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Install Linux on Surface tablet

Installing and modifying Debian GNU/Linux on Surface tablet

Mar. 9, 2020 -

For some years now I use a tablet as main computer, I like its versatility. But, most tablets come with a locked down operating system, like iPadOS, Windows 10S or Android. As I like things my own (weird) way, I wondered if I could escape these "software jails" by installing a free operating system on a tablet. It's possible, read along to find out how I escaped!

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You can use another computer to create a bootable USB stick, I used my ThinkPad X1
You can use another computer to create a bootable USB stick, I used my ThinkPad X1
Using the customised Surface Go (right) for programming, similar to how I work using an iPad Pro (left)
Using the customised Surface Go (right) for programming, similar to how I work using an iPad Pro (left)
Installation in progress - note the connected network cable
Installation in progress - note the connected network cable
Missing firmware renders hardware unusable during installation
Missing firmware renders hardware unusable during installation
Connecting the bootable USB drive to the Surface tablet using the USB-C to USB 3.0 and ethernet dongle
Connecting the bootable USB drive to the Surface tablet using the USB-C to USB 3.0 and ethernet dongle
Microsoft Surface Go - an ultra portable 10
Microsoft Surface Go - an ultra portable 10" touch screen tablet computer (with type cover, pen and USB-C to ethernet and USB 3.0 adapter)

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DesignExperimentHackingLinuxMinimalTablet