Ubuntu 14.04 on Asus X200MA


I wanted to buy an Asus laptop 10 years ago, when I was a young engineer with a / c and without a / p in one research institute producing special-purpose products. According to legend, civilian radars.

In those days, the laptop was more a luxury than a means to solve everyday problems and even had a hint of status. Laptops were handed out to some bosses and especially valuable specialists who, tirelessly, honed hardware and software systems on permanent business trips.

It was then worth the pleasure of 20 thousand rubles, the lending boom was ahead, there was no talk of 0-0-0-24 programs, and you could only dream about a salary in Chervonets. In addition, then there was still a strong influence of the ideas of the “upgrade”, in the sense that you can buy a minimal set, and then add what you need. For example, vidyuhu more powerful or more hard drive. So I bought a regular "box" with a pot-bellied 15 "CRT monitor.

I wanted to have a laptop with ubuntu on board for the last 5 years since playing with 8.04-9.10 on my then-new computer (but also stationary). Around the same time, the netbook boom began and I already reserved in Eldorado a 10 "IEEE-share for the stock for 8 ty. But something then prevented, and then the young family and children absorbed all my time and money. Well, at some the moment turned out to be the classic “I have the opportunity, but I do not have the desire.” I

didn’t even dream of having a tablet with Ubuntu.

And just the other day there was a chain of random events that made me the happy owner of the 12 "Asus X200MA netbook, on which I put Ubuntu.

Flour of choice

In general, at work I have a 12 "Asus EEE1225C, which has proven itself as an auxiliary machine for working outside the main laboratory. Small size, weight about 1 kg, battery for 7-8 hours in office mode - ideal for" sewing typewriters ”(hardware programmer) or logger when debugging outside the native room. And you can even work on it if you wish, unlike 10" first wave postcards with obscene resolution of 1024x600. This option suited me all, except for the price of about 15 thousand rubles and the Atom processor, which poorly pulled the very necessary Minecraft application ... Well, at the moment they are no longer sold.

Recently, a colleague dragged “to see” the Asus X200CA with Core i3 and a touch screen. I held it in my hands, "and the old mustache" ... I decided to see how much it costs. The same tag. But the X200MA - without a touchscreen and with a simpler processor - already 11450. Below the psychological threshold. Moreover, it turned out that tablets with Win8.1 quite compete with previous generation netbooks in terms of parameters and current ones in price. Transformers Asus T100 and Acer Aspire Switch 10 seemed especially interesting. The main issue was the installation of Ubuntu, because Windows on a personal device disgusts religious beliefs. Actually, a fierce election campaign unfolded around this trinity.

I found out that Asus X200CA "Ubuntu certified for OEM", for some reason decided that MA too. I read on the Internet, it seems there are problems, but more / less solvable.

There were only questions about the T100 in terms of Ubuntu on the Internet, and I was very at risk of being among the pioneers with vague prospects, in addition to the risk of “bricking” the device. (There are such horror stories about UEFI / Secure boot). Well, Acer is also about the same. Plus I read negative reviews about acer and strange references to the self-breaking touch panel of the T100 transformer, which, coupled with a price of 16-18tyr, did not add enthusiasm.

As a result, under the influence of Friday's beer, he turned into the nearest DNS and decidedly bought a new pet - Asus X200MA with black FreeDOS instead of the OS.


The first day.
Fun with FreeDOS was enough for a few minutes, because, without even finding a hint of any commander a la NC, mc or vc, or finding a way to mount a USB flash drive, I decided to demolish this UH to the World Cup.

The next blow of fate awaited me when I tried to boot from a flash drive with the image of Ubuntu 14.04 i386. Grub had standard versions of Try Ubuntu and Install Ubuntu, but FreeDOS was loaded again when it was selected.

My personal specificity lies in the fact that the computer is at home in the children's room, and I carried out my fuss after the lights out, so I could only use what I had in advance. Naturally, I didn’t have a backup image of Ubuntu 64, which, as it turned out, was the only acceptable with the UEFI bootloader.

Second day.
I downloaded Ubuntu 14.04 amd64, made USB BootFlash.
Download, select "Try Ubuntu" ... And a black screen. He asked Google, read the forums, found that you need to change the Grub “quiet splash” settings to noacpi nomodeset, but it’s better to upgrade the BIOS to the latest version. Who would know how to change grub parameters ...

Day Three.
When loading, I accidentally noticed at the bottom of the screen “Press E to edit ...” Here it is!
I changed the necessary parameters, and it went. After a couple of minutes, I already drove the Wi-Fi name and password to feel like a full member of the Internet community.

The only side effect is the resolution of 800x600 instead of the native 1360x768. But it was already a small victory.

I climbed on asus.com, downloaded the latest firmware, placed it on a flash drive, tried to flash the BIOS from the BIOS service menu. As mentioned earlier, external media is not mounted and is not accessible. The time was already late, went to sleep.

Day four.
Once again, having "preloaded" grub, I launched a full installation. Before that, I studied a little materiel. It seems to be pretty simple. Instead of MBR, in the case of UEFI, a special 100 MB EFI partition with FAT32 formatting is created on the disk. Then everything is as usual - the swap partition, the root partition, and personally I always separate / home into a separate partition so as not to have problems when reinstalling / updating the system. At the end of the 500GB drive, 100GB remained, which I broke in FAT32 and called / dos. As it turned out, not in vain. On this section, I subsequently threw the BIOS firmware, which subsequently successfully flashed and fixed the initial problems with the download.

Here is the result:


Everything seems to be fine, and minecraft started up beautifully even with shaders, but I heard somewhere by the edge of my ear that you can install a proprietary Intel video driver to eliminate a small jamb in the form of a flickering pixel strip in the upper left corner. Since this strip is located at the very edge of the screen, it is almost invisible, and I probably would not have seen it. But, knowing about it in advance, of course, I saw it and decided to fix it.

Having looked at the magic script on the Internet, during the black magic session (in the terminal window) installed the intel i915 driver. If someone tells you a scary story about the need to rebuild the kernel to install the driver ... yes, it is. But this is not more complicated than a normal installation, because it happens in automatic mode.

Here is the same set of magic spells with which I stuck the Intel driver in my system:

$ mkdir ~/tmp
$ cd ~/tmp
$ sudo -E echo "deb https://download.01.org/gfx/ubuntu/14.04/main trusty main Intel Graphics drivers" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/intellinuxgraphics.list
$ wget --no-check-certificate https://download.01.org/gfx/RPM-GPG-KEY-ilg
$ wget --no-check-certificate https://download.01.org/gfx/RPM-GPG-KEY-ilg-2
$ sudo apt-key add RPM-GPG-KEY-ilg
$ sudo apt-key add RPM-GPG-KEY-ilg-2
$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install i915-3.15-3.13-dkms
$ sudo apt install intel-gpu-tools
$ sudo apt upgrade
$ sudo reboot
$ sudo apt purge xserver-xorg-video-intel

Unfortunately, something went wrong, and I started the slide show even on the desktop, but the artifacts disappeared.

But it turned out that everything has long been in its best form: https://01.org/linuxgraphics
As they say, "lean back in the chair while the system adjusts itself."

That’s all, it’s all, it remains to configure to your taste, put seals on my desktop (I have funny mushrooms), download the necessary applications and enjoy working in a convenient environment. Small spoons of tar - the function buttons for adjusting the brightness (do they really need?) And, according to rumors, the card reader do not work. But it itself is a bit crooked, and the card is securely hooked when removed for something. But these, again, are completely solvable issues.

Dry residue

So, not the fastest gas like me, a confident win / lin user and a bit of embedded programmer on duty, managed to turn a plain-looking device with a black Fridos screen (which no one noticed in the store) in a week into an ubuntetbook that was playing with paints and pleasant in every way.

To do this, I had to:
- Download the Ubuntu 14.04 amd64 image and upload it to boot-flash;
- At boot, change the grub settings to avoid a black screen;
- During the installation, split the disk into partitions, without forgetting about efi;
- On one of the FAT sections put the previously downloaded BIOS firmware, which you select and flash from the BIOS service menu at the next reboot;
- Install proprietary driver Intel Graphics.

And finally, some dry statistics
yuriy@Yuriy:~$ inxi -b
System:    Host: Yuriy Kernel: 3.13.0-36-generic x86_64 (64 bit) Desktop: Gnome Distro: Ubuntu 14.04 trusty
Machine:   System: ASUSTeK (portable) product: X200MA version: 1.0
           Mobo: ASUSTeK model: X200MA version: 1.0 Bios: American Megatrends version: X200MA.501 date: 07/09/2014
CPU:       Dual core Intel Celeron CPU N2815 (-MCP-) clocked at 532.00 MHz 
Graphics:  Card: Intel ValleyView Gen7 X.Org: 1.15.1 drivers: intel (unloaded: fbdev,vesa) Resolution: 1366x768@60.1hz 
           GLX Renderer: Mesa DRI Intel Bay Trail GLX Version: 3.0 Mesa 10.2.2
Network:   Card-1: Qualcomm Atheros AR9485 Wireless Network Adapter driver: ath9k 
           Card-2: Realtek RTL8101E/RTL8102E PCI Express Fast Ethernet controller driver: r8169 
Drives:    HDD Total Size: 500.1GB (1.0% used)
Info:      Processes: 171 Uptime: 18 min Memory: 580.6/3840.5MB Client: Shell (bash) inxi: 1.9.17

Thank you, good luck.

I’ll add more sources of inspiration. Suddenly, someone will find something useful for himself.

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