Want to run Ubuntu Linux on your rooted Transformer Prime?

Well, I just had to since the Transformer Prime comes with world’s first quad-core processor and indeed, it’s running fine on my new tablet.

The results?

It does run much faster in shell (than Galaxy Tab 10.1) but running Gnome via VNC has its limits, quad-core doesn’t seem to help at all for that.  But people who just want Ubuntu running alongside Android (without breaking it) and run Ubuntu apps in the background such as an Nginx web server and whatnot, this could be a great way.

Again, shell seems to run faster than ever (quad-core does help here)  so the next step would be trying to run Linux applications such as a web server, use it as a spare Linux box to compile your Android kernels, and whatnot.  This is actually good news though, Ubuntu does run faster, just VNC is slow.

For those of you who need such features, I do recommend installing Ubuntu.  For others who want to use Ubuntu as a web browsing device, I’d say just stick with your Android browser/OS.

Here’s how to install Ubuntu on rooted Transformer Prime:

Before we begin, make sure you’ve rooted your Transformer Prime and installed Busybox.  If you used our rooting method on TransformerPrimeRoot.com, you should be ready to rock.

Step 1. Download ubuntu.zip and unzip to a folder called ubuntu.  Copy that whole folder to the root directory of your Transformer Prime’s internal storage.

Download ubuntu.zip

Step 2. Download Terminal Emulator off the Market (it’s free) and open.

Step 3. Type each of the following lines and hit Enter.


cd /sdcard/ubuntu

You only have to enter the following line the first time you run ubuntu. (skip otherwise)

sh ubuntu.sh

Step 4. Next type:


to enter Ubuntu shell.

Step 5. Type the following to run a custom script that will start the SSH server (so you can SSH to it) and XTightVNC (so you can VNC to it):


sh run.sh

Step 6. Install AndroidVNC App from the Market (free app) and set the Nickname (to anything you want), Password to “123123”, Address to “”, and Port to “5901”.

Step 7. You should be connected to the Ubuntu running on your Transformer Prime.

Final Thoughts

VNC makes the GUI on Ubuntu much slower than it should.  And even if we ran Ubuntu natively, it would lag a bit unless we had full driver support from Ubuntu.

BUT, Ubuntu runs pretty darn fast in shell.  And for most people who are trying to use Ubuntu for something other than everyday web browsing, it will run fairly fast.

Next, I will try to do some tests like run some web servers or maybe even compile some Android kernels on it.   Maybe you can figure out some cool hacks to do on Ubuntu, have fun!


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  1. Is there a reason this is 9.10? Is it possible to upgrade to 11.10? Also, is it possible to shut Ubuntu down? I’ve tried halt, shutdown, reboot, but nothing happens.

  2. I tried this method. Unfortunately it fails to start after the the VNC with the message: Error! VNC connection failed! Authentication failed, too many tries. I don’t know what to do.

  3. Thanks for this wonderful tutorial.
    I would like to ask that is it possible to run eclipse and other compilers(eg dev-c++) on the transformer prime after installing ubuntu on it and is it possible to develop android apps using it ??
    Thank you

  4. Did someone figure out how to get internet in ubuntu?
    I am always getting this error via vnc:
    “There is a problem with the configuration server. (/usr/lib/libgconf2-4/gconf-sanity-check-2 exited with status 256)”

  5. Works now after applying the script multiple times and rebooting.
    How do I increase the storage? I cannot install anything, there is a /media/8EDE-44ED, what is that? It would be nice to have access to the Transformer SDCard.

  6. I followed all your steps but i got a “gconf-sanity-check-2 exited with status 256” error
    can u help me ?

  7. This process worked great. Really simple to do and fast! Very nice work. I did notice a bit of VNC lag on my prime but it is not bad at all and like you said, the shell is really fast.

    I had a couple of questions though. Is there any any way to set up a link for Ubuntu to have visibility to a micro sd card or sd card that is mounted in the tablet? Under android it mounts in /Removable/microSD/ but I cant figure out how to link that to the Ubuntu session.

    Also, is there any need to shutdown ubuntu? I tried command line and even through the GUI but they didn’t seem to take. Would it just be a tablet reboot at that point?

    Thanks again for this great work. This is awesome stuff!

  8. I did everything you said but when i connect in VNC i get a gray screen. I also see a mouse pointer but thats it. Any ideas?

  9. Speed is related not to the fact of having quadcore or not – slow performance is related to VNC, as this is slow protocol. So we should blame VNC not the tablet itself. I wonder what kind of performance we could have if insted of VNC we could use for example Team Viewer. From my experiance when VNC was slowing and crashing I could do quite well over TeamViewer which can be use over LAN and I gues this should not be a problem?

  10. Awesome… Can’t wait to try this when my prime turns up…

    Wondering if anyone has tried running an X server Android app and pointing Ubuntu at that rather than Xvnc… Should be pretty fast???

  11. please help me
    everything is going on fine but when i get to
    sh run.sh
    i get
    sh:cant open run.sh
    why am i getting this?
    btw i downloaded ubuntu.zip from galaxy tab tutorial, does that make a difference?

  12. That what I looking for with tablet: Can I run java applets and view pdf documents and show them through a projector? So if I’ve installed Ubuntu in tablet, can do it?


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