Evolve III Maestro E-book Part 2: Linux Installation

Getting a working Linux install on the ebook

In this article we’ll go over installing Linux and getting it to work in a reasonable fashion on this notebook, the Evolve III Maestro ebook. Why? Because it was $60 and isn’t a Chromebook. This article is part review, part guide, and part a place to keep my notes if I ever reinstall.

This is not a fancy laptop. It is very much bare bones, has some serious limitations, and will never replace even the lowest of the low end gaming or real productivity laptops. But all that aside, it’s a great little project/tinker machine and given how hard it is to find a raspberry pi right now, might even fill that role.

At the $60 price point, it’s hard to compete with this machine at least compared to other bottom end laptops.

Dual boot?

I chose to set my notebook up as a dual boot machine. In my case I intended to use the Windows install for running certain Ham radio software away from home, while using the Linux install for day to day use. I also threw a couple simple games on the Windows install for the kids while we’re out and about.

-For my install I added a 64GB micro sd card for the Linux install. The built in 64GB is then dedicated to Windows. Since 64GB is already pretty tight for a Windows install I felt splitting it would leave me with an overall less usable machine.

One important note here: This machine cannot boot off of the SD card. It took me a couple tries to realize this is why my install was not working. Eventually I installed the boot partition on the built in disk and all was well.

Of course, instead of an SD card you can opt for the much faster option of replacing the cellular adapter with an SSD. See part 1 for more information on what SSDs work and how to install them.

Install Linux

I opted for Linux Mint xfce, which is relatively lightweight and has a nice, usable UI out of the box. As mentioned in my dual boot notes, you’ll need to install the boot partition (/boot) to the existing drive if you are using an SD card.

Fix the Wifi

After installing Linux mint I found wifi did not work. While it works fine on Windows, we need to do a little legwork to make it work on Linux.

It’s not difficult, although you do have to repeat this process after each kernel update. In my case I added a startup script for it.
You’ll need this repo: https://github.com/lwfinger/rtl8723du, but don’t quite follow the instructions there or you’ll have auth issues (possibly fixed at this time?).

git clone git://github.com/lwfinger/rtl8723du.git -b master
cd rtl8723du
make
sudo make install
sudo modprobe -v 8723du 

#And then on each kernel update... I suggest making a startup script for this.

cd rtl8723du
make clean
make
sudo make install
sudo modprobe -rv 8723du
sudo modprobe -v 8723du

And that’s it, you should have working wifi now.

Why is my clock wrong?

You may notice, as I did, that your clock is wrong either on Windows or Linux. You may also notice that fixing it is short lived: on the next reboot, it’s wrong again. So what gives?

This isn’t an Evolve specific issue, it’s actually common in dual boot systems. Most Linux distros assume your hardware clock is set to UTC. Windows, on the other hand, assumes it is set to your local timezone. This is easily fixed while booted into Linux by running timedatectl set-local-rtc 1 to set your clock to the local timezone. More details can be found here.

Worth it?

In my opinion, the Evolve III Maestro ebook is a handy little portable machine. I have no intention of using it as my daily machine, but it’s a solid backup machine. I’ll be using at as something to keep with me away from home that gives me both a Linux and Windows environment in a small footprint. I think in this role, it’s an excellent deal.

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