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I’m really sorry that you couldn’t install Ubuntu on this specific NUC and that you decided to return it.
We were able to install Ubuntu 17.04 without problem; however, Intel hasn't validated these operating systems. We recommend you use the latest kernel. If you need assistance with Linux* on Intel NUC, check your distro's website and forums for peer assistance.
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Installed Ubuntu 16.04.2 and 17.04. Same result, no sound. Installed Linux Mint 18.1. Got sound for a while, but after reboot, it was gone. Followed all Intel and Ubuntu community instructions to resolve no sound, but, no sound. I have had a lot of problems with new hardware and Linux. I actually ran my office on CP/M, so I am not intimidated by install problems, but I will simply wait for Linux to catch up with the hardware. I am hoping for good things from Intel Thunderbolt3 later this year.