When I ordered my PineTab a little earlier last year around this time, I had seen some Ubuntu Touch videos and thought it would be almost like having a miniature touch PC. How wrong I was. Ubuntu Touch can theoretically run UI desktop applications via Libertine, but a year later, that is not possible on the PINE64 tablet. So much Arch Linux as Mobian bet on Phosh, and Manjaro has focused more on the PinePhone.
In my tests, what I liked the most was Manjaro in its version Plasma Mobile, but it was always vertical and the updates ended up breaking the operating system. Probably, the bug had an easy solution, but with so many options one gets tired of trying. Today, seeing if Manjaro had launched a new image, I have seen again that it had not, but I have looked to see if Arch Linux had done it and ... yes!
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Arch Linux with Plasma is worth it
En this article Last year we explained how to install the operating systems on the PineTab. It is likely that we will soon write an article about JumpDrive, which would allow us to install them also in the internal memory, but what we have to talk about today is that Arch Linux with Plasma "out of the box". Is available in this link, and its developer, Danct12, says that may have bugs. And it does.
What faults have I found at the moment?
- If it is not updated, lowering what would be the control center with the switches or «toggles» can get stuck there. This does not happen after updating the operating system. NOTE: - The WiFi on the PineTab is not very good, so it is recommended to install large updates close to the router.
- In landscape, the search bar and the control center, once updated, are moved to the left if we have the tablet in landscape. Seeing that, for example, when you have a YouTube video playing, a playback widget appears on the right, this could be the case. UPDATED: this is so, since the bar can be dragged to the center.
- Sound does not work at startup. At least in my case, you have to:
- Install alsa-utils.
- Write in the terminal «alsamixer».
- Press F6 (a keyboard is required).
- Choose the «pinetab» sound card.
- Finally, unmute (with the «m» key) what we need. I have not yet found how to activate the headphones, I do not know if it is a bug.
- I have installed Firefox, GIMP, LibreOffice, Kate, Ktorrent, Kodi, Okular, Audacity (the latest version without telemetry), RetroArch and Scribus and they work. Even Visual Studio Code, but installation from AUR takes a long time.
- The camera, Megapixels, also goes; We can use the selfie and the main one.
- Screenshots can be taken from the control center. Right now, sometimes the control center comes out; has to improve.
- Night color exists and works.
- Dark theme.
- They have already translated a lot of the interface and it is in Spanish.
- The accelerometer to go from landscape to portrait.
- Performance, considering how limited the PineTab is, is decent. Angelfish doesn't crawl like most browsers I've tested.
Arch Linux ARM looks good, fingers crossed
Although I have had a crisis of faith in the past, I always said that this promised, that in the future things would be better if the developers did not abandon their projects. In the case of Danct12, not only has he not abandoned it, but a month ago he released an image with Plasma for the mobile version of Arch Linux. The thing that most impressed me almost a year ago was seeing desktop applications on a tablet. Now things have improved. The performance is better, and we can also use a Plasma Mobile that seems to work.
Time passes and we can become desperate. We have been waiting for about ten years to use "real" Linux on mobile devices, more or less since Canonical announced the convergence that it ended up abandoning. Now, that seems to be closer than ever. Are they PinePhone with Manjaro KDEThere is this Arch Linux, whose main version uses Phosh but we also have another with Plasma, and in a few months they will launch the JingPad A1 with JingOS in what will be a tablet designed for everyday use. We'll see what the future holds, but I am already happy with an Arch Linux with KDE software without many bugs.