu Linux for the T100. Recently, Fajar Nugraha indicated a workaround for the timeout issue during the installation process. This involves pausing the installation using a break command, and manually removing the mmc_module, before letting the installation routine continue. The specific process is as follows:

(1) Build a bootable USB drive with the Linux installation distro as usual (see: Installing 64-Bit Linux on the Asus Transformer Book T100).

(2) Edit the file /boot/grub/grub.cfg and, in the menuentry section headed “Try Ubuntu without installing”, add break=premount to the linux kernel command line. The command line should then look something like:

linux /casper/vmlinuz file=/preseed/ubuntu.seed boot=casper
 video=VGA-1:1368x768e reboot=p,f -- break=premount

(3) Boot from the USB drive and select “Try Ubuntu without installing”. The display of commands being run will pause with BusyBox loaded and an (initramfs) prompt.

(4) Type the commands:

rmmod mmc_block
exit

(5) The installation process will now continue – without the delays caused by the timeout issue.

Note that a number of timeout errors are displayed as the live-distro boots initially, and a few are seen even after issuing the rmmod command. However, once Ubuntu loads, the actual installation process runs without the long delays previously seen and, in particular, the disk partitioner screen loads much faster – so, I think the work-around does actually work.

Recent activity in the Asus T100 Ubuntu Google+ group indicates that patches for the timeout issue (and other problems) are making their way into the mainstream kernel. So, perhaps at some point in the not-too-distant future, owners of the T100 will be able to install Linux in the normal manner – i.e. without all these weird and wonderful workarounds!

References:

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

RPMB eMMC errors under Linux
https://dev-nell.com/rpmb-emmc-errors-under-linux.html

Installing 64-Bit Linux on the Asus Transformer Book T100 https://linuxnorth.wordpress.com/2014/12/11/installing-64-bit-linux-on-the-asus-transformer-book-t100/

InitramfsDebug
https://wiki.debian.org/InitramfsDebug

DebuggingKernelBoot
https://wiki.ubuntu.com/DebuggingKernelBoot

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