Install Ubuntu on Acer Aspire OneThis is a featured page

Fully functional:

  • Suspend / Resume
  • Video (with desktop effects)
  • Wireless Networking
  • Wired Networking
  • Webcam
  • USB
  • Silent Fan
  • Card Readers

Partial Function:

  • Audio - there is sound, issues detailed below

Not Functional:

  • Hibernate on A110L
  • Card Reader power saving
  • wifi power saving
  • wifi kill switch

Prerequisites:

NOTE: There is a version of Ubuntu being tailored towards to acer aspire one, with its own kernel, called the 'onelinux' project. Before you begin you will need the following:
  • A copy of 8.04.1 Hardy Heron.
    This is the latest version. If you downloaded the ISO a while ago, it may be 8.04.0. The original 8.04.0 release will not even boot.
  • An external USB CD-ROM. If not:
(NOTE: It is also possible to install directly from network, which makes USB devices unneeded though you will still need a network cable and another computer - see: Installation/Netboot or Netinstall via Windows)

Source(s): software solutions

Note on using this guide

This guide was written with Ubuntu in mind. Generally everything works the same with the other variants of the distribution (Kubuntu, Xubuntu). For ease of use gedit is the text editor we'll be using. If you are using a variant please substitute a different text editor (kate for Kubuntu, mousepad for Xubuntu or just use vim/emacs/nano).

Step One: Preparation

(Skip this step if you have an external USB CD-ROM) If we don't have any external USB CD-ROM the first thing we need to do is create a bootable copy of the Ubuntu LiveCD on a memory key. This will be our install media for the Aspire One. Its actually pretty similar to creating recovery media for Linpus Lite (the included version of Linux). Download and copy the LiveUSB .deb file from the link above to a memory key (you can use the same one we we are going to format to create the install media, we only need this file once), and remove the memory key. The LiveUSB software should only be installed when booted off the LiveCD environment, so we do that next. Boot to the 8.04.1 Live CD on your other computer, and choose the first option off the boot menu (Try Ubuntu). When you reach the desktop insert the memory key with the LiveUSB software one it and double click. Follow the prompts to install it. Now we can create our bootable USB key. Start the LiveUSB application from System -> Administration -> Install LiveUSB. Select the target device (my two keys were listed by a human readable name, so it was easy to find) and click Execute. It will give you a warning about data loss, so double check that you selected the correct device and continue. Once that is done, you can shut down the other computer and remove the memory key.

Step Two: Install Ubuntu

Shut down your Aspire One and insert the external USB CD-ROM or the memory key that we just used. Turn it on and tap F12 to bring up the boot menu. With a CD-ROM, choose the USB CD-ROM option. With the bootable memory key created, choose the USB HDD option. This will boot you to the USB CD-ROM/LiveUSB stick, and allow you to install Ubuntu. Install it like normal if you have the hard disk Aspire One. If you have the SDD Aspire One, for good performance and to increase the life of the SSD use a non-journaled filesystem (suggestion: EXT2). If you have already installed with EXT3 then follow this post: http://www.aspireoneuser.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=164&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&start=10#p1177 to convert to EXT2. Installation (file copy) will take a LONG time (hour +). If your not currently connected to the internet on a wired connection, you may get an error about setting up a mirror. Don't worry about it if you do however, its non-fatal.

Step 3: Tweak / Fix

So now we should have an installed Ubuntu system. At this point wire your One into the network. If you use DHCP it should pick up an IP address automatically. The first thing you will want to do is updates, since the wireless driver needs to be reinstalled after every kernel update. Open a terminal (Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal). Do the updates: sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

WIRELESS:

(NOTE: In Intrepid Ibex (8.10) the wireless works out of the box, because the kernel is >= 2.6.27) Now we need to disable the hardware drivers that Ubuntu tries to use before the ones we make will function. So go to System -> Administration -> Hardware Drivers and uncheck everything. It should prompt us to reboot, so lets do it now. We need to grab the wireless driver, and the things we need to build it, from a terminal: mkdir source
cd source
wget http://snapshots.madwifi.org/madwifi-hal-0.10.5.6/madwifi-hal-0.10.5.6-r3835-20080801.tar.gz
tar -xzvf madwifi-hal-0.10.5.6-r3835-20080801.tar.gz
cd madwifi-hal-0.10.5.6-r3835-20080801
sudo apt-get install build-essential linux-headers-$(uname -r)And we build and install: make
sudo make install
sudo modprobe ath_pciIn order to have the wireless work after reboot, add the following line to /etc/modules ("sudo gedit /etc/modules") to automatically load the module when booting: ath_pciYou should now have working wireless. However you may want to do the following to prevent problems (the symbol mismatch) when the module is loaded: Add ath_hal to the DISABLED_MODULES= stanza in /etc/default/linux-restricted-modules-common (i.e. 'DISABLED_MODULES="ath_hal"') Every time there is a kernel update you will need to perform the following steps to make the wireless work. Go to the directory (madwifi-hal-0.10.5.6-r3835-20080801) and run: make clean
make
sudo make install

WIRELESS LED:

To get your awesome wireless led to blink for you based on traffic, put these lines in /etc/rc.local, just above the string exit 0 (below doesn't work). sysctl -w dev.wifi0.ledpin=3
sysctl -w dev.wifi0.softled=1The led on the front will now do the association blink, as well as blink based on wireless traffic. The wifi kill switch uses these keycodes (also to use in rc.local): /usr/bin/setkeycodes e055 159
/usr/bin/setkeycodes e056 158

CARD READER:

(NOTE: This section needs to be improved. It seems that card reader is not truly "Fully functional") According to DebianAcerOne the following command enables the card reader: setpci -d 197b:2381 AE=47The card reader works fine now.
  • it might help to suspend/resume
  • a static entry for the device /dev/mmcblk01p in /etc/fstab might help
  • powersaving can be done with the jmb38x_d3e.sh script -
wget http://petaramesh.org/public/arc/projects/AcerOne_Ubuntu/jmb38x_d3e.sh
sudo chmod 754 jmb38x_d3e.sh
sudo mv jmb38x_d3e.sh /usr/local/sbin/To recognize cards every time. sudo gedit /usr/local/sbin/jmb38x_d3e.shAdd the following to line 11 modprobe pciehp pciehp_force=1After reboot cards are recognized.

USB MOUNT:

(Do this step only if you get an error inserting a USB stick) If you insert a memory key, you may notice an error and that it cannot be mounted. This is due to the CD-ROM entry in the fstab. Since we don't have an optical drive on the One we will comment that out. From a terminal again: sudo gedit /etc/fstabYou should see a line that looks like: /dev/sdb /media/cdrom0 udf,iso9660 user,noauto,exec 0 0add a hash in front: #/dev/sdb /media/cdrom0 udf,iso9660 user,noauto,exec 0 0Reboot, and automount should work.

NOISE (FAN CONTROL)

Bios v0.3114 doesn't manage Fan speed correctly, resulting in a very noisy AA0. Solution: chmod a+x acerfand
sudo cp acer_ec.pl acerfand /usr/local/bin/
  • To run it straight away:
sudo acerfand
  • To run it at boot:
sudo gedit /etc/rc.localInsert the following line above the exit 0 at the bottom: /usr/local/bin/acerfandThe fan is not completely disabled. When the default temperature is reached (60ºC), fan works again. According to Intel, the Atom chip could work until 99ºC. Optional: Above instructions will work fine, but if you want to define another temperature:
  • Create an /etc/acerfand.conf file. The file is just a shell script that sets up to three values. eg:
INTERVAL=5
FANOFF=60
FANAUTO=70Those are the default values, if the /etc/acerfand.conf file isn't found. INTERVAL is the polling interval in seconds FANOFF is the temperature (in Celsius Degrees) at or below which to turn the fan off, if it's currently on auto FANAUTO is the temperature (in Celsius Degrees) at or above which to turn the fan to auto, if it's currently off More information from the original source, AspireOne Wiki. Note that this script for fan control no longer works with Bios 3304!

OPTIMIZING SSD PERFORMANCE:

(Skip this step if you have the hard disk Acer Aspire One) The performance of the SSD drive can be significantly improved by a few tweaks described in an article by Jason Perlow (Tweek #1 is not working with Ubuntu on the Aspire One). The most important of these are described here. Change the file system mount options on SSDs to “noatime” Edit /etc/fstab (sudo gedit /etc/fstab) and change the the option “relatime” to “noatime”. The line for the root partition should then be something like: UUID=f0ae2c59-83d2-42e7-81c4-2e870b6b255d / ext2 noatime,errors=remount-ro 0 1 Use the “noop” I/O scheduler Edit /boot/grub/menu.lst using your favorite editor, and add "elevator=noop" as an option. The default kernel configuration, found in the last part of the file should be something like: title Ubuntu 8.04.1, kernel 2.6.24-19-generic
root (hd0,0)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.24-19-generic root=UUID=f0ae2c59-83d2-42e7-81c4-2e870b6b255d ro quiet splash elevator=noop
initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.24-19-generic
quietIn order for the changes to remain when updating the kernel, also in menu.lst, find the line # defoptions=quiet splashand add "elevator=noop" as an option: # defoptions=elevator=noop quiet splash

REDUCING SSD WEAR:

(Skip this step if you have the hard disk Acer Aspire One) Frequent writes to the SSD will cause failure eventually. We can reduce the number of writes to the SSD by moving our logs to a temporary filesystem in RAM that gets destroyed at ever reboot. Now this means your logs will not be persistent across reboots making debugging difficult in some cases. This step is optional of course, so if you need the logs for an extended period of time do not follow these steps. Open your fstab again, and add the following lines: sudo gedit /etc/fstab
tmpfs /var/log/apt tmpfs defaults 0 0
tmpfs /var/log tmpfs defaults 0 0
tmpfs /tmp tmpfs defaults 0 0
tmpfs /var/tmp tmpfs defaults 0 0

DISABLE SCROLLKEEPER:

(Skip this step if you have the hard disk Acer Aspire One) ScrollKeeper is a cataloging system for documentation on open systems. Hardly anyone ever uses it and on the AAO's slow SSD it takes ages every time you install anything. Disable it and your installs will fly! Finally add a diversion to stop dpkg from overwriting your changes. sudo mv /usr/bin/scrollkeeper-update /usr/bin/scrollkeeper-update.real
sudo ln -s /bin/true /usr/bin/scrollkeeper-update
sudo find /var/lib/scrollkeeper/ -name \*.xml -type f -exec rm -f '{}' \;
sudo dpkg-divert --local --divert /usr/bin/scrollkeeper-update.real --add /usr/bin/scrollkeeper-update

VIDEO AND 3D PERFORMANCE: (Optional)

Out of the box, the graphic card Intel GMA 950, is well detected, however there are some "tweaking" that can be made at /etc/X11/xorg.conf to achieve a better graphic card performance. If you feel that you want that extra performance just edit the previous file and add the following lines, to the section "Device": Section "Device"
(...)
Option "MonitorLayout" "LVDS,VGA"
Option "Clone" "true"
Option "AccelMethod" "EXA"
Option "MigrationHeuristic" "greedy"
VideoRam 229376
Option "CacheLines" "1980"
EndSectionThe Option Clone is especially usefull, if you want to capture video or photos, without it you will get a black screen on applications like cheese. also add this to your /etc/profile export INTEL_BATCH=1Note: 'export INTEL_BATCH=1' appears to causes graphics faults (artifacts) within 'ume-launcher' (even with Compiz fully disabled). Reboot and you will have a more responsive system, with better 3D FPS, and improved video performance.

AUDIO:

Out of the box there are various issues with the sound. These range from headphone detection not functioning correctly, to the internal MIC not working. There are solutions to these problems. Currently, however, there is no known way to get everything working at once. All of the steps begin the same way, rebuilding ALSA: sudo apt-get install module-assistant
sudo m-a update
sudo m-a prepare
sudo m-a a-i alsa
sudo alsa force-unload
sudo depmod -ae
sudo modprobe snd-hda-intelAdd the following line to the end of /etc/modules in order to ensure that the module is loaded during bootup: snd-hda-intelNow we need to make a choice. To have the internal MIC non-functional (external works), but sound working after suspend and resume, we edit /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base (sudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base) and add the following line to the bottom: options snd-hda-intel model=toshibaReboot for that to take effect. To have the internal MIC function correctly, but no sound after suspending and resuming the computer add or change the following to the /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base as before: options snd-hda-intel model=autoAgain, reboot for this to take effect. For some unknown reason some people don't hear any sound with either option. If you experience this problem you might want to use the option in /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base as before to the following to resolve this problem: options snd-hda-intel model=acerIf you experience crackling sound after rebooting, insert the following line in /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist: blacklist snd_pcspOptional: The default sound level is low. Open a terminal and type alsamixer to adjust volume.

TWEAKS TO MAKE BETTER USE OF THE ASPIRE ONE'S SMALL SCREEN:

There are various methods that will help you make better use of the Aspire One's small screen. One of the most important is being able to move windows that are too large to fit on the screen at once. To move a hidden part of the window into view, click and drag with the left mouse button on any part of the window while holding down the ALT key. However, you won't be able to drag windows so the top of the window is above the top of the screen. To fix that, enter the following in a terminal window: gconftool-2--set/apps/compiz/plugins/move/allscreens/options/constrain_y--typebool0 Since the Aspire One's screen has almost twice as much resolution horizontally as vertically, having panels on both the top and bottom is not ideal. You may want to remove the top or bottom panels, make them smaller, or move them so that they are vertical, on the left and right side, instead of horizontal on top and bottom.

HIBERNATE:

In some set-ups, using hibernate has been reported to cause file corruption.

TWEAKS FOR POWERSAVING (Optional):

Add the following to the /etc/rc.local file: # Economize the SSD
sysctl -w vm.swappiness=1 # Strongly discourage swapping
sysctl -w vm.vfs_cache_pressure=50 # Don't shrink the inode cache aggressively

# As in the rc.last.ctrl of Linpus
echo ondemand > /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_governor
echo ondemand > /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu1/cpufreq/scaling_governor
cat /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/ondemand/sampling_rate_max > /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/ondemand/sampling_rate

echo 1500 > /proc/sys/vm/dirty_writeback_centisecs
echo 20 > /proc/sys/vm/dirty_ratio
echo 10 > /proc/sys/vm/dirty_background_ratio

echo 1 > /sys/devices/system/cpu/sched_smt_power_savings
echo 10 > /sys/module/snd_hda_intel/parameters/power_save
echo 5 > /proc/sys/vm/laptop_mode

#Decrease power usage of USB while idle
[ -L /sys/bus/usb/devices/1-5/power/level ] && echo auto > /sys/bus/usb/devices/1-5/power/level
[ -L /sys/bus/usb/devices/5-5/power/level ] && echo auto > /sys/bus/usb/devices/5-5/power/level

NETBOOK REMIX (Optional):

To install Ubuntu Netbook remix -
  • Insert the following into /etc/apt/sources.list:
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/netbook-remix-team/ubuntu hardy main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/netbook-remix-team/ubuntu hardy main
  • then execute
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install go-home-applet human-netbook-theme maximus ume-launcher window-picker-applet
  • Add maximus as startup program (system > preferences > sessions > startup programs)
  • Change the desktop theme to Human-Netbook (system > preferences > appearance > theme)
  • Delete the bottom panel
  • Reconfigure the top panel to contain the following items -
    • Go Home Applet
    • Window Picker Applet
    • Notification Area
    • Mixer Applet
    • Clock
  • There is a bug in the ume-launcher after resuming from suspend. To work around this place the following in /etc/pm/sleep.d/01UMELauncher -
#
# Copyright 2008 Matteo Collina <matteo.collina@gmail.com>
#
# This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify
# it under the terms of version 2 of the GNU General Public License as
# published by the Free Software Foundation.

export DISPLAY=:0.0

TMPFILE=/tmp/.launcher/resume-event

case "$1" in
suspend|hibernate)
rm -rf $TMPFILE
echo "Removed resume-notify file"
;;
resume|thaw)
touch $TMPFILE
echo "Created resume-notify file"
;;
esac

exit $?
  • Make the above file executable -
sudo chmod +x /etc/pm/sleep.d/01UMELauncherYou should also disable desktop effects as these cause issues with netbook remix. Maximising screen real estate in Firefox: To take your screen saving netbook remix to the next level, you can do the following to maximise screen real estate in everyone's most used app - Firefox -
  • Install the following addons
  • Install the following theme -
    • Classic Compact
  • Configure Personal Menu to include all the standard menus except History and Bookmarks (they get their own buttons)
  • Disable the menu toolbar. You can always get it back by pressing Alt

Flash 10 RC or upper (Optional, recommended for 512M of RAM):

Ubuntu Hardy installs flash version 9.0.115, this version needs a lot of memory to work and makes 'AspireOne' slower than it is. A good option is to download the latest Flash player plugin 10, which delivers improved performance and less memory requirements. This package is the flashplugin-nonfree, which is available on hardy-backports repository, or by download in the following link: http://packages.ubuntu.com/hardy-backports/flashplugin-nonfree


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