Install Lubuntu 15.10 on Asus x205ta-BING-FD0039BS

I was seeking for a lightweight and slick laptop to be my work-travel machine. Since all I need while traveling are coding, email and video/web browsing, I found that Asus x205ta suit my need. Even I found out from internet that ubuntu/lubuntu doesn’t yet, fully support x205ta at the time writing this article (well I should say, x205ta doesn’t fully support ubuntu) but after a few thoughts, less than 1.0kg of weight, super slick thin design and 12 hours battery life of x205ta won me.

Here is exactly how do I workout to install Lubuntu 15.10 on ASUS netbook X205TA-BING-FD0039BS model.

Overall processes

  1. Make factory backup for windows 8 and ASUS x205ta original boot system
  2. Burn bootable Ubuntu/Lubuntu usb flash drive
  3. create UEFI Boot folder to allow x205ta recognize grub
  4. Disable secure boot on BIOS
  5. Manually load kernel and boot Linux
  6. Get build-in WIFI working
  7. Upgrade Kernel to latest stable version
  8. Disable Bluetooth module
  9. Install additional keyboard layouts

Please note that you may need usb wifi adapter at the being of installation process because x205ta will not recognize build-in device straight away

1. Make factory backup for windows 8 and ASUS x205ta

asus-backtracker

You can use any favorite laptop image backup software. However, because we’re working on Asus netbook, I recommend to use “ASUS Backtracker” . This software works perfectly well, It is designed to recover even on harddisk replacement level.

2. Burn bootable Ubuntu/Lubuntu bootable usb flash drive

ubuntu-startup-disk-creator

I select lubuntu 15.10 32 bits version as I think it fit for x205ta 2GB resources. I use build-in Startup Disk Creator on Ubuntu to burn the image, you may use Rufus if you’re on Windows.

3. Create UEFI Boot folder on the burned usb bootable

This is an important step, as x205ta boot system will not recognize linux bootable usb by default. You need to create folder ‘/EFI/BOOT/’ (e.g. mkdir -p /EFI/BOOT) from usb root folder, download bootia32.efi and put it there.

efi-bootia32

4. Disable secure boot on BIOS

Plug your usb, restart laptop and hit F2 a few times when the machine is starting to enter BIOS setup. Under ‘Security’ tab, disabled ‘Secure Boot Control’.  Save and reboot again, now hit ‘ESC’ repeatedly while machine is starting to select the boot media then select “UEFI: USB FLASH DRIVE”. You should then, enter grub command line.

disable-secure-boot

5. Manually load kernel and boot Linux

First of all, you need to find out where usb is located. Then typing the following command.

  1. list to see all available device

    > ls

    (hd0) (hd0,msdos1) (hd1) (hd1,gpt4) ….

  2. navigate each device’s file system to locate our bootable usb flash drive
     > ls (hd0,msdos1)/

    .dis/ boot/ casper/ dists/ install/ efi/ pics/…..

    In my case, usb drive is located on (hd0, msdos1) as I recognize ‘efi’ folder that we just create recently.

  3. set usb drive as root, (hd0,msdos1) in my case
    > set root=(hd0,msdos1)
  4. Load kernel and boot
    > linux /casper/vmlinuz  file=/preseed/lubuntu.seed boot=casper iso-scan/filename=${iso_path} quiet splash --- 
    > initrd /casper/initrd.lz 
    > boot

Congrat! you are now should be on the try Lubuntu window on usb flash drive and see option to Install Lubuntu as usual. Install as your desire, I decided to replace the entire hard disk with Linux as I no longer need Windows for living.

6. Get build-in WIFI working

First of all, download Broadcom 43341 driver.

Then, extract the file and clone to appropriate folders:

> tar -xf bcm43341.tar.gz
> mkdir -p /lib/firmware/brcm
> cp fw_bcm43341.bin /lib/firmware/brcm/brcmfmac43340-sdio.bin
> cp /sys/firmware/efi/efivars/nvram-74b00bd9-805a-4d61-b51f-43268123d113 /lib/firmware/brcm/brcmfmac43340-sdio.txt
> cp /sys/firmware/efi/efivars/nvram-74b00bd9-805a-4d61-b51f-43268123d113 /lib/firmware/brcm/brcmfmac43340-sdio.txt

After reboot, you should be able to see wifi network without using external wifi modem device

7. Upgrade Kernel to latest stable version

At the time writing this article, 4.3.3 is the most stable one. What I notice from this update is that touchpad and wifi are more stable and also allow 2 fingers scroll on touchpad.

You can choose and download the Ubuntu latest Kernel here

For me, I’m using lubuntu 15.10 32bits version so below are the files I need

linux-headers-4.3.3-040303-generic_4.3.3-040303.201512150130_i386.deb
linux-headers-4.3.3-040303_4.3.3-040303.201512150130_all.deb
linux-image-4.3.3-040303-generic_4.3.3-040303.201512150130_i386.deb

Note that the file are in
linux-headers-xxx-generic-xxx_i386.deb
linux-headers-xxx-all.deb
linux-image-xxxx-generic-xxx_i386.deb
where xxx is your desired kernel version.

Once all those 3 files are in the same folder, run command:

> sudo dpkg -i linux-*.deb

Then, update grub

> sudo grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg

8. Disable Bluetooth module

At the moment, there is no solution to make bluetooth work yet and look like the module causing unstable WIFI. We then, need disable bluetooth module all together to make things better. If you facing ‘no network device detect’, this will be the solution

vim /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf

add a line to blacklist.conf anywhere you like

blacklist btsdio

Install additional keyboard layouts

Just a few further notes for myself, as I need to use Thai / US  and Chinese pinyin keyboards to do the document work.

By default, Lubuntu will not show keyboard layout status. We need to add this manually. Doing this by right click on the space of the bottom right panel and select ‘Add/Remove panel items’

Under ‘Panel Applets’, click ‘Add’ button on the right. Then, select ‘Keyboard layout Handler’

Add-keyboard-layout-to-lubuntu

Now, you the layout icon should appear on the right bottom of window, right click on it and select ‘Keyboard Layout Handler’ settings to customize as desire.

Install Google pinyin keyboard for Mandarin input

First open terminal and install google pinyin

sudo apt-get install fcitx-googlepinyin

Then config fcitx

im-config

Click OK, Yes and select fcitx and then OK.

Install-google-pinyin-on-lubuntu-15-10

After re-login, you should be able to switch to pinyin keyboard using ‘Ctrl + Space’ short key.

 

Get USB Sound card work

In order to get usb sound card work (not the build-in, no solution yet). We need to install pulseaudio using the following command.

sudo apt-get install pavucontrol

Finally, apologize if there are any mistake for the instruction on this post. Please let me know if there are anything needed to fix. Wish you’re somehow happy with Asus x205ta like I’m now 🙂

Fine tune touchpad

Enter autostart configuration file

vim ~/.config/lxsession/Lubuntu/autostart

Add the following and save, then restart to get 2 fingers scroll in horizontal and disable touchpad while typing

synclient HorizTwoFingerScroll=1 #Allow horizon 2 fingers score
syndaemon -i 1.5s -d -t -K #Disable touchpad while typing

Note -i = time delay before reactivate touchpad, -d = start, -t allow mouse movement only, -K exception for Ctrl and combination (e.g. can control + click)

Disable touchpad while typing

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