Getting Ubuntu up and running on a Lenovo Miix 310

I picked up a Lenovo Miix 310 a while back to play with Window. It was an interesting experience, but I really can’t see myself shifting my development over to Windows any time soon, so I figured I’d throw Xubuntu on it and see if it’d be good as something I could use when travelling.

My first attempt was with 16.04 LTS. That didn’t go too well. The biggest issue was with screen distortion: the graphics looked interlaced. HDMI out worked, however, but I couldn’t get much further with it.

I figured I’d try 17.10, which might have slightly better luck, and it did! While during boot, the same weird interlacing thing happened, I was able to get to the point where I had a login screen, albeit one that was rotated, along with the mouse pointer. To fix that, I made the following update to /etc/default/grub, running sudo update-grub afterwards:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="fbcon=rotate:1"

I then edited /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf:

[SeatDefault]
display-setup-script=/etc/lightdm/display-setup.sh

And created /etc/lightdm/display-setup.sh, which I made executable:

#!/bin/sh

# Fix screen rotation on login.
xrandr --output DSI-1 --rotate right
# Fix mouse.
xinput set-prop "FTSC1000:00 2808:1015" --type=float "Coordinate Transformation Matrix" 0 1 0 -1 0 1 0 0 1

Then I did my usual setup:

apt install git tig ansible most vim-gnome tmux meld
apt install debfoster zsh keepassx make openssh-server fonts-inconsolata
ssh-keygen -t ed25519 -f ~/.ssh/id_primary
chsh -s $(which zsh)
mkdir projects
cd projects
git checkout git@github.com:kgaughan/dotfiles/
cd dotfiles
make install

This would work in fits and start. Sometimes, I’d be able to boot it up without any issues, while other times I’d be presented with a black screen. At that point, I gave up, and the tablet was left sitting on a cupboard in my living room for a while. I suspected it was an issue with not being able to control the backlight, but didn’t know for sure, or how to solve it.

Recently, however, I came across this post on the Lenovo forums that gave me the missing part of the puzzle. I edited /etc/initramfs-tools/modules, adding pwm_lpss_platform, and ran sudo update-initramfs -k all -u.

A reboot later, and everything’s been working almost flawlessly! There are still a few issues, such as the SD card reader not working (which I believe won’t be an issue in 18.04), and the Bluetooth support being broken, but I can live without those. The other small issue is that sometimes the device will hang for seemingly no reason.