Ubuntu 10.04 NBR on Acer Aspire One

So I have in my hands an original Netbook, 1.6GHz Atom CPU, 8GB flash drive, 512MB RAM and 7″ LCD. This is a Netbook, not some small under powered laptop.

Ubuntu Netbook Remix  Launcher

Originally this came with a version of CentOS linux called LinpusLite. It should actually have been  called POS. Nothing really wrong with the basic apps, as long as you only wanted to do POP mail, and were happy with a basic web browser with no plugins, no flash, and no uptodate software repository. You really had to go to some lengths to unlock the console and get a full desktop. TO me it was what actually gives some OEM linux installs a bad name. It lasted about 2 days and was replaced when I couldn’t add support for a USB-Serial adapter or good support for Citrix, some of the libraries required just were not available in the Linpus repositories. I was able to add in some RedHat RPMs but it never really worked right. So I had an Ubuntu 8.04 install handy. This worked well, but the install was not simple. Some mucking around was requred to get all the drivers and hardware working, custom kernel to get the WiFi up.

So two years on and a new LTS (Long Term Support) version of Ubuntu is here. Is newer better? Is the performance improvements touted in 10.4 going to make much difference on really limited hardware? Is the boot time going to be anything close to the claimed aim of 10 seconds to logon? Is the hardware going to be supported?

Basically yes – the 10.04 Netbook remix I have installed here boots faster, runs faster, and takes less space than 8.04 did (The netbook remix was still very early in it’s  development for 8.04, so I was running regular desktop Ubuntu with Maximus and the launcher added on. Slightly buggy – I ended up not using the launcher.) and runs much smoother. Firefox in 8.04 stalled often as write performance my my Ones HDD is very poor. More details below:

Installation:

Creating the USB stick for the install was simple, but I did it from another propper machine as it was faster that way. Download the NBR .iso file, and use Startup Disk Creator to copy the image onto a bootable USB stick.

http://www.ubuntu.com/netbook/get-ubuntu/download

Install took about 20 minutes (3 hours less than 8.04) and about another 40 minutes to patch after install.

I then installed Minicom (Terminal Emulator for Serial Port devices), Citrix Reciever, and Thunderbird. Added Xmarks to Firefox, and then started playing around in it.

First impressions:

Faster than 8.04, boots in about 30 seconds including logging in, and all the hardware apart from the onboard mic in works right out of the box.

Battery life is still good, i’m getting 4 hrs of browsing (using the 6 cell battery option) and wifi use, I haven’t yet seen how long it will last playing a movie.

Current role:

Citrix client, switch configuration client, and browser/email for when I want a bigger screen than my iPhone, but longer battery life and faster boot and better portability than my HP laptop.

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4 comments

  1. John

    Update: I have now found that if you plug in an iphone/pad/touch it mounts, and can be seen in the media player. Then you can play or copy media right off the device, unlike iTunes. Excellent work Ubuntu!

  2. leejarvis

    i have recently installed this onto my Acer Aspire one, it’s very nice, far better than earlier versions. I do often find, as you said, the write speed is a little slow on these machines, and as a result of this, and other issues, i find myself not wanting to use it. I love UNR 10.0.4, the machine just needs more juice!

    Acer aspire one is now printer server / occasional browser.

    Nice article

    • chromeronin

      I really wish that Acer offered the same hardware for the Windows version but with either no OS, or with just the linpus install. Then that could be easily removed without adding to Microsofts user count 8). It is such a hassle to crack open the machine, replace the RAM with 2GB and the SSD with a larger faster drive (my pick would be the 64GB kingston SSD – not the fastest, but still faster than spinning platter, and not too expensive).
      Infact the only major pain on this netbook is the slow SSD and limited memory together. 512MB RAM isn’t such a pain until it starts swapping. Then it grinds to halt.
      If the RAM was taken to 2GB this would probably not be an issue. Cheaper than upping the HDD.

  3. chromeronin

    Now tempted by Apples NZ$1600 netbook, the new 1.4GHz 11″ Macbook Air, but only if I get a really big overtime pay packet 8) Cant justify the cost otherwise. For similar money I can upgrade my Mini and buy an iPad.

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