The ASUS "Bay Trail" T100 Is Not Linux Friendly
Last week I bought the ASUS Transformer Book T100TA, which is one of the first Intel "Bay Trail" devices in the United States. At a cost of $399 USD, it isn't as cheap as some Bay Trail devices talked up by Intel, but I was eager to see how the "Valley View" graphics would perform and all-around how this Atom SoC would run under Linux. Sadly, the ASUS T100TA appears to be a crap wreck at this point for running Linux.
While waiting for the Transform Book T100 to arrive, I learned of the folks over at Liliputing having tested out the T100 and tried booting Linux off a USB stick to no avail on this tablet/netbook hybrid. Several days after my Transformer Book T100 arrived and spending much of the weekend trying to get a Linux distribution working, nothing has panned out so far.
Regardless of the state of SecureBoot, trying the "boot override" or adjusting the boot priority order from the UEFI setup menu on this ASUS Bay Trail device hadn't worked to boot Fedora 19, Ubuntu 13.10, or openSUSE 13.1 RC1; Windows 8 ultimately kept on booting. I've played around with all of the other EFI tunables to no success in getting a Linux USB drive booted. I also tried using a USB DVD drive, attempting to launch a UEFI shell from the file-system, re-flashing the UEFI, using a micro-USB adapter to USB drive, disabling USB 3.0 support, connecting multiple USB flash drives, and taken the other usual steps. Even when the Windows Boot Manager isn't part of the UEFI boot priority queue, Windows 8 still ends up being loaded immediately. Dealing with the ASUS Transformer Book T100 to boot a Linux distribution has been hell and a waste of a weekend.
I'm still playing around with a few other options, but for those hoping this BayTrail-based Transformer Book from ASUS would be a nice little Linux laptop, it doesn't look that way at this point as it doesn't want to part ways with Microsoft Windows 8.1. This has been one of the hardest Windows 8 systems I've encountered to date for getting a Linux distribution to boot even after disabling Secure Boot and taking various other measures.
Hopefully some progress will be made in the coming days. Arjan van de Ven of Intel's Open-Source Technology Center also will be playing around with a T100TA in the coming days. Stay tuned for updates via @MichaelLarabel on Twitter.
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