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CrunchBang Linux on Acer Aspire One AO751h

  • Sunday, February 14 2010 @ 10:09 PM EST
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Months after purchasing the Acer Aspire One AO751h, I was still looking for a Linux distribution that works well with the embedded (cursed!) Intel GMA 500 graphics drivers, aka Poulsbo. Ubuntu 9.04 or other distributions sourced on Jaunty Jackalope seem to be the easiest to make usable on this hardware but the situation is still far from perfect.

I gave CrunchBang Linux 9.04 a try and am loving it for a netbook operating system. CrunchBang, known as #! for short, uses the Openbox window manager + conky to provide a lightweight and clean desktop environment. One of the great things about the CruchBang distro is that it pulls from the Ubuntu repositories directly, so the expected huge number of software applications are available via the aptitude package management system. I really like the conky "Super key" keyboard shortcuts to start the main applications such as Browser, Terminal, Editor, etc. See the CrunchBang web site for more info (http://crunchbanglinux.org).

The only modifications I made to the system to help compatibility with Linux were the following three fixes taken from the Ubuntu community wiki pages:

  1. Fix WiFi
  2. Fix video resolution to get 1366x768
  3. Fix Suspend / Resume

These steps worked with kernel 2.6.28-13-generic.

Fix WiFi by enabling the proprietary Atheros madwifi drivers in the Restricted Device Manager. In addition to this, I had to remove the blacklist of the ath5k driver in /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-ath_pci.conf. On my system, both ath_pci and ath5k modules are loaded. This is probably not right, but seems to work for me.

Fix video resolution by enabling the PPA repository and install packages xserver-xorg-video-psb and psb-kernel-source as described in https://help.ubuntu.com/community/AspireOne/AO751h#Enabling%201366x768%20Resolution

Graphics now work at 1366x768. I did not have to edit my xorg.conf

Fix Suspend / Resume as described in https://help.ubuntu.com/community/AspireOne/AO751h#Fixing%20Suspend

Wireless takes a while to start up again after Resume, but NetworkManager does eventually show the spinning "connecting" icon and I get a connection.

Overall, I think CrunchBox Linux is working well enough on the AO751h that I can stop booting Windows and actually get down to business.

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