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Discussion

J.A. Watson, 2011/05/22 09:31

Another Update - As I had hoped/expected, things have gotten much better for Linux on this netbook over the past couple of months. The brcm80211 driver is included in more and more distributions, and there are some very good Synaptic ClickPad drivers coming along now too.

On these distributions there is a kernel driver called acer_wmi which gets loaded by default and interferes with the brcm80211 driver, which prevents the WiFi networking from working. All you need to do is go to /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf and add a line which says “blacklist acer_wmi” then reboot and the WiFi will work.

- openSuSE 11.4, with the latest updates installed, works extremely well, both the WiFi and ClickPad are fully supported.

- Linux Mint Debian Edition and Linux Mint Debian Xfce edition, with the latest updates installed, also work very well.With all of the latest updates installed, these distributions include version 1.4.0 of the Synaptics driver, which fixes all the problems with the ClickPad.

- SimplyMEPIS 11 works. For the brcm80211 driver, you can add acer_wmi to the b43.conf file and at the same time uncomment the wl and ndiswrapper blocking, and comment the ssb driver startup. MEPIS still uses version 1.2.2 of the Synaptic driver, but it seems to work just fine with the ClickPad, I'm not quite sure how they managed that when no one else has.

- Ubuntu 11.04 works, including WiFi and ClickPad

- Linux Mint 11 looks like it is going to work (no surprise, it is based on Ubuntu 11.04), but it is still a Release Candidate, so no final information yet.

J.A. Watson, 2011/01/11 14:18

Update - Here is a little more information, now that I have another month or so of experience on this rather nice netbook.

- Touchpad: This is actually a Synaptics ClickPad, and therein lies the problem. Ubuntu 10.04 and derivatives actually handled this pretty well, but 10.10 and derivatives almost don't handle it at all. There is hope for the future, though, because openSuSE 11.5 Milestone 5 (Build 990 and later) include the synaptics driver version 1.3.0, which gets the buttons right.

- Wireless Networking: The network card is a Broadcom 4313, and it is NOT supported by the existing “b43” drivers. It IS supported by the “broadcom-wl” driver (also sometimes known as simply “wl”, or in Ubuntu as “STA”, but performance/throughput is inconsistent. Once again there is hope for the future; this device is supported by the “brcm80211” driver which was released as FOSS by Broadcom recently. It is now in the “staging” hierarchy, and is slated to move in the standard distribution. So far I have seen one distribution in which it actually works - Linux Mint Debian Edition 201012/201101 - and several others which include it but are still not working yet, such as openSuSE 11.4.

jw

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