Home » Ubuntu » Ubuntu on the Acer Aspire One

Ubuntu on the Acer Aspire One

Step-By-Step Guide

This guide will walk you through configuring Ubuntu 8.10 Netbook Remix for optimal performance on the Acer Aspire One.

What will work if you do this:

  • All the obvious stuff: screen, keyboard, disk, touchpad, USB, etc.
  • Wifi (including kill switch) and wired Ethernet.
  • Both card readers, including instant powersave-on-eject.
  • Sound output, including headphone jack.
  • Audio input jack.
  • Webcam.
  • Suspend and hibernate.
  • Automatic CPU frequency scaling.
  • Dual-booting back to Windows XP (if that’s your thing).

After configuration, the machine should boot in under a minute, and get 6+ hours of battery life with light use (i.e. browsing the web, but not transcoding videos).

What will not work if you do this:

  • The internal microphone.
  • The Wifi activity LED.
  • Some (but not all) of the funky Acer hotkeys.

It’s probably possible to get these working, but they don’t interest me.

You will need…

  • An Acer Aspire One.  Mine is an AOA150-1447 with a 6-cell battery, but other models should work.
  • An internet connection, both to read this (hi!) and to download software.
  • A USB flash drive, at least 1GB.  Note: a 1GB flash card in one of the card slots will not work.  A card in a USB reader will work.
  • Basic familiarity with Linux/Unix.  Some steps of this guide require you to perform actions in the terminal, as root, where it’s very easy to break things.
  • Comfort with installing Ubuntu, or willingness to follow the many tutorials that will come up if you search; this one seems fine if you use Windows.  If you already have an Ubuntu 8.10 machine, use the “Create USB Startup Disk” app under System > Administration.  This is worth restating: this tutorial will not teach you how to install Ubuntu — only how to make it work right on the Aspire One!

The Steps

  1. Install Ubuntu 8.10 on the Aspire One from USB flash device.  Don’t use the Ubuntu Netbook Remix image; use the Desktop or Alternative installer.  There are no tweaks or surprises here; assuming you’ve correctly prepared the flash drive, use F12 to choose it at the BIOS screen and the install works flawlessly.  Ubuntu even offers to resize an existing XP partition if you have one.
  2. Get the wifi working.
  3. Make the machine quieter by turning on fan control.
  4. Get the card readers working.
  5. Fix suspend/resume/hibernate.  This disables your internal microphone as an unfortunate side effect, for now.
  6. Configure power management to increase battery life.
  7. If you’d like the internet to be usable, install Flash 10.
  8. If you use Java apps or applets, install Java 6.
  9. Install the Ubuntu Network Remix packages.
  10. Configure Firefox to free up valuable screen real-estate.
  11. Enable two-finger scrolling if you like it.



3 thoughts on “Ubuntu on the Acer Aspire One

  1. acer aspire one pink
    GREAT machine, with one exception, which i discovered on a trip recently when i went to use dial-up to connect to the www THERE IS NO MODEM! don’t know why i didn’t notice before, perhaps because specs above falsely state there is. anyway, must buy an external (very small) usb plug in 56K modem for circa $45, i insist on having dialup capability (hey, it ALWAYS WORKS, tho slow, and useful only for email. but when your dsl or t1 goes down, dialup ALWAYS WORKS)(did i say that it ALWAYS WORKS?) BUT GREAT MACHINE, all i wanted, cool, cool, cool. no flaws and well thought out, always a pleasure to experience good design and execution (except that the damn targus external cd/dvd is 1) at $149 half the cost of the computer, thus way too high, and 2) READ ONLY, ie no writing. but this is a netbook, you shouldn’t be copying CDs or DVDs on this machine anyway.) GREAT MACHINE!!!!!! BTW, they offer another acer aspire one with a 10.1″ screen now, careful comparing of specs and dimensions and viewing of pics reveal same keyboard just wider and taller case by about one-half inch in toto in each dimension to get (on the diagonal) 1″ more screen and to put touchpad buttons at bottom like some losers have been complaining about on this machine. slightly heavier (wouldn’t be noticable) and $20 more. exact same innards and specs (incl NO MODEM). make sure you buy the right size carry case, etc. but i like this one. SWEET. also, re the “form factor” of the 6 cell larger battery, it really adds a useful handle to the machine, and ain’t at all too big or protruding. i prefer it, esp considering the doubling of time you gain. GREAT MACHINE, soooo much nicer than the HP mini (and i am an HP fan). a home run, maybe with bases loaded – GRAND SLAM!


  2. Welcome to my blog Rolling Stone, and thanks for providing me the added into of 10 inches machine. I will be checking it out.


  3. acer aspire one aoa150-1126
    I’ve spent 30 some years traveling for a living and also just for fun! Always took a laptop along for biz, and occasionally took a small Winbook on personal trips. I found the Acer Aspire One while looking for something else. My unit has the 3 cell battery which will only go approx 2 hours at best. But for travel it’s great! It’s light, sturdy and the XP software is faster than Vista. Startup time is just about a minute! I can’t say enough good things about this unit. Be prepared to buy a portable cd/dvd for down loadning movies, programs etc… I recently found a very compact Sony drive for $100. In this case my total expenditure was $450 for both.
    If your looking for a unit to take along on trips – this is it! No need to spend $800 to $1000 for HP or others – this one fills the bill!


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