The NB10 ships with Windows 8. UEFI Secure Boot is enabled, and there is no support for legacy BIOS (CSM).
As of May 2014, the latest BIOS version appears to support CSM, so BIOS mode booting should be possible. I haven’t tested this. See https://unofficialnb10.wordpress.com/2014/06/01/bios-1-40-release/.
It will only boot a 64-bit OS, so you need an amd64/x86_64 ISO. An i386 one will not boot – and no useful error message is produced when it fails.
The first hurdle to overcome is booting a Linux installer. Accessing the BIOS is done by holding F12 down before pressing the power button, until the BIOS splash screen is displayed.
Once you’ve disabled Secure Boot, you can boot from a USB device holding a Linux installer. Choosing an alternative boot device at boot-time is done by holding down the escape key before pressing the power button similarly to accessing the BIOS. Alternative boot devices (the boot order) can also be configured in the BIOS.
The left-hand USB port does not seem to be reliable for booting. Use one of the ones on the right.
Issues with older kernels and the new Bay Trail-M chip lead to a crash either immediately after loading the kernel, or a couple of seconds after booting. Linux 3.14 appears to have complete (or almost-complete) support for the NB10; unfortunately at the time of writing, every common distribution is shipping an earlier kernel.
The wheezy (Debian stable) installer will boot and run via use of the ‘noapic’ and ‘nolapic’ commandline options to the kernel, but will not successfully bring up the built-in ethernet interface (r8169), nor detect the wireless interface.
The Ubuntu 14.04 (Trusty) installer would boot and run similarly, but I had trouble with it crashing and gave up.
The jessie (Debian testing) installer would boot and run via use of the ‘noapic’ option at the kernel commandline. It could successfully use both network interfaces. I installed this.
The NB10 BIOS in UEFI mode seems to only be able to boot from a file on the EFI partition named boot/bootx64.efi – which is how the Debian and Ubuntu installers ship. If your OS does as Debian, and installs to a different directory or uses a different filename, the BIOS will refuse to boot. It’s simple to move/rename the file on-disk before finalising the installation and rebooting. Alternatively, if you forget, it can be done by booting the installer again in rescue mode.
At the time of writing, it was preferable to replace the installed Debian kernel with the 3.14 from Debian experimental, which will consistently boot the system successfully without the use of any extra commandline options. This can be done from the installer either before rebooting, or in rescue mode if you forget. Things which I have confirmed to work in Debian jessie:
- USB support.
- Trackpad including multi-touch gestures.
- Suspend to RAM and resume.
- Sound input, internal microphone, speakers, and output.
- Wireless network.
- Wired networking – but it appears to fail after a resume from suspend.
- Battery charging.
- Internal monitor.
- Touch sensors on internal monitor (unsure if multi-touch is supported).
- VGA output.
- Suspend-to-disk (hibernate).
- SD card reader.
Confirmed Blueooth working once the firmware for the card is supplied.
Things which do not work:
- SD card reader (nothing happens when I insert a card).
- A number of command-line kernel options are necessary to make suspend & resume work.
- The built-in wired ethernet is broken after a suspend & resume.
The SD card reader is working fine. My test SD card is not.
Updated 20140615 – noted that BIOS/CSM support is now available.