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#1 2015-06-23 12:45:26

Wintershade
Member
From: Croatia
Registered: 2008-02-18
Posts: 175
Website

Acer Aspire Switch 10E - unable to get Arch working

Hello everyone,

I have recently bought an Acer Aspire Switch 10E to do my terrain work, and would love to be able to run Linux on it. I'm running into one problem after another though (most likely because some things aren't officially supported yet, but I was wondering if anyone had any similar experiences who might be able to help me out. To cut the long story short, from my own experience, I'm sure Linux can run on this.

In any case, the machine features a quad-core Intel Atom CPU (which should work AFAIK), with Intel HD graphics (which should also work flawlessly AFAIK). It also features a Realtek RTL8273BS WiFi network card (haven't got to trying it out, but my guesstimate is that it requires some proprietary firmware, since it didn't work on Ubuntu live). It has a 1280x800 touchscreen (which worked flawlessly on Ubuntu live), and a dockable keyboard (now that one boggles me). This is just a quick "tldr" version of what the machine is supposed to be. It's basically a 64-bit x86-compatibile tablet PC with a dockable keyboard and which shipped with Windows 8.1.

Okay, so first things first. The Acer Aspire Switch 10E has a 32-bit UEFI, and there is no possible way of booting an OS (live or otherwise, Linux or otherwise) which only has a 64-bit EFI image. There is no legacy BIOS on the motherboard, so (to whom it may concern), don't even bother with online tutorials that tell you to switch to legacy BIOS, as there is no way to enable it. On the other hand, a valid 32-bit EFI image will boot, even in Secure Mode, so don't bother disabling that either. In other words, there is absolutely no need to change anything in the UEFI setup in order to boot Linux, apart from adding your 32-bit EFI image to a trusted list.

Thus, in order to boot any live Linux media, it is (TTBOMK) required to either generate a working 32-bit EFI image, or use an existing one. It took me a while to figure that out, on top of the time to figure out how to generate my own 32-bit EFI image, without breaking something. Bear with me here - this is the first machine I ever owned that features an UEFI, let alone an UEFI without legacy BIOS.

Here is the stuff I found, which I was able to use to get to this point:
UEFI GPT Arch Linux USB (bootx64.efi and bootia32.efi) - Taylorbyte.com
Acer Aspire Switch 10 can't boot 14.04 LTS - Ubuntu Forums


From Ubuntu forums, I learned about this and this, both of which have bootable 32-bit EFI images, which work on Ubuntu live. Those, however, did not work with Arch Linux, for some reason, so I generated my own EFI images from the tutorial found on Taylorbyte.com. Not absolutely sure if I did it right however, since the tutorial seemed a bit dated, but it did get me into the basics I needed.

So, I now have a bootable USB drive with Arch Linux installed on it, with both 32-bit and 64-bit EFI images. My Acer Aspire 10E recognises the 32-bit EFI image and boots into GRUB loader from it, which asks me whether to boot into Arch Linux or Arch Linux Fallback. At this point, my keyboard still works, and I can choose either.

However, as soon as I choose Arch Linux to boot, it complains about being unable to boot from "UUID=<my USB's UUID>", and drops me into a boot console. The cursor blinks, but the keyboard input is not recognised at all.

I have recompiled the kernel for my live Arch USB (via makepkg -o and makepkg -e) as stated on the Ubuntu forums (setting HID_MAX_USAGE = 65536 in a certain header file in the kernel sources), but it didn't do much. The kernel still compiles, so I guess that's a plus.

Without keyboard, I am unable to install Arch on this machine, and I'm currently stuck with this error, which I'm not sure what to make of. I have never stated any UUID's while configuring my Arch live USB, so I suppose something is detecting it automatically, thus preventing Arch from booting (no idea what it could be, though).



So to conclude, I need help with booting Arch live USB on this machine, as well as getting keyboard to work. I have read here and there some people had some success with either Arch, Fedora or Ubuntu, and I've seen (32-bit) Debian 8.1 installer boot normally - without keyboard or wifi, though.


Any help regarding this would be very much appreciated.

Last edited by Wintershade (2016-05-01 23:22:36)


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#2 2015-11-12 19:01:39

Awebb
Member
Registered: 2010-05-06
Posts: 5,853

Re: Acer Aspire Switch 10E - unable to get Arch working

Sorry to dig out this "old" thread, but I also bought a Switch 10E. As far as I can tell, the micro USB port is USB OTG capable, so you could attach an external keyboard with an adapter.

I'll write more once I put my hand on Linux on that box. A 32bit only UEFI would be a bummer.

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#3 2015-12-07 08:26:22

Awebb
Member
Registered: 2010-05-06
Posts: 5,853

Re: Acer Aspire Switch 10E - unable to get Arch working

Some new insights: This text describes how to install refind from Windows. I have not tried this, but I'd bet we can use this to load the 32 bit kernel from the arch install medium one way or the other. I shall return with results.

http://www.rodsbooks.com/refind/installing.html#windows

UPDATE:

The described method works, editing the EFI entries from within Windows 10, however, does not. Do the following steps:

1. Boot to the UEFI settings, either from within Windows by holding shift while clicking reboot and then navigating through the menu or by turning off fast boot and hitting either Del or F2 (I always hit them both on all computers, so I don't know which one).
2. Make sure Secure boot is turned on (!).
3. Go to the security settings and add the refind efi file on the ESP as a trusted EFI executable. It will ask you [YES][NO], but there will also be a white text field. It almost cost me my sanity to find out, that the name of the boot entry goes there.
4. Safe and quit to reboot.
5. Mash F12 like there was no tomorrow to enter the boot menu.
5.1 You should be able to boot into rEFInd at this point.
6. Return to the UEFI settings "BIOS" and arrange the boot order to your liking. You can now turn off secure boot or leave it on.

That's it for today, I'll return once I did more.

Last edited by Awebb (2015-12-07 14:20:37)

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#4 2015-12-16 12:19:35

Lockheed
Member
Registered: 2010-03-16
Posts: 1,473

Re: Acer Aspire Switch 10E - unable to get Arch working

I'm going to follow this thread as I have this machine too, and using it with Windows 8/10 is rubbish.
So just to let you know - there are people who are interested in what you achieve with it.


Laptop: ThinkPad T420s, i7/i5, 16GB RAM, 1080p IPS mod, Arch | HTPC/Server/fw: Zotac AQ01, A4-5000 Kabini, 8GB, Arch/lxd NethServer

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#5 2016-05-01 23:22:00

Wintershade
Member
From: Croatia
Registered: 2008-02-18
Posts: 175
Website

Re: Acer Aspire Switch 10E - unable to get Arch working

Hey guys! I have a small update.


I managed to boot Arch Linux official ISO with some help from instructions here.


Booting it up went more or less smoothly, as did the installation. At the moment (probably thanks to the current kernel), the keyboard, touchpad (clickpad) and touchscreen work fine. I even managed to install XFCE and get into a graphical user interface. Yay smile

However, there are more problems now. I cannot get WiFi to work (Realtek RTL8723bs - I tried installing DKMS driver from here, but it doesn't load), sound doesn't work at all (again, a RealTek chipset), and the screen backlight is always at maximum. This is all I noticed so far.

The worst problem, however is as follows. After a few minutes (sometimes seconds) of uptime, I get the following error in my tty (or in dmesg):

NMI watchdog: Watchdog detected hard LOCKUP on cpu 3
[<ffffffff8116aa0>] watchdog_overflow_callback+0xe0/0xf0
NMI watchdog: Watchdog detected hard LOCKUP on cpu 2
[<ffffffff8116aa0>] watchdog_overflow_callback+0xe0/0xf0
NMI watchdog: Watchdog detected hard LOCKUP on cpu 1
[<ffffffff8116aa0>] watchdog_overflow_callback+0xe0/0xf0
NMI watchdog: Watchdog detected hard LOCKUP on cpu 0
[<ffffffff8116aa0>] watchdog_overflow_callback+0xe0/0xf0

I have never seen such a message/error before, and I have no idea what it means. What I do know, is that this keeps repeating multiple times, and my system is slowed pretty much down to a crawl. Disabling watchdog (e.g. typing "echo 0 > /proc/sys/kernel/watchdog") doesn't help, so I don't suppose the problem is in the kernel's watchdog.


If anyone has any more ideas about what to do next, I'd be very grateful.


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