Linux on an Acer tablet PC

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The Acer One S1002 running Windows 8

I managed to get Linux Mint running on the Acer One S1002 tablet PC. Pretty much everything is working flawlessly, other than the camera and light sensor. In this tutorial I will show you how to dual-boot Linux Mint with WIndows on any Acer tablet PC.

But how?

You will need:

  • An Acer convertible tablet PC with the keyboard attached (obviously)
  • A USB drive with at least 2 gigabytes
  • UnetBootIn
  • The 64-bit Linux Mint image
  • The Debian multiarch netinst image.

This computer comes with a 32-bit UEFI and a 64-bit Intel Atom CPU. To get Linux working, you will need to do a bit of tweaking.

You can do the following steps on the tablet PC or on another computer.

First, you will need to format the USB drive with fat32 and then use UnetBootIn to flash the Linux Mint image to the USB drive. Make sure to select the right one.

WARNING: This will erase all data on the USB drive.

Then, you will have to open the Debian image and copy the EFI and boot folders on to the USB drive. When it asks if you want to replace files that already exist, click “Skip All”. Now the USB drive will contain the 32-bit EFI bootloader. At this point you may delete the Linux images.

Next, you will have to use the tablet PC. Disable fast boot on Windows. You can do this by going into control panel, finding Power Options, clicking “Change what the power buttons do”, clicking “Change settings that are locked”, and unchecking Fast Boot toward the bottom of the window.

After, you will have to free some space for Linux. I recommend to free at least 10 GB, preferably 14 GB. You can use a tool like MiniTool Partition Wizard to resize the Windows partition. Reboot the computer and shut it down again once the partition is finished resizing.

Then, you will have to disable Secure Boot in the BIOS. To do this, power on the computer and press F2 when you see the acer logo. Press the right arrow to go to the boot menu, and go down to the secure boot menu. Press enter twice and select “disabled”. Then, press escape to exit the secure boot menu and press the right arrow again to go to the save screen. Select “Save changes and reboot”.

Now, you are ready to install Linux. Plug the USB drive into the USB port on the side of the keyboard. Now, turn it on and press F12 when the Acer logo appears. There should be an option to boot from the USB drive. If not, select Windows and do a full shutdown once Windows boots. Then try again. If it’s still not showing up, make sure the USB drive is firmly connected and that the tablet part is securely attached to the keyboard.

When you get the GRUB menu to show up, select the first option to boot the live system. Once it’s booted, you will notice that a couple things aren’t working, including the speakers and brightness control, don’t worry because we will fix this. Make sure the battery is charged to at least 60% before the installation.

Perform the installation like normal, making sure to not unplug the USB drive or disconnect the keyboard. Connect to WiFi. When it asks how you want to install Linux Mint to the disk, choose “Something Else”. In the partition manager, create a new partition in the unallocated space, and designate it as an EXT4 filesystem. Set it to mount as “/”. Don’t create a swap partition as this computer has an eMMC drive and doing so will shorten its life. Select the EFI partition and make sure it’s designated as a “System EFI partition”. Click “finish” and click “proceed” if it asks if you’re sure you don’t want a swap partition. Proceed with the rest of the installation.

Once the installation is complete, you may remove the USB drive. Reboot the computer and press F12 again. This time, there will be an option for “ubuntu”. Select it. Once the system is booted and you’re logged in, connect to WiFi. Install Ukuu and use it to update the kernel. Before you reboot, install the alsa UCM files with this script. You may also install touchegg. You can optionally install the display rotation script as well by copying it on the computer and adding it with the arguments “auto-nodaemon” as a startup program under “Session and Startup”.

Finally, when you reboot into Linux again, you will find that sound, display brightness, bluetooth, rotation, and touch guestures are now working. The installation is now complete and you’re free to do whatever you want with your tablet PC.


Conclusion

Whew! That was a lot of steps! At this point, the only things still not working are the cameras and ambient light sensor. The camera should be a mt9m114 imaging device. There are experimental drivers for these on GitHub, however I couldn’t get them to compile successfully. So for now, you have to boot Windows to use the cameras or use a USB webcam. I hope this guide helped someone! Please comment your results.

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