Install Ubuntu on Android TV sticks(MK908/MK802IV)

Files you need:

RKAndroidTool flashing tool
Android reboot app
Disk Imager
ubuntu-12.04 (password:p)
lubuntu-desktop(password:p)
xubuntu-desktop(password:p)
Picuntu
Recovery image for MK802IV/MK809III/QC802/other clones of MK802IV
Recovery image for MK908
Recovery image for mk808/UG802/MK808B

Hardware Requirements:

MK802IV/MK809III/MK908/QC802/T428/
8GB Micro SD card

Android TV sticks are very popular for its compact size,flexibility and decent computing performance. but i was attracted to it by the possibility of running Ubuntu on it. You can learn about the development of ubuntu on RK3188 based devices on this page, and Ian MORRISON had already made a working image for MK802IV model by Rikomagic.

Sadly i inadvertently bought an incompatible model(MK908),slightly different from MK802IV. so I spent the past several days trying to compile a working image to boot Ubuntu on my specific model MK908, and fortunately it's working after trials and errors.

Here is the procedures to run Ubuntu from an external MicroSD card, regardless of what model you have. You just need to download the specific file for your own device.

Install Rockchip ADB drivers and download flashing tool for rockchip devices

If your computer is already configured for flashing custom ROM onto your MK908/MK802IV, you can skip this step.

Before you can flash firmware, you need to install Rockchip ADB drivers onto your PC so that your computer can communicate with the device. This can be a little tricky, and it took me several hours. You need to put the device into flashing mode first. Otherwise, the ADB drivers cannot be installed properly. There are 2 ways to put your device into flashing mode. The easy way is to install this Android App, select the 'reboot to bootloader' option, and you are done.
Other than that, you can use a paperclip to hold the reset key while turning on the device to force it boot into flashing mode. This method can also be used to unbrick your device. Then you select the right driver file to be installed. you can watch this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4NoilOMRCQ for instructions. the RKAndroidTool flashing tool can be downloaded from here, with Rockchip ADB driver included.

Download and flash the modified recovery image

Unpack the flashing tool you've just downloaded. Get this image if you have MK802IV, or clones of MK802IV. for MK908 devices, this is the right image to download. Copy the downloaded images to rockdev\Image\, contained in the flashing tool folder.

open the reboot app we've mentioned above, and select 'reboot to bootloader'

This will reboot your device into flashing mode.

Now open 'RKAndroidTool.exe' and it should read 'Found RKandroid rock USB', if your device is connected correctly to computer.Otherwise you will see 'No Found RKAndroid rockchip usb', and you need to go back and check if the rockchip driver is properly installed.

because you only need to flash the recovery image, just tick the recovery row and leave other rows ticked off. click 'Flash ROM' and it should be done in seconds. When finished, it will reboot into Android again.

recovery_flash_sucess.png

Download the file system image and burn it to your SD card

uncompressed_image_for_mk802IV.png

Currently there are several versions, including,ubuntu, lubuntu, xubuntu, picuntu.

ubuntu-12.04
lubuntu-desktop
xubuntu-desktop
Picuntu

If you ask me, i recommend lubuntu for its low resource usage. If you just want a headless home server, Picuntu is the best choice as it has no GUI

After it's downloaded, you need 7zip to uncompress the image file.

The next step is to burn the download the image to your SD card.

Note: backup your data on your SD card because it need to be wiped out.

The recommended way is to use Disk Imager to dump the image into your SD card., and that will spare you the trouble of installing LINUX OS for this simple task.

You can download Disk Imager from here

Unzip it and open 'Win32DiskImager.exe'.

select the image file you have download ed(the file with 'img' extenstion) and the target drive letter. Then click write. wait patiently for it to be completed.

write_recovery_to_mk802IV.png

When this step is completed, put the SD card into your device and reboot it into recovery mode.

If everything is ok, you should see LINUX booting

Please leave comments if you have any quetions