I was super stoked about the potential of this device in spite of the numerous reports on just how anemic the device is. I've written about it numerous times, tested all the things and even wrote some special scripts, configuration and mods - but I'm throwing in the towel! Even Linux can't make this device useful.

What killed this project wasn't the lacking driver support, limited storage or poor power performance. It was the lack of RAM required to do the most basic of tasks.

Htop displays huge RAM usage sitting idle.
Doing nothing but using 673MB/1.82G RAM (36.9% in use).

I tested Ubuntu Mate (obviously if you read more than a handful blog posts here), KDE and even the old Unity8 image from UBPorts (which can run on hardware as low as 1GB). All failed for various reasons, related to the pathetic lack of RAM. Modifications to swap, swapiness, zram, partitions, using server versions, minimal installs, piecemeal desktop software all offered dogmatic hope but in reality these tweaks would lead to the same rage-enducing result; random reboots and system freezes within seconds or minutes of performing the most basic tasks; reading email, running the browser, opening a program, getting a notification, using Barrier, the terminal, etc. Long gone were the days when things sorta worked.

Earlier, this device performed relatively well on 32-bit, and earlier prior to the 18.04 LTS cycle (not without its own major hardware gaps) but with the demise of 32-bit ISO, RAM creep increased instability and ultimately killed any further investigations; I just can't waste any more time on this dead horse of a tablet. And no, not going to use Clear Linux either.

The highs of the project included auto-screen rotation, custom gestures, multi-point input, finger controls (similar to Android's), dynamic on-the-fly panel re-configuration (portrait vs landscape), multi-device synchronization and yes, a working Wacom pen input for those artistic moments. There was a lot to be excited about, even whispers of multiple driver fixes with proposed kernels (camera, true GPS, etc). Did I look into de-soldering the embedded hardware? Yup. Impossible.

This device continued to consistently exhibit its bottom-feeder lifestyle, just another typical half-assed hardware attempt by HP (circa 2015). You can still find the hardware on ebay and I wholly protest to anyone who might be thinking of using this paperweight for anything...including a paperweight!

Yes, knowledge was gained and not just as a fail. I am still incredibly amazed by the diverse universe that is open source, the stop-gap solutions out there on Github, forums and random blogs where people help each other, do good and make the computing space one of cooperation, helpfulness and charity powered by a strong and resilient belief in freedom-as-free (libre) philosophy.

I think its time for a custom PI build now there is a viable mainline installer for the Pi4 8GB and a rare yet seemingly available wacom-based screen. To be continued...?



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