Best Linux for tablet PCs

I recently got my hands and a HP Elite X2. Basically a touchscreen laptop with a removable keyboard. I have an Android tablet, but I thought it would be cool to have a Linux desktop as a tablet. I installed Ubuntu Gnome and KDE and honestly, I was very underwhelmed using it as a tablet. At best it was mediocre to use. Various apps had issues with rotation of the screen. Drop down lists were difficult or impossible to use. As well as many other annoyances. Mostly usable, but not great. Honestly, I might not say as a tablet its not even good.

I installed Windows 11 to try it out. I was several orders of magnitude better than Ubuntu with Gnome or KDE. It worked flawlessly. It was actually a pleasure to use and worked as a tablet PC should work. Which makes sense, as MS makes the Surface laptop/tablets.

So maybe Ubuntu 24.04 was the wrong choice? Maybe a different distro with newer Gnome or KDE would be better? Or maybe a different DE completely?
Or is tablet Linux just that far behind Windows? Any ideas?

Also, without a keyboard, I cant select different options with Grub. Since there is no mouse support in Grub - as far as I know - I guess I have to use the keyboard to select a different OS or options. Unless there is something I am unaware of…

This is probably the biggest hurdle for a Tablet PC on Linux. Applications are simply not meant to be used in that fashion right now. Can they run? Sure, you will not have a great experience. Windows should hoinestly not have been compared to a Linux desktop here. Clearly the hardware/software was made with Windows in mind.

There is no comparison here. I think if you expected rotation, you would have to look through the Monitor settings and others to see if there was any workarounds. Maybe you would have a better shot with Steam’s version of Linux, seeing as the SteamDeck might operate in this fashion.

Maybe it’s better utilized as a drawing tablet for Krita, GIMP, Blender, than a Tablet PC. . .

I recently installed Linux on a Microsoft Surface Pro 7. I started with Kubuntu and then sideloaded a special “surface kernel.” Initially, I faced similar issues to what you are reporting. However, my wife found it responsive enough and liked the small format, so she wanted one as well. Now, I own two SP7s.

When I received the second one, I decided to install Fedora 40. Again, I also had to sideload the surface kernel. Wow! Everything works except the camera. Rotation, pinch, multi-touch, three-finger gestures, pen, sound, pop-up keyboard, bluetooth, and keyboard controls from the detachable keyboard—all of it.

I’m not sure if the surface kernel will work on the Elite. I doubt it, but you might find a similar project where talented individuals are pushing the Linux envelope. Even if there’s no “elite kernel,” consider trying Fedora to see if your experience improves.

Here is a link to the Surface project on GitHub:

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