Reverse detail from Kakelbont MS 1, a fifteenth-century French Psalter. This image is in the public domain. Daniel Paul O'Donnell

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Ubuntu 10.10 Meerkat on an Acer One 521 (AO521)

Posted: Dec 13, 2010 14:12;
Last Modified: Jan 03, 2011 10:01


I have a new Acer One 521. These are some notes on the installation of the latest (10.10) version of Ubuntu.

  1. The computer came with BIOS rev 1.06: websites warned that the 1.06 bios caused unresolvable problems with the track pad and keyboard, and this was my experience as well. I got a link to the 1.08 rev BIOS from an Acer Customer Service Rep. And followed their instructions for flashing the BIOS. Ubuntu installed fine after that, though with the problems others have noted about the battery monitor (which doesn’t recognise when the computer is running off battery—see below).
  2. Soon after I installed Ubuntu, I was given the option of activating the proprietary driver for the graphics card. I did this, but then had all sorts of problems with menus. I tried deactivating it, but the computer hung and, when I tried a hard reboot, had a fatal error that hung it up during loading. I had to reinstall Ubuntu.
  3. On the second install, I ignored the graphics card driver, and everything has been working well except the battery indicator.
  4. Using the patch found here: and the instructions on patching and compiling kernels from here: I patched and recompiled the kernel. I didn’t remove any options from the Kernel, since I don’t know my machine well enough yet. There was one error in the patching instructions: QD (which is actually the extension that is to be appended to the kernel version) in the fakeroot command should be lowercase.
  5. Everything worked as expected (though there were other small issues with the instructions (see my discussion here). When the patching was finished and I rebooted, there were minor changes in appearance (the appearance had changed to a custom profile) and I’m not 100% sure I got the latest kernel. But the battery metre was working and recognised being on or off AC.
  6. The speaker/headphone doesn’t switch on a stock install. To fix this, you need to modify /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf by adding the following line at the end: options snd-hda-intel model=thinkpad. See (October 28th post by Keibee). This is Ubuntu Bug 637040.
  7. The Netbook edition interface seems to ignore Nautilus (the Gnome file manager). Its own file manager (Mutter) isn’t particularly flexible for finding things like hidden files and the like (as far as I can see at least). To add Nautilus to the interface, you can call up a terminal (alt+f2 for a run box doesn’t seem to work), type nautilus at the the prompt and once it opens, go to the launcher on the left, right click on the Nautilus icon and select “Keep in Launcher.”
  8. Microphone does work:

Comment [2]

  1. Mark (Sun Jan 16, 2011 (11:28:09)) [PermLink]:

    I haven’t tried the battery fix yet, but the I did get the headphone jack working per your method. I tried the mic fix in #8 and it sort of works, but the level is much too low to be useful.

    I got bluetooth to work by deleting the lib/firmware/ath3k-1.fw and renaming file ath3k-2.fw to ath3k-1.fw (found that on a Russian blog). The Fn+f3 doesn’t switch the radios on and off – bluetooth and wireless are on all the time.


  2. dan (Thu Feb 3, 2011 (14:27:46)) [PermLink]:

    Thank you. I hand’t noticed that problem with the F3. Your solution to the issue with Bluetooth makes me wonder if there might not be more renamings like that to solve other issues.



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