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Ubuntu 9.04 on Acer Aspire One AO751h

  • Monday, October 19 2009 @ 02:25 PM UTC
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A few weeks ago I bought my first netbook, an Acer Aspire One AO751h.  Today these are selling at NewEgg and elsewhere for under $300, but if you intend to run Linux today you should try a different model.

** Update June 2011:  The AO751h really sucks at running Linux.  I continued having the issue where it would not resume from suspend every time, sometimes wireless would not re-activate, etc.  Eventually I put Windows back on it and gave it to my brother. **

I wanted a netbook because it would be light enough to take "everywhere" and due to cost. Ultra-light notebook computers are still over $1000 which is more than I wanted to spend.  I chose the AO751h because the case comes in various non-generic colors (I chose blue), it has a nice big keyboard, long battery life, and the screen is 11.6 inches with a resolution of 1366x768.  The large hard drive (250 GB) allowed me to double- and triple-boot while I tested various Linux distributions.  This netbook is great for web browsing, running vim/emacs, SSH, git, and Remote Desktop. I bought the Windows Vista version of this netbook in order to get the included 2 GB of RAM.  The AO751h includes a 6-cell battery and lies flat on the table, unlike some of the netbooks that have an ugly battery sticking out the bottom that raises the back of the netbook up.  I need proper ergonomic keyboard angle to help avoid wrist problems.  I plan to do a lot of typing on this computer.

Sadly, the AO751h and Ubuntu are not yet a match made in heaven.  After some struggle, I did manage to get a usable Ubuntu 9.04 system,  Enough quirks remain that I continue to dual-boot with Windows.  Windows Vista was very slow on this hardware, so I replaced Vista with Windows XP which runs very well.

Here is the Ubuntu wiki page for this system:

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/AspireOne/AO751h

There are two major Ubuntu compatibility issues with this hardware that require tweaking... the video resolution and Suspend/Resume.  Wireless works out of the box although sometimes the device takes over 15 seconds to re-activate after Resume (and occasionaly wireless never comes back and I have to reboot).  The function keys for brightness do not work in a fresh install but seem to work ok after installing the psb-kernel-source package for the Intel Poulsbo (GMA 500) graphics.

Detailed hardware info (including lspci output) is at the bottom of this post.

 

There are a few other minor issues such as the wireless activity LED not working.

Note that I updated to a newer version of the BIOS from the Acer web site (version 3208).

(Parts of the following are taken from the Ubuntu Community Wiki. Thanks to the "Contributors to the Ubuntu documentation wiki" for their hard work.)

Enabling 1366x768 Resolution

There are a number of solutions to enable 1366x768 on the AO751h. The following method enables this resolution and provides video acceleration and seems to be fairly stable.

Add the following line at the end of /etc/apt/sources.list:

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/ubuntu-mobile/ppa/ubuntu jaunty main

Then run the following commands in the terminal:

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys C6598A30
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg-video-psb psb-kernel-source
sudo shutdown -r now

 If an update to a new kernel version breaks the graphics driver on your 751h, continue booting to the desktop (select the **Run one time session with low graphics** option) then run the following commands in the terminal:

sudo apt-get remove psb-kernel-source
sudo apt-get install psb-kernel-source
sudo shutdown -r now

Do Not use the --reinstall option since this will probably crash your X session. Instead, do a remove and install on the psb-kernel-source package as shown above.

Post-install edits to /etc/X11/xorg.conf:

Section "Device"
        Identifier      "Configured Video Device"
#        Option          "IgnoreACPI"    # This option may cause problems with Resume
        Option          "AccelMethod" "exa"
        Option          "MigrationHeuristic" "greedy"
        Option          "NoDDC"
EndSection

Restart X (log off and back in).

Installing the Poulsbo as mentioned above also allows the Function Keys to change the LCD screen brightness.

 

Fixing Suspend

Edit /usr/share/hal/fdi/information/10freedesktop/20-video-quirk-pm-acer.fdi and add the following at the end (before the last /match):

<match key="system.hardware.product" string="AO751h">
   <merge key="power_management.quirk.dpms_on" type="bool">true</merge>
   <merge key="power_management.quirk.vbemode_restore" type="bool">true</merge>
   <merge key="power_management.quirk.vbestate_restore" type="bool">true</merge>
 </match>)

 Unfortunately, even with this tweak the AO751h fails to resume sometimes.

 

A0751h System Details and Hardware Info

 # uname -a

Linux dan-acerone 2.6.28-15-generic #52-Ubuntu SMP Wed Sep 9 10:49:34 UTC 2009 i686 GNU/Linux

 

 # cat /proc/cpuinfo

processor    : 0
vendor_id    : GenuineIntel
cpu family    : 6
model        : 28
model name    : Intel(R) Atom(TM) CPU Z520   @ 1.33GHz
stepping    : 2
cpu MHz        : 800.000
cache size    : 512 KB
physical id    : 0
siblings    : 2
core id        : 0
cpu cores    : 1
apicid        : 0
initial apicid    : 0
fdiv_bug    : no
hlt_bug        : no
f00f_bug    : no
coma_bug    : no
fpu        : yes
fpu_exception    : yes
cpuid level    : 10
wp        : yes
flags        : fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat
clflush dts acpi mmx fxsr sse sse2 ss ht tm pbe nx constant_tsc arch_perfmon
pebs bts pni dtes64 monitor ds_cpl vmx est tm2 ssse3 xtpr pdcm lahf_lm
tpr_shadow vnmi flexpriority
bogomips    : 2659.89
clflush size    : 64
power management:

processor    : 1
vendor_id    : GenuineIntel
cpu family    : 6
model        : 28
model name    : Intel(R) Atom(TM) CPU Z520   @ 1.33GHz
stepping    : 2
cpu MHz        : 800.000
cache size    : 512 KB
physical id    : 0
siblings    : 2
core id        : 0
cpu cores    : 1
apicid        : 1
initial apicid    : 1
fdiv_bug    : no
hlt_bug        : no
f00f_bug    : no
coma_bug    : no
fpu        : yes
fpu_exception    : yes
cpuid level    : 10
wp        : yes
flags        : fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat
clflush dts acpi mmx fxsr sse sse2 ss ht tm pbe nx constant_tsc arch_perfmon
pebs bts pni dtes64 monitor ds_cpl vmx est tm2 ssse3 xtpr pdcm lahf_lm
tpr_shadow vnmi flexpriority
bogomips    : 2659.95
clflush size    : 64
power management:

 

# lsmod

Module                  Size  Used by
binfmt_misc            16776  1
ppdev                  15620  0
bridge                 56212  0
stp                    10500  1 bridge
bnep                   20224  2
input_polldev          11912  0
joydev                 18368  0
lp                     17156  0
parport                42220  2 ppdev,lp
snd_hda_intel         435252  3
snd_pcm_oss            46336  0
snd_mixer_oss          22656  1 snd_pcm_oss
snd_pcm                83076  2 snd_hda_intel,snd_pcm_oss
snd_seq_dummy          10756  0
snd_seq_oss            37760  0
arc4                    9856  2
snd_seq_midi           14336  0
ecb                    10752  2
snd_rawmidi            29696  1 snd_seq_midi
uvcvideo               63368  0
snd_seq_midi_event     15104  2 snd_seq_oss,snd_seq_midi
ath5k                 107520  0
compat_ioctl32          9344  1 uvcvideo
snd_seq                56880  6 snd_seq_dummy,snd_seq_oss,snd_seq_midi,snd_seq_midi_event
psmouse                61972  0
pcspkr                 10496  0
acer_wmi               24260  0
videodev               41600  1 uvcvideo
v4l1_compat            21764  2 uvcvideo,videodev
btusb                  19608  2
mac80211              217592  1 ath5k
serio_raw              13444  0
snd_timer              29704  2 snd_pcm,snd_seq
snd_seq_device         14988  5 snd_seq_dummy,snd_seq_oss,snd_seq_midi,snd_rawmidi,snd_seq
i2c_isch               12676  0
led_class              12036  2 ath5k,acer_wmi
cfg80211               38288  2 ath5k,mac80211
snd                    62756  15 snd_hda_intel,snd_pcm_oss,snd_mixer_oss,snd_pcm,snd_seq_oss,snd_rawmidi,snd_seq,snd_timer,
snd_seq_device
video                  25872  0
soundcore              15200  1 snd
output                 11008  1 video
snd_page_alloc         16904  2 snd_hda_intel,snd_pcm
r8169                  40836  0
mii                    13312  1 r8169
fbcon                  46112  0
tileblit               10752  1 fbcon
font                   16384  1 fbcon
bitblit                13824  1 fbcon
softcursor              9984  1 bitblit

 

# lspci -v

00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation System Controller Hub (SCH Poulsbo) (rev 07)
	Subsystem: Acer Incorporated [ALI] Device 0244
	Flags: bus master, fast devsel, latency 0

00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation System Controller Hub (SCH Poulsbo)
 Graphics Controller (rev 07)
	Subsystem: Acer Incorporated [ALI] Device 0244
	Flags: bus master, fast devsel, latency 0, IRQ 16
	Memory at b0080000 (32-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=512K]
	I/O ports at 1800 [size=8]
	Memory at c0000000 (32-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=256M]
	Memory at b0000000 (32-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=256K]
	Capabilities: <access denied>
	Kernel driver in use: psb

00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation System Controller Hub (SCH Poulsbo) HD Audio
 Controller (rev 07)
	Subsystem: Acer Incorporated [ALI] Device 0244
	Flags: bus master, fast devsel, latency 0, IRQ 22
	Memory at b0050000 (64-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=16K]
	Capabilities: <access denied>
	Kernel driver in use: HDA Intel
	Kernel modules: snd-hda-intel

00:1c.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation System Controller Hub (SCH Poulsbo) PCI Express
 Port 1 (rev 07)
	Flags: bus master, fast devsel, latency 0
	Bus: primary=00, secondary=02, subordinate=02, sec-latency=0
	I/O behind bridge: 00002000-00002fff
	Memory behind bridge: 88000000-880fffff
	Prefetchable memory behind bridge: d0100000-d01fffff
	Capabilities: <access denied>
	Kernel driver in use: pcieport-driver
	Kernel modules: shpchp

00:1c.1 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation System Controller Hub (SCH Poulsbo) PCI Express
 Port 2 (rev 07)
	Flags: bus master, fast devsel, latency 0
	Bus: primary=00, secondary=03, subordinate=03, sec-latency=0
	Memory behind bridge: d0000000-d00fffff
	Capabilities: <access denied>
	Kernel driver in use: pcieport-driver
	Kernel modules: shpchp

00:1d.0 USB Controller: Intel Corporation System Controller Hub (SCH Poulsbo) USB UHCI
 #1 (rev 07)
	Subsystem: Acer Incorporated [ALI] Device 0244
	Flags: bus master, fast devsel, latency 0, IRQ 23
	I/O ports at 1820 [size=32]
	Kernel driver in use: uhci_hcd

00:1d.1 USB Controller: Intel Corporation System Controller Hub (SCH Poulsbo) USB UHCI
 #2 (rev 07)
	Subsystem: Acer Incorporated [ALI] Device 0244
	Flags: bus master, fast devsel, latency 0, IRQ 19
	I/O ports at 1840 [size=32]
	Kernel driver in use: uhci_hcd

00:1d.2 USB Controller: Intel Corporation System Controller Hub (SCH Poulsbo) USB UHCI
 #3 (rev 07)
	Subsystem: Acer Incorporated [ALI] Device 0244
	Flags: bus master, fast devsel, latency 0, IRQ 18
	I/O ports at 1860 [size=32]
	Kernel driver in use: uhci_hcd

00:1d.7 USB Controller: Intel Corporation System Controller Hub (SCH Poulsbo) USB EHCI
 #1 (rev 07) (prog-if 20)
	Subsystem: Acer Incorporated [ALI] Device 0244
	Flags: bus master, fast devsel, latency 0, IRQ 21
	Memory at b0054000 (32-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=1K]
	Capabilities: <access denied>
	Kernel driver in use: ehci_hcd

00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation System Controller Hub (SCH Poulsbo) LPC Bridge
 (rev 07)
	Subsystem: Acer Incorporated [ALI] Device 0244
	Flags: fast devsel
	Kernel driver in use: isch_smbus
	Kernel modules: i2c-isch

00:1f.1 IDE interface: Intel Corporation System Controller Hub (SCH Poulsbo) IDE Controller
 (rev 07) (prog-if 80 [Master])
	Subsystem: Acer Incorporated [ALI] Device 0244
	Flags: bus master, fast devsel, latency 0
	[virtual] Memory at 000001f0 (32-bit, non-prefetchable) [disabled] [size=8]
	[virtual] Memory at 000003f0 (type 3, non-prefetchable) [disabled] [size=1]
	[virtual] Memory at 00000170 (32-bit, non-prefetchable) [disabled] [size=8]
	[virtual] Memory at 00000370 (type 3, non-prefetchable) [disabled] [size=1]
	I/O ports at 1810 [size=16]
	Kernel driver in use: pata_sch

02:00.0 Ethernet controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8101E/RTL8102E PCI Express
 Fast Ethernet controller (rev 02)
	Subsystem: Acer Incorporated [ALI] Device 0244
	Flags: bus master, fast devsel, latency 0, IRQ 2303
	I/O ports at 2000 [size=256]
	Memory at d0110000 (64-bit, prefetchable) [size=4K]
	Memory at d0100000 (64-bit, prefetchable) [size=64K]
	[virtual] Expansion ROM at d0120000 [disabled] [size=64K]
	Capabilities: <access denied>
	Kernel driver in use: r8169
	Kernel modules: r8169

03:00.0 Ethernet controller: Atheros Communications Inc. AR242x 802.11abg Wireless PCI
 Express Adapter (rev 01)
	Subsystem: Foxconn International, Inc. Device e00d
	Flags: bus master, fast devsel, latency 0, IRQ 17
	Memory at d0000000 (64-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=64K]
	Capabilities: <access denied>
	Kernel driver in use: ath5k_pci
	Kernel modules: ath_pci, ath5k

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