Running Ubuntu on Microsoft's Surface Pro

Posted by Trent Nouveau

It may seem somewhat counter-intuitive to run Ubuntu Linux on Microsoft's flagship Windows 8 tablet, which isn't exactly an inexpensive piece of hardware.

Nevertheless, if you want a slick, touch-enabled Ubuntu tablet, Russell Holly of Geek.com has posted detailed instructions on how to get the wildly popular Linux flavor up and running on the Intel x86-powered Pro.

First, you'll need to disable secure boot, after creating an optional Windows 8 recovery drive, and deleting the restore partition. Then you can place an Ubuntu Live USB disk in the USB 3 port on the Surface Pro, and return to the Settings menu on the Charm Bar.

Simply navigate back to the General PC settings and boot into Advanced Startup. Tap the icon with the USB stick and the DVD labeled Use a Device once the Surface has booted into the Advanced settings. Select the USB drive and wait for the Surface to reboot.

As Holly points out, you will no longer be in Windows, but rather, booting from the USB drive.

It should probably be noted that the stylus, touch input, and keyboard covers work just fine out of the box. However, the pen won't click right as Ubuntu does not recognize the button on the side of the stylus. WiFi won't work initially, so users will need to connect to the Internet via a USB-Ethernet converter, download and install the Marvell WiFi driver.

As previously discussed on TG Daily, the $900 Surface Pro is available in 64GB and 128GB configurations. Both models are packaged with a Surface pen built around Block technology, which allows users to edit, collaborate and "get things done."

Additional accessories, such as the Touch Cover and Type Cover, carry a price tag of $120 and $130, respectively. Microsoft also recently announced a slew of new accessories for its tablet lineup, including three touch covers (red, magenta and cyan) for $130, along with a Wedge Touch Mouse for $70.

It remains unclear if Microsoft's Pro tablet will be more popular than its RT counterpart, which likely sold fewer than 1 million units, at least according to some estimates. Analysts at UBS believe Microsoft will sell a total of 2.5 million Surface Pro tablets for all of fiscal 2013.