Linux DeepIn 20 Clean Install on UEFI BIOS with Secure Boot

About DeepIn Linux

DeepIn is a Chinese software company and they have commercially modified a Linux distribution known as DeepIn Linux similar to Redhat with Fedora and Canonical with Ubuntu.

China and the West (particularly the USA) have a bit of a love/hate relationship. This love/hate recently been exacerbated in the technology field with the USA applying sanctions on Chinese devices manufactured by Huawei and also requiring USA companies such as Google to apply restrictions on their software when used on Huawei devices. For example the blocking of Google Services on Huawei Devices giving impaired functionality. China has long been unhappy with US dominance in software Google/Microsoft and Apple are all US companies. It therefore has placed a renewed interest in creating a Chinese solution to stay independent from the USA, welcome DeepIn Linux.

The DeepIn company have spent a lot of time to get the user interface of Linux up to scratch making the menus on a similar par to Windows 7 for keyboard and mouse usage.

While the DeepIn company are trying to push the DeepIn OS to international users, their primary market is targeted internally within China. Unfortunately this leads to several drawbacks with the OS being Chinese based for international users primarily due to the update servers being based in China. This includes an out of the box update issue (an international update server needs to be added) and an app store that fails to install many apps. In addition a lot of the text and icons in the App Store are in Chinese as well as almost all the software reviews.

While the OS has some limited touchscreen capabilities, it is on par with with Windows 7 and substantially behind Windows 10 and Linux Distributions such as Ubuntu 20.04 or Fedora 32 which use the GNOME Desktop environment for touch interface. The DeepIn OS onscreen keyboard onboard is very limited and there is no auto-rotation for 2 in 1 touchscreen devices or tablets. On my XPS 13 9365, the touchscreen experience with DeepIn 20 is worse than it was with DeepIn 20 Beta. The touch input highlights an option on the settings menu but there is no response to pressing down. Rumour is that the DeepIn company will work closely with Huawei and perhaps together look to create software for 2 in 1 devices, tablets and phones so should naturally address these issues.

For a new user I would recommend sticking to Ubuntu 20.04 as an introductory Linux Distribution simply due to the Update Issues/Store Issues and Touchscreen Functionality. If DeepIn fixes these issues it has the potential to be one of the best Linux Distributions for new users.

Video

Downloading a DeepIn 20 ISO

The DeepIn ISO can be downloaded from their website.

I recommend selecting ISO Repository:

Then searching for your country:

In this case I will select the University of Kent:

Then the 20 folder on their server:

This gives a direct download link to the ISO:

The ISO Checksum file is also listed:

Creating a Bootable USB on Windows 10

To check the ISO checksums and create a Bootable USB on Windows we will use Rufus.

Accept the User Account Control Prompt:

Select, select:

Select the ISO and select Open:

Check the ISO Checksums:

The SHA256 should match that listed on the download server (if not the ISO download is corrupt and you will need to try again). Select OK:

Insert a 16 GB USB Flash Drive. DeepIn 20 will only work on computers manufactured in 2012 or later with a UEFI BIOS and Secure Boot. Ensure the Partition Scheme is GPT and the File System is FAT32. Select Start to Create the Bootable USB:

Select ISO Mode and then OK:

Select OK to format your USB Flash Drive acknowledging this will result in removal of the contents of the USB Flash Drive:

When Rufus is Finished it will state Ready:

Unified Extensive Firmware Interface (UEFI) Setting

Dell Unified Extensive Firmware Interface (UEFI) Settings

Update your UEFI BIOS

All Computers Manufactured in 2012 or later have a Unified Extensive Firmware Interface (UEFI). Make sure your UEFI BIOS is updated to the latest version before attempting to install Ubuntu 20.04 as a number of UEFI BIOS Updates resolve some common Boot Issues. For new Dell systems you can update the BIOS from a USB Flash Drive within the UEFI BIOS Boot Menu. For older models you will have to either update the UEFI BIOS within Windows or use a FreeDOS Bootable USB:

UEFI and Secure Boot

You should install Ubuntu 20.04 with a UEFI BIOS with Secure Boot. The SATA Operation must be AHCI.

Attach your Bootable USB and make sure your Dell PC is powered down. Then power it up and press [F2] to get into the UEFI setup.

Look for Advanced Boot Options and make sure Enable Legacy Option ROMs is Disabled.

Look for Secure Boot and Ensure that it is Enabled:

Next go to Boot Sequence. It should be set to UEFI. Your Ubuntu USB (in my case the SanDisk USB) should display. If you have old versions of Linux they will also display. Uncheck your Bootable USB and highlight any old Linux installations and select Delete Boot Option.

You should now have a single entry, your Ubuntu USB Flash Drive. Select Apply:

Then OK:

Expand System Configuration and go to SATA Operation. The storage controller must be set to AHCI:

The Ubuntu installer doesn't support RAID (Intel Rapid Response Technology) or Intel Optane Memory. If it is enabled the Ubuntu 20.04 installer will halt and tell you to disable Intel RST.

Secure Erase Internal Drives

We can use Dell Data Wipe for a more through wipe of all internal drives than the Format within the Ubuntu install. To do this select the Maintenance Tag and then go to Data Wipe, select Wipe on Next Boot.

Note the Dell Data Wipe does not touch USB Flash Drives or USB External Drives.

Note that only models manufactured in 2016 or later have Dell Data Wipe.

Select OK:

Select No (to proceed):

Then select Exit:

Select Continue:

Select Erase:

Select OK:

Lenovo Unified Extensive Firmware Interface (UEFI) Settings

You should install Ubuntu 20.04 with a UEFI BIOS with Secure Boot. The SATA Operation must be AHCI.

Update your UEFI BIOS

Ensure your UEFI BIOS Update is up to date before attempting to install Ubuntu 20.04 as there are a number of boot issues when attempting to install Ubuntu 20.04 on older UEFI BIOS Versions. You should use FreeDOS to do this.

UEFI and Secure Boot

To access the Lenovo UEFI BIOS, power up your Lenovo and press [F1]:

You will be on the Main Tab with System Summary highlighted by default, press [↵] to view the System Summary:

This will give details about the Drives. In my case I have a Samsung M.2 SSD. Press [Esc] to exit the field:

Press [→] to get to the Device Tab, then press [↓] until ATA Drive Setup is selected. Press [↵] to view the options:

Ensure that the SATA Controller is Enabled and Configure SATA as is set to AHCI. Press [Esc] to exit the field:

Press [→] until you highlight the Security Tab and [↓] until you get to Secure Boot and press [↵] to view the settings:

Secure Boot should be Enabled. Press [Esc] to exit the setting:

Press [→] to get to the Startup Tab. The Boot Mode should be UEFI Only and CSM should be Disabled:

Secure Erase Internal Drives

Press [←] until you get to Security tab. Press [↓] and select Hard Disk Password. Although Lenovo call these settings "Hard Disk" they also relate to Solid State Drive.

Press [↓] until you get to (Hard Disk) Drive Password and press [↵]:

In this screen look for Security Erase (HDD) Data. If you do not have this option, your system may be too old to support Data Wipe from the UEFI BIOS and you will have to use a third party utility lke Parted Magic instead.

Press [↓] until you get to Security Erase (HDD) Data.

Unfortunately the Lenovo Data Wipes requires one to setup a temporary Hard Drive Password.

Setting a Drive Password will lock the drive at the drive firmware level and there is some risk doing so. If you set a password and the password is forgotten you will never be able to use the drive again.

Press [↑] until you get to SM.2 Drive Password and press [↵].

You have the option to set a User only password or a User + Master Password.

The first is designed for a User Only in which case the user would have full admin access to perform a data wipe.

The latter is designed for a company with a large IT department. The IT department would have the Master password to unlock the device and to perform a data wipe.

Select [User] and press [↵].

Input a basic password in this case I will use the letter a:

Confirm the password:

Select [Continue]:

Press [F10] to save and Exit. Highlight [Yes] and press [↵]:

Your computer will restart:

You will be prompted for your password as your computer begins to reboot. If you have a master password set you can press [F1] to switch to the master user.

In this case, the user password a will be input.

As soon as the user password is input press [F1] to get to the UEFI BIOS Setup. You will be on the Main tab. Press [→] until you get to Security and press [↵]:

Press [↓] until you highlight (Hard) Disk Password and press [↵]:

Then press [↓] until you get to Security Erase (HDD) SSD Data and press [↵]:

Select Erase NVMe Slot 1 Data and press [↵]:

Highlight [Yes] at the confirmation dialog and press [↵]:

Input your User Password and press [↵].

If a user and a master password are set it may only ask for the master password, so you will need to know the master password.

The Secure Erase will be performed and the Drive password will be removed.

Select [Continue] and press [↵]:

It should then have an error stating no Operating System found, this is because your internal drives are blank. You'll need to install DeepIn 20 now:

Install DeepIn 20

Booting From Bootable USB Flash Drive

Insert your USB Flash Drive into your Dell and press [F12] while powering up to get to the Boot Menu:

The Boot Mode should be set to UEFI and Secure Boot should be Enabled.

Select your USB Flash Drive and press [↵]:

Insert your USB Flash Drive into your Lenovo and press [F12] while powering up to get to the Boot Menu:

Highlight your USB Flash Drive and select [↵]:

Install DeepIn 20 with Kernel 5.4 Desktop will be automatically selected and the install will proceed after a 5 s countdown:

You will see some white writing on a black screen and then the DeepIn logo:

DeepIn Installation

DeepIn is designed for the Chinese market and the default options are for a Chinese installation:

Select your language in my case English and then accept the DeepIn OS User Experience Program License Agreement and End User License Agreement and Privacy Policy checkboxes and select Next:

If you have a NVIDIA graphics card ensure that you select Install NVIDIA Closed Source Driver to the bottom right (otherwise you may have display issues during the installation). Then highlight your Drive:

Details about the partitions to be created will be displayed, select Next:

Select Continue:

The install will now proceed:

When finished, remove the DeepIn 20 Bootable USB and select Reboot Now:

User Account Setup

Your computer will Reboot:

DeepIn 20 GNU/Linux will be automatically highlighted and boot after 5 s:

In the next screen you will need to select your Keyboard Layout:

I will change to English (U.K.):

Select your Location on the Map (it will then default to the timezone of the Capital city) and select Next:

Input your username, it has to be all lower case characters. A computer name will be generated from your username but you can change it if you wish. Then input a password and confirm your password. Then select Next.

Note the [↹] key does not work properly when moving from password to repeat password (which is a minor annoyance).

The next screen Configure Network is very limited and appears to be for ethernet only. In my case I am connecting wirelessly so will just select Next:

The setup will spend some time tuning your system (installing the correct device drivers etc):

First Time Login In:

You will then be taken to the login screen:

You will be presented with an optional introduction video, you can view it if you want. When ready select Next:

You have the option of either Fashion Mode which has a Central Dock (like Mac OS) or Efficient Mode which has a traditional Taskbar (like Windows):

The Effect Mode (similar to Windows 7 Aero) or Fashion Mode (similar to the Windows 10 Taskbar). The Effect Mode is recommended if you are installing on a powerful physical computer but the Fashion Mode is recommended if you are installing on lower spec hardware or a Virtual Machine.

You will then be presented with an option of icon themes. Select your Icon theme and select Done. DeepIn 20 is now installed:

Connecting to Wi-Fi

To the bottom right select the Wi-Fi icon:

Select Wireless and then select your Wireless Network:

Input your password and select Connect:

You will be connected to the internet:

DeepIn Software Update

Unfortunately DeepIn is configured by default to use update servers are based in China and this creates an out of the box issue for international users.

When you select the settings icon from the Dock and select Updates to the left hand side menu and then select Updates:

You are likely to be greeted with an error:

Although there is an Update Settings tab to the top it is very limited and cannot be used to resolve this error.

To see more details behind this error we can open up a terminal:

Type in:

sudo apt update

As you are using the super user do command, you will need to input your password to authenticate the action:

You will see one of the update servers is searching for a Chinese only IP and international access to the server is blocked creating the 404 error:

In the terminal type in:

sudo deepin-editor /etc/hosts

Then add the following line to the file:

61.54.25.98 community-packages.deepin.com

Press [Ctrl] + [ s ] to save:

Then Close the Terminal:

You can ignore the errors "Error org.freedesktop.DBus.Error.ServiceUnknown" shown on the terminal:

Now type in:

sudo apt update

There should be no errors:

You should now be able to update:

Touchscreen Settings

The Touchscreen on my XPS 13 9365 2-in-1 touchscreen did not work properly, it can highlight test but pressing down on any of the DeepIn buttons does nothing. This is a software issue but may be Device Specific. The XPS 13 9365 Touchscreen worked for this on DeepIn 20 Beta.

That aside there are limited settings for the touchscreen and no options for rotation or auto-rotation and therefore no 2-in-1 functionality.

Comparing with Ubuntu you can see the missing options such as Orientation including Auto-Rotation:

The onscreen keyboard "onboard" is pretty pathetic:

And not much better than the onscreen keyboard in Windows 7, leaps behind the touchscreen developments made in Windows and Linux:

Comparing this onscreen keyboard with the onscreen keyboard in GNOME3 used in Ubuntu and Fedora shows how primitive it is:

Ideally the DeepIn team will add all those innovation to DeepIn in their next major update.

For some reason the DeepIn team has decided to preinstall FireFox instead of Chromium like they did in the Beta. Touchscreen input on FireFox in DeepIn (aswell as Ubuntu and Mint) is pretty awful and text gets highlighted instead of scrolling.

The touch response is much better on Chromium. Incidentally on the Chromium Browser the Touchscreen on my XPS 13 9365 worked perfectly and I could press into the address bar and press buttons and links within Chromium highlighting the touchscreen issue is with the DeepIn UI:

DeepIn Store Issues

The DeepIn Store has many issues including Network Errors:

Slow loading:

It is also geared towards the Chinese market and even though all the language settings are set to English, several of the names of software applications are presented in Chinese and almost all the software reviews are in Chinese. Automatic language translation should be applied when possible.

One other issue is a multitude of software just outright fails to install for example Chrome and VLC Player:

Other software such as GIMP installs fine:

Installing Software via Terminal

To install Chromium we can use the terminal and the command:

sudo apt install chromium

Because we are using the super user do everything command we will need to authenticate the software install using our password:

Select

Y

To proceed:

Chromium will then install:

You can then right click the Chromium icon and then pin it to the dock:

On My Lenovo ThinkStation P320 I had an issue with the inbuilt media player. This is likely some incompatibility with the NVIDIA driver as it was fine on all other systems I tested. I therefore installed VLC Player using a similar command:

sudo apt install vlc

Select

Y

To proceed:

VLC will then install:

Disable Sound Effects

You may wish to disable the notification sounds as they can be kind of annoying. Select Settings and then Sound and Sound Effects:

Start Menu

By default there is a Windows 7 style Start Menu. It can be expanded to give a Windows 8 style Start Menu:

One can select to view All Categories:

Screen Capture

One neat feature is the screen capture:

You can capture the full screen by default or make a selection:

You can capture the screen in a snapshot, I recommend changing the settings to save the image file in the pictures folder and using the PNG format:

Press the top right button to take the screen capture:

You can alternatively switch to a screen recording by highlighting the Record Button:

The Record Menu will display:

I recommend using the MP4 format and 25 fps.

Unfortunately there is no option to select the save folder here (it by default saves the recording to Desktop instead of Videos which is another minor annoyance).

You can toggle on/off Audio recording with the video:

Or switch to a webcam:

You can optionally show the clicks:

To begin the recording select the Record Button:

To end the recording click the Record icon in the taskbar:

System Monitor, Device Manager and Log Viewer

This is essentially the DeepIn version of Task manager:

The Device Manager and log viewer need permission to open. Input your password and select confirm:

Boot Maker

DeepIn has an inbuilt utility to make a DeepIn Bootable USB:

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