Linux on the Galaxy Book 12

Discussion in 'Samsung' started by Morning Song, May 10, 2018.

  1. Morning Song

    Morning Song Pen Pal - Newbie

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    So I just got Ubuntu-Mate mostly working on my Galaxy book 12 and I didn't see another topic around for it, so I thought I'd post my experiences and see how they compared to those of others.

    Quick summary of what works so far:
    Touch screen
    Pen
    Keyboard cover+Touchpad
    WiFi (with external driver)

    What doesn't work so far:
    Pen calibration (It's usable enough without, but it's still a blemish)
    Pen Button/Eraser
    Ambient Light Sensor

    So the biggest obstacle out of the gate is that the Atheros driver that comes with Ubuntu 18.04 doesn't like the wifi on the book. Thankfully some folks on the ubuntu forums worked it out in this forum post: https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2384640&p=13754725#post13754725
    (Mind there is a small error in the instructions that the next post corrects)

    The pen works straight out of the box with GIMP and Krita, with tilt but no eraser.

    While digging around to try and find out why, I discovered that the hardware is wired... strangely, which I'm sure this comes as no surprise to all the folks who tried hacking the Bamboo Feel driver to work on windows. Anyhow, usually a wacom device shows up as 3 "xinput" devices on Linux. (Pen, Eraser, and Puck--presumably touch too for modern tablets, but I've only got an intuos3 for comparison), but on the Book, it picks up one. Both the pen tip and eraser tip register as button 1 on this device, and the side button doesn't report anything.

    Technically, there is a second device, at the bottom of the terminal screenshot I'm attaching, but the command line xinput tool refuses to read from it. (Giving the error "No event registered...") My suspicion is this is somehow related to how side button presses are transmitted, but I suspect to get stuff more fully working on the linux front, some special attention will need to be paid to some point in the driver stack and I'm not sure where.

    Apart from that, using the tablet day-to-day is... acceptable, but far from a great experience. I've been using Cellwriter for input because it can quickly swap between handwriting and onscreen keyboard and that's acceptable if not perfect, and it looks like it ~can~ be used for screensaver unlock passwords, but it has to be manually configured and I haven't sussed out how yet.

    The biggest papercut as far as tablet operation goes is that the grub menu doesn't accept touch input. It accepts the volume rocker to cursor up and down on the menu, but there's no button to actually accept an option, so it still needs the keyboard to boot as far as I can tell.
     

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  2. Morning Song

    Morning Song Pen Pal - Newbie

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    More quick research on the pen; apparently it's just being registered as a generic HID device; Linux's wacom kernel module isn't touching it.

    And Wacom's Xorg driver might not be touching it either--Xorg.0.log reports that libwacom doesn't know the model either, which is probably why erasing doesn't work--it's just using Xorg's evdev driver which doesn't know anything about tablet tools.

    And some interesting things I've gleaned from looking at an evtest of the kernel output--There are prox-in and prox-out events for both Pen and Eraser ends of a stylus that are detected properly on the kernel side. (BTN_TOOL_PEN and BTN_TOOL_RUBBER if it's of any interest) Pressing the first stylus button sends a BTN_TOOL_RUBBER prox-in event, without sending a prox-out for PEN. But when this happens, both PEN and RUBBER prox-out events happen when the pen is pulled away from the screen. Further presses of the stylus button don't do anything until a prox-out event happens.

    BTN_TOUCH is set when whatever side of the pen is active touches the screen and unset whenever the tip leaves the screen. (Finger touch is handled through a separate device)

    Excitingly, though, is that if your stylus has a secondary button, this is reported as its own button.

    I did some hacking on the Xorg wacom driver many years ago, so I'm cautiously optimistic that I might be able to at least get the eraser and secondary stylus button working. The ordering of the button-prox events also mean there's a possibility that I could hack it so that the side button will register differently from the eraser tip with some severe limitations. (No holding the button and only one press per prox-in)
     
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  3. Astro

    Astro Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Thanks for posting this, iihave question
    Is the install steps easy?
    I want to ask about the batterylife how much you get usually for windows and ubuntu?
    Do you recommend this tab or the surface pro 2017 is better.
    Thank you
     
  4. Morning Song

    Morning Song Pen Pal - Newbie

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    It's not easy at all right now. You have to manually compile and install drivers without a network connection. I don't recommend Ubuntu on the GB12 unless you are interested in experimenting.

    I have not tested battery life in Ubuntu, but I suspect it will be poor right now, since automatic display dimming doesn't. On windows 10, I get 4-6 hours.

    I have not used a Surface Pro so I can't really compare the two. It will depend greatly on what you want a tablet for. You would have better luck with these questions on the main GB12 thread.
     
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  5. WillAdams

    WillAdams Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Any possibility of doing this in Lubuntu, so that Linux installs to NTFS and co-exists with Windows?
     
  6. Morning Song

    Morning Song Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I admit, I've never tried that particular approach to dualbooting so I can't say 100% for sure, but probably, as long as the kernel it installs is reasonably recent?

    Both 17.10 and 18.04 see the SSD and the microSD slot just fine. Just keep in mind the proviso that there's a limited amount of things you can do without the keyboard attached.
     
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  7. Hell-Cat

    Hell-Cat Pen Pal - Newbie

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    How much can I expect from linux on Samsung Galaxy Book 12? I can live without eraser tip, but without calibration, I will lose precision which is important for drawing.
     
  8. okieiam

    okieiam Scribbler - Standard Member

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    On my Cube Mix Plus, almost identical as Galaxy Book 10.6, Ubuntu Zesty run perfect, 100% hardware work.
    Almost same with macOS High Sierra, so now I triple boot Ubuntu/macOS/Windows
     
  9. Hell-Cat

    Hell-Cat Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Note that I decided to buy iPad Pro 2018 which will be released later in 2018. It is the best drawing tablet in the world. It is years ahead of other tablet devices in terms of drawing.

    Procreate on iPad Pro should be enough.
     
  10. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    And yet it has been years late in getting here. Steve Jobs may have passed to the great minimalist iCloud in the sky, but his deft followers live on to carry his message ever forward, eh? :D
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2018
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