Running Fedora 25 BETA on the Switch Alpha 12

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.

  1. Enter BIOS/Firmware screen. After switching on the laptop, spam F2 key until we get to the bios screen.
  2. Boot setup:
    1. There is an option that enables F12 key to be used to select device to boot.
    2. There is an option to select between Legacy BIOS boot, and UEFI boot. I had to use Legacy.
  3. Live session. Everything works.
    1. Keyboard attach/detach connects the keyboard back to the laptop as expected.
    2. Wifi works.
    3. Bluetooth not tested. Detected
    4. Audio works.
  4. Install option.
    1. UEFI mode. Enabling UEFI boot in BIOS screen, and installing using UEFI mode did not work for me.
    2. 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.

  1. Apps
    1. Firefox. crashes a lot, don’t know why.
    2. Chrome. easy to install. works well.
    3. All other apps work as expected.
  2. Desktop
    1. Wayland: not working for me. Touchsreen would not work for me in most apps.
    2. XOrg: works fine.
    3. Rotation. Gyroscope not working. Does not rotate screen orientation.
    4. Desktop items and icons are too small.
      1. Workaround: Install gnome-tweak-tool, set HiDPI scaling = 2
      2. Adjust size of fonts.
  3. Touchscreen
    1. Can interact with all programs, albeit some exceptions
    2. Very usable in Chrome. Drag to scroll. Hold to right click
    3. In Files, double tapping a file/folder does not open. Workaround: enable single click to open
    4. In Files, dragging to scroll actually moves file/folder around. No Workaround.
    5. In Firefox, drag to scroll does not work, and will select text or element. Workaround: Install ‘Grab and Drag’ extension.
  4. Hardware type-cover keyboard
    1. the included type-cover keyboard works with no issues.
    2. No easy way to know if Num Lock or CapsLock is active. Workaround:
  5. Onscreen keyboard
    1. without keyboard, there is no easy way to predict or bring-up the onscreen keyboard.
    2. Touching text boxes in gnome apps will summon osk correctly, but not on other apps. Workaround:
  6. Stylus Pen
    1. Recognized by the system as if it was a mouse. So, most interactions work, if used as a mouse. No way to right click.
  7. Power
    1. 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
    2. Low battery life. Solution, install and enable tuned. Use powertop2tuned tool to save more power. Results are very good.
    3. Shutdown/Reboot is OK for a laptop (10 – 15 s), but feels slow when using as tablet. Workaround: Use suspend by default. Use extension

That’s about it for now. I’ll update with more as I go.