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openSUSE Tumbleweed on Acer Aspire E15

posted Jul 10, 2017, 4:57 PM by Nathan Wolf   [ updated Jul 11, 2017, 7:03 AM ]

From time to time, I will get a request for help with someone with their computer problems. Most of the time it is to fix a Windows issue but I don't do Windows. A coworker brought me his laptop and asked for Linux to be installed on it. He expressed his dislike for Windows 10 and all the background nonsense with advertising going on.

Normally, I would set someone up with Leap, but seeing as how I work with the guy, I thought I would see how installing Tumbleweed would go for him. I have had such a good experience with Tumbleweed, I wanted to see how it would work for a Linux newbie. I realize there was a bit of a risk putting a rolling release on a completely-new-to-Linux dude but as he is a coworker of which I know well, so troubleshooting would not be an issue and he was fine with the added complexity. If I didn't put Linux on this, the machine was going to end up in the garbage.

Specifications

AMD Quad-Core E2-6110 @ 1.50 Ghz
AMD Radeon R2 Graphics
16GB DDR3L Memory
1000 GB HDD

He upgraded the RAM from the original 4GB to improve performance for Windows 10 but he claimed it didn't improve the system.

Install Process

The fist thing I had to do was to change the boot order. In order to get into the BIOS/UEFI configuration I had to hit
F2 to enter Setup.

Changed the boot order to look to USB first. I will change this back but it is good to know that UEFI boot works no problem with openSUSE Tumbleweed. I didn't have to disable secure boot either.

After the install was complete, everything worked but the wifi adapter and the touchpad. The wifi adapter is the Broadcom BCM3142. Since I was performing the installation in a location that I didn't have Ethernet access, I had to tether the newly Linuxed machine to my Dell Latitude E6440 to access the internet.

Installing the driver was no problem. It was as simple as add the Packman repository and install the broadcom-wl driver:

sudo zypper --gpg-auto-import-keys ar -f http://ftp.gwdg.de/pub/linux/misc/packman/suse/openSUSE_Tumbleweed/ Packman
sudo zypper ref
sudo zypper in broadcom-wl

Touchpad problems

The touchpad in the machine was not recognized by KDE Plasma. There was no input at all from the touchpad. I found it really odd as this was the first time I have experience this. I was determined to get it working for my coworker as he was quite enthusiastic about this operating system upgrade.

Doing a little digging on the Internet, I discovered that the touchpad was an Elantech Touchpad but oddly didn't show up even when I ran in command line:

xinput

I was very puzzled and after about an hour of additional information it looked like this touchpad driver should have been included since Linux Kernel 3.16. I didn't verify that to be true but read it in one of the many forums I read through.

I finally decided to give up and tell my coworker that the touchpad was the only thing I could not get working. To which, he responded, "Yeah, it hasn't worked in a long time, that's why I gave you the wireless mouse."

I felt a little dumb but it was good to know the Linux install was not the problem.

Making Upgrades Easy

Since the recommended update method for openSUSE Tumbleweed is to run this command in terminal:

sudo zypper dup --no-allow-vendor-change

I thought that running this command to be a little more than what I wanted a new user to do and I wanted to insure that he actually performed the updates at least every other week. So, I wanted to make it simple. In order to ensure that the correct command is initiated for updates I set up a little Bash script with a .desktop file sitting on the desktop itself that he could just click to complete the updates. I put in a little snarky statement to remind to reboot after the upgrade is completed. Keeping it simple was my objective and I call that method a success.

Final Thoughts

If you install Linux for a friend or neighbor, ask them if there are any issues with the computer. This computer, is a little large for my taste and the keyboard not my favorite to type on but makes for a great openSUSE Linux machine. I have new questions from time to time but so far it seems to be going well. I am hoping for a great Linux experience for this new user.

External Links

openSUSE Tumbleweed Download

How do get into Bios

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