Tag Archives: AA1
I’ve been trying a lot of distros on the aa1 recently, I’ve tried all Ubuntus from 8.04 till 9.04, sidux, slitaz, madbox, and now Kuki Linux.
Kuki linux is made specifically for the AA1, so I was expecting something nice. I only tried it live from usb, so this is what I got.
On hardware performance and recognition, everything kinda works. Webcam, audio, baterry recognition, wireless (good performance btw) no problem whatsoever. Wired I didn’ try but it should be working.
In terms of graphics I was initially very disappointed with the streaming flash video performance. Then I read the release announcement more closely and it seems they have a “special” xorg configuration that boosts the performance tremendously. I was skeptical, but stupidily so. The xorg configuration they made is great, I mean it’s as good as it gets. I had just tried Ubuntu 9.04 before and flash video was terrible. With their conf you can get daily show with no problem whatsoever, facebook videos with normal quality rolling beautifully, youtube not even worth mentioning. Fullscreen works great too. Glxgears outputs ~570fps. Gentlemen, they did it, hat’s off!
Card recognition depends on which one you’re looking at. The left one works great. Hot plugging working by default, and it’s really fast, wait where’s the bold, oh, really fast. You plug the card in and dare I say in less than one second Thunar pops up. My balls dropped. The right one isn’t working out of the box, but according to this post on the forums they have a solution, so it’s just a matter of making it to the distro. Strange bug though, after I tried the right card reader and then put the card back in the left reader, it stopped working. Not too worried honestly.
Software wise, you get the general assortment of xfce (4.6) apps. You know, mousepad, the ex xarchiver and shit. Then I think they made weird choices on programs. Ok, I take that back, it just comes with programs I don’t like. Audacious for audio playing, Mplayer for video. Ever heard of vlc? Bah. Also comes with this thing called “Zim Desktop Wiki” I have no idea why. A lame looking ebook reader. No office apps as of yet, not even abi word. But I’ll confess my ignorance, i don’t know what are the plans for the future on this end and I didn’t bother to look up. Either way, if you install this, you’re on your own, but this is ubuntu running underneath so installing anything I’m sure is dead basic.
Oh, almost forgot. Networking done by wicd which is awesome. I fucking hate network manager and this was really good to see. Works wonders.
Now the visuals. I was really happy when I saw that the login screen. I don’t have a screenshot but it looks really nice. The color looks really good on the screen, the fonts are beautifull. Then you login, and the background doesn’t flicker or anything, it goes straight to the desktop in this really awesome integrated experience. Sad part is, you walk beautifull to reach this sad thing
No I don’t know if it’s just me, but I hate xfce. Seriously. Thunar (the file manager) aside, it’s horrible. Look at the font on the clock. Doesn’t it break your heart? Virtual desktops are vertical instead of horizontal, no option to change it. Bah. The icons on the desktop have no reason to be uncool, but for some reason they just look terrible. Maybe it’s because of the color background behind the name of the file. Maybe it’s because they look realistic and the rest of the desktop looks like ugly cartoons. Now look at this
Window border is horrific. Default gray makes me so sad I wanna cry. It’s this kind of prison gray, innit? Oh man it’s just awfull. You know, after coming from Ubuntu 9.04 using the awesome dust theme I look at this and just make a sad face. And really after trying madbox my standards in terms of looks just exploded thru the roof, just look at this
So ok, let’s make a conclusion. I couldn’t test suspend and hibernation, but I think that’s working out of the box in Ubuntu 9.04 so I guess it’s working, but anyway. In terms of what really matters, kuki wins big time. Performance is great, hardware recognition getting very close to perfect, boot time is good too. I didn’t try it, but I used the same kernel in ubuntu and it was good then, since kuki uses even less services and shit it can only be faster. Where it loses is in using xfce which i hate, they should have sticked to lxde godamnit!, and on the desktop appearance. But this can be worked out, although I never saw any good looking xfce desktop to be honest. It’s one of those things you can leave for last, but guys, aim for the top, for the ubber distro, and do something about it. After that you can all demand preferential treatment from us, the idiots, because you godamn deserve it. Gentlemen, it took a long time but we’re getting very close. Hat’s off!
Ps: I wonder what happens if I stick that xorg conf on ubuntu 9.04 running lxde or something.hm
As you may or may not know, the current version of skype does not work out of the box in Ubuntu 8.10. The solution can be simple or farelly complex. It depends on how the system is dealing with your soundcard. The following is a screenshot of the audio configuration that works on a lot of computers, AA1 included.
Now, if you by any chance followed my guide to install Ubuntu 8.10 on the AA1 or installed the normal Ubuntu, this won’t work. To make it work, I checked the ubuntu wiki. I ended up refering to the arch wiki and install the newest alsa. In my opinion it’s the best way to go. It now fully supports the AA1′s sound card. At least that’s what they say.
It’s farelly simple
Download the latest source from ftp://ftp.alsa-project.org/pub/driver/alsa-driver-1.0.18a.tar.bz2 and extract it to your home folder. To compile you can do it in the terminal like this
The make command will take a while, but if it ends with “ALSA modules were successfully compiled.” you know you’re good to go.
Next up edit /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base with something like
sudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base
And add at the end
options snd-hda-intel model=acer-aspire
Now reboot (will take a while) and everything should be working. To control the mic volume you need Gnome ALSA Mixer, the package is gnome-alsamixer.
And access it in Applications->Sound & Video. If it looks like this, your installation went ok
End of story, skype should now be working with the configuration of the first post. The mic volume is the capture level, and don’t ask me about the internal mic, I don’t use it and honestly don’t care.
Linux audio sucks.
Follow up: Since the writing of this post, a couple of new things are worth mentioning. Firstly, the easiest way to get all the hardware working is installing the sickboys’s kernel, bonus is very fast boot time (~15s). Secondly, I posted a follow-up review that adds up to this: ubuntu runs very slow on the AA1.
There is a version of ubuntu 8.10 that installs directly from a pen drive. I say great, let’s give it a spin! (you will need a cable connection to get internet working)
Download usb image here
Instructions to load the image on ubuntu right over here
The wiki has all kinds of tweaks and usefull stuff, so If you want to know what to expect there is the place.
Making a pen drive bootable was basic. Booting from the pen disk is trivial, just hitting F12 and choosing it from the list.
Instead of the normal Ubuntu live cd menu, the usb installer presents a prompt that starts booting automatically if you don’t touch it within 5 seconds. Fine with me.
Ok, the desktop is a surprise. I wasn’t expecting a desktop “optimized” for touchscreens.
Yeah, that firefox bullshit (called MIDbrowser) has definitely got to go.
Although this version of ubuntu is all tweaked to look like that, I think it’ll be no problem to reset it to a normal looking desktop.
Instalation goes ok, if you’re trying this I recommend you do a manual partitioning to reduce the swap to a minimum. I got it down to 50megs this time, just for the sake of it. If you want to do it, here’s how it’s supposed to look.
Note: The mount point of the primary ext2 partition is naturally ” / “. I took this screenshot afterwards so it doesn’t show.
Now that’s it’s installed time to work. Booting up took for fucking ever, like one whole minute. Jesus Christ.
Let’s start by doing the upgrades and updates:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install aptitude
sudo aptitude safe-upgrade
JESUS FUCKING CHRIST this took something like 60 godamn minutes. Pain staking. Consider yourself warned.
Note: if you don’t use aptitude don’t install it, but I highly recommend using aptitude instead of apt-get.
Now according to the wiki all I have to do is deactivate the default wireless driver in system->admnistration ->hardware drivers and install the backports.
sudo aptitude install linux-backports-modules-intrepid
Now let’s take out some useless crap from system>preferences->sessions , namely:
-devilpie (this is the app that keeps every window always maximized)
-update-notifier (I want this pc to work and do it fast, not be up to date with random bullshit)
-CellWriter (this is the on-screen keyboard, fuck that)
-Bluetooth Manager (The netbook doesn’t come with any bluetooh hardware and I don’t use any)
-Check for new hardware drivers (same reason as update notifier)
-Print Queue Applet (I don’t own a printer so screw it)
-GNOME Splash screen (I didn’t see any splash screen so…)
-Remote Desktop (What the fuck)
-Tracker Applet (i use gnome do, fuck tracker)
-User Folders update (Something about folder names. screw it)
-Visual Assistance (no way)
Make the boot use concurrency.
sudo gedit /etc/init.d/rc
And substitute where it says “CONCURRENCY=none” with “CONCURRENCY=shell”. without the quotes obviously. It’s like the second item, no biggy.
And that’s about it.
Reboot, a little prayer and let’s see what works and what’s worth mentioning:
-No need to login by default, I say nice
-Boot time is bit shorter now that there are less programs starting up and it uses concurrency. I’d say 30-40secs until you get a workable desktop. Yeah, basically it takes forever. *sigh*
-If an sd card is already plugged before you boot into the system than it mounts. Hot plugging is not working out of the box. Sucks.
-Wireless does in fact work
-Headphone detection works! Sound works ok. Don’t know about the internal mic, I dont use it anyway
-RAM after boot is less but close to 250megs. A bit heavy I should say
-Default behavior of nautilus is one click to open files and folders. This sucks, you can change it in preferences in the behavior tab easily. Speaking of which, it has tabbed browsing. Kick ass.
-System beep is enabled by default. How do you make that goddamn thing shut up?
-Installed Firefox3 and uninstalled MIDbrowser in the add/remove thing. You can search for firefox like so
Maybe firefox3 is too heavy for this netbook, but I’ll give it a try and if it sucks I’ll just default to firefox2 as usual.
-Installing flash 10 was easy, as always. Video playback works well enough for youtube, not so well for watching daily show on comedycentral.com. This with desktop effects turned off. Maybe some graphics driver tweaking?
-Speaking of which, I got 347 fps running glxgears. This is very bad, my old laptop can spit more than 2000. Will have to look into it later.
-Thunderbird comes installed by default, as you probably noticed from the screenshots. Comes with an option to import a gmail account and it’s integrated in nautilus, I say nice. Evolution sucks so much I don’t even know what to say.
-This sad ubuntu doesn’t come with standard gnome themes and icons. This is just plain silly look:
-The whole dark chocolate theme is better than human. Better in a sense that instead of getting old in 10 minutes, it got old in 20. Hello gnome-look.
-Installed skype and webcam was working fine. fuck yeah!
-Tried to make a call and audio doesn’t work. fuck no : -(
EDIT: To get skype working, please refer to this follow-up post
And I think that’s all folks. A final screenshot of how it looks:
Since I hate it when people post screenshots and don’t say what they’re using, here. I installed aurora and then aurora_clean. To install aurora you will need to install the package libgtk2.0-dev.The window border is blended, wallpaper is something I found on deviantart, it’s called “This is Halloween” by this guy called loadus. Great piece.
And finally we’re done. This turned out really big. Hope it was helpfull.