Oct 20
Today I received my Asus UX31 featuring a Intel Core i5-2557, 4GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. Overall I love the looks and the feel of the machine. Of course the computer comes preloaded with Windows 7 Home Premium or something like that. I only managed to boot it into Windows once because I didn't realize that F2 was the right key to enter the BIOS setup utility. Then my fun started with getting Debian installed.

I had a USB stick with a Squeeze (stable) 6.03 Netinstall copy on it. Only problem was that the kernel would not recognize the wireless card. Then I tried the USB-to-ethernet adapter that comes with the computer but that didn't work either since the kernel had no driver for the USB 3.0 port on the right side of the machine. After some fighting back and forth on my wife's Windows laptop I created a new Wheezy (testing) netinstall USB stick using unetbootin.

The machine is currently installing but since I am on my mother-in-law's fairly slow DSL I will have to wait a couple of hours before writing more about how Debian Testing runs on it, hopefully I will be wrinting form that machine and not my wife's laptop. I have not decided if I should just go to Unstable or stick with Testing. We will see. I am sure there will be plenty of hours playing with my new toy to get everything working to my full satisfaction.

Posted by Mark Nyqvist Hjarding

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  1. Pierre says:

    Hi, please let us know how good (or bad) is the Linux compatibility on this machine.

    I'm considering buying one (and put Ubuntu 11.10 on it), but i'm a bit afraid of the compatibility issues I could get.

    Thanks!

  2. vince says:

    Hi Mark,

    I'd be really interested in hearing how it works out as well.

    Thanks!

  3. linux says:

    By buying UX31 with Windows pre-loaded, you've donated a large sum of money to Microsoft. Unless you use it, it'll be a waste of your money.

    If I were you, I'll purchase notebook with Linux pre-loaded and donate the rest of my money to Linux Foundation.

    It's just my two cent.

  4. Mark Nyqvist Hjarding says:

    I understand what you are saying and if I had the option to buy an ultrabook or similar without OS or with Linux installed I would. Since that is not an option in my knowledge I just buy something and slap Linux on it. (www.system76.com was considered but I did not like their lineup).

    I actually doubt OEM vendors like Asus pay much for the Windows licenses they slap on their laptops although I don't know.

  5. Stilgar says:

    I'm using Debian Testing on it as well. Two fixes are essential to make it work:
    To turn off tap-to-click, the two commands are needed:
    echo -n 0x90 0x80 > /sys/devices/platform/i8042/serio4/setreg
    echo c > /sys/devices/platform/i8042/serio4/flags

    In addition, the USB hubs should be disabled during the suspend process (similar to the Asus U43JC-X1).

  6. Mark Nyqvist Hjarding says:

    I found that everything seemed to work fine but I got one with a defective fan and I am currently in a fight with J&R (jr.com) over this machine. I have contacted Amazon payment to try to get it resolved. Wifi, video and trackpad worked like I expected it to with Debian testing.

  7. Sven Meier says:

    Thanks for the write-up. I've read about problems with wakeup from standby, do you experience any problems there?

    Thanks

  8. codevel says:

    Thanks for the info and excited to learn that it works with Debian. Any comments on the battery life with it?

  9. prinzzchavo says:

    Since you are #1 for "ASUS UX31 and Linux" in https://duckduckgo.com/, let me revive the comments thread with some personal updates...

    1.- Compatibility: (almost?) full, with some tweaks. I had to manually compile a 3.3.5 kernel and am still tweaking here and there(touchpad, wireless...)but I only have the zenbook since a couple of days. More Info:

    - Kernel compilation (so far, 3.3.5 runs without issues after a day):
    http://fenski.pl/2012/02/quick-howto-for-the-most-stable-linux-kernel-with-zenbook/

    - Even better, ubuntu 12.04 seems to work out of the box:
    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/AsusZenbook

    - Or, if you want to "possess" your Zenbook down to its deepest ying(pun intended), you can also install Archlinux and become one with this precious, metallic ring, errrr...laptop:
    https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Asus_Zenbook_UX31E

    2.- ASUS UX31 without Windows. It is possible. Mine came with LinuxMint 12 instead, and I saved 50 Euros here:
    http://ixsoft.de/cgi-bin/web_store.cgi?ref=Products/de/ASRY009VHW.html

    I'm not advertising them, I had some doubts but in the end it worked fine for me, although their site looks... a bit unprofessional (though it's netscape 4.0-compatible). The package even included a couple of printed pages with a How-to for the USB-to-ethernet drivers on linux Mint(and a lot of towels and brushes from ASUS to keep the zenbook clean ^^ ).

    BTW I have not yet upgraded the BIOS (I read something about a bricked Zenbook somewhere, and I'd need therapy on my brickophobia first)

    If anybody is interested, I'll write a wiki on my tweakings.

  10. Alec says:

    @prinzzchavo: That is great! But sadly the don't have the new ux32 models with Linux preinstalled yet :-(

  11. iridesce says:

    I would love to play with my ux31a, but first I need to get the Debian variant Mepis installed.

    You can follow my adventures at http://forum.mepiscommunity.org/viewtopic.php?f=74&t=34058

    Enjoy

  12. iridesce says:

    @prinzzchavo, would love to see the wiki

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