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Old 09-08-2013, 03:45 PM   #1
xj25vm
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Finally a proper Slackware/Linux tablet?


I've just stumbled over this tablet:

http://www.laptopsdirect.co.uk/GIGAB...F3/version.asp

and I think it is the closest of what I would want from a "proper" tablet:

1. CPU with proper current support (Celeron 847) - as ARM or the current Intel Atom are not supported out of the box (well, the video chip with the current Atom will never be supported, apparently).
2. Good choice and number of ports: ethernet (the only tablet I've seen so far), two full size usb, full size hdmi, full size vga, full size SD card slot. It even has some versions with SIM card slot.

I looked up the processor and it is faster than my ageing Intel U2500 - so I could definitely manage. Not sure about the claimed 12 hours battery - I think in reality it would be a lot less with that processor and hardware.

No mention of weight on that page - but I don't expect it to be the lightest around.

I guess most of the time it could work with a proper keyboard and mouse - or even connected to a large screen at home as my main computer. Just use it as a tablet when out and about. Maybe with one of the simple onscreen keyboards - and a stylus. It wouldn't exactly be a slick experience in tablet mode - but it would be a "real" computer, with full access to hardware and complete choice of software to install - just like a desktop or a laptop. No wondering if Google will let me have the next version of Android or not on my tablet - or putting up with whatever design decisions they take. I could also load up virtual machines and any other software I use normally on my laptop.

What do the others think? Could this be a workable scenario? Has anybody here tried something similar? I'm not sure if the touch screen needs a special driver to get it working - I can only assume the rest (sound, video, card reader) is fairly standard and already supported.
 
Old 09-08-2013, 06:18 PM   #2
Lufbery
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I've read, but I'm fuzzy on the details, that Windows 8 tablets of any sort have some sort of scheme in the bios where only signed executables can run -- and only Windows executables are signed.
 
Old 09-08-2013, 06:23 PM   #3
xj25vm
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Are we talking about Windows RT tablets? Based on ARM cpu's by any chance?

The tablet I suggested is a "proper" x86 tablet. On the other hand, if you are referring to secure boot - I guess the main question would be if the BIOS allows disabling secure boot on this particular model.

Edit: According to this post, somebody managed to install Ubuntu on the previous version of this tablet (S1080) with a previous generation Intel Atom processor. I can't seem to find any other references to people trying Linux on these things, unfortunately.

Last edited by xj25vm; 09-08-2013 at 06:28 PM.
 
Old 09-08-2013, 10:08 PM   #4
Lufbery
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xj25vm View Post

Edit: According to this post, somebody managed to install Ubuntu on the previous version of this tablet (S1080) with a previous generation Intel Atom processor. I can't seem to find any other references to people trying Linux on these things, unfortunately.
That, at least, is encouraging! What's the state of the art on Linux WMs or DEs with touch interfaces?
 
Old 09-09-2013, 01:47 AM   #5
xj25vm
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Quote:
What's the state of the art on Linux WMs or DEs with touch interfaces?
I'm not entirely sure, really. However, considering it has a little optical "nipple" mouse on one side, and two physical mouse buttons on the other side - I was thinking that worse come to worse, I could use it with my favourite WM - Fluxbox - just as I use a laptop. Just use a virtual keyboard - I've just been testing xvkbd - and minimize it out of the way when not needed to type. At least I would have access to all my usual desktop software - and a plethora of proper ports. I was thinking this is, really, the laptop I always wanted. Ten inch screen, with usable (1300x700) resolution, more than one usb port, proper ethernet port, no useless thin edges, reasonably fast cpu to do pretty much everything I need to do - and under 1Kg.
 
Old 09-09-2013, 02:54 AM   #6
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Having just burnt my hands trying (unsuccessfully) to make drivers work on a Windows 8 laptop, I'd say: stay away from any device that comes with Windows 8, unless that's what you want as your main OS.
 
Old 09-09-2013, 03:13 AM   #7
xj25vm
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Originally Posted by ottavio View Post
Having just burnt my hands trying (unsuccessfully) to make drivers work on a Windows 8 laptop, I'd say: stay away from any device that comes with Windows 8, unless that's what you want as your main OS.
Interesting. Could you elaborate a bit please for our benefit? I'm assuming it was a laptop with an x86 processor (not ARM and Windows RT). Which processor does it have? Which particular driver/device is it that you couldn't get working? I would say that avoiding any Windows 8 laptop out there is a bit of a broad sweeping statement - it would certainly eliminate a large portion (if not the majority) of x86 machines currently on sale.

Last edited by xj25vm; 09-09-2013 at 03:14 AM.
 
Old 09-09-2013, 11:19 AM   #8
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This site shows tablets where ubuntu can be installed, I think they are suitables for slackware also:
https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Touch/Devices
 
Old 09-09-2013, 11:48 AM   #9
xj25vm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neymac View Post
This site shows tablets where ubuntu can be installed, I think they are suitables for slackware also:
https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Touch/Devices
As far as I can work out, all of the devices listed there are ARM based devices. If they would ever work with Slackware, they would work with ArmedSlack. I'm not fully up-to-date with where ArmedSlack is at the moment - but last time I checked they had a limited number of devices covered - and I don't seem to remember any tablet among them (but I could be wrong). Unlike x86 devices, ARM support has to be a lot more specific to a particular device - one can't just download the generic iso for a Linux distro and install on any ARM tablet out there.
 
Old 09-09-2013, 02:28 PM   #10
ottavio
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xj25vm View Post
Interesting. Could you elaborate a bit please for our benefit? I'm assuming it was a laptop with an x86 processor (not ARM and Windows RT). Which processor does it have? Which particular driver/device is it that you couldn't get working?
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!to...re/IeRTVZ3kaoI
 
Old 09-09-2013, 03:24 PM   #11
xj25vm
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When installing Linux on laptops (and sometimes desktops) based on fairly recent chips, it is not uncommon to have problems configuring drivers for one or more of the peripherals. I've experienced myself and I heard plenty of people having difficulties with network cards, video cards (that's a popular one), integrated card readers, integrated webcams or even touchpads. That happens all the time - just search the forums. Few months later Linux kernel drivers tend to catch up and most of the time it all works eventually. Heck I have a 3 year old Packard Bell EasyNote laptop which had problems with switching the display backlight off during boot-up because the video chip whose parameters get recognised upside down by the kernel. I found a hack which switches it back on - and not sure even until now if they've fixed the bug in the kernel.

However, none of the above has much to do with Windows 8. Your comment of Windows 8 laptops not being suitable for installing Linux/Slackware on them doesn't have much relevance in the context. If you want to tip the odds in favour of a smoother installation - buy a new laptop which has been around on the market for longer. Generally speaking - models which are about to get discontinued (or have just been discontinued) would have been designed a while ago, contain previous generation chipppery - and Linux kernel is much more likely to support them properly already. Or buy one of the newest machines - and put up with the issues until somebody finds a solution to it.

I've bought a Philips/Twinhead laptop in 2008 - and over the next 5 years with almost every major OS upgrade I have few more small hardware/drivers niggles being ironed away by newer drivers.

As they say - it's the way of the world.

Now if we are talking about machines based on the Intel Atom Clovertrail/Cloverview lines - where Intel declared publicly that the video driver will never be supported on Linux - that's a different matter altogether. Although I've spotted some activity on forums which might indicate that even they might not be a lost cause after all.

Good luck
 
Old 09-09-2013, 03:41 PM   #12
TobiSGD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xj25vm View Post
On the other hand, if you are referring to secure boot - I guess the main question would be if the BIOS allows disabling secure boot on this particular model.
Just to answer that, this device has a Windows logo on the case, so an option to disable Secure Boot is mandatory.
 
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Old 09-09-2013, 04:30 PM   #13
xj25vm
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Originally Posted by TobiSGD View Post
Just to answer that, this device has a Windows logo on the case, so an option to disable Secure Boot is mandatory.
Thanks for that. Didn't realised that having the option to disable Secure Boot was mandatory for Windows logo devices. One learns every day.
 
Old 09-09-2013, 05:01 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by xj25vm View Post
Thanks for that. Didn't realised that having the option to disable Secure Boot was mandatory for Windows logo devices. One learns every day.
Only mandatory for x86 based devices. If this would be an ARM device it would be mandatory not to have that option.
 
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