Home > Android, Asus Transformer > Dual Booting Android and Linux on Asus Transformer Part Two

Dual Booting Android and Linux on Asus Transformer Part Two

Linux Dual Booted on Asus Tranformer

LXDE Desktop on Ubuntu 11.10 on Asus Transformer

A few months ago I wrote a post detailing how to dual boot Android 2.3 and Ubuntu 11.04on the Asus Transformer TF101 tablet. This has become by far the most popular content on this blog. However, development has moved on and the process is now much, much easier than previously.

I am not going to go through all the steps required again, which may make this a short update. Basically, go to the Wiki page and follow the very good instructions there.

I did not care very much about the data already on my Android tablet, so I ignored the Backup sections, skipping straight down to “Installing Ubuntu.” Well, I did take the time to read the earlier sections very carefully, and one thing to note is that the described method is designed to be completed from a computer running Linux. Apparently it is possible with Windows too, the Wiki has a very short section on this, but if you want to run Linux on the Transformer, it is assumed you already have a machine with this operating system available. If you don’t, it may be best to create a bootable USB stick with Linux on it.

The new version of this process is as simple as downloading one 850MB file, extracting it, connecting your Transformer, running a script from the command line and following the presented instructions. The total time taken to have a dual bootable device ready for use depends on your available bandwidth for the download, but I was finished within an hour late one evening.

Despite what the Wiki intimates, I didn’t bother with building a custom kernel to activate the mousepad, this all seemed to work correctly using the OLiFE Prime download.

In terms of performance, I found Ubuntu 11.10, with the new Unity interface to be a bit slow and unresponsive at times. Instead, I installed the Lightweight Desktop Environment (LXDE). After making a few changes to the default apperances and theme, I now have a very nice looking Linux installation which performs admirable when compared with my three year old Asus eeePC netbook.

All default installed Ubuntu applications are available from the menu, and I am writing this within Firefox running in Linux on the Transformer. I have not yet tried all functions – webcam, mini-HDMI port, keyboard shortcuts etc – but I am assuming some will work, some won’t. The key thing to remember is that the Asus Transformer has an ARM processor and Linux development for this is still in its infancy.

Overall, this new process is a tremendous improvement over the old method. Steve Barker and associated developers have done a great job in making this whole thing much more accessible. And development hasn’t stopped yet! I wonder what the new Asus Transformer Prime, recently announced, will bring to the table.

  1. Tushar Kumar
    November 25, 2011 at 09:08

    Good post

  2. Strategos
    November 25, 2011 at 15:41

    well I’m gonna check the new method of dual boot with my EEE/3G Transformer.


    PS. That’s interesting if 3G modem will work.

    • November 25, 2011 at 16:27

      I can confirm that a 3G dongle does indeed work from within Linux, when using the dual boot method. I have an Huawei E180. Regular wireless connections also work through Network Manager without problems. This is particularly handy if you want to tether with your Android phone.

      I can also confirm that the 3G dongle works from within Android, using Prime 2.1.1 and an app called 3GToggler. I’ve outlined details of this in a previous blog post, but more information can be found on the XDA Developers forum.


  3. Daniel
    November 30, 2011 at 04:46

    Is this transformer-only or can be applyed somehow to other android devices? In my case an optimus 2x, which have the exact same hardware as the transformer except for the 1gb ram.

    • November 30, 2011 at 13:55

      Sorry, I honestly don’t know. I only have a Transformer, so can’t comment on the Optimus. You could try it though and let us all know if it is a success!

  4. December 4, 2011 at 04:27

    Very nice writeup on using ubuntu on the transformer, as you stated, some things work, some don’t, the Function keys do not on the keyboard and nor does the lock/delete key, but most shortcuts not requiring those keys will work just fine, the mini-HDMI and cameras do not work.

    To the person above asking about the 3G Transformer, we do not have the secure boot key for those devices at this time, once we do it shouldn’t bee too much of a pain to get it working, with the 3G modem, unlike other devices the 3G modem is a PCI-e/usb accessory so booting will be handled by the hardware, and the RIL driver creates the interface in kernel, so it should be a matter of using just like any USB 3g modem.

    For the person asking about the optimus 2x, it shouldn’t be too difficult to get at least basic booting, but IIRC the optimus 2x uses the 2.6.32 kernel, and is a tegra2 device, which does not have the most friendly of environments, as most of the drivers are GPL glue + binary blob. This kit will not work for the 2x at the moment as is.

  5. drebbs
    December 14, 2011 at 13:46

    Hi the lxda u mentioned, when I got to the site through the link you have provided the OS is a ISO not a IMG does it not matter?

    • December 15, 2011 at 12:28

      You should be able to install this via Ubuntu’s software centre or Synaptic package manager. The link through to the website was really for informational purposes. You shouldn’t need to download the files directly.

  6. January 5, 2012 at 04:04

    I was just crusing some blog and this is really cool! I assume that all the screen still works great for touch screen input, has anyone tried the netbook remixes on the transformer? That would seem to me to be a fantastic OS to have on the transformer! Thanks!

  7. mick
    January 10, 2012 at 04:55

    Just as a matter of interest, has anyone tried this method with one of the Ubuntu lightweights, in particular, Crunchbang (which runs Openbox as a DE). If not, any ideas on how the process would differ? (Besides the obvious, of course…)

  8. ArcticGiraffe
    January 29, 2012 at 12:44

    Great post!

    I’m looking for an android tablet to do tablety things on, but also a system to do android app development with … I’m hoping a dual boot Asus Transformer Prime will satisfy this desire.

    So I’d really love to know: Does the JRE + Eclipse with all the Android dev plugin’s work on a dual booted Asus Transformer Prime? Does the USB connection between the Transformer running Eclipse on Ubuntu and an android mobile device give runtime debug capability (run/step/next) from the Eclipse IDE?

    Will this use-case work? Perform okay? Anyone tried this?

    As an aside … I’ve been googling into using Eclipse through a browser (on RAP?), but can’t seem to find much info on that – I’m wondering if that is still being actively pursued …

  9. February 16, 2012 at 21:17

    You should try the latest Gnome 3.4, if you install the latest drivers you have Multi-touch and everything…

  10. exquest
    February 21, 2012 at 19:20

    Anyone have any luck dual booting the Transformer Prime?

  11. May 20, 2012 at 16:10

    I tried this and it worked all fine, I tried to run the update to Ubuntu 12. when I restarted it and got to the login screen it started to flash back and forth from the login screen to the boot screen and i left it alone for a bit and it came up with a, graphix error I tried to reconfigure the graphix and it wouldn’t let me. any help would be great please.

  12. therealartfuldodger
    November 2, 2012 at 17:00

    Has anyone installed ThunderBird (Linux) on the Dual-boot Linux side? If so, is it compatible with the Windows version?

    Thanks in advance.


  13. joe
    November 12, 2012 at 09:02

    Hey, I’m thinking about buying a Transformer Infinity tf700! Did anybody try to get this work on a TF700? Ar there any other possibilities for Dual Boot on TF700? Thanks

  14. gabo
    December 21, 2012 at 06:46

    hey great job there, btw i really want to know if it’s possible to run any version of linux or in this case the backtrack 5 on the asus pad infinity, im about to get one or should i wait for the pengpod, all i need is a good tablet with the sufficient power to learn and use in a comfortable way on any tablet so, any suggestion would be great. Thanks a lot in advance.

  1. November 24, 2011 at 14:03
  2. January 1, 2012 at 18:22

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