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One month of living with an Acer Aspire One and Fedora 10

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In January this year I posted of installing Fedora 10 Linux on an Acer Aspire One Netbook computer.

I’ve been living with this combination for a month and thought I would share a few longer term impressions.

Pros

1. It’s still a joy to be able to carry this little computer about easily with no more bulk then a small hardback book. It certainly rings true as portable computer.

2. Thanks to the 4-5 hour (6-cell) battery life, I’ve enjoyed not having to constantly keep track of where the power brick is, or always carry it with me. I ran the Aspire One for a short period with Windows XP and from my impressions there’s not any substantial battery time penalty by running Fedora 10.

3. Wifi reception has been very good and I use it 99% of the time, but I appreciate having a 10/100 RJ-45 Ethernet connection as well.

4. The 8.9 inch CrystalBrite WSVGA backlit LCD display is very sharp and easy to read even when using proportionately smaller fonts. While I would enjoy a 10 inch display I wouldn’t want the over-all dimensions of the Aspire One to be any larger in order to have one.

5. With 1Gb of memory and a 1.6 Ghz Atom processor the Aspire One is a very capable little machine that excels at Internet tasks–email, browsing, messaging and blogging/word processing. You’ll hardly notice any loss of capability when compared to a more powerful laptop.

6. The 160Gb hard drive give abundant space to install multiple operating systems (I’ve configured mine as a dual boot Fedora 10 and Windows XP) and/or to use the storage to transport large amounts of data or files.

7. I’m still a Linux newbie, but I’ve found Fedora 10 with the Gnome Desktop a very stable, easy to use and capable Operating System.

Cons

1. As expected, the graphic performance of the Aspire One is not so good. Video will often pause or have artifacts and any application that requires a large amount of graphic manipulation will be slow. That doesn’t mean you can’t use graphical applications but you’ll have to be willing to accept less then stellar performance.

2. It has taken a while to get use to the size and feel of the keyboard. My typing speed is acceptable but I still find I make more mistakes on the Aspire Keyboard then I would a larger laptop keyboard. This also was expected.

3. There are some minor issues with Fedora 10 and Suspend/Hibernate modes. Sometimes the WIfi will be disabled upon restoring activity and when this happens the only solution I’ve found is to reboot. Perhaps I’ve not found the right setting or configuration–I’m still searching.

Summary

Living happily with the Acer Aspire One in large part depends upon what your expectations were going in.

If you were realistic about it’s limitations you’ll find you have a great little computer who’s size implores you to take it with you.

If however, you actually wanted a more powerful Laptop but settled for the Acer Aspire One due to it’s low price you may have misgivings.

Personally, I like the little fellow and Fedora 10 works well! ;-)

6 Comments on One month of living with an Acer Aspire One and Fedora 10

  1. Tim Doran // 5 Feb ’09 at 11:12 am // Reply

    I have been using Fedora 10 XFCE spin on my Acer Aspire One and have been extremely happy with its performance. I only have the 3 cell battery and am able to get over 2 and a half hours of battery life using wifi. I had similar problems with wifi when resuming from suspend. I disabled Network manager and installed wicd; now everything works great. Wicd is not available in any of the Fedora repositories, so I had to get it from Sourceforge. There is an excellent tutorial posted at Sourceforge on how to get it working with Fedora.

  2. Tim,
    Thanks so much for the information about Network manager and wicd! I’ll certainly check it out.

  3. Rahul Sundaram // 5 Feb ’09 at 12:13 pm // Reply

    Thanks for the feedback. It would be useful to file a bug report on the NetworkManager issue. Refer

    http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/How_to_file_a_bug_report

    While wicd might be a workaround, we rather get one thing running well instead.

  4. Rahul: Thanks for the info about filing a bug report. I’ll follow up on that.
    I agree it would be better if the issues was addressed with NetworkManager.

  5. Another temporary workaround is to simply unload the wifi kernel module and then load it again (using ‘modprobe -r’ and ‘modprobe -k’). On a lot of different laptops I’ve found that NetworkManager then usually immediately locks on to the signal. This leads me to believe that the problem is not usually with NetworkManager, but the suspend/resume apparatus, which may unload the wifi module on a suspend, or leave it in a bad state upon resume.

    YMMV, of course.

  6. please help…
    I purchased an Acer One that uses Linux Linpus and the Network Manager detects networks but I can’t log on – even with the correct WEP password or even onto an open network.
    The wireless system works.. so what is the bug here?

    I’ve also set system to default using BIOS and reloaded everything.

    All help is welcome.

    -Marc

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