[Discontinued] Linux on the Acer Iconia Tab A500, 2022 edition

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Baonks81

Senior Member
Aug 8, 2020
93
30
Thank you for giving me this info. I have uploaded a newer version of the Ubuntu MATE image with these changes in mind. I'm not sure of how to enable the extra parameters you gave me, but at least you encouraged me to get audio working again.

Changes:
  • Kernel version upgraded to 5.14.0-rc1.
  • Most extra packages for the Raspberry Pi family of computers have been removed, including the kernels.
  • The PPA at https://launchpad.net/~grate-driver/+archive/ubuntu/ppa is pre-configured to be accessed. Most packages from this repository, including the opentegra driver, come preinstalled. They currently are enough to get 2D acceleration working, but not for 3D acceleration.
  • Except for what has been mentioned above, any packages shipped may have to be updated once an internet connection is established.
To get sound working again for existing images, edit the file at /etc/modules and add to this file:
Code:
snd_soc_tegra20_i2s
snd_soc_tegra_pcm
snd_soc_tegra_wm8903
snd_soc_wm8903
 

Worldblender

Senior Member
Feb 17, 2015
58
44
Moto G Power
hi i have compiled the 5.15.0_rc4 kernel

always password error
The password you have to use is the one that was entered during the pmbootstrap setup phase. It can't be seen during this time, so you have to make sure to not make any mistakes, even during the second time. You can use something easy like '1234' if you're in fear of making mistakes. It it possible to chroot into the filesystem after installation to change the user password, in case this doesn't work, however.
A new image with a newer kernel? Maybe. I've found myself less motivated to work on this and related images, because of the lack of NEON that prevents me from being able to run certain programs such as Firefox 57 and newer. However, I'm open to letting others reproduce the images I made, including newer versions, and this might have to be done should I find myself with less free time later on.
 

Baonks81

Senior Member
Aug 8, 2020
93
30
The password you have to use is the one that was entered during the pmbootstrap setup phase. It can't be seen during this time, so you have to make sure to not make any mistakes, even during the second time. You can use something easy like '1234' if you're in fear of making mistakes. It it possible to chroot into the filesystem after installation to change the user password, in case this doesn't work, however.

A new image with a newer kernel? Maybe. I've found myself less motivated to work on this and related images, because of the lack of NEON that prevents me from being able to run certain programs such as Firefox 57 and newer. However, I'm open to letting others reproduce the images I made, including newer versions, and this might have to be done should I find myself with less free time later on.
Ok, I just replace kernel 5.15.0-rc4 from @bascore , following your guide. I hope it'll work, I didn't have Acer Iconia device to test those images

 
Last edited:

bascore

Senior Member
Dec 26, 2010
61
17
calais
Ok, I just replace kernel 5.15.0-rc4 from @bascore , following your guide. I hope it'll work, I didn't have Acer Iconia device to test those images


Ok, I just replace kernel 5.15.0-rc4 from @bascore , following your guide. I hope it'll work, I didn't have Acer Iconia device to test those images

hello keyboard function not
 

bascore

Senior Member
Dec 26, 2010
61
17
calais

ohiotech

New member
Nov 2, 2021
2
0
Would much appreciate some help please. My Linux skills are intermediate. I want to try one of these linux images, but I can't get past the first step of getting a file manager installed to get the CPU ID. All I find says to go to the play store. Now that everything is https and tls 1.2, I can't get this old browser to connect for a download/install. Even tried apkpure.com hoping to get a 3rd party download, nothing works. Would setting up local ftp server work? Thanks in advance. Ohiotech
 

Baonks81

Senior Member
Aug 8, 2020
93
30
hi no GPU accelerate grate-driver! how to install eMMC rootfs kali
Using adb push to /userdata partition on PC and twrp -> advance -> terminal -> df -> umount mmcblk0p--

But you have to make sure which mmcblk0p-- was /userdata partition. Its can be brick your device

Btw, I didn't have Acer Iconia A500, so I can't test those steps
 
Last edited:

Baonks81

Senior Member
Aug 8, 2020
93
30
Would much appreciate some help please. My Linux skills are intermediate. I want to try one of these linux images, but I can't get past the first step of getting a file manager installed to get the CPU ID. All I find says to go to the play store. Now that everything is https and tls 1.2, I can't get this old browser to connect for a download/install. Even tried apkpure.com hoping to get a 3rd party download, nothing works. Would setting up local ftp server work? Thanks in advance. Ohiotech
I'm new in linux too. But I try to search and learn more on internet, why could you do like us!? Try hard :)

 

bascore

Senior Member
Dec 26, 2010
61
17
calais
Would much appreciate some help please. My Linux skills are intermediate. I want to try one of these linux images, but I can't get past the first step of getting a file manager installed to get the CPU ID. All I find says to go to the play store. Now that everything is https and tls 1.2, I can't get this old browser to connect for a download/install. Even tried apkpure.com hoping to get a 3rd party download, nothing works. Would setting up local ftp server work? Thanks in advance. Ohiotech
hi i will make an img that works for you help
 
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bascore

Senior Member
Dec 26, 2010
61
17
calais
arm-linux-gnueabi-ld : ./fastboot.o : dans la fonction « fastboot_main » :
fastboot.c:(.text.fastboot_main+0x88) : référence indéfinie vers « fastboot_status_ok »
arm-linux-gnueabi-ld : fastboot.c:(.text.fastboot_main+0x168) : référence indéfinie vers « fastboot_status_ok »
arm-linux-gnueabi-ld : fastboot.c:(.text.fastboot_main+0x196) : référence indéfinie vers « fastboot_status_ok »
arm-linux-gnueabi-ld : fastboot.c:(.text.fastboot_main+0x1c4) : référence indéfinie vers « fastboot_status_ok »
arm-linux-gnueabi-ld : fastboot.c:(.text.fastboot_main+0x350) : référence indéfinie vers « fastboot_status_ok »
arm-linux-gnueabi-ld : ./fastboot.o:fastboot.c:(.text.fastboot_main+0x404) : encore plus de références indéfinies suivent vers « fastboot_status_ok »
make: *** [Makefile:83 : bootmenu.elf] Erreur 1
 
Last edited:

mariohce

Member
Jun 28, 2022
8
0
Hello Worldblender, it would be possible for you to put a complete tutorial explaining step by step how to install linux on the Acer A500. I mean detailing everything necessary and step by step what should be done, I know I ask too much but I'm a novice in all this. Thank you very much for your work.
 

Worldblender

Senior Member
Feb 17, 2015
58
44
Moto G Power
Hello Worldblender, it would be possible for you to put a complete tutorial explaining step by step how to install linux on the Acer A500. I mean detailing everything necessary and step by step what should be done, I know I ask too much but I'm a novice in all this. Thank you very much for your work.
I'll help out as best as I can, even though I'm finished with this tablet model. Some of the steps are not easy to perform in Windows, so you'll might want to use a liveUSB or liveCD Linux distro if Windows is your primary OS. The process below also assumes that you've already installed the custom bootloader necessary for loading non-Android operating systems. If your tablet is still on stock, follow the process at https://forum.xda-developers.com/iconia-a500/a500-2019-2020-t4039271 before returning here; it's too much to explain here. I can alter the instructions for you if you tell me the operating system you use.
  1. Go to https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1pMqaS5GaM6N9TAKlNGQZWCG8UTiRn4pK?usp=sharing, where there will be two image files.
  2. Download the Ubuntu MATE 20.04 image, named ubuntu-mate-20.04.1-desktop-armhf+acer-picasso.img.xz.
  3. Flash the downloaded image (decompress if necessary) to a microSD card of at least 8 GB. A program like Rufus or balenaEtcher will suffice.
  4. (best done on a Linux distro) The microSD card will have two partitions, pmOS_boot and pmOS_root. The former has the boot image files, while the latter has the operating system image files. You'll want to mount the former, as it has the boot image needed for flashing.
  5. Put the tablet into fastboot mode, then connect it with a microUSB cable to your host computer. Assuming you have the Android debug tools installed (the link above can lead you to them if not installed), run
    Bash:
    fastboot devices
    . If the tablet is detected, then run
    Bash:
    fastboot flash secboot [location of the boot image named boot.img]
  6. Insert the flashed microSD card into the tablet, reboot the tablet and have it boot from the secondary partition. If successful, the postmarketOS logo will show while loading. A setup screen will eventually show, where you will be prompted to finish the setup, including a username and password.
  7. The tablet with microSD card is now usable with the Ubuntu MATE image. You'll be left to yourself as to what to do next after login.
Let me know if you need further clarification at any point in the process. I can't fully explain the process of going from a stock tablet to getting Linux on it, as that would be too much to explain here.
 

Worldblender

Senior Member
Feb 17, 2015
58
44
Moto G Power
I have a major announcement that will affect the creation of new images.

The lack of NEON on the Nvidia Tegra 2 of this tablet (which more and more applications are using these days, including the Firefox web browser) has made me consider selling my Acer Iconia Tab A500. Though I enjoyed using a mainline Linux kernel on a real ARM tablet, frequent issues of running out of memory especially during web browsing have also plagued me. I won't be making anymore images from this point on for this tablet (I can still make them, but I won't have the real hardware with me to test them on), but the existing images will still be available for download for as long as I leave them up.

Even though I enjoyed my time repurposing this tablet to become a Linux one, I think it's time that I move onto some more recent hardware. I know about planned obsolescence, but when most manufacturers are including NEON support in their ARM SOCs, and most mainstream applications are taking advantage of it, I can greatly feel the effects of this. Again, I'm grateful for all the mainlining efforts done, them being the reason why I could get postmarketOS supported for this tablet.

If anyone is interested in buying this tablet from me, just contact me and I'll try to work something out.
 

mariohce

Member
Jun 28, 2022
8
0
I'll help out as best as I can, even though I'm finished with this tablet model. Some of the steps are not easy to perform in Windows, so you'll might want to use a liveUSB or liveCD Linux distro if Windows is your primary OS. The process below also assumes that you've already installed the custom bootloader necessary for loading non-Android operating systems. If your tablet is still on stock, follow the process at https://forum.xda-developers.com/iconia-a500/a500-2019-2020-t4039271 before returning here; it's too much to explain here. I can alter the instructions for you if you tell me the operating system you use.
  1. Go to https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1pMqaS5GaM6N9TAKlNGQZWCG8UTiRn4pK?usp=sharing, where there will be two image files.
  2. Download the Ubuntu MATE 20.04 image, named ubuntu-mate-20.04.1-desktop-armhf+acer-picasso.img.xz.
  3. Flash the downloaded image (decompress if necessary) to a microSD card of at least 8 GB. A program like Rufus or balenaEtcher will suffice.
  4. (best done on a Linux distro) The microSD card will have two partitions, pmOS_boot and pmOS_root. The former has the boot image files, while the latter has the operating system image files. You'll want to mount the former, as it has the boot image needed for flashing.
  5. Put the tablet into fastboot mode, then connect it with a microUSB cable to your host computer. Assuming you have the Android debug tools installed (the link above can lead you to them if not installed), run
    Bash:
    fastboot devices
    . If the tablet is detected, then run
    Bash:
    fastboot flash secboot [location of the boot image named boot.img]
  6. Insert the flashed microSD card into the tablet, reboot the tablet and have it boot from the secondary partition. If successful, the postmarketOS logo will show while loading. A setup screen will eventually show, where you will be prompted to finish the setup, including a username and password.
  7. The tablet with microSD card is now usable with the Ubuntu MATE image. You'll be left to yourself as to what to do next after login.
Let me know if you need further clarification at any point in the process. I can't fully explain the process of going from a stock tablet to getting Linux on it, as that would be too much to explain here.
Thank you very much for your prompt response, what is not clear to me is when doing "fastboot flash secboot [location of the boot image named boot.img], what is the path of that location??? so what should I write there. Thanks
 

Worldblender

Senior Member
Feb 17, 2015
58
44
Moto G Power
Thank you very much for your prompt response, what is not clear to me is when doing "fastboot flash secboot [location of the boot image named boot.img], what is the path of that location??? so what should I write there. Thanks
[location of the boot image named boot.img] means the full path to the boot.img file, at the root of where pmOS_boot is mounted. This step would be better done in a terminal or command prompt. Since I haven't known about what operating system you use, I'll give you some examples of what I mean (these are not going to be what you'll actually use):
  • Windows example: E:\boot.img
  • Various Linux examples: /media/ubuntu/pmOS_boot/boot.img, /run/media/ubuntu/pmOS_boot/boot.img
 

mariohce

Member
Jun 28, 2022
8
0
[location of the boot image named boot.img] means the full path to the boot.img file, at the root of where pmOS_boot is mounted. This step would be better done in a terminal or command prompt. Since I haven't known about what operating system you use, I'll give you some examples of what I mean (these are not going to be what you'll actually use):
  • Windows example: E:\boot.img
  • Various Linux examples: /media/ubuntu/pmOS_boot/boot.img, /run/media/ubuntu/pmOS_boot/boot.img
Thank you very much, I have managed to install linux on the Iconia A500, but when I start it asks for a username and password, what should I put as username and password???
 

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  • 3
    UPDATE: I discontinued work for this tablet model, due to the lack of NEON support for the Nvidia Tegra 2 CPU used in this model. Any existing work I uploaded will remain online, but I won't be uploading anything new. I'm also considering selling my tablet to anyone interested.

    I have become successful with getting postmarketOS to run on this tablet for the past 2 months, running mainline Linux (5.8.0 as of this writing). This allows us to use this tablet model for a little longer, without getting stuck on older Linux kernel versions.
    postmarketOS is an experimental, touch-optimized and pre-configured Alpine Linux. It can be installed on smartphones and other devices.

    About postmarketOS, from their homepage:
    We are sick of not receiving updates shortly after buying new phones. Sick of the walled gardens deeply integrated into Android and iOS. That's why we are developing a sustainable, privacy and security focused free software mobile OS that is modeled after traditional Linux distributions. With privilege separation in mind. Let's keep our devices useful and safe until they physically break!

    Wiki page for this tablet: https://wiki.postmarketos.org/wiki/Acer_Iconia_Tab_A500_(acer-picasso)
    Most features should work, except for the camera and 3D acceleration. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth work only if the non-free firmware is chosen to be installed.

    How to install:
    Follow the installation guide at https://wiki.postmarketos.org/wiki/Installation_guide, where theses specifics have to be specified when requested (this device is now in upstream pmaports):
    • Vendor: acer
    • Device code-name: picasso
    • Install non-free Wi-Fi + Bluetooth firmware: y
    Only the mainline kernel is available for installation now, as downstream kernels no longer successfully compile. The user interface may be freely selected, as long as it is not one that requires 3D acceleration. To use KDE Plasma 5, add these lines to /etc/security/pam_env.conf:
    Code:
    QT_IM_MODULE=qtvirtualkeyboard
    QT_QUICK_BACKEND=software
    LIBGL_ALWAYS_SOFTWARE=1

    Next, run the following commands in succession, after each one finishes, assuming the working directory contains the pmbootstrap.py script:
    Code:
    > ./pmbootstrap.py build device-acer-picasso
    > ./pmbootstrap.py build firmware-acer-picasso
    > ./pmbootstrap.py build linux-postmarketos-grate

    From here on out, the generated chroot can be either installed to the eMMC, or a microSD card that must be inserted at or before boot time (the latter method allows for dual-booting Android already installed to the eMMC, although it can be directly accessed from the Linux system). The boot partition always has to be flashed to the eMMC in fastboot mode, as it is not possible to boot directly off of a microSD card.
    If installing to the eMMC, run
    Code:
    > ./pmbootstrap.py install
    > ./pmbootstrap.py flasher flash_kernel --partition secboot
    > ./pmbootstrap.py flasher flash_rootfs
    (optional) > ./pmbootstrap.py flasher boot
    If installing to a microSD card, run
    Code:
    > ./pmbootstrap.py install --sdcard [path to the device for installation]
    > ./pmbootstrap.py flasher flash_kernel --partition secboot

    Depending on what user interface was chosen earlier in the installation process, there may not be enough packages installed to get a fully-loaded GUI. Besides the built-in Wi-Fi, it is also possible to use a USB ethernet adapter, or connect to another computer with a micro-USB cable and get RNDIS access that enables using SSH to the tablet.
    3
    Using another distro in place of postmarketOS

    Advanced: Using another distro in place of postmarketOS
    It is possible, if using the microSD card method, to use a different distro instead of postmarketOS, for those who want more software OOTB. I use the Ubuntu MATE rootfs from https://ubuntu-mate.org/ports/raspberry-pi/ as my daily driver, but other distros may take more effort to get working. Glibc limitations no longer apply, as the kernel version is no longer stuck at 3.1.0 (unlike with my earlier attempts). Carefully follow the instructions listed below, or the resulting system will become unbootable:
    1. Use losetup or GNOME Disks (Utility) to mount the image in read-write mode.
    2. Run GParted with the loop image and the target microSD card as the arguments.
    3. Copy only the larger rootfs partition to the microSD card. Resize as necessary to get it to fit on the target microSD card.
    4. Make sure on the target microSD card the boot partition is named 'pmOS_boot' and the rootfs 'pmOS_root'. The initramfs is hard-coded to search for partitions with these names by default for microSD cards. The loop image is not needed after this point, and can be safely detached.
    5. On the copied rootfs, edit /etc/fstab to reflect the partition layout. To get access to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, copy the kernel modules and firmware from the pmOS rootfs on the host system to the microSD rootfs.
    Let me know if something wasn't understood from my instructions, or more clarification is needed. The instructions here can be somewhat overwhelming for those who have less Linux experience, but at least we're not forced to stay on old distro versions anymore.
    3
    Premade Linux images

    I finally have managed to create a premade image to make the installation process easier for other people, especially for those who don't want to go through the hassle of compiling software. Every image I make can be found at https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1pMqaS5GaM6N9TAKlNGQZWCG8UTiRn4pK?usp=sharing.

    For all images:
    • Kernel version: 5.15.0-rc4
    • Includes all compiled kernel modules from postmarketOS builds, plus nonfree firmware enabled.
    • The postmarketOS splash screen will appear, although the underlying OS differs based the image used.

    Images available:
    • Ubuntu MATE 20.04.1 (ubuntu-mate-20.04.1-desktop-armhf+acer-picasso.img.xz) (size: 1.3 GiB):
      • Based on 'ubuntu-mate-20.04.1-desktop-armhf+raspi.img.xz', available from https://ubuntu-mate.org/ports/raspberry-pi/
      • Underlying OS is Ubuntu 20.04.1, which is supported for 5 years until April 2025. However, Ubuntu MATE officially has support only until April 2023.
      • Requires at least an 8 GB or greater size microSD card (the image is 5.6 GiB decompressed).
      • The setup screen will open upon the first successful boot, where a username and password have to be set.
      • Most extra packages for the Raspberry Pi family of computers have been removed, including the kernels.
      • The battery icon in MATE cannot be enabled graphically, as the preferences window has been patched to permanently hide such an option (as the Raspberry Pis lack native battery support); instead run the command
        Code:
        gsettings set org.mate.power-manager icon-policy 'always'
        to manually enable it.
      • The PPA at https://launchpad.net/~grate-driver/+archive/ubuntu/ppa is pre-configured to be accessed. Most packages from this repository, including the opentegra driver, come preinstalled. They currently are enough to get 2D acceleration working, but not for 3D acceleration.
      • Except for what has been mentioned above, any packages shipped may have to be updated once an internet connection is established.
    • Arch Linux ARM (ArchLinuxARM-armv7-latest+acer-picasso.img.xz) (size: 576.6 MiB):
      • Based on 'ArchLinuxARM-armv7-latest.tar.gz', available from https://archlinuxarm.org/about/downloads
      • Rolling release distro often with the latest versions of most packages. More recent software can be acquired at a small expense of instability.
      • Requires at least an 2 GB or greater size microSD card (the image is 1.9 GiB decompressed). Larger size is recommended for installing more packages.
      • To login into system:
        • Login as the default user alarm with the password alarm.
        • The default root password is root.
      • Initially command-line only; contains no desktop environment installed.
    Use any image writing program with these images. If such a program does not support XZ compression, the image needs to be extracted instead, and that has to be used.
    I hope the images will proves useful to some people. Let me know if any issue pops up during usage of this image!
    2
    I released a new version of the premade Ubuntu MATE image just now, named 'ubuntu-mate-20.04.1-desktop-armhf+acer-picasso.img.xz'. The following changes have been made since the last image:
    • Kernel version upgraded to 5.10.1-rc1
    • Based on Ubuntu MATE 20.04.1
    • Everything that changed since the beta1 image
    Other than these changes, there are no other differences that can be noticed right away.
    Direct link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1mr-7e29KJYeagJju0Yo1qUpT2YRb61AR/view?usp=sharing
    2
    Many thanks for your work. I've entered today this forum just curious about something new and found this!
    Second life for this old machine!

    For those with problems installing, I've flashed precompiled image using balenaEtcher into the sdcard.
    Then, extracted .xz image, extracted .img, then extracted 0.img and copied boot file from there. After that, renamed the file to boot.img and flashed it with fastboot.
    As I've the old modified skrillex bootloader, the command is fastboot flash secboot boot.img.

    It boots and works well for now!