acerfand in Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty

28 April, 2009

As some of you might notice, the script acerfand (fan control for Acer Aspire One) doesn’t run automatically in th newest Ubuntu 9.04 when you add its path to your rc.local. I don’t know why, but the file rc.local behaves differently from previous version during booting (it looks like it’s not executed, but in fact it is, and when I run it manually after I log in everything works).

How did I fix it? Instead of the line:


in my /etc/rc.local file, I added:

start-stop-daemon –start –name acerfand –startas /usr/local/bin/acerfand –background

Now the acerfand script is executed at startup. I hope this tip may be helpful for somebody.

EDIT:  There should be double minuses before –start, –name, —startas and –background, but – as Erwin noticed – wordpress transforms double minus into dash.


Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope on Aspire One

27 April, 2009

The new Ubuntu 9.04 has been released, so yesterday I decided to try it on my AAO. I preferred to perform fresh installation rather than upgrade from 8.10, because I wanted to try the new filesystem – ext4.

Hint: if you want to reinstall system instead of upgrading, and keep all your installed software, the trick is very simple – it requires using just three commands. Before formatting drive, you should save your packages list in a file by performing dpkg –get-selections > installed-packages-list in terminal. After fresh system installation, you can install all packages from the list by typing dpkg –set-selections < installed-packages-list, then sudo apt-get update and sudo apt-get dselect-upgrade. You can also edit the list and remove lines containing the software you don’t need, but you should watch out on dependencies. Reinstallation may take some time, depending on how much packages you have on your list – in my case, it took over 2h. (I found this trick here, but hte command dselect just didn’t work for me).

Installation was incredibly fast – it took about 20 minutes to install it from pendrive. (Nice surprise – wireless works out-of-the-box in live CD version!) After installation, I noticed huge improvement in booting time against the previous version (even though I was using customized kernel) – now system boots in about 30 sec, measured from grub to login screen. Login screen itself has also new, refreshed appearance, as well as the default Gnome theme.

All hardware in Aspire One works out-of-the-box, excepting the right-side card reader (the left-side one works). Even the image from the built-in webcam in my opinion is better and doesn’t frame.

OK, now it’s time to tell about bad experiences. When I logged in first time after installation, system freezed and all I saw was black screen and a pointer. Even Ctrl+Alt+Backspace didn’t help and I had to hard reset my machine. Next time everyhing was ok. I don’t know what wat the reason, maybe some of the files from my /home catalogue (which I left) weren’t compatibile with the new Gnome version. I also had problems with sound while using Skype (sometimes I couldn’t hear anything during call), I hope to fix it soon.

Ubuntu 8.10

23 November, 2008

Last time I’ve neglected my blog due to lack of time. I think I haven’t mentioned I already have Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex on my laptop – I installed it one day after it was released. I’m quite satisfied of how it works, although it still doesn’t recognize my righ card-reader (the left one works OOTB). It’s also worth to mention that if you think of installing Ibex on your Aspire One, wifi doesn’t work out of the box and you have to download and install package to make it working.
I’ve been traveling a little around Eastern Europe last time, I’ll try to find some time and post the pictures soon.
And finally I saw “Die Welle”.  I liked it because the story sounds familiar for me and is told very well. I would rate it 7,5/10.

Mandriva One 2009 on my One

29 October, 2008

After unpleasant experience with Omega/Fedora, I decided it’s time to try new Mandriva, which was released some time ago. I installed it using Unetbootin and Mandriva One KDE cd image. I had some problems booting from flash drive, but fortunately this post was helpful for me.
Although almost everything is working out-of-the-box (including Wifi, Wifi switch, webcam, left card reader and internal mic), there are some hardware problems:

  • Plugging-in headphones doesn’t mute speakers. I tried to edit file /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base as suggested in Ubuntu Install guide, but I couldn’t find this file. So I created it and tried with different options, but it didn’t help.

/etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base >> options snd-hda-intel model=acer – I didn’t notice difference
/etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base >> options snd-hda-intel model=auto – mic doesn’t work
/etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base >> options snd-hda-intel model=basic – the same as above
/etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base >> options snd-hda-intel model=toshiba – I got no sound at all.

  • Right card reader works only if card is inside during booting. To become fully-functionall, it require some tweaks (also from Ubuntu forum):

download this script, make it executable (chmod 754, copy it to /usr/local/sbin, edit as a root and modify line 11: ‘modprobe pciehp pciehp_force=1’. Then add ‘setpci -d 197b:2381 AE=47’ to /etc/rc.local.
This should make card reader working, but in my case it disabled acerfand script, or increased processor temperature (I’m not sure what exactly but I could hear fan working all the time after I ran the script).

  • Wifi led seems to work only with madwifi drivers, not with those included in kernel 2.6.27 (it didn’t work also in Ubuntu
  • Also some keyboard shortcuts (with Fn key) don’t work, I had to configure it manually.

I also installed acerfand script – after updating bios to v0.3305, it works again.

About Mandriva itself – in my opinion it’s really fast, maybe even faster than Ubuntu, and booting time can be comparable to XP. However KDE4, despite its nice appearance, is still unstable and lacks usability.

I haven’t tried LXDE yet – the special desktop environment for netbooks. I just didn’t have time. I don’t know if I will try it – now I’m looking forward for tomorrow’s Ubuntu release 🙂

New hardware

28 September, 2008

I bought myself new notebook. I considered three models: Asus Eee PC 901, MSI Wind U100 and Acer Aspire One, because something small, light-weight and mobile was what I exactly need. My final choice was the last one of these three – Aspire One 150, with Intel Atom 1,6GHz, 1024MB of RAM memory and 120GB of hard disk space on board. Why this model? MSI was unavailable in the place where I’m living now. Asus Eee PC might be a good choice, but I heard the lifetime of SSD drives is limited, and only 20GB of disk space is definitely not for me. Unfortunately, the configuration with 120GB hard drive had also Windows XP included, but I managed to install the newest Ubuntu 8.10 on it. I also tried with other distributions, but Mandriva was unable to detect all my hardware (maybe I should to wait to next release, which – I heard – will have support for netbooks), Fedora didn’t look pretty on my small 8,9″ screen, and I got some errors trying to install other distros using USB pendrive (I haven’t bought external DVD yet). All hardware in my AAO works properly on Ubuntu, excepting card readers – memory cards are recognized only if inserted while booting.

However, the battery lifetime in my One could be longer, and the only one thing I have to get used to is uncomfortable, small touchpad.