Linux Distros for Windows based Tablets

I’m pretty sure there is a minority of us out there that have a parent with a Windows based tablet. I’m certainly one of those people. My mom has been complaining about Windows 10 slowing her Acer Iconia W700 tablet down quite a bit. I might have her enticed on switching over to Linux. I’m currently researching different Linux distributions that would work out of the box for my Mom’s tablet.

I’ve been toying around the idea of the GNOME desktop environment primarily. Right now I have two main contenders I’d like to try out, which those would be Ubuntu and Deepin. I would like to add more onto that list and possibly have my mom try those out to see what one she wants to go with. She also has my old Dell Latitude E6410 she uses from time to time.

The uses would be primarily internet related, weekly Facebook Live’s for her Partylite stuff, along with some word documents.


Honestly, the *nix echo system is not exactly touch friendly yet for the average day to day user.

Essentially, have you ensured that that tablet will work with modern GNU/Linux? If basic things down work in regards to hardware or requires dongles, don’t put your mom through that.

This comes from a full time Debian and Arch user that has tried to get my mom to use Lindows *shudders* and eventually got my wife to switch over to Ubuntu because she likes unity. My mom won’t touch anything that does not look or function link MS Windows and my Wife went to MS Windows 10 because unity is dead.

Gnome is the only DE I know works well with touch, otherwise the closest distro to a windows like experience is Linux mint.

My mom has been using mint on a laptop I gave her for over a year now without issue. It’s not really touch optimized though.


What about trying out Android x86? That would be touch friendly, very quick and she might find herself right at home if she uses already and Android phone. To browse the internet and do Facebook lives would work very well.
Another alternative could be trying to install Chrome OS on it. It’s not as easy as Android x86 or a Linux distro, but it’s an alternative that might work very well.

@Mastic_Warrior My mom’s tablet does have a i5-3331U under the hood, which is 64 bit capable. So it shouldn’t have a hard time running most linux distros. My mom isn’t as pick when it comes to functionality, if something breaks, I’m usually able to get it running again.

@Adubs I’m leaning towards using the GNOME DE. I do like the layout, but not mean’t for desktops in my opinion. Since I saw Deepin, I’m liking the DE they have.

@MetalizeYourBrain That is an option for android, since my Mom uses her android phone a lot to play some of her games. She likes to use OBS for her FB live most of the time, which I am impressed she is still using. I don’t think Android would have that as an option.

1 Like

gnome is solid for something that you need to use as a touch interface for sure.

1 Like

Indeed. I may go the Linux Mint route and toss GNOME on. I know it’s possible.

I would advise against that

just use ubuntu or fedora workstation if you want a gnome install

I can always experiment in a VM to start. Which I’m fighting to get VMWare to compile modules, which has been causing me to fall flat on my face.

Theres only a handful of reasons to use mint over ubuntu if you want gnome and most of them dont matter to even the average linux user.

fedora is solid and I have no problems recommending it to even new users

I’ve used Fedora in the past. I do like it.

Fedora works well with mobile/embedded devices. Not sure mint is a good fit for anything outside a Laptop/Desktop.

edit: I did some digging and many users in forums were running Fedora 18-20 on these Acer W700. so Running a Fedora 31 Workstation could be a good fit. If the install is too bulky, you can run “Fedora Everything” spin for a more custom build

1 Like

I’ll look into that. I know I’ve used Fedora in the past. I’ll have to run that on a VM to get familiarized with it again. I also have to keep in mind, my mom isn’t very tech savvy in terms of Linux.

1 Like

Device support is where you should start first. Do the research on whether or not a distro can be ran on the device without much fuss. Support for all the things. Wifi /bluetooth/touchscreen ect…

Ubuntu could be ideal for this.
But if it would work on your particular device,
is a matter of trying.

There’s still Streamlabs that can be used on an Android smartphone to manage live transmissions. Twitch IRL uses it extensively lol

Funny seeing this thread today in particular, I just started looking for Linux compatible tablets with a x86 cpu.

So far it looks like the best supported and most functional hardware is ironically the Microsoft Surface lineup ( The Surface Go seems like a good buy, with the only thing not working being the cameras.
For the same price I can get a Teclast X4 with twice the ram and storage, and a faster cpu, but very little information on Linux compatibility and it’s only available straight from China… From what I’ve gathered it should work, but the details like battery life are unclear.

I think I’ll be buying the Surface Go today. The Teclast is a better deal at first glance but I don’t want to send the device back to China if Linux doesn’t work properly on it.

Well, i always say : “it’s the DE that matters. that’s what the end user interfaces with the most.” So long as you get the device to properly display the Apps menu you should be good to go ! She’ll think it’s android.

PinePhone on Fedora Gnome with Flatpaks is lovely.

So true. There’s a dedicated forum for the W700 with tons of content on Fedora 18 -20 Gnome 3

Always one of the main frustrations… Yes the distro works but half the support stuff is borked.

1 Like

So true.