Last month I bought a Chuwi Lapbook Air 14. It’s aluminum, sleek and lightweight, making it an excellent budget laptop. It also costs around 4x less than its competitor, the Macbook Air, meaning I don’t feel so bad about breaking it in.
Like most people who bought this computer, I wanted a machine that could run Linux. However, after receiving it and booting into BIOS, I soon discovered that installing Linux might be more difficult than expected. Unlike the original plastic Lapbook Air, the newest model was rebuild from the inside-out, but not rebranded. It doesn’t have the infamous, misspelled “OS Slelect” option, meaning some distros won’t run from a Live USB. You might be able to use REFInd Boot Manager to solve this problem, but hell if I know how. Ubuntu 18+ and Arch 4.16+ both work without REFInd.
Note that just because REFInd is no longer required that doesn’t mean the SSD’s EFI partition is big enough to store a bunch of extra bootloaders. I used MiniTool Partition Free to free up some space, but even that was a headache.
Fixing the touchpad
I tried fixing the Lapbook’s touchpad in both Ubuntu and Arch.
I managed to get it working in Arch after rebuilding the kernel, but wasn’t successful in Ubuntu.
The machine recognizes that the touchpad is installed, and tap-to-click still works, but the cursor doesn’t move. Using a USB mouse is a decent workaround, but for those like me who need a touchpad, rebuilding the kernel seems to be the best option.
Good luck, solider.
First, let’s make sure sudo and git are installed.
pacman -S sudo
pacman -S git
Then, download the following packages:
sudo pacman -S base-devel
sudo pacman -S xmlto
sudo pacman -S docbook-xsl
sudo pacman -S kmod
sudo pacman -S inetutils
sudo pacman -S bc
Next, download the latest Linux kernel
sudo git clone https://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/torvalds/linux.git
Enter the ‘linux’ folder we just created
Run git checkout
You can use v4.18-rc1 or replace it with a more recent version.
sudo git checkout v4.18-rc1
Scroll down to the line that reads “#define PM_QOS_RESUME_LATENCY_NO_CONSTRAINT”
Replace “PM_QOS_LATENCY_ANY” with “0”
Save the file.
zcat /proc/config.gz > .config
Note that because the Lapbook Air has a quad-core processor, adding -j4 lets us run four parallel processes on their own CPU.
This is gonna take a long time.
You might want to watch a movie or go on a safari or something until it’s done.
Run makefile again
sudo make modules_install
Paste this bzImage file into boot/vmlinuz-linux-touchpad
sudo cp -v arch/x86_64/boot/bzImage /boot/vmlinuz-linux-touchpad
Replace 4.18.0-rc1-ARCH+ with the newest kernel found in /usr/lib/modules
sudo mkinitcpio -k 4.18.0-rc1-ARCH+ -g /boot/initramfs-linux-touchpad.img
One last command.
sudo grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg
Reboot and done.