Zenbook under Linux

Are you Linux user, want to buy Zenbook and wonder how well it plays with Linux?

I’ve got one and can tell you how is it supported right now.

First of all lspci output:

00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation 2nd Generation Core Processor Family DRAM Controller (rev 09)
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation 2nd Generation Core Processor Family Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 09)
00:16.0 Communication controller: Intel Corporation 6 Series/C200 Series Chipset Family MEI Controller #1 (rev 04)
00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation 6 Series/C200 Series Chipset Family High Definition Audio Controller (rev 05)
00:1c.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 6 Series/C200 Series Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port 1 (rev b5)
00:1c.1 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 6 Series/C200 Series Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port 2 (rev b5)
00:1c.3 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 6 Series/C200 Series Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port 4 (rev b5)
00:1d.0 USB controller: Intel Corporation 6 Series/C200 Series Chipset Family USB Enhanced Host Controller #1 (rev 05)
00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation QS67 Express Chipset Family LPC Controller (rev 05)
00:1f.2 SATA controller: Intel Corporation 6 Series/C200 Series Chipset Family 6 port SATA AHCI Controller (rev 05)
00:1f.3 SMBus: Intel Corporation 6 Series/C200 Series Chipset Family SMBus Controller (rev 05)
02:00.0 Network controller: Atheros Communications Inc. AR9485 Wireless Network Adapter (rev 01)
03:00.0 USB controller: Fresco Logic Device 1009 (rev 02)

Zenbook (Asus UX31) and Linux:

Power  management

Much worse than running Windows. Don’t expect more than 1,5h – 2h on battery.

There are some kernel options you can use to improve that but you should forget about stability then.

Here are these options:

i915.i915_enable_rc6=1 i915.semaphores=1 i915.i915_enable_fbc=1
i915.lvds_downclock=1 i915.modeset=1 pcie_aspm=force

With these options passed to kernel don’t count on stability. Unexpected shutdowns once a day is something normal. Using highly multithreaded apps like JDownloader shutdowns are every 5 minutes.
You have been warned.

Some changes are being made in recent (3.2) kernels to fix these problems but right now you have two options: stability or huge power consumption.
Additionaly it’s better to disable VTd extension in BIOS to gain some stability.

You can also try the solution with Differentiated System Description Table (part of ACPI) recompilation which according to that guy fixes the problem.

Ethernet

Works fine, but driver isn’t available even in 3.1.x kernels. You have to download it and compile yourself.
Here’s the driver.

The 3.2.x line of kernels will be shipped with this driver.

WIFI

Works out of the box

Touchpad

There are two options.

Elantech

You’re lucky. Works out of the box. With recent (3.2) kernels even better.
You can tune it a little with the help of the following script (courtesy of Aurélien Jacobs):

#!/bin/sh
# higher sensitivity
synclient FingerLow=9 FingerHigh=12
# faster movements
synclient MinSpeed=2.0 MaxSpeed=4.0 AccelFactor=0.1
# 2 fingers scroll
synclient VertTwoFingerScroll=1 HorizTwoFingerScroll=1
# faster coasting
synclient CoastingSpeed=10 CoastingFriction=25
# enable tap to click (2 fingers for middle click, 3 fingers for right click)
synclient TapButton1=1 TapButton2=3 TapButton3=2
# faster tap and double tap
synclient FastTaps=1 MaxDoubleTapTime=100
# continue dragging movement when reaching the edge of the touchpad
synclient EdgeMotionMinZ=30 EdgeMotionMaxZ=40 EdgeMotionMinSpeed=100 EdgeMotionMaxSpeed=400
Sentelic

Basically with Oskari Saarenmaa’s driver some functionality works.
At least two-finger scrolling and disabling touchpad while writing.
But the driver still needs some work on edge scrolling or emulation of middle button.
Last thing you can “workaround” using synclient and setting tapping with two fingers as emulation of middle button.

Sentelic company updated their touchpads documentations so there is a chance that sooner or later the driver will work with all features.

Here are the links to other efforts:
ReubenBond’s work.
Chris D’ work.

The most comprehensive place with information about current status of this problem is probably the Ubuntu’s launchpad entry.

SD card reader

Ubuntu’s wiki states it works perfectly out of the box. Well… not for me.
I had to download driver and compile it myself.
3.2 kernel should include this driver.

S2R/S2D aka hibernation

Works only if you unload USB related modules (xhci, sometimes ehci too).

Bluetooth

Should work but needs patching kernel.
I don’t use BT so treat it only as a hint.

Sound/Microphone

Works out of the box

Useful links

ArchLinux WikiUbuntu Wiki

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6 thoughts on “Zenbook under Linux

  1. zen

    Hi,

    Did you noticed if the Zenbook drains battery even with the laptop completely shutdown? I have a UX21 and after one day with it shutdown it loses like a 5% of battery :(

    Reply
  2. Matts

    Hello,
    Sleep/Hibernate works with kernel 3.2.x as well. Just upgraded to 3.2.20, works like a charm.
    Haven’t tried the Ethernet driver yet, neither the card reader. Haven’t had my UX31E long enough to really test the battery either.

    Thanks for the post, good help for me! :)

    // Matts

    Reply
  3. werty

    hello, do you know how i can map the right click area on the touchpad to the rest of the touchpad (left click)
    i want the touchpad to behave like ohne big button. like the one ohnt the macbooks.
    i tried synclient ClickFinger2=1 with no success.

    Reply

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