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notebook N56VB-S3055H
model: N56VB-S3055H(model id: 1173)
subtype (notebook, netbook, motherboard, tablet):
does it have a free boot firmware (BIOS,UEFI,...) ?
can free operating systems be installed?
does the device prevent installing wifi cards not-approved by the vendor?
year of commercialization:
compatibility with free software:
tested on:
Trisquel 6.0 Toutatis
tested with the following kernel libre:
video card model:
Intel Corporation Ivy Bridge Graphics Controller (rev 09) (works with 3D acceleration)
wifi model:
Atheros Communications Inc. AR9485 Wireless Network Adapter (rev ff) (it works)
webcam model:
Sunplus Innovation Technology Inc. (it works)

The laptop works very well with fully free software (even suspend/resume works). There is an nVidia GeForce 740M graphics card too but it doesn't show up on lspci and might be handled with Bumblebee (not tested yet). I was told by Asus support that the same model might have a different wifi chipset (which is ath9k in my case).

It appears that the touchpad doesn't work well (with Linux 3.2): there is no right click support and it's not possible to move the cursor when clicking at the same time (no drag'n'drop).

However the BIOS is non-free and it ships with Secure Mode enabled. The BIOS can be accessed by booting with the ESC key pressed and then selecting the option to access Setup. Make sure that you do not let it boot the preinstalled Windows 8 as there is no way to soft turn the computer off if you don't agree to the license terms.

The laptop comes with SecureBoot and friends activated by default. Once you're in the BIOS, make sure you disable the following options:

  • Intel Anti-theft technology
  • Fast Boot
  • Secure Boot Control
Then enable the following options:
  • Launch CCSM (you might want to disable PXE then)

With that setup, you should be able to boot a regular GNU/Linux install disk or bootable USB (still using ESC to access the boot menu). However, the BIOS does not permit booting an operating system in BIOS-compatibility mode and only support UEFI booting. This is not such a big problem since GRUB can handle UEFI (and it works well in that case). So make sure the installation process creates an uefi partition (you might want to keep and format the one already there for Windows) and let GRUB install UEFI support there. If you don't create such a partition, the BIOS will refuse to boot the system.

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