My Acer Aspire One with Ubuntu 8.10

Woo Hoo.


After some significant ‘learning’ I have got my new netbook just about set up just about right.

I was going to tweak the standard Linpus Linux to get it set up right. But reading around suggested that it was a bit hacky and not the best base to build from. Also when I did the first update I got a bunch of package conflicts so I assume adding a load of new apps would make things even more fragile. So I went the Ubuntu route.

This was very useful:


Basically it installs fine, with no fatal errors. And netbook remix is a lovely interface – very easy on the eye. And the way it maximises every window is V useful on these small screens.

There seem to be 2 main areas of problems. And I think these seem to indicate that it was not just Linpus that is a little hacky. Wired networking works just fine, wireless not so. Also sound does not work right.

Wireless networking I fixed (eventually) with the backports solutions from link 2. The link one solution actually broke my wired networking so if you are doing this yourself then try

sudo aptitude install linux-backports-modules-intrepid


The sound took a lot of buggering around. There seem to be a bazillion places where you can set sound levels and they all interfere in some mysterious way. I’ve always had hassle with sound in Windows too so maybe its just me.

Anyway updating pulse and faffing around finally got sound in and out working with the recorder and Skype using an external mic. I have some other things to try to see if I can get the internal one working.

I followed the ALSA route described here and now everything works fine, incl internal mic.

There also seem to be some issues around USB sticks and SD cards, I havent bumped into those yet.

One vaguely amusing event was the next day start up when wireless networking was broken again. What a ball ache, I jumped through all sorts of hoops until I eventually switched the wireless hardware switch and it all came to life. Somehow it had started up with wireless disabled via the front switch.

All of this could have been avoided if Acer had worked with the main distros rather than creating their own Linux. It seems the issue is one of timing, the AA1 has some new hardware that the latest Ubuntu does not know how to handle, but the fixes are becoming available. I assume they will get rolled into an Ubuntu update soon enough.

I have yet to migrate fully to the netbook but I will do in the next few days. I am writing this from it though.

Summary – a bit of a challenge to get working, but interesting and educational so no bad thing in the long run. Now its working it is Very nice indeed.



9 Responses to “My Acer Aspire One with Ubuntu 8.10”

  1. aivars Says:

    Keep on Simon with Linux. Because of ecocrisis I have decided to learn something new besides of Excel and VBA. I am struggling to find Excel VBA work in Latvia so I have decided to dig into Python. I have already about 4 month with Python and Sqlite (an Access alternative with much better sql language) and I am very happy with the results. Of course there is no financial reward at the moment but I feel it may change when all changes. And – it means I am off from Microsoft at the moment. I am happy with Ubuntu 8.10, Firebird/Sqlite and Python! I hope I will be able to convince my customers to switch to Linux/Python/OOf because this is all they need at the moment

  2. Simon Says:

    Hi Aivars
    The Excel/VBA market in the UK is bad at the moment too. A combination of lots of spare bankers, and lack of funds for projects means rates have dropped by at least 100 GBP per day and the number of roles advertised has dropped too. At least thats how it seemed to me in Oct/Nov 08.

    Anyone else got a view?

    Good luck with Python, those Resolver folks are forever singing its praises. Its not on my agenda at the mo, but I am certainly broadening my focus in case the Excel VBA decline is terminal.

  3. Doug Glancy Says:

    I’ve had some battles with wireless networking on Ubuntu 8.04. On one computer I get it set and then it breaks again.
    On another it’s fine, but I had to install Ubuntu twice. I discovered that Ubuntu should be installed plugged into a LAN connection from the start.

    Happy New Year!

  4. Mike Staunton Says:


    Like a true techie, sounds like you would have been disappointed if there hadn’t been a few problems to solve along the way

    I’ll be happy to have XP on the Samsung NC10 that I’m about to buy so that I can then stick Office 2000 on to it

  5. Simon Says:

    Very good point – the first install didn’t get wired networking working so I plugged in and re-installed – so long ago, with so much tinkering in between I had forgotten – thanks for pointing that out.

    Mike, Yeah I don’t mind a bit of messing. In fact I expect it, I like to get things how I like them. Mind you there is a difference between customising, and just getting the thing working. It worked ok with Linpus so putting Ubuntu on was customisation therefore a bit of messing is ok.

    I almost went for the NC10, but its 100 quid more and WinXP only – that just took it out of the ‘disposable’ netbook category for me. I’ll be getting a new ‘proper’ laptop just prior to the Excel user conf (something powerful for all those whizzy demos) so I couldn’t justify the money (I got 2 AA1’s for the kids for 340GBP).

  6. Boycott Novell » Links 02/01/2009: Says:

    […] My Acer Aspire One with Ubuntu 8.10 […]

  7. danny Says:

    i did a windows install fast but not my thing gonna install intrepid ibex(8.10) thanks to your guide it shouuld work ok i gonna install full not net remix

  8. Brian Says:

    First off I am not a techie and my main experiences have been with Macs. I have just got an AAO and am thrilled with it apart from not being able to connect to my wireless network sometimes. I have the original Linux Linpus Lite on the AAO at the moment but am thinking of installing Ubuntu 8.10 can anyone explain simply the difference between the Linpus Lite and the Ubuntu?

  9. Brian Says:

    Well don’t all rush folks.
    I downloaded Ubuntu 9.04 onto my Mac and then installed the installer on a 4Gb Kingston USB memory stick.

    At present I am still running the Ubuntu from the memory stick as I dont seem to be able to find the correct keyboard layout for my Portuguese bought AAO. Does anyone know if it’s possible to download a Prtuguese layout that I can install in the AAO? Everything else works although I prefer the Photo Master software on the old Linpus, much faster.

    I have some pdf files that the machine cant read and which I can’t trash. I downloaded and installed Adobe Acrobat Reader but it doesn’t appear anywhere and is not offered as an option to open pdf files, any clues anyone?

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