Ubuntu Linux on an Acer 4810T Laptop


Once again I've acquired a new laptop. This time I spent a bit of energy researching the options available for laptops. I decided to optimize for coolness. The literal temperature. I'm sick of burning my knees and thighs for something that has "lap" in its name. The above photo is a screen shot of the system--with a solar corona set as the background image.

I got the Acer Aspire 4810T-8480 for the following reasons:
It runs cool
It has 4Gb of memory
It took both the 32-bit and 64-bit Ubuntu demo CDs and the Ubuntu demo USB key
The chiclet keyboard is cool in the cool way
Significant improvement on the battery life (8 hrs?)
It's svelt
It cost significantly less than the Mac equivalent

What Worked
Ubuntu Linux Jaunty 64-bit out-of-the-box nearly worked perfectly. Wireless was good. Screen was good. Mouse and keyboard were great. I even set up the Alt Gr dead keys, so I can easily do UTF characters like ø and à and ¿. The card reader even took a SD MMC card without a hitch.

Suspend and Hibernate
Hibernate worked but was slower than just restarting. (Like I can't save and start over?) Suspend however, worked great. Fast and easy. (I only tested on a 2.6.30.3 kernel, which is not stock with Jaunty, see below.)

Wired Ethernet
This took a bit of wrestling with. The default kernel driver does not work. Here are the instructions for getting it to work:
1. Download the latest driver for AR813X from Atheros's website
(1.0.0.9 as of this writing)
2. Untar and change to the src directoy
3. make
4. sudo make install
5. sudo modprobe atl1e (or restart, as this only worked on the Jaunty default kernel)

For the 2.6.30.3 kernel (which I custom compiled, it's not stock with Jaunty), I also needed to do this. I changed kcompat.h to have the following (patch format, the stuff below --- is the change):

208,209c208,209
< #define IRQ_HANDLED
< #define IRQ_NONE
---
> #define IRQ_HANDLED 1
> #define IRQ_NONE 0


Kernel 2.6.30.3
I compiled my own kernel (I won't document the how to do it here, advanced stuff ;-) and upgraded to 2.6.30.3--the latest as of this writing--to overcome what I read somewhere in the tubes was a wireless flakyness (I cannot find the website anymore though). The wireless went out on me once in 2.6.28, so I assumed that's what it was talking about. And bonus, I'm now running a non-generic kernel that thus has the x86_64 extensions. (should be better but whatever).

To Do
Maybe see if I can get the mousepad suspend button to work (or not).

lspci

00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation Mobile 4 Series Chipset Memory Controller Hub (rev 07)
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation Mobile 4 Series Chipset Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 07)
00:02.1 Display controller: Intel Corporation Mobile 4 Series Chipset Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 07)
00:1a.0 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #4 (rev 03)
00:1a.1 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #5 (rev 03)
00:1a.7 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB2 EHCI Controller #2 (rev 03)
00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) HD Audio Controller (rev 03)
00:1c.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) PCI Express Port 1 (rev 03)
00:1c.1 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) PCI Express Port 2 (rev 03)
00:1d.0 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #1 (rev 03)
00:1d.1 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #2 (rev 03)
00:1d.2 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #3 (rev 03)
00:1d.3 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #6 (rev 03)
00:1d.7 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB2 EHCI Controller #1 (rev 03)
00:1e.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801 Mobile PCI Bridge (rev 93)
00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation ICH9M-E LPC Interface Controller (rev 03)
00:1f.2 SATA controller: Intel Corporation ICH9M/M-E SATA AHCI Controller (rev 03)
00:1f.3 SMBus: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) SMBus Controller (rev 03)
00:1f.6 Signal processing controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) Thermal Subsystem (rev 03)
01:00.0 Ethernet controller: Attansic Technology Corp. Device 1063 (rev c0)
02:00.0 Network controller: Intel Corporation Wireless WiFi Link 5100


lsusb

Bus 008 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
Bus 002 Device 002: ID 064e:a133 Suyin Corp.
Bus 002 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
Bus 003 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
Bus 007 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
Bus 006 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
Bus 004 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
Bus 005 Device 002: ID 1267:0201 Logic3 / SpectraVideo plc A4Tech SWOP-3 Mouse
Bus 005 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub

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2 Comments:

At 8/1/09, 3:58 PM, Blogger Michael Stone said...

You realize you're making Windows sound _really_ attractive, right? :)

 
At 8/1/09, 9:57 PM, Blogger Crinis said...

I do all my development in Linux, so it helps if my native OS is of the same type. Linux is *sooooo* close, and yet so far. I think it will always be like that, as new hardware requires new drivers, which will be written for Windoze, but only later for Linux.

 

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