I bought a little x86 tablet for $50 with no OS on it. Surprisingly, it works great. I loaded Mint 21.1 (with XFCE) on there and everything “just worked”! But as you can imagine, everything was very tiny, and using the touch screen was mostly impossible.
Before I go heavily modifying my Mint XFCE installation, and wind up with less-than-optimal results, I wanted to ask if there’s an x86 Linux distro for tablet/mobile? I just tried Debian 12 with Phosh, and am surprised how bad Phosh was. It couldn’t even size apps properly. For instance the address bar of the web browser is hidden by the UI Toolbar. So you can open the browser, but you can’t use it. Same for most other apps. I might try an absolutely clean install and see if it makes things better, but does anyone know of any Linux DE for mobile that will run on an x86 tablet?

Might be a bit too heavyweight for your tablet, but both GNOME and KDE have tablet/touch modes which activate automatically if they detect touch input but no mouse. If auto detect doesn’t work you can turn it on manually in Settings -> Workspace Behaviour -> General Behaviour -> Touch Mode in KDE. Not sure about GNOME.

The Baldness
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I’m using KDE right now. No virtual keyboard. If it’s supposed to be for mobile, how could they not include an on-screen keyboard? Do I have to install one?

Which distro are you on right now? It should have it, at least there is one on mine. Think it’s called maliit-keyboard.

The Baldness
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The login page has the option of an onscreen keyboard, and that works nicely. But it was absent when trying actually use the desktop. My hope is for the keyboard to pop up whenever I click inside a text input.

Try and see if the settings application shows the onscreen keyboard as enabled or not. Should be in All settings- Virtual keyboard. If it was working on the lock screen it might just need some setting to change. Are you on X11 or Wayland? That might also be a factor, if it stops once it switches display servers.

You need to install the maliit keyboard.

gnome on postmarketOS works well on my pinetab. There’s been a lot of improvements for gnome mobile in the past year. I’m not sure about getting postmarketOS on your device. There might be something or you could try Alpine. Maybe any other distro with gnome, but i think pmOS has specific packages with the latest improvements for gnome mobile.

The Baldness
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pmOS was my first thought, but it’s only built for two x86 devices and a lot of features aren’t working.

I know you’re asking about linux, but just pointing out that you can try android x86 on it, just in case you don’t know about the project.

The Baldness
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I was hopeful, and gave Android x86 a shot. It froze solid when attempting to find wifi networks. Oh well…

Too bad :(

I looked at your other comments. You had problems with kde, but did you use the standard desktop kde or plasma mobile? If you didn’t try it, I’d suggest giving plasma mobile a shot.

Another suggestion is to use a distro with wayland, so you can run waydroid and have the option to use android apps.

The Baldness
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I tried Plasma Mobile. The issues I’m having with various distros is that the UI is not for mobile, or the hardware doesn’t work. I need to find a mobile-friendly distro I want to use, and then get my hardware working. It’s quite a PITA, and I’m surprised things are still this primitive. I think part of the problem is that the touchscreen shows up as a generic two-button mouse, and I don’t know if there are linux drivers for it.

Interesting, because plasma mobile is designed for phones. The linux mobile ecosystem is still too immature, unfortunately.

Did you have any luck so far with some os and gui combination?

The Baldness
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Okay, maybe I didn’t do it right. I downloaded KDE Plasma Neon. I guess that’s not mobile. I seem to remember KDE didn’t have the proper network drivers so I couldn’t download anything. Is it possible to install Plasma Mobile over something like Linux Mint?

Yes, it’s possible. This link has a list of desktop distros supporting kde mobile at the bottom of the page: https://plasma-mobile.org/get/

The Baldness
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I’m installing the Manjaro image right now. It looks promising. At least the on-screen keyboard and wifi are working.

The Baldness
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The Manjaro image is promising, but fairly messed up. Icons are off the side of the screen, etc. Overall this looks good. I might try one of the other plasma mobile distros.

The Baldness
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That would actually be ideal, but last I heard a lot of things weren’t working. I’ll have to go look it up again.

ono
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It’s technically linux. :)

It’s Linux like macOS is BSD.

ono
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Only in a very loose sense. MacOS has some BSD userland and a custom kernel with some bits and pieces taken from BSD (and the also-related Mach). Android has an actual Linux kernel, which I can plainly see when I build it from source.

In any case, my comment was meant only as a light-hearted way to point out that Android has the portability that OP would need to get a usable OS on a tablet.

@MetaRobert@lemmy.ml
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MacOS is actually a registered Unix.

When I tried Gnome on my Pinephone a few years ago I was actually surprised at how good it was. Made me really sad that they hadn’t put the resources used to develop Phosh into polishing Gnome. Maybe it’s even better now.

Or you could see if you could just configure KDE to your liking.

The Baldness
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I just loaded up Debian 12 with Gnome. It gets me 90% of where I need to be. I’ll make a different post about the remaining 10%.

bbbhltz
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Do you have the tablet specs?

The Baldness
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It’s an AAVA Mobile INARI10-WLAN-1 QC Intel Atom Z3795, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD They’re on eBay right now for about $50. No OS.

Marxine
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You can probably slap KDE on it and call it a day. Plasma has become less resource-intense in since about the 5.0 version (and remember to turn Akonadi off if you don’t use it).

The Baldness
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Using it right now. No virtual keyboard. If it’s supposed to be for mobile, how could they not include an on-screen keyboard? Do I have to install one?

Marxine
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Now that I’ve looked it up, apparently you do need to install one. I’ve looked up the settings menu where there’s one virtual keyboard already installed for me, but couldn’t find any toggle for it.

Searching for “virtual keyboard” on the Discover store yielded me some results. I’d try it here if my laptop had touch screen, but it doesn’t. You could try “CoreKeyboard” or “Virtual Keyboard Toggle”.

Modern Gnome should in theory be able to adapt to any (reasonable) display size. So anything with recent enough repos would be a good fit

The Baldness
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I just loaded up Debian 12 with Gnome. It gets me 90% of where I need to be. I’ll make a different post about the remaining 10%.

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