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Linux on the HP Stream tablet

HP Stream Tablet 7 and 8
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Update - 18 April 2019 - Ubuntu 19.04

 I tested Ubuntu 19.04 on my 2014 HP Stream 7 Bay Trail tablet and there is new device support enabled with the 5.0 kernel. Bluetooth works natively now.  Audio (including automatic headphone detection) also works without the need to copy additional files.  All devices that I can think of are working now with the exception of the cameras.  I updated the installation instructions:

 

Installation instructions for Ubuntu 19.04 on the HP Stream tablet

 

Create a Ubuntu live USB to boot on the Stream's 32-bit UEFI firmware

- Download Ubuntu and burn it to a USB drive, I used Xubuntu 19.04.  I tried regular Ubuntu 19.04 but the installation hung from some reason. it is probably better to use lighter weight flavors such as Xubuntu or Lubuntu on the Stream.  I used UNetbootin to create the live USB since it needs to be writable.

- Also download a current 64-bit Fedora ISO file (since it contains the 32-bit EFI bootloader missing in Ubuntu). I used Fedora 29 Workstation 64-bit.

- Delete or rename the Ubuntu live USB /EFI directory, it will not support the Stream tablet's 32-bit UEFI.

- Extract the entire /EFI directory from the Fedora ISO and copy it to the root of the Ubuntu live USB.

- Also copy the Ubuntu live USB's /boot/grub/loopback.cfg file to its /EFI/BOOT directory and rename it "grub.cfg" (delete or rename the existing grub.cfg first).
- Edit the /EFI/BOOT/grub.cfg file like below, changing each "linux" and "initrd" label to "linuxefi" and "initrdefi":

 

For example, change this:

     menuentry "Install Xubuntu" {
     linux /casper/vmlinuz file=/cdrom/preseed/xubuntu.seed boot=casper only-ubiquity iso-scan/filename=${iso_path} quiet splash ---
     initrd /casper/initrd

To this:

     menuentry "Install Xubuntu" {
     linuxefi /casper/vmlinuz file=/cdrom/preseed/xubuntu.seed boot=casper only-ubiquity iso-scan/filename=${iso_path} quiet splash ---
     initrdefi /casper/initrd

The USB should now boot on the Stream and give you the option to run Ubuntu or install it.


The Secure Boot option needs to be disabled within the UEFI setup menu.
A OTG adapter and powered USB hub with an external mouse and keyboard are required to do the installation.  An un-powered hub may work but it will read the USB drive very slowly and may fail reading it since the Stream's USB port provides very little power on its own from the internal battery.


- Power on the tablet and hold down the volume down button or press the F9 key on the keyboard to boot from the live USB.

- Select "Install Ubuntu".

- Connect to the Internet via Wifi.

- Select both buttons:

  • Download Updates
  • Install third-party software

- For Installation Type, I selected "Erase disk and install Xubuntu" since I wanted a fresh install.

- Restart when the installation completes.

 

Rotating the screen manually

The screen can be rotated 90 degrees right or left to landscape mode with these commands, I created a desktop launcher for this:

     xrandr -o right
     xinput set-prop '12' 'Coordinate Transformation Matrix' 0 1 0 -1 0 1 0 0 1

 

     xrandr -o left
     xinput set-prop '12' 'Coordinate Transformation Matrix' 0 -1 1 1 0 0 0 0 1

 

Note the the device number '12' above for the Goodix Capacitive TouchScreen device may be different depending on what devices are currently plugged into the USB port.  Execute the xinput command with no arguments to display the correct device number.

 

Auto screen rotation

Installing the GNOME desktop using the instructions below works to enable auto screen rotation for version 18.10 but does not seem to work completely on 19.04, it rotates the screen but does not re-orient the cursor.  If anyone has a fix for this, please post it here. GNOME seems to take more resources so this might not be a bad thing.

 

======================================================================

NOTE: This is an update of the original thread that was archived.

 

Update - 8 November 2018 - Ubuntu 18.10

 I tested Ubuntu 18.10 on my 2014 HP Stream 7 Bay Trail tablet and there is new device support enabled with its 4.18 kernel. The brightness control works now along with the suspend feature.  Battery life seems better also.  18.10 did however eliminate 32-bit support for some distributions such as Ubuntu MATE and Ubuntu Budgie.  32-bit support is still available with Xubuntu and Lubuntu.  

 

I also discovered that the capability to auto rotate the screen comes with the GNOME desktop.  I installed GNOME to 32-bit Xubuntu and the auto rotation works now.  The instructions are below:

 

I first installed Xubuntu 18.10 32-bit using the 18.04  instructions below and then installed GNOME following the instructions here: https://linuxconfig.org/how-to-install-gnome-on-ubuntu-18-04-bionic-beaver-linux running only the below two commands:

sudo apt install tasksel

sudo tasksel install ubuntu-desktop

When prompted for the default display manager, select gdm3, reboot and the GNOME desktop will launch along with the auto rotate capability.  GNOME also seems to work well with the Stream’s touchscreen automatically launching the onscreen keyboard whenever a text entry screen displays.

 

======================================================================

 Update - 28 April 2018 - Ubuntu 18.04

I have tested the newly released Ubuntu 18.04 and it is running well on my Stream 7 tablet.  The Wifi, touchscreen, battery indicator and audio continue to work natively (the audio still requires firmware files to be copied after the installation).  Also, the home button (Windows logo button on the Stream) works now, it displays the main menu when pressed. There is a new bug fix where a Wifi connection is no longer required to complete the installation on Ubuntu MATE although it was still required on Ubuntu Budgie. I posted the instructions below:

 

Installation instructions for Ubuntu 18.04 on the HP Stream tablet

 

Create a Ubuntu live USB to boot on the Stream's 32-bit UEFI firmware

- Download a 32-bit Ubuntu or Mint image and burn it to a USB drive, I used Ubuntu MATE 18.04 32-bit.

- Also download a current 64-bit Fedora ISO file (since it contains the 32-bit EFI bootloader missing in Ubuntu). I used Fedora 29 Workstation 64-bit.

- Extract the entire EFI directory from the Fedora ISO and copy it to the root of the Ubuntu live USB.

- Also copy the Ubuntu live USB's /boot/grub/loopback.cfg file to /EFI/BOOT, and rename it "grub.cfg" (delete or rename the existing grub.cfg first).
- Edit the /EFI/BOOT/grub.cfg file like below, changing each "linux" and "initrd" label to "linuxefi" and "initrdefi":

 

Change this:

 

     menuentry "Try Ubuntu MATE without installing" {
     linux /casper/vmlinuz file=/cdrom/preseed/ubuntu-mate.seed boot=casper iso-scan/filename=${iso_path} quiet splash --
     initrd /casper/initrd.lz

 

To this:

 

      menuentry "Try Ubuntu MATE without installing" {
     linuxefi /casper/vmlinuz file=/cdrom/preseed/ubuntu-mate.seed boot=casper iso-scan/filename=${iso_path} quiet splash --
     initrdefi /casper/initrd.lz

 

The USB should now boot on the Stream and give you the option to run Ubuntu or install it.

 

The Secure Boot option needs to be disabled within the UEFI.  A OTG adapter and powered USB hub with an external mouse and keyboard are required to do the installation.  An un-powered hub may work but it will read the USB very slowly or even fail reading it since the Stream's USB port provides very little power on its own from the internal battery.

 

 - Power on the tablet and hold down the volume down button or press the F9 key on the keyboard to boot from the USB.

 - Select "Install Ubuntu".  I tried using the "Try Ubuntu without Installing" option and then selecting the desktop icon "Install Ubuntu" but the installation hung for some reason, this seems to be new with 18.04.

 - Connect to the Internet via Wifi if desired although it is no longer required with Ubuntu MATE 18.04. The long standing problem of the grub bootloader installation failing when there is no Internet connection is fixed now.

 - I selected Normal Installation (not minimal).

 - Select both buttons:

  • Download Updates (if Wifi is connected)
  • Install third-party software

 - For Installation Type, I selected "Erase Ubuntu 17.10 and Reinstall" since I had a 17.10 installation that I wanted to overwrite. 

 - After the installation, reboot and install the firmware for the audio.  

 

Audio Firmware installation

Download the zip file from: https://github.com/plbossart/UCM and unzip it to your home directory and use this command to copy it: 

sudo cp -r UCM-master/bytcr-rt5640 /usr/share/alsa/ucm

and then reboot.

Open Sound Preferences and you will see multiple audio devices, you may have to change from the default device to test it and also switch manually between speaker and headphones since the automatic headphone detection does not work.

 

Rotating the screen manually

The screen can be rotated 90 degrees right or left to landscape mode with these commands, I created a desktop launcher for this:

     xrandr -o right
     xinput set-prop '7' 'Coordinate Transformation Matrix' 0 1 0 -1 0 1 0 0 1

 

     xrandr -o left
     xinput set-prop '7' 'Coordinate Transformation Matrix' 0 -1 1 1 0 0 0 0 1

 

Note that the device number '7' above is correct only if no devices are plugged into the USB port via OTG. If a USB mouse is plugged in for instance, the number for the Goodix Capacitive TouchScreen would bump up to 8. The xinput command (with no arguments) can be used to display the correct number.

 

Auto screen rotation

This is not working with 18.04 Ubuntu MATE but it works well on 18.04 Ubuntu Budgie so it seems it should not be hard to add it to MATE.  If anyone has instructions to do that, please post them here. The audio is not working consistently on Budgie or else I would probably switch to it.

 

Manually adjusting screen brightness

I created a desktop launcher with the below command. The value can be between .2 and 1:

     xrandr --output DSI-1 --brightness .7

 

Bluetooth

I have not gotten bluetooth working although others have.  If anyone has instructions to do this, please post them here.

   

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soundconjurer Student
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What method do you use for modifying the Ubuntu ISO? Because I can only mount it read-only.

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Professor
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I use a PC with Linux Mint 18.3, the USB thumb drive is automatically mounted in read-write mode.

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Juzt3 Top Student
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I have found a possible solution for the blouetooth issue. I tried to install a driver from a github but it doesn't work. The thing is that another user claim to have repaired this by compiling a custom kernel. Here is the link for you to add to the tutorial if the answer is correct. I haven't tried it yet becose the time required to compile the kernel exceeds the time of the battery life in my Stram 7 Using Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 with kernel 4.17.2.

https://github.com/lwfinger/rtl8723bs_bt/issues/7#issuecomment-229053537

Sorry for my bad english. 

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Professor
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@Juzt3, yes, I expect that fixing the bluetooth probably requires recompiling kernel. 

 

Also, is your audio working consistently in Ubuntu Budgie 18.04?  On my Stream 7, it sometimes boots with the audio device appearing in Sound Preferences and it works fine. At other times it boots and there is no audio device which is strange.  I do not have this problem with Ubuntu MATE 18.04. 

 

The auto screen rotation works nicely in Budgie so I would like to use it otherwise.

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The same happens to me, i'm using budgie for the same reason as you. Also in the last beta of Ubuntu 18.10 i was able to change the screen brightes directly from the config manager. In budgie im using Brightness Controller software for this.

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Juzt3 Top Student
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I tried to compile the 4.17.8 version of the kernel using the guide i linked to to you but it didn't work. Can you please try this solution please?

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Juzt3 Top Student
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I have found the solution for the Bluetooth problem and is in this github: https://github.com/Orochimarufan/rtl8723bs_bt

Just follow the guide i did it using the last kernel 4.17.12 and now my bluetooth works

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Professor
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@Juzt3, I did a fresh install of Ubuntu MATE 18.04 32-bit, updated the kernel to 4.17.12, installed cc and the below commands from the guide ran without error:

 

$ cd <repo root>
$ make
$ sudo make install
$ sudo systemctl enable --now bluetooth rtkbt

 

The bluetooth adapter was still not detected on my Stream 7 however. 

 

Can you tell us what version of Ubuntu you used and were there any additional instructions required outside of the guide?

 

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Juzt3 Top Student
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Sorry. What i'm trying to say is that a re compiled that kernel with the patch that is reffered in the github repository.

If you cannot apply the patch atomatically then doing it manually will do the trick. You do not need to reinstall Ubuntu for this.

You can google a guide to compile a kernel in another machine and generate .deb files so you can do it quicky. I did it using a VM in my main machine.

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