As I already said in my italian review of a few days ago, Ubuntu 12.04 works very well on the ASUS Zenbook UX32VD. Currently, the only missing features is the ambient light sensor
Although the system is compatible, the installation process may be more difficult than expected because of the UEFI firmware and the GPT partition scheme. Let’s see then, step by step, how to install it. I will refer to the current stable version of Ubuntu (12.04), but the steps will be almost identical for next versions of the operating system.
Step 1 – Preparation and boot
First, you have to prepare a 64-bit Ubuntu Live USB. If you already have Ubuntu installed somewhere else, you can use the software “Startup Disk Creator“. Otherwise use Unetbootin, which is available for both Windows and Linux.
When the Live USB is ready, plug it into the Zenbook and power it on, repeatedly pressing the ESC key until you see a menu like the one on the image on the right. From this menu is important to select our USB device paying attention to choose, between the two choices, the one preceded by the “UEFI” identifier.
You will see a black screen (GRUB):
We need to edit the boot information to avoid problems. While the first item (“try ubuntu without installing”) is highlighted, press the “e” key on the keyboard, so as to obtain a series of lines of text like those in the picture on the left.
Move with the arrow keys to where it says “boot=casper quiet splash“, and replace “splash” with “nomodeset“. Then press F10, and after a few seconds you should be in front of the live desktop of Ubuntu.
Step 2 – Partitioning
Do you want to install Ubuntu on the SSD or on the hard disk? You want to keep Windows, or you want to remove it? You better think about it now, because we’re going to partition the disk.
Open gparted1, then create the partitions as you wish. I can’t help you a lot here (if you need, ask with a comment), because it varies from person to person. In general, I suggest to resize (without moving it) the Windows partition (/dev/sda3) and using in the following way the free space that has been created:
- one swap partition, of size at least equal to the amount of RAM that you have.
- one ext4 + journaling partition, that we’ll use for Ubuntu, large enough to fill all the space left.
Evaluate how much to resize the Windows partition to have enough space for Ubuntu. The important thing is to not touch the first partition of /dev/sda. If you wish to install the operating system on the SSD, after doing the above steps move on the disk /dev/sdb (using the box in the upper right corner) and create an ext4 partition with journaling. Personally I deleted all partitions on /dev/sdb and I added a new one spanning the entire disk.
Tip: If the right touchpad button doesn’t work, you can perform a right click by pressing with two fingers simultaneously.
Apply the changes and quit from gparted. If you have any questions about the above steps, ask me in the comments.
Step 3 – Installation
After setting up the swap area, if you chose to *not* use the SSD then set the mount point of the other partition to “/”. Otherwise, that is if you chose to install Ubuntu on the SSD, on the other partition use “/home” and on the partition of the SSD use “/” (below you’ll find an explanatory image).
Finally, make sure that the device on which to install the bootloader (the last item at the bottom of the main window) is /dev/sda.
This step is delicate and crucial too, so for any questions please contact me in the comments. Once you are ready, continue with the Ubuntu installation.
On the next reboot, the GRUB screen should appear with the choice of the operating system. From this screen, you can’t start Windows due to a bug, so it is necessary to use the menu called up with “ESC” when the computer starts. Anyway, through the bios you can switch the default boot entry between the two (Windows / Ubuntu-grub).
Step 4 – Optimization
At this point you should have a working Ubuntu. As you can see, there still are various optimizations to do.
First, I suggest you act on energy savings (you’ll get an extra hour of battery power) following these instructions. The instructions also include upgrading the kernel, which by itself solves the most problems.
To adjust the screen brightness using the keyboard install Kernel 3.7 and edit, with root privileges, the file “/etc/default/grub” inserting the “acpi_osi=” parameter between GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT’s quotation marks. For example,
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=”quiet splash” becomes
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=”quiet splash acpi_osi=”
In the event that something still doesn’t work, such as the touchpad, check here and here to see if a solution has been provided. At the time of writing, the only thing that doesn’t work is the ambient light sensor.
- press the “windows” key on the keyboard and type gparted [↩]