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Tips to make Acer Aspire One 751h (AO751h) work better with Ubuntu

Posted by Paco Ros en 2 \02\UTC octubre \02\UTC 2009

The new toy from Acer is a affordable netbook featuring HT Intel Atom Z520 and a 1366×768 11.” LED LCD.

Almost all the hardwre included inside thie “piece of iron” is good and works out of the box with Ubuntu 9.04 (a.k.a. Jaunty) updated to 2.6.28-15 linux kernel version, but some manual configuration is needed to leave all the (at least for me) important things working:

Graphics Driver

I can’t stand without complaining about the stupid fact that Intel ordered another corp to develop the drivers for Intel GMA500 graphics chip. Somebody contracted Tungsten Graphics to build a driver that makes Dell mini family work with this piece of hell… and they did! So we now have a unmaintained old graphics driver with a binary privative piece inside it and we have to push it inside a free software system. I’d like to thank Lucazade at this point for the efforts made for this crap to work.

After complaining, let’s go for work. Remember this word, it’ll be your obsession th next hour afer you read this post: poulsbo. All GMA500 stuff is labeled with poulsbo or psk keyword, so, you know, you can begin by apt-cache searching for this term.

Karmic instructions

Updated: AOS751h works better in Jaunty than in Karmic. If you don’t care about lastest updates, it’s better to install Jaunty and follow the instructions. If you need Karmic or you prefer being in the cutting edge, the best you can do is to use Lucazade (Thanks Again) script published in ubuntu forums:

wget http://gma500re.altervista.org/scripts/poulsbo_ppa.sh && sudo sh ./poulsbo_ppa.sh

I can’t make software suspend work in Karmic. See the comments, I’m not the only one.

Jaunty instructions

Begin by adding the following unofficial repositories to your /etc/apt/sources.list

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/ubuntu-mobile/ppa/ubuntu jaunty main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/ubuntu-mobile/ppa/ubuntu jaunty main

And authorize PPA packages to be installed

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys C6598A30

If you arrived here, you’ll probably know what to do:

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install poulsbo-driver-2d poulsbo-driver-3d psb-firmware

But, this is not enough, you must compile and install a kernel driver (let DKMS do the work):

$ sudo apt-get install psb-kernel-source

Time to reboot now, next time you login you’ll see a beautiful 1366×768 3D accelerated desktop. No need to edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf for me, but you can do to enable horitzontal scrolling for synaptics touchpad.

If you want to enable desktop effects, locate /usr/bin/compiz and add psb at the beggining of the list in the line “WHITELIST”

WHITELIST="psb nvidia intel ati radeon i810 fglrx"

Now you can activate compiz by selecting System -> Appearance -> Visual Effects and clicking in “Normal”

Remember, if you update the kernel you must reinstall psb kernel module and if compiz-wrapper gets updated, you should edit it again and add psb to whitelist. You can read the long thread about GMA500, poulsbo and ubuntu at ubuntu forums here.

Wireless

ath5k works out of the box. I tried to enable Atheros unsuccessfully, but there’s no need to enable it because ath5k seems to work fine, despite of some messages about jumbo packages being logged in syslog. I will try to make Madwifi work when I have some time, it’s useful if you need to inject frames in a signal.

Suspend to RAM

All the info above can be easily found in the internet, but there is no info about suspend. Suspend works out of the box, but it got broken when you installed psb video driver (Did i told this is a piece of shit?) and I can’t imagine a laptop that can’t be suspended. Fortunately Wander Boessenkool published a patch to hal mailing list. You must locate /usr/share/hal/fdi/information/10freedesktop/20-video-quirk-pm-acer.fdi and add the following at the end (before the last </match>):

&lt;match key="system.hardware.product" string="AO751h"&gt;
   &lt;merge key="power_management.quirk.dpms_on" type="bool"&gt;true&lt;/merge&gt;
   &lt;merge key="power_management.quirk.vbemode_restore" type="bool"&gt;true&lt;/merge&gt;
   &lt;merge key="power_management.quirk.vbestate_restore" type="bool"&gt;true&lt;/merge&gt;
 &lt;/match&gt;

This patch shouldn’t take too many time to be included in ubuntu hal packages. Remember to edit it it again if you update hal.

I couldn’t get suspend working by closing the lid. I’m working on ot and will update when it works.

Updated: It works fine by setting it in System -> Preferences -> Power Management

Enjoy the toy :-)

10 comentarios to “Tips to make Acer Aspire One 751h (AO751h) work better with Ubuntu”

  1. Milton Jimenez said

    Hello I want to know if you use ubuntu 9.04 desktop or ubuntu 9.04 remix
    to install in your machine
    Thanks
    PD. I have a acer aspireone 11.6 model za3

  2. Paco Ros said

    Yes, I use Ubuntu 9.04 Desktop

  3. Gonzov said

    Hi i use BackTrack 4 from a flash (with persistens changes), any bodie know if this work in BackTrack since now the 4 version is based on Debian?, thanks in advance.
    Now i have problems whit startx, cant run cose the drivers (yes, the AspireOne A0751h is a beautifull machine but the GMA500 is a piece of shit)lol.

  4. boot said

    Acer Aspire One AOD250-1165
    This model is fairly new. So it has the usual features, i.e. built in wi-fi, camera, 160 GB drive, etc, etc. This is the 3 hr battery model. I have no idea where Amazon gets their tech specs. We just bought this and the manual states that it comes with 1 GB of RAM, and is upgradeable to 2 GB. It recognized 4 wireless connections in my area the instant it was powered on. So far it’s great for what it was bought for, the internet, small low demand games, music, simple word processing…

  5. Saro said

    Unfortunately the suspend patch didnt do the trick for me. It suspends but doesnt wake up correctly. Any idea what could be wrong ? Do I have to do anything after editing /usr/share/hal/fdi/information/10freedesktop/20-video-quirk-pm-acer.fdi ?

  6. Paco Ros said

    Let me try it with Karmic this weekend. It worked for me and Jaunty without any problem.

  7. Saro said

    Thanks ! I will appreciate that.

  8. Paco Ros said

    Installed Karmic this weekend ant it was a disaster. It works worse than Jaunty.
    After many tests I got GMA500 working with Lucazade’s script:
    wget http://gma500re.altervista.org/scripts/poulsbo_ppa.sh && sh ./poulsbo_ppa.sh

    But suspend won’t work anymore, it suspends, but doesn’t wake up.

    Think I’d re-install and go step by step again. I’m a little bit busy these days, but I’ll try to modify the post with a step by step guide to leave it working before wednesday.
    I recommend Jaunty (worked perfectly) until Karmic packages make it usable.

  9. Mali said

    i’ve read your blog and like it, very useful i think. thanks for sharing this topic.

  10. tzawarjuan said

    hi could you help me with instructions to improve the resolution for ubuntu lucid 10.04, also I have an acer AO751 and not want to go back to windows

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