Step-By-Step Guide

This guide will walk you through configuring Ubuntu 8.10 Netbook Remix for optimal performance on the Acer Aspire One.

What will work if you do this:

  • All the obvious stuff: screen, keyboard, disk, touchpad, USB, etc.
  • Wifi (including kill switch) and wired Ethernet.
  • Both card readers, including instant powersave-on-eject.
  • Sound output, including headphone jack.
  • Audio input jack.
  • Webcam.
  • Suspend and hibernate.
  • Automatic CPU frequency scaling.
  • Dual-booting back to Windows XP (if that's your thing).
After configuration, the machine should boot in under a minute, and get 6+ hours of battery life with light use (i.e. browsing the web, but not transcoding videos).

What will not work if you do this:

  • The internal microphone.
  • The Wifi activity LED.
  • Some (but not all) of the funky Acer hotkeys.
It's probably possible to get these working, but they don't interest me.

You will need...

  • An Acer Aspire One.  Mine is an AOA150-1447 with a 6-cell battery, but other models should work.
  • An internet connection, both to read this (hi!) and to download software.
  • A USB flash drive, at least 1GB.  Note: a 1GB flash card in one of the card slots will not work.  A card in a USB reader will work.
  • Basic familiarity with Linux/Unix.  Some steps of this guide require you to perform actions in the terminal, as root, where it's very easy to break things.
  • Comfort with installing Ubuntu, or willingness to follow the many tutorials that will come up if you search; this one seems fine if you use Windows.  If you already have an Ubuntu 8.10 machine, use the "Create USB Startup Disk" app under System > Administration.  This is worth restating: this tutorial will not teach you how to install Ubuntu -- only how to make it work right on the Aspire One!

The Steps

  1. Install Ubuntu 8.10 on the Aspire One from USB flash device.  Don't use the Ubuntu Netbook Remix image; use the Desktop or Alternative installer.  There are no tweaks or surprises here; assuming you've correctly prepared the flash drive, use F12 to choose it at the BIOS screen and the install works flawlessly.  Ubuntu even offers to resize an existing XP partition if you have one.
  2. Get the wifi working.
  3. Make the machine quieter by turning on fan control.
  4. Get the card readers working.
  5. Fix suspend/resume/hibernate.  This disables your internal microphone as an unfortunate side effect, for now.
  6. Configure power management to increase battery life.
  7. If you'd like the internet to be usable, install Flash 10.
  8. If you use Java apps or applets, install Java 6.
  9. Install the Ubuntu Network Remix packages.
  10. Configure Firefox to free up valuable screen real-estate.
  11. Enable two-finger scrolling if you like it.