Soon after I got my hands on the Acer Switch Alpha 12, I decided to put Linux on there. Being a Fedora fan for quite a while, I chose the new Fedora 25 Beta release which was already available at the time.
Here is a review of what I managed to get running on the Laptop, what problems I encountered, and what I managed to work around.
Since this is only a beta release, I did not do an install video or walkthrough. I might do one in the future but for now, I’ll just describe what I had to do and what works.
- Enter BIOS/Firmware screen. After switching on the laptop, spam F2 key until we get to the bios screen.
- Boot setup:
- There is an option that enables F12 key to be used to select device to boot.
- There is an option to select between Legacy BIOS boot, and UEFI boot. I had to use Legacy.
- Live session. Everything works.
- Keyboard attach/detach connects the keyboard back to the laptop as expected.
- Wifi works.
- Bluetooth not tested. Detected
- Audio works.
- Install option.
- UEFI mode. Enabling UEFI boot in BIOS screen, and installing using UEFI mode did not work for me.
- Legacy BIOS mode.Enabling BIOS boot in BIOS screen, and installing using BIOS mode worked fine.
That’s about it.
Boot up sequence and demo video
I have created a video on YouTube of booting up a Fedora 25 Beta install on this machine. I review and demo some of the features of the desktop that works on this machine.
Overall, using it as a laptop works with no issues. For some simple tasks, such as reading or simple web browsing, it works well as a tablet.
Here’s a list of desktop features, some working and some not.
- Firefox. crashes a lot, don’t know why.
- Chrome. easy to install. works well.
- All other apps work as expected.
- Wayland: not working for me. Touchsreen would not work for me in most apps.
- XOrg: works fine.
- Rotation. Gyroscope not working. Does not rotate screen orientation.
- Desktop items and icons are too small.
- Workaround: Install gnome-tweak-tool, set HiDPI scaling = 2
- Adjust size of fonts.
- Can interact with all programs, albeit some exceptions
- Very usable in Chrome. Drag to scroll. Hold to right click
- In Files, double tapping a file/folder does not open. Workaround: enable single click to open
- In Files, dragging to scroll actually moves file/folder around. No Workaround.
- In Firefox, drag to scroll does not work, and will select text or element. Workaround: Install ‘Grab and Drag’ extension.
- Hardware type-cover keyboard
- the included type-cover keyboard works with no issues.
- No easy way to know if Num Lock or CapsLock is active. Workaround: https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/36/lock-keys/
- Onscreen keyboard
- without keyboard, there is no easy way to predict or bring-up the onscreen keyboard.
- Touching text boxes in gnome apps will summon osk correctly, but not on other apps. Workaround: https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/1061/on-screen-keyboard-button/
- Stylus Pen
- Recognized by the system as if it was a mouse. So, most interactions work, if used as a mouse. No way to right click.
- I always accidentally press power button on side, which suspends the laptop when using as tablet. Workaround: disable suspend on power button in gnome-tweak-tool
- Low battery life. Solution, install and enable tuned. Use powertop2tuned tool to save more power. Results are very good.
- Shutdown/Reboot is OK for a laptop (10 – 15 s), but feels slow when using as tablet. Workaround: Use suspend by default. Use extension https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/826/suspend-button/
That’s about it for now. I’ll update with more as I go.