Install Linux Mint 18.3 on Asus T100TA

I have been working for a couple of years off and on trying to get my ASUS T100TA 10″ tablet working with something other than Windows. With the introduction of Windows 10 and all its updates, the tablet became useless. I could not even boot into Windows because of various video errors. Each fix failed and only made me more frustrated.

I have tried to install Linux on it before, but have had no success. That is, until today. Here is a combination of the instructions from http://www.jfwhome.com/2016/01/04/latest-steps-to-install-ubuntu-on-the-asus-t100ta/ and my own experiences. Your mileage may vary.

Current status (updated 12/22/2017)

  • Graphics: Working with accelerated (3D) graphics 8/10
  • Wifi: Working well with stock Linux Mint with a couple of commands 10/10
  • Touchscreen: Working out of the box (no multi-touch though) 10/10
  • Sound: Working, minor configuration needed 9/10
  • SD card reader: Working out of the box 10/10
  • Battery monitoring: Working out of the box 10/10
  • Tablet keys (Volume up/down etc): Working out of the box 10/10
  • Power management (Suspend/resume): Not yet working reliably — following suspend, tablet keeps suspending. Shutdown/restart works fine though. 5/10
  • Orientation sensor: Not functional 0/10
  • Backlight & ambient light sensor: Able to manually adjust, but auto light sensor does not work. 5/10
  • Touchpad: Working, no multi-touch yet 8/10
  • Camera: Not yet working, but similar mt9m114 driver exists, playing to get it to recognize correct i2c ID 2/10
  • Bluetooth: Works out of the box. 10/10

1. First steps: Preparing for the Linux Mint Install

Prepare a bootable USB stick, I used Linux Mint 18.3 Cinnamon i386 version. The XFCE version would have actually been better. Cinnamon crashes at first and runs in fallback mode.

Prepare the stick any way you like, but when done, create an EFI directory and inside it create a Boot directory. Place this bootloader (named bootia32.efi) inside the /EFI/Boot/ directory. This bootloader was compiled from source using the latest Grub2. If you don’t trust random downloaded files from the Internet (and you shouldn’t), you can find the instructions for building it yourself here.

2. Booting the Live Image

As before, ensure SecureBoot is disabled and boot to the USB stick. This requires that you push the down volume button while pushing the power button. Hold them down until a blue box appears that list the USB thumbdrive as a boot option. Once the Grub menu pops up, select the Linux Mint 18.3 Live. Let it boot into the live install. (Cinnamon crashes, but works in fallback mode.)

3. The Linux Mint installer

In the installer, the partitioning scheme you choose is up to you — but letting Linux Mint install to the whole drive and make its own partitions worked fine. LVM makes things very difficult if you need to reinstall or if you want to install a different Linux version. I strongly suggest that you do not use LVM.

The installer might fail when installing the bootloader. That doesn’t matter — even if it didn’t fail, it wouldn’t work.

When the installer completes, reboot, leaving the USB stick in.

4. First boot

Linux Mint won’t boot yet. We’ll need to install the bootloader properly. So we’ll have to manually bootstrap Mint the first time.

Boot back to the Grub welcome screen on the USB stick. Hit ‘c’ to drop to a Grub command line.

You’ll need to provide Grub with the path to your kernel and initrd to boot. These are both in your /boot directory. First, the path to the kernel:

linux (hd1,gpt3)/boot/vmlinuz-4.10.0-38-generic root=/dev/mmcblk1p2

Here, (hd1, gpt3) refers to the third partition on the first disk (Partition numbering begins at 1 and disk numbering begins at 0). This will vary depending on how you installed and your T100 model. On my 32GB model, Grub assigns the USB stick as hd0 and the main internal flash as hd1. gpt3 is the third partition, but it will depend on how you installed (specifically, where /boot is). This is how Linux Mint does it if you let it auto assign the partition.

Fortunately, grub has good auto-completion features, so you can hit tab as you type, and grub will list possible completions for you — just keep trying until you see the various vmlinuz kernels.

The root=/dev/mmcblk1p2 will also depend on the partition you installed to. It will be your root partition. Unfortunately this can’t be auto-completed, so if you can’t remember your partition setup, you’ll need to try by trial and error. Only the number after the ‘p’ will change — and it will probably be p1, p2 or p3.

To complete the line, press Enter.

Then you need to specify the location of your initrd. This is easy, it’s in the same place as the kernel:

initrd (hd1,gpt3)/boot/initrd.img-4.10.0-38-generic

Then Enter.

Then boot with:

boot

With luck after hitting Enter, you’ll boot through to Mint. If it boots but you get dropped to a Busybox prompt, you got everything correct apart from the root location. Don’t be disheartened — keep trying.

5. Enabling wifi

To get further, we’ll need wifi. This is much, much easier than before — the driver is included with stock Mint. We just need to copy across an nvram file from our firmware to the driver firmware, so open a terminal and type (replace XXXXXX with the real name — just press tab to autocomplete):

sudo

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

Then reload the brcmfmac driver:

sudo modprobe -r brcmfmac
sudo modprobe brcmfmac

And your wifi should come up.

6. Completing the installation

Time to fix the bootloader. To do this, we can just install grub-efi-ia32:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install grub-efi-ia32

We need to add a line to the kernel boot options to prevent disk corruption.
Edit the grub configuration file:

sudo nano /etc/default/grub

Find the line starting GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT and add intel_idle.max_cstate=0 before “quiet splash”.

Then ctrl-o, ctrl-x to save & exit, and type:
sudo update-grub to update Grub.

Remove the USB stick and reboot, and you should now have a self-sufficient booting system.

7. Sound (Have not tried this yet)

I killed my speakers playing with early sound drivers (fortunately I replaced them with speakers that came along when I had to replace a broken touch screen). Things are much better now though.

The driver is already loaded and working in stock Mint, we just need to load an Alsa state file:

Grab the file here, and copy it to /var/lib/alsa/asound.state .

Load the state file into alsa with:
sudo alsactl restore.

Sound should start working.

8. Upgrading to a newer kernel

I upgraded my kernel using the System Upgrade program. I did not follow the following and so I have no backlight support. You might want to try this step.

To get backlight, hotkeys, tablet keys, etc working, we’ll need a newer, patched kernel. I haven’t played too much with the latest kernels yet, but there seem to be a few regressions. I found the this, compiled kernel to be the best available.

(The usual warnings apply about trusting stuff other people have compiled).

Download the amd64 linux-image, linux-firmware and linux-headers files, and install them one by one using:

sudo dpkg-i linux-xxxxx

… and reboot when done.

9. On Screen Keyboard

I launched Synaptic and found Onboard. Once it is installed, you can set it up in the Sessions and Startup preference menu to start everytime you restart. It works ok for onscreen keyboard. It can be customized with various themes and types of keyboard. It can also be set to only appear when you need to type something.

There is another version called Florence. It is not as pretty, but is functional. It takes some configuration to make it work anywhere near the normal onscreen keyboard tablets use.

9. Other scripts

Still working on this.

And that’s it… by this point, you should have a fairly workable installation, provided you avoid using suspend and hibernation, and don’t need to use the webcam.

All we need is love

I feel compelled to write again and this time to share a secret about life with you. You may already know this secret. In fact, it may not come as a surprise at all!

Love. Love is all we have. In our daily interactions, we have nothing but love. We can have all the money in the world, but it will not bring us happiness. We may have every new electronic gadget or a new car every other day, but it too will not bring us happiness. Oh, you might be happy for a little while. But when it is all said and done, that happiness fades.

And yes, people walk in and out of our lives everyday. Some through the process of returning to whence they came and others out of various and sundry reasons. Regardless of why, when we love them, the loss may hurt for a while, but ultimately we are better people for knowing them and loving them. Even those who hurt us and try to damage us. We are better for loving them because we have shown that we are strong enough to love through the pain. It also shows that we will not be damaged by their behavior, but rather we will follow the Christ and his message of love.

Love cost us nothing. When we love others, we share a piece of ourselves with them. In return, we receive a piece of them. We do not diminish by loving others, rather we grow and expand. We become better people, better Christians by loving others.

I want to say to all my readers, friends, family and anyone else who wanders upon this post: If I have ever hurt you, I am very sorry. If I have ever ignored you or failed to help you in time of need, I am very sorry. If I have failed to show you the love of Christ, SHAME ON ME and I am very sorry. I pray that someday I may make it up to you and to show you the love of Christ, the care and concern you need and to be there for you.

Because all I have in this world to give and all I ever want to share with anyone, is love.

A fat suit and the reality of obesity

I just watched a video in which Dr. Oz spent some time in a 400 lbs fat suit. He spoke about the shame and depression he felt because of the way people around him treated him. As if that was not bad enough, one only needs to look to the comments on the video to see something to be depressed about.

Before I go any further and for the cause of full disclosure, I am 410 lbs. I have been heavy all my life and come from a long line of heavy people. If there was ever a case for obesity being genetic, one would only need to look at my family tree to find proof.

I read the comments to the video and like most comments now days about most anything, you would expect to find good and bad comments. However, the greatest majority of the comments were bad comments. Take for example this comment:

What do you expect??? Having obesity in my family I do not believe it is a disease nor a disorder of the glands as they used to put it. It is laziness and indulgence just as if you decided not to wash every day.
Feel sorry for them ??? nope! In traveling globally I soon realized there are very few obese people in other parts of the world.
Get off your backside and sweat. Use some restraint.
It was published recently that some “doctor” had a “study” that found even pedophiles had a disease!!! If they want to go that far in the justification of indulgences we are doomed as civilized people.

It is bad enough that this person justifies their rant against fat people by saying it is ok because they have fat relatives, but then to equate those who are fat and believe genetics play a factor to pedophiles, that is cruel. As someone who has battled obesity all my life, I can tell you that some people cannot lose weight. Oh yeah, I can get down to about 350 lbs, but much past that has never been possible. I could have surgery and lose weight, but who wants to go through all that pain and trauma to be skinny?

Or what about this comment:

If you walk around with a feedbag strapped to your fat face and can’t stay away from the All You Can Eat Buffet, then you might be a fat assed pig!

This is the catch-all answer to obesity: You must be fat because all you ever do is eat. Have you seen me eat? No. Then shut up. You can ask anyone who knows me, I eat the same amount as my skinny friends and sometimes less! I eat 3 or less meals a day and eat very little sweets (mostly because of my diabetes, although I have indulged in more sweets lately because I gave up). So what is your “professional” opinion on why I am fat? That question leads us to the next comment:

I never dealt with heavy people till about 6 months ago; it is hard to understand how they can let themselves get that way.

Yes, of course. I get it now. I let myself become a gross, fat, disabled, sickly blob because I had nothing better to do with my life. You caught me! Now I rest easy now that my secret is out!

Do you really think I would have “let” myself get to this point if I could have stopped it? Do you think I like getting out of breath walking in the store? Do you think I like being in pain everyday? Do you think I want to have diabetes or heart disease? Do you think I like watching my son grow up from the sidelines? And yet, no matter what I try, no matter how much I diet or exercise, I still stay fat.

The most disgusting obese thing I ever saw was in a Publix in Jax. Fl. . A family of 4, with 2 10-12 yr. old kids, that I refer to as the Goodyear family.

Mom and Dad each easily topped 400 lbs. , and each kid was near the 200 range. They were pushing 3 carts down the frozen food aisle, loaded with nothing but pastries and frozen foods.

That store had at least 10 foot wide aisles in that section, and they completely blocked it.

To let your children get that obese should warrant charges of child abuse.

That was around 15 years ago, and I’m sure they’re all dead by now.

Now we should arrest fat people who have fat children. Brilliant! Maybe we could save everyone the trial and just send them to the gas chamber or firing squad and be done with it. As one of those heavy children, I can tell you that they knew this person was judging them when they looked at them. I am sure that it helped motivate them to lose weight. Again, as a child who was fat, I can tell you that those stares and judgmental looks only made me depressed and self-conscience. It did nothing to help me lose weight. It did nothing to solve the “problem”. If anything, it made my life worse, not better.

I won’t bore you with anymore comments. You get the idea. Being fat is one of the last human conditions that society is ok being prejudice against. We charge overweight people more to fly. We charge them more at some theaters. We limit the trips they can make to the buffet (even though I do good to make 2 trips to the buffet, I have had a buffet owner tell me I could not go to the buffet more than 3 times or he would charge me a second buffet price). We make their clothing cost 3 sometimes 4 times that of other people’s clothing. We make them feel bad on TV, in public, on the radio, and even online. Ads constantly are thrust on us demanding that we lose weight or die.

Oh, and one more thing, the jokes! Oh the wonderful jokes whispered to friends about my weight. Or even the jokes to my face (mostly by strangers as I know my friends do it because I am cool with it) about my weight. They make me feel so wonderful! They make me want to run out and lose weight instantly! Except that they don’t. They make me want to crawl under a rock or step in front of an east bound bus.

And lastly, the friends who offer their advice and health tips on how to lose weight when they are a 150 lbs soaking wet. They really make me feel wonderful. If I want your advice on how to lose weight (something you have never had to do), I will ask you. Otherwise, leave me alone.

And they wonder why most obese people are depressed…

(And to the 2 friends I will have after everyone reads this, I appreciate you standing with me.)

Thanksgiving Admonishment

Thanksgiving is upon us again. It is a time to reflect on the past year and to celebrate the things we are thankful for with friends and family.

Many people will sit down today to eat Turkey with all the trimmings. Others will meet with friends and family at local restaurants to toast all the things they are thankful for.

And then there will be those who will have no dinner. They will have no friends or family to celebrate with. Their own thing to be thankful for it that they are alive.

We have grown so accustom in America to living lives of plenty that we tend to forget, or willfully ignore, those who have nothing. We pass them on the streets and we look the other way. We have even grown so callus that we teach our children not to make eye contact with these poor souls.

And yet many of these people yearn to be noticed. They yearn to have someone who is willing to spend a few minutes and few dollars to help them find something to eat. They should be treated like human beings again, instead of burdens and outcasts.

This week Pope Francis released an Apostolic Letter decrying the fact that many ignore the poor and helpless. He said that he wanted to see a church willing to get into the trenches and help the poor rather than remaining the clean, whitewashed churches (tombs) they have become. I say to Pope Francis, “Put your money where your mouth is!”

Pope Francis has the power and authority to order the vast stores of the Vatican opened to help those helpless and poor. That would mean more than all the Apostolic Letters in the world. And it is time for him to act, rather than talk. Give those people who need it most something to be thankful for this season.

To all my brothers and sisters in the ISM, take a few moments to reach out to those who need it most. Help that person on the street to get a hot meal. Take a moment to give them an understanding ear. Be Christ to them.

Together, we can make the world a much better and more joyful place if only we make the effort.

God Bless.

Boston: A lesson in restraint

It has been a very long week and many of us in the religious world are exhausted. I, for one, have slept very little since the week started. Many prayers have been offered and many statements made about the events of this week.

And tonight, this saga is finally over. One suspect in the bombing of the Boston Marathon is dead and the other is in custody. Many people have already drawn their conclusions concerning these individuals. In the court of public opinion has already tried, convicted and sentenced them to death.

But that cannot be our response. We are a nation of laws. Many of us are people of faith. Regardless of which faith you are, almost all faiths teach its followers to show compassion on those who do us wrong. We must wait for all the facts. We must wait for the laws of the land to do their jobs. And in all of this, we must be very careful not to assume facts that are not in evidence.

One such case of this is the case of Muslims in New York and Boston who have been physically assaulted because of the assumption that they must be terrorist simply because they are Muslim. This is not right. It is not the way Christ would have us act. How would you like to be held accountable for Westboro Baptist Church’s hate speech? Or how would you like to be assaulted because of  Eric Robert Rudolph’s bombing of abortion clinics? These people claim to be Christians and since they have done these acts doesn’t that mean all Christians are just like them?

Of course not! And the same is true of these radicals. They do not represent all of Islam nor do they represent all immigrants. As such, people should refrain from such generalizations and such radical vigilantism that has led to innocent people being attacked.