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  1. #1

    Installing Linux on an Android tablet - what about keyboard ?

    I am considering buying an Android tablet in order to do some hacking.

    At the moment I am not interested in Android specifically (though in the end I might decide I need to develop something for it), but I am interested in a cheap HW platform using which I can do some exploration/estimates/performance assessment.

    So, I would like to be able to install a Linux distro on an Android tablet, and initially I do not need a GUI, but just command line interface (though if I can use the familiar X-based GUI, I have nothing against it).

    Since I need command line interface, I need keyboard.

    In Android proper they have virtual keyboard, but I think if I install a Linux distro, I won't have one - because most likely there will be no window environment (GUI) in the first place.

    So, what are my choices regarding the keyboard ?

    For example, can I connect a USB hub to the tablet and traditional PC keyboard to the hub ? Will Linux recognize the keyboard ? And maybe even a USB mouse also connected to the hub ?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Hi Sergei,
    I have tried some of the things that you are asking about. In an Android vers. 4.0, 8 inch tablet, I have plugged in a USB hub and then plugged in a standard keyboard and mouse. Both worked perfectly under Android. So Android obviously include the required hardware drivers.

    What will happen if/when you install Linux on the tablet, I cannot say, but I would be very interested to hear about your experience with this.

    Cheers,

    Ole
    Brisbane, Australia



  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by OzOle View Post
    Hi Sergei,
    I have tried some of the things that you are asking about. In an Android vers. 4.0, 8 inch tablet, I have plugged in a USB hub and then plugged in a standard keyboard and mouse. Both worked perfectly under Android. So Android obviously include the required hardware drivers.

    What will happen if/when you install Linux on the tablet, I cannot say, but I would be very interested to hear about your experience with this.

    Cheers,

    Ole
    Brisbane, Australia

    Thanks.

    Of course, USB keyboard and mouse are known to Linux for ages.


    My concern is of different kind.

    Modern tablets support USB on the go, i.e.their USB port can be configure as either master - that is what is needed, or as slave - if one wants to see the tablet as mass storage.

    So, I have practically no doubt Linux can recognize the keyboard and the mouse, my concern is regarding how the USB port is programmed on Linux boot - as master or as slave.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
    Member
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    My knowledge in Linux is minimal at best, Ditto for android ... But just to toss something out there:

    Even without GUI you can configure,start,and control bluetooth ... So why not just get a bluetooth keyboard/mouse? You'll have say over how it behaves and the device should be able to use it.

    Just a thought.



    edit: It just occurred to me that you would need a keyboard to set that up


    1 members found this post helpful.
    Last edited by Hevithan; 11-25-2012 at 07:31 PM.
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  5. #5
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    Well Sergei, I don't know if this will help, as I am still waiting for my MK808, my first android device, to arrive; but I did read an article about installing linux on the SD card, allowing functionality like dual boot. This may be the best of both worlds for you. You should have no issue finding the how-to with a little googling.



  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by garyrickert View Post
    Well Sergei, I don't know if this will help, as I am still waiting for my MK808, my first android device, to arrive; but I did read an article about installing linux on the SD card, allowing functionality like dual boot. This may be the best of both worlds for you. You should have no issue finding the how-to with a little googling.
    The fact of existence of articles describing installation of Linux with dual boot capability does not guarantee that the methods and boot images are applicable to every tablet.

    I am more interested in understanding the inner mechanisms, how they can be identified, etc. Kinda along "what if" analysis".



  7. #7
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    Well, when learning you either read or do. The advantage of the approach I mentioned to you is that you can experiment with it and just pop out the SD card and you have lost nothing but time, and potentially learned much. I have been working with, administering linux system for many years. Gary


    Last edited by garyrickert; 01-15-2013 at 10:45 PM.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by garyrickert View Post
    Well, when learning you either read or do. The advantage of the approach I mentioned to you is that you can experiment with it and just pop out the SD card and you have lost nothing but time, and potentially learned much. I have been working with, administering linux system for many years. Gary
    Since I don't own an Android tablet yet, learning at the moment looks like a more viable option to me.



  9. #9
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    https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Nexus7/Installation Talks about installing ubuntu on a Nexus 7. Maybe some of what they have done would work if you want to use a different linux distro.

    As for connecting a keyboard to a tablet, just use an OTG cable - then you could plug in a usb keyboard or a usb hub. If in the states, the T&S OTG cable works great with nexus and samsung tablets.



  10. #10



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