Setting Up the Liva with Linux Mint

I’m pretty much a noob when it comes to Linux. Most of what I learned was while trying to figure out how to use my Raspberry Pi and that was installed with Raspbian. I never delved into any Linux desktop environments until I decided to use Linux Mint on the Liva and Brix. My decision to use Mint was pretty much based on the buzz around the internet. “Oooh Linux Mint this, Linux Mint that. This is what Ubuntu should have been. I would marry Linux Mint if I could.” I wanted something lightweight yet was well supported. Lubuntu and Mint were my first choices. On a side note, I assumed Lubuntu stood for Light Ubuntu; later I learned it actually stands for LXDE Ubuntu. Oops. Anyways, they both installed fine. Then I tried Crunchbang and Elementary OS. Neither wanted to install. I’m going to blame it on the hardware being too new. I believe they both use older linux kernels. Now on to the install.

Install Mint

I found it a ton faster using a USB flashdrive to install Mint. You’ll really notice the time savings if you’re reinstalling the OS over and over again like I normally do.

Please note, most of these instructions are Mac focused.

Create a bootable USB flash drive.

Step 1, convert the install iso to a disk image. I’ve been dding so much, this command sort of throws me off. I usually type the source first, then target. In this case, it’s reversed.

hdiutil convert -format UDRW -o ~/path/to/target.img ~/path/to/mintinstall.iso

Copy the disk image to the USB drive using dd.

Find the disk number of your flash drive using disk utility. This is kind of, meaning very, important because you don’t want to accidentally copy over your main hard drive which might contain the last 20 years of your life.

sudo dd if=~/path/to/mintinstall.img of=/dev/rdisk# bs=1m

Remember “i” in “if” is in. “o” in “of” is out. rdisk# should be rdisk3, rdisk4, or whatever disk number disk utility tells you it is.

Boot from flash drive and install Mint.

Plug in your newly created flash drive. Turn on the Liva. When the ECS splash screen pops up, press F7 to change the boot drive. Scroll to your flash drive, then press enter. Follow instructions to install Mint. This install is pretty straight forward. The only slight weirdness I ran into was in regards to the MMC drive. A few extra partitions are created automatically. I’m not sure what the purpose of those are. Luckily Mint and most Ubuntus know how to handle installing onto an MMC drive. Debian and Ubuntu server got confused when it got to the disk drive section.

A few extra tweaks.

I found these here.

Reducing swappiness for longer life of your permanent MMC drive.

sudo nano /etc/sysctl.conf

Then add this:

# Sharply reduce swap inclination
# Improve cache management


You’ll also want to remove hibernation option because it can cause havoc to your drive.

sudo nano /etc/polkit-1/localauthority/90-mandatory.d/disable-hibernate.pkla

Then add this:

[Disable hibernate (upower)]

[Disable hibernate (logind)]

[Disable hibernate for all sessions (logind)]

Make Wifi work.

Linux Mint/Ubuntu does not recognize the Liva’s Wifi card out of the box. You will need to copy a couple files into: /lib/firmware/brcm

This zip came from ECS so I didn’t want to change its contents, but when I extracted them on my Mac, I noticed that the text file had two extensions: .txt.txt. I just removed one of them before moving the files over.

Then reboot. The wifi card should now be recognized. Unfortunately, bluetooth still does not work.


  1. Can you share the files you got from ECS? There is a beta wifi driver (firmware/nvram) on their site but it’s not working for me.

    1. No problem. Here is a link to the zip. Note that this came directly from ECS, so I didn’t want to edit its contents. I noticed when I extracted them on my Mac, one of the files had two extensions: txt.txt. I just removed one of them before moving it to the specified folder.

  2. Found this post after striking difficulties getting the Liva installed with Ubuntu (refer to my posts name):

    I tried Cinnamon and Quiana Mint based on this post as well (FWIW) but no joy for me.

    Returning the hardware because the unit started to crash sooner and sooner. Something is seriously sick inside. Hopefully the replacement Liva will prove to be a happier camper than the first.

    AS, thanks for your posts on the Liva. It helped to show me my hassles with the unit weren’t “normal”.

  3. Thank you for this tutorial.

    I just (12/31/14) installed Xubuntu 14.40 on the Liva and during the update process, I went to copy the wifi files and the update process had already added the .bin, but I did add the .txt, after removing the extra .txt from the filename.

  4. has anyone help me to installing linux in Liva pc … need help for BIOS setup about EUFI/Legacy, i try to install but after finshed linux does not boot, pc just on bios … i don’t know what’s wrong with BIOS setting … thank’s anyway

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