Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 1st Mar 2009 17:26 UTC, submitted by kaiwai
Hardware, Embedded Systems Long-time OSNews reader Kaiwai has written down his experiences with his Acer Aspire One, Linux, and Windows. He concludes: "After a hectic few weeks trying to get Linux to work, I am back to square one again - a netbook running Windows XP SP3 as it was provided by Acer when I purchased it. I gave three different distributions a chance to prove themselves. I expected all three distributions to wipe the floor with Windows XP - after all, these are the latest and greatest distributions the Linux world have to offer. There has been at least 7 years since the release of Windows XP for Linux to catch up to Windows XP and from my experience with Linux on this said device - it has failed to step up to the plate when it was needed."
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I understand the frustation too.
by willerd on Mon 2nd Mar 2009 04:14 UTC
willerd
Member since:
2005-07-15

I have the AA1 6 cell 8GB SSD. It came with Linpus Lite which booted very quickly and I thought "Amazing. It boots so fast and everything works, it can be manhandled a bit with less concern because of its SSD drive - now let's get this machine to do what I need it to do." My primary objective with the machine was to use it as a light-to-carry remote support system instead of my heavier 15.4" Dell using my preferred OS (i.e. Linux) and applications. "So," I thought, "let's get VBox installed and I can run some of the Windows s/w I need to run to VPN into my non-Linux clients. Hmmm. No VBox support for Linpus - well let's go get the kernel source and all be will ok 'cause I can compile it right?." Well, after not finding any easy way to get the kernel, I googled upon some link that would download the kernel but unfortunately I had already did some upgrades to the Linpus OS and the kernel source I downloaded no longer matched the installed version. I couldn't get VBox to compile with the source and after a few frustrating hours of search I gave up and thought, "Well, let's try my favourite distro of the big 3 - Ubuntu 8.10" It did install but wireless networking didn't work which was not a problem as lo-and-behold someone else had already encountered the same problem and kindly documented the specific tasks I had to do to optimize Ubuntu for the Acer. "Great," I thought, " but I must remember not to put the Acer into standby or else my SSD memory chips could be erased. Oh, and my wireless switch won't work." Now I had a functioning Ubuntu on my Acer - much slower to boot and bit less function than Linpus and after about a week of using it I accidentally went into standby and yep, my SSD chip became unreadable. Luckily, someone else had documented the way to recover from this little accident and about 2 hours, I recovered usage of the chip. All was quiet for about 2 months and then I did a Ubuntu security update which installed kernel 2.26.27.11 and my wireless stopped working. "Not again," I thought, "Yet another time waster" Back to Google and yet another search revealed that kernel update 2.6.27.11 was known to break support for wireless on the AA1. I had to drop back to 2.6.27.9.

In summary of my rather long post, I felt quite let down with Acer not providing a very well supported version of Linux in consideration for a slightly more advanced user of Linux; I felt let down by my favourite Linux disto Ubuntu for making it dangerous to use my choice of laptop and for breaking it during a routine security update. I actual think now that maybe I should have got the Windows version with the 160GB H/D after all and just set up a dual boot. From what I have read about it, customized as it is, it also does seem to be more stable than what I have experienced and for what my objective was with the AA1.

Thanks for letting me vent. I still love the AA1 in spite of its warts.

Reply Score: 1

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

I actual think now that maybe I should have got the Windows version with the 160GB H/D after all and just set up a dual boot. From what I have read about it, customized as it is, it also does seem to be more stable than what I have experienced and for what my objective was with the AA1. Thanks for letting me vent. I still love the AA1 in spite of its warts.


No problem about the venting ... I have likewise felt the need to do so on some occasions when it comes to netbooks.

Just on your thought though about getting the Windows version ... be aware that the Windows version is XP Home, and it is even then made available by Microsoft under some restricted conditions (such as no more than 1GB RAM supported).

PS: I also had an issue with XP on one netbook, where I needed to repair from the OEM DVD image ... oops, no DVD drive on netbooks! I had to lash something up using a spare DVD drive and a USB external IDE disk.

XP Home also, of course, is quite limited in its networking capabilities. It cannot join a Windows domain for example ... workgroups only.

No other version of Windows (yet) is licensed by Microsoft to run on most netbooks.

So ... if we are going to vent publically about the failure of netbook OEMs to choose components such that Linux would work fully out-of-the-box as it is CAPABLE of doing ... then likewise we should bear in mind the shortcomings of the Windows version that is offered by OEMs on netbooks compared with what it is CAPABLE of doing.

Be aware also that by the end of next month there will be two versions of fully-capable Linux available to run on most netbooks, but still no equivalent version of Windows.

Edited 2009-03-02 04:49 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3