Surface Pro 3 on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

After using Ubuntu 16.04 LTS for a few weeks on my Surface Pro 3 I’m quite impressed. Heres what I did to get it working. I’ve gone for a single boot, Ubuntu only install, however I used a dual boot method while testing.

I now have Ubuntu on the Surface Pro 3 (i7 256 GB model) working including the keyboard cover w/ trackpad, the surface pro 3 dock and the Arc SE Bluetooth mouse. The Surface Pro 3 dock is also working.

Before beginning:

  • If you have a dock keep it undocked to begin with.
  • Also, I had secure boot turned off the first time around, as I had not realised Microsoft had signed the first stage bootloader for Ubuntu. You can leave this enabled

Heres what I did:

  • Created a Ubuntu Boot disk (micro sd card) from Windows
  • Resized the surface SSD using disk management tool in Windows to free up some space
  • Shutdown, entered into the Surface UEFI and set the boot mode to USB -> SSD
  • Booted this and installed Ubuntu, let it install grub if you want dual boot.
  • Once installed, connect to the network.
  • Now add this PPA to your repository to install the surface kernel extras. I’ve also run through the standard upgrade process just to ensure everything is up to date.

  • If you have a dock, shutdown and dock the machine, otherwise perform a reboot
  • Power on or wait for the reboot to finish
  • You should now find the keyboard case w/ trackpad is working.
  • If you have a dock you should now have ethernet and your secondary display working.
  • To get the Bluetooth Arc SE Mouse working you will need to do the following
    • Edit /lib/udev/rules.d/50-bluetooth-hci-auto-poweron.rules and comment out the only non-commented line
    • Uncomment lines [Policy] and AutoEnable=true (originaly there is =false, change it) in /etc/bluetooth/main.conf
    • Reboot
    • Perform the pairing now. After pairing successfully I still had no cursor movement, I repaired and then turned bluetooth off and on from the menu bar which got it working.

Things to note:

  • The shortcut buttons on the keyboard case aren’t working, I believe I had this setup on the first install so I will post an update when I have resolved this

I’ll update this section as I find more issues.

References & thanks:

Create an Ubuntu Bootdisk on Windows

Tigerite PPA

Microsoft Bluetooth ARC Mouse SE fix

Feedback:

Please leave comments and suggestions below. I’d love to hear from others using their Surface Pro 3 with Linux and any improvements you’ve found/made.

2 Comments

  1. OMG, I can’t wait to try it! Can you please tell us the exact models of your hardware?
    And, how does go the battery?

    Thanks for sharing your experience 🙂

  2. Yeah, sounds great! Which Kernel u using? And how about battery and power-saving-modes? Keep it on!

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