Sunday, 2 May 2010

Howto: Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Post Install Acer Aspire One 110 (aka AAO & AA1) 8GB/16GB SSD Model

I need to clarify that this is on the Acer Aspire One 110, a couple of comments have indicated that the wifi fix did not work on their machines, one at least has a different model and its entirely my mistake I didn't state clearly which model it is I have, well the wife and I both have. Doing a lspci shows we have Atheros AR5001 wireless device.

Post install there are a number
of things that need tweaking. The wifi and media cards will not function correctly without some work, other things will improve performance or help the SSD longevity.

Wifi
Lets start by fixing the wireless, its probably the first thing you want to do as it will drop your connection like a butterfingered, blind juggler...... With one hand.

In your System / Admintration / Software Sources, enable any repo's that aren't enabled, though you can avoid the source ones if you want. The fire up synaptic, Reload the repository lists and add following package:

linux-backports-modules-wireless-lucid-generic

it will also select a similar named package with your kernel version in its name that we also want. Once that is done I would reboot and your wifi should be nearly done. Now I have installed on mine twice and the second install wouldn't automatically connect to the home wifi when I rebooted, I had to go into System / Preferences / Network Connections and delete the existing wireless connection there, and then Add the connection again. I am not sure why, but its not much trouble to correct and barely worth the time investigating. Yours may work without doing that.

Media Card Readers
You need to edit /etc/default/grub (as root ofc) and find the
line that starts:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash"

Change it to read

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="pciehp.pciehp_force=1 elevator=noop quiet splash"

The pciehp part fixes the card readers to be hot swappable and the
elevator=noop improves SSD performance, we'll add that now while we are dabbling in the right place. Anyone with a HD version who may be following this should omit the elevator=noop.

To then make the changes actually apply next boot they have to be applied to the Grub boot process so you should then perform :

sudo update-grub

Many thanks to Magrat G for pointing out the ommision in the comments.

Ramon in the comments made the following suggestion:

I've got a SD card in the storage expansion slot (where /home is mounted). To avoid suspend/hibernate failure, this is a nice tweak:

echo "SUSPEND_MODULES=\"sdhci sdhci_pci\"" | sudo tee -a /etc/pm/config.d/suspend_modules

It is reported in bug #477106 (see comment #35):
https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/linux/+bug/477106

I will add a disclaimer that I have not tested that but it seems like a good fix and has many reports of it working for many people.

Move /tmp to RAM and general fstab fiddling
Lets backup our fstab before we start messing with it, if anything breaks we can copy it back and start again.. By we, I mean *you* of course ;)

sudo cp /etc/fstab /etc/fstab-bak
sudo gedit /etc/fstab


then add these lines at the bottom

none /var/log tmpfs size=10M 0 0
none /tmp tmpfs size=100M 0 0
none /var/tmp tmpfs size=20M 0 0


That is all we do to move /tmp to RAM but we can make another change here to improve SSD lifespan and performance. Find the lines that mount your SSD partition/s and tweak the options to include noatime so the filesystem does not record access times, which is pretty useless and causes unnecessary writes. An editted line might look like this for root:

/dev/sda1 / ext2 defaults,noatime,errors=remount-ro 0 1

Or if the UUID scheme is in use /home might be:

UUID=10b794b3-78b6-44f1-b179-8e38302efe05 /home ext2 defaults,noatime 0 2

Notice the use of ext2 in the examples above, Its fairly important to not use a journalled filesystem on this older SSD. I'm not a filesystem guru and it may be fine to use ext3 or ext4 without journalling, but I am unsure so I formatted with what I knew was recommended.

You get the idea, if you have any doubts just leave it be or google for a more in depth guide on this point.

I will be adding further onto this post as time permits and I go through them myself, or remember what I did.

18 comments:

Ich Habe Ein Computer! said...

what have i done wrong if the wifi is as bad as it was before? i installed the right package, and there was exactly the same problem?

Subban said...

To be honest, I wish I could say I know, but I can't and am unsure on what to suggest, sorry :[

I don't have time to dig into this now, the sun is out and kids demand attention. I will try and have a poke later, but no promises.

Try and double check the steps taken, ensure its installed, reboot. Pray.. If not, Google is all I can suggest atm :]

Doug said...

Unfortunately the backport modules didn't fix the dropped wireless connection problems here either. Still have the butter-fingered one-handed juggler here. Running UNR 10.04, Acer Aspire One 532h model.

Subban said...

@Doug
It would appear you have a different Aspire One to myself, mine is the Acer Aspire 110 with 16GB SSD.

On the underside of the machine is a sticker which states it contains:
Atheros AR5BXB63

Doing an 'lspci' indicates wireless is "Atheros AR5001". Perhaps you have a different wireless device in that model.

If I did not state that in the artice I do apologise and will clarify that later today, I have in-laws incoming this morning and a swift tidy up of the house is a priority ;)

Doug said...

Hi, Subban.

Actually, we do have similar wireless chipsets.

Mine:
Ethernet controller: Atheros Communications Atheros AR8132 / L1c Gigabit Ethernet Adapter (rev c0)

Also, I was mistaken: installing the wireless backports modules did fix my disconnect problem -- I had an unrelated kernel dependency issue that I had forgotten about that I needed to do a reboot for. Once I did that the wireless was solid.

Thanks for taking the time to write this article!

--Doug

Subban said...

Doug,

I am glad its all sorted out and the article was some help.

Anonymous said...

My wireless was dropping once a while when i had Ubuntu 9.10. I installed Linux Mint 9 and the problem is fixed. Mine is Acer AO532H-2223.

Selden said...

So adding the backports repository as a source and installing inux-backports-modules-wireless-lucid-generic is all that is required? I wasn't having any noticeable wifi problems, but decided to give it a try. I can't see any difference in performance or the number of bars showing in my signal strength icon.

Miguel said...

I followed the steps to fix the unstable wireless problem, but the issue remains when the wifi is very active.

Can you download an entire Ubuntu .iso without disconnecting? I see the problem experienced in https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/network-manager/+bug/588375

Subban said...

Miguel: I have just tried downloading the ubuntu iso, It took almost 2hrs and did not disconnect.

I had a look at the launchpad bug you linked and it mentions DHCP and static IP's. My own network setup at home DHCP is used by the computers, but the router issues a static IP to each machine. I'm not a networking guru, maybe that has some bearing on the matter, maybe it doesn't. Hopefully it might help to narrow down or elimina

jefdebruges said...

I'm sorry, but are you sure that's a correct syntax? I copy&pasted the below here from your article. It's the thing after 'noop', 'quiet -hard return- splash"' I don't trust. Don't want to end up with a command prompt when I reboot this device! But thanks for the article, nevertheless! Still 'newbieing' my way around...

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="pciehp.pciehp_force=1 elevator=noop quiet
splash"

Subbass said...

Jefdebruges: You certainly do NOT want a "-Hard Return-" in that line, it should be all one line. I'll try and format it better in a moment, I'm not sure whats happened to it but I am sure it wasn't split like that when posted months ago.

I wonder if something messed up sometime if I did an edit on it, I apologise for any confusion.

There is another article here > https://aspireonezg5.wordpress.com/ that has a very similar tweak you can read and compare against.

Anonymous said...

this sounds silly but everytime my wifi gives me trouble after an update, i follow other people's instructions but i always have to shutdown and remove the battery before the changes take effect...

worked here again.

acer aspire one 150 ubuntu netbook edition 10.04

Magrat G said...

Brilliant article, at last I have a usable netbook AND both card readers now work. One minor omission is that you need to run "update-grub" and reboot before the right side card reader becomes fully working.

Many, many thanks.

Magrat.

Subbass said...

Magrat G: Thank you pointing out that mistake, I have corrected it now, I guess its an example of how something you do quite automatically in practice can be so easily forgotten when trying to get it written up. Not an excuse, but a mistake I have learnt a lesson from ;)

Ramón said...

Nice tweaks addressed to the AA1 SSD and Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid (it's my netbook setup). Also interesting: I've got a SD card in the storage expansion slot (where /home is mounted). To avoid suspend/hibernate failure, this is a nice tweak:
echo "SUSPEND_MODULES=\"sdhci sdhci_pci\"" | sudo tee -a /etc/pm/config.d/suspend_modules
It is reported in bug #477106 (see comment #35):
https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/linux/+bug/477106

Subbass said...

Ramón, thank you for that addition. I shall add that to the main article and credit you :)

Ramón said...

Thanks, but I'm afraid I should complete the info with a new review after some testing. The SUSPEND_MODULES=\"sdhci sdhci_pci\" tweak works partially: AA1 is capable to suspend. But when it wakes up, a new SD card 'mount' is performed. Hence, 'multiple re-mounting' is performed when suspending/waking-up, as described in:
http://en.gentoo-wiki.com/wiki/Acer_Aspire_One_A110L#SD_Cards_and_suspend

As a consequence (for me), if \home is encrypted (e.g.: with eCryptfs, the default encryption in Ubuntu 10.04), it won't be decrypted on wake-up as it was re-mounted without decrypting.

Hence, it is better to enable the UNSAFE_RESUME config option: the kernel won't unmount the card on suspend (but it means that the SD cards shouldn't be removed when the system is suspended).

This UNSAFE_RESUME option can be enabled in grub by adding mmc_core.removable=0. Hence, my new grub kernel options line is now:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="pciehp.pciehp_force=1 elevator=noop mmc_core.removable=0 quiet splash"

I have tested it (the SUSPEND_MODULES previous tweak was removed before). And now it suspends smoothly and the encrypted SD card works great after waking up.

Sorry for the inconvenience!

Some references:
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=11594125
https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/kernel-team/2010-September/012546.html