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Linux on an Acer Aspire One D150

This webpage describes the setup of Linux on a Acer Aspire One netbook, specifically, the D150 model. Other Aspire One models should behave similarly. Also, I am discussing the specifics of Gentoo Linux but this webpage can easily be adapted to other distributions.

Issues

All features of this laptop are supported under Linux, except for Bluetooth which support is in general rudimentary with Linux, and the temperature sensor that reports a constant temperature of 27 C. With older versions of the BIOS, the CPU will be used 100% (by ACPI events) after the lid is closed, even after the lid is re-opened. Note that the problem affects all OSes as this is a BIOS-related issue. Updated to the latest BIOS.

Other webpages about the same topic

Thanks to the authors of this webpage from which I drew part of the information needed to set up Linux on my laptop:

Hardware

  • Intel Atom N280
  • Toshiba MK1652GSX SATA 160 GB hard drive
  • Graphics: Intel 945 GME, on a 10" LCD screen
  • Sound: Intel I82801G
  • Microphone
  • Video camera (webcam)
  • Wireless 802.11g: Atheros AR5BXB63
  • Ethernet: Attansic L1 gigabit Ethernet
  • Bluetooth: ???
  • Synaptics touchpad
  • Keyboard, no special key, several key combinations with "Fn" key to access extra features (sound volume, etc)
  • Multicard reader (SD, XD, ...)
  • 3 USB 2.0 ports

Installation and configuration

Installation

The absence of an optical drive makes installing Linux a bit tricky. Here is described at a high level an installation with dual-boot, to keep Windows running. First, partition your hard drive with Parted Magic; Parted Magic can be run from a bootable USB flash or CD drive. Then, use unetbootin to actually install Gentoo Linux. (You may also find this useful.) Please refer to the Gentoo installation handbook for details.

Prepare the hard drive partitions with fdisk, e.g., for a system with a 1GB swap partition:

# fdisk -l /dev/hda

Disk /dev/sda: 160.0 GB, 160041885696 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 19457 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Disk identifier: 0xa0a504ce

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 1 784 6297448+ 12 Compaq diagnostics
/dev/sda2 * 785 3395 20972857+ 7 HPFS/NTFS
/dev/sda3 3396 5353 15727635 83 Linux
/dev/sda4 5354 19457 113290380 5 Extended
/dev/sda5 5354 19196 111193866 83 Linux
/dev/sda6 19197 19457 2096451 82 Linux swap / Solaris

Kernel

Some hardware needs kernel support to work. You can use this .config file to compile your kernel. To configure grub, use this grub.conf file, where dual-boot with Windows XP (that was preconfigured on the machine) is made available, as long as booting on the Acer system reset-to-factory partition.


Network adapters drivers configuration

None of the wired and wireless interfaces may work out of the box.
For the wired ethernet adapter, use a recent kernel (e.g., tuxonice-sources-2.6.28) and make sure to compile the atl1e driver (select Device drivers/Network device support/Ethernet (1000 Mbit)/Atheros L1E Gigabit Ethernet support). Recompile the kernel and add atl1e to /etc/modules.autoload.d/kernel-2.6; install the kernel and reboot.
For the wireless adapter, you can use the Windows driver with ndiswrapper; this will also require kernel tuning, as the Windows driver will not work with the default 4K stack. In the kernel configuration menu, disable the 4K stack (uncheck "Use 4Kb for kernel stacks instead of 8Kb" in "Kernel Hacking") and compile and install the kernel, then reboot. Install ndiswrapper (emerge ndiswrapper), add ndiswrapper to /etc/modules.autoload.d/kernel-2.6 to load it automatically at the next reboot. You need to tell ndiswrapper to use the Windows driver for the Atheros adapter: download the driver, extract the archive, and run ndiswrapper -i net5211.inf. To load the driver without rebooting, just run modprobe ndiswrapper.


X configuration

The X server (emerge xorg-x11) needs some configuration to run properly. Simply use this /etc/X11/xorg.conf file.

Audio configuration

The audio adapter is supported natively by ALSA. Install the ALSA tools:


# emerge alsa-lib alsa-utils
# alsaconf
# rc-update add alsasound boot

and reboot. Make sure the sound is turned on using the mixer (alsamixer). The front microphone will work only with a recent kernel (2.6.30).


Wireless adapter

The wireless adapter runs fine using the Windows drivers and ndiswrapper. Get the drivers from the Compaq website. Extract the archive; you need the files bcmwl5.inf and bcmwl5.sys. Install ndiswrapper:

# emerge ndiswrapper
# echo "ndiswrapper" >> /etc/modules.autoload.d/kernel-2.6
# modules_update
# ndiswrapper -i bcmwl5.inf

If you want to enable wireless network at boot time, add net.wlan0 to your default runlevel (rc-update add net.wlan0 default).
Refer to the 802.11X howto if you need more security.


 

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Last modified: February 05 2012 19:27:24.