I received a Sapphire Blue Acer Aspire One 8.9-inch (1.6 GHz Atom Proc, 1 GB RAM, 160 GB HD, XP Home, 6 Cell Battery) Netbook.
One of the most appealing aspects of Netbooks are their size. The Aspire One, at 6.7 x 9.8 x 1.1 inches and only 2.2 pounds, is a joy to carry and the six-cell battery provides over 5 hours of unattached operation, even when employing Wifi.
For a “budget device” Acer didn’t skimp on features. There’s a 1.3 megapixel camera, built in SDHC/multi-format media readers, 802.11b/g Wifi, 10/100 Ethernet, CrystalBrite WSVGA backlit LCD display, three USB 2.0 ports, 3.5 audio out, and available internal mini PCI slot for perhaps WWAN or G3.
After going through all the initial setup steps for Windows XP and associated software (anti-virus, etc.) I was pleased and more then a little surprised at the over-all performance of the device.
From my own preferences there was just one issue I had to correct…it was running Windows.
This particular Netbook has been on the market a while and a number of people have shared their experiences with changing the operating system. My first thought was to install the latest version of Ubuntu Linux but research seemed to indicate that Fedora 10 was perhaps a little more compatible with the Aspire One hardware and would require less command line tinkering.
I’m sure the situation of Linux release compatibility is constantly changing so my choice may not match your own decision.
Not being sure how successful this Linux transformation would be, I decided to leave Windows XP on the Aspire One and have it dual-boot Linux and Windows. What follows are the basic steps for accomplishing this from the 10,000 foot level. You can find more detail and knowledgeable information here, here and here.
- Downloaded the Fedora Live CD ISO and copied it to a USB stick. You can use UNetbootin or similar utility to create a bootable Linux USB stick.
- Boot the Aspire One (using the F12 key) from the newly created Linux live USB boot device.
- Download and use the Gnome Partition Editor to reduce the size of the Windows boot partition, leaving the newly unused drive space for your new Linux install. I divided my 160 Gb drive space about in half.
- Install Fedora to the hard disk using the unused drive space you just created.
- Update and optimize Fedora 10 for better performance and to take care of tweaks to insuring the sound, arrow key volume control, Wifi LED light and suspend mode with lid closed works correctly.
There is also much information in the Ubuntu forum on the Aspire One which can be applied to Fedora for any other release.
Many of the guides I found referred to using the Fedora XFCE desktop, as it’s supposedly faster, but I installed the ever popular Gnome Desktop and am very pleased with its function and performance on the Aspire One. Everything seems to work although the suspend and hibernate functions are a little iffy.
Fedora 10 on the Aspire One is a pleasure to use and the over-all function and performance is, in my opinion, better then Windows XP. I haven’t boot into the Windows install for some time and will probably end up reformatting the Windows hard drive partition to use as additional storage.
So, how do I see myself using this device?
Well, for a very portable Internet, social communications, part-time travel blogging platform it’s highly capable. It can also replace Epson’s photographic P-Series (P3000, P5000, P7000) storage/display functions at a fraction of the cost. The Aspire One’s large hard drive, built-in card reader, USB ports, and excellent display make it a good performer for temporarily viewing, storing and transporting photos from the field if needed.
I’m very happy with both the Acer Aspire One and Fedora 10. It’s a great combination and I look forward to many more hours exploring the capabilities of this device.
01/03/09 – Application Window Overflow Issue: Due to the small and somewhat odd screen resolutions (1024×600) some applications will open with their windows extending off the bottom of the screen. This is problem if the control buttons are located in this area and often prevents normal resizing of the window because you can’t get to the bottom right corner of the window. Workaround: Holding the “Alt” key while clicking and dragging the window will allow you to access the bottom of the window to utilize the control buttons or resize the window.
I love tinkering with technology. It’s a natural curiosity that’s been part of my makeup since I was a small child. On our family vacations I would be the child running around the motel room studying the light switches, air conditioner, TV, and any other available gadget wanting to know how each of them worked. That curiosity hasn’t lessened with age but the gadgets have gotten more personally expensive to explore.