Triple boot Android, webOS, and Arch Linux on the HP TouchPad

The HP TouchPad is capable of running a number of different operating systems. It ships with HP webOS software, but we’ve also seen Google Android and a number of Linux-based operating systems ported to run on the 9.7 inch tablet.

But you don’t have to pick just one operating system and stick with it. You can create a multi-boot setup and choose between operating systems when you power up the tablet.

HP TouchPad with Arch Linux

When you install Google Android 2.3 or Android 4.0 you can (and should) install the Moboot boot manager which lets you choose between webOS and Android at startup.

But xda-developers forum member MikeyCriggz has posted instructions for taking a TouchPad that’s already running Android and webOS and adding Arch Linux to the mix.

You’ll need Moboot installed to get started, but his guide walks you through the process of adding Arch Linux to your tablet and adding it to the boot menu.

Arch for the TouchPad is still a little rough around the edges. The mic, camera, and sound don’t work, and Bluetooth isn’t supported. But if you need those features you can always just boot into Android or webOS and then switch back to Arch when you want to geek out with desktop Linux apps.

  • Mike

    Could these instructions also be used to triple-boot WebOS, CM7, and CM9 if we’re still iffy about taking the ICS plunge?

    • Brad Linder

      It’s theoretically possible to do that… but these instructions probably wouldn’t help much, since they basically describe how to install Arch, not Android.

      What I’d do if I were you is use ClockworkMod Recovery to make a complete backup your device running CyanogenMod 7. Then just go ahead and install CM9 and if you don’t like it, restore from that backup. It will bring back CM7 and all your apps and settings.

    • schiz0id

      First of all CM9 is ICS. Second in my opinion I think CM9 Alpha 2 is much much stable than CM7 on the TouchPad. When you install it you kinda forget booting into webOS anymore because it’s as if the TP is made to be an Android tablet, that’s how CM9 makes you feel, buttery smooth and a true tablet OS for the non-android device. If you’re willing to sacrifice the microphone and camera not working on the CM9 port then I advice you to go take the plunge.  

      • Mike

        Doesn’t CM9a2 have horrible wifi issues and battery life problems, though?

      • schiz0id

        Nope. No wifi or battery issues. Not from my experience.

  • Rich Mohr

    Think Windows 8 will be the next os to add to the touchpad? 

    • Brad Linder

      No. Microsoft isn’t releasing an installable version of Windows 8 on ARM. If you want to load it on a device with an ARM-based processor you need to be a PC maker like HP, Dell, or Lenovo. 

      So installing Windows 8 on the TouchPad is about as out of reach as installing iOS 5.1 on the TouchPad. Theoretically someone may be able to figure out how to hack the OS so that it can run on third party software, but without appropriate drivers it’s not likely to run well… and it would probably violate a whole bunch of licensing agreements so it would be tough to distribute the software legally.

  • rickjohnson

    cm9 is pretty and very stable for a owner who has the hp touchpad traded from  a playbook since a day, you should take the plunge 😛

  • MorayJ

    Did I miss something? I thought the mic and camera weren’t working under Android

    • schiz0id

      They work on the CM7 port but not on the CM9.

      • Brad Linder

        They aren’t. But sound works. And the mic and camera work in webOS.

  • executive gifts

    Hi liliputing! Having only picked up Linux as my daily operating system in the summer of 2009, I can honeslty say that without the flexibility and transparency that Arch offers, there’s no way I could have learned as much as I have in the past few years, elsewhere. Thanks to what I’ve learned I’ve become involved, to varying degrees, with other upstream projects.

    Now its time for my HP tablet to be on Arch Linux. Thanks for the instructions.