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Old 11-22-2009, 05:35 PM   #1
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Linux support for Acer Aspire One AO751-1279 Netbook

I just purchased a new Acer Aspire One AO751-1279 Netbook - Intel Atom Z520 1.33GHz, 2GB DDR2, 250GB HDD, 11.6" WXGA (Note this is not the smaller Acer Aspire One 10")

It comes with Windows Vista Home Basic. I have used Vista for some time, and don't really want to deal with it all the time, but don't want to clean it off completely, because I want to be able to go to the "supported" software when and if I need to.

So, I'd like to re-partition the hard drive to dual boot the thing so that Vista coexists with a version of Linux. Initially, I thought Ubuntu, but on further investigation it wasn't clear that Ubuntu would support this particular hardware combination (the Z-atom processor; the Intel GMA 500 graphics chipset). Then, I looked at Moblin, which appears to have an Intel connection. I found a page on the Intel site that claims the GMA 500 drivers support Ubuntu and Moblin (but it doesn't say which version[s], nor anything else useful). I understand that there have been versions of Linpus (based on Moblin?) that have been released for Acer One netbooks, but can't find anything that specifically says that this particular netbook is supported.

So, can anyone give me some idea what my best choice might be for a Linux distro for this machine? Has anyone experienced what it takes to install such a Linux on this machine? Did it involve specific customization, special driver installations, whatever?

Any responses would be much appreciated!
Old 11-22-2009, 07:13 PM   #2
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I have installed ubuntu on acer aspire one and a full size acer laptop with most everything working. You can use unetbootin from inside vista to check if all your hardware works with unbuntu and many other linux distros .
Old 11-22-2009, 07:54 PM   #3
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On my older AAO with the 8.9" screen and 160gb drive, it came with XP and I used Gparted to split the drive and installed Mandriva 2009.1 on it. Everything seems to work out the box once you add non-free repositories to it.

The thing about Mandriva is it's like a regular distro but it will detect if installing on a laptop/netbook and make adustments for those specs. I forget what it's called.

Only thing not working is mine have the AT&T 3G builtin aircard thingy. It seems there is a way to get it working but I haven't done it yet.

Last edited by FredGSanford; 11-22-2009 at 07:55 PM.
Old 12-02-2009, 04:39 PM   #4
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I have an Acer Aspire One AO751 with XP. After lots of trouble with partitioning and MBR I finally got it to dual boot with Ubuntu nbr. It seems to work (very slow), but apparently no HW recognition for screen and battery/power management. Any news about HW drivers, or would I be better off with Mandriva?
Old 12-03-2009, 09:09 AM   #5
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Thanks for everyone's responses.

I discovered something called WUBI (, which allows you to install Ubuntu on an existing Windows system, by using the Windows file system rather than trying to figure out how to re-partition the drive. I tried it, since even if it failed the consequences to my Windows installation would be essentially nothing. Well, it worked (it involves a download of the Ubuntu .iso file, so it takes a fair while), and the installation was pretty easy.

It seems to be standard Ubuntu, except for the use of the Windows file system instead of another partition. So far, it's working OK, although I haven't done a thorough check of all the netbook functions -- I have added two network printers with less trouble than adding a printer to a Windows system. Also, it boots and comes down in a lot less time than Windows (no surprise there, I suppose!)

This version of Ubuntu doesn't seem to have performance problems on this machine. Of course, it's no powerhouse, but the responsiveness seems pretty good. I don't get the sense of sluggishness -- rather, the opposite (see mouse issues below).

One problem is (not unexpectedly) that the standard Ubuntu display drivers don't seem to fully support the graphics on this machine. Ubuntu comes up in 1024x768, and gives me no other choices. (This netbook has a 16:9 aspect ratio with a 1,366x768 native resolution.) There are lots of forum notes on how to add the "Poulsbo"/GMA500 display graphics drivers, which vary from "It's a mess; forget about it for Linux", to a complex set of instructions on how to set them up. I tried one set of instructions, and there was no change that I could detect.

The display aspect ratio problem isn't a killer problem; it just doesn't look as good as I'd like it to; the fonts don't look great, and I'm sure that circular graphics (like an analog clock) would appear distorted. But for things like web browsing and email it's not too bad.

The touchpad seems a little over sensitive, too. Sometimes the mouse has a mind of its own. I slowed down the response, which seems to improve things a little, although the vertical scrolling is still too sensitive; it takes some light touch! I've also experienced some seemingly random text modifications while attempting to compose an email message via GMail (you can install Google Mail, Google Calendar, and Google Apps).

Another possibility that I haven't pursued seriously (yet?) is Moblin (, which is supposedly supported by Intel, so you'd think they would support an Intel graphics chip set like GMA500, but the situation isn't clear.

I also checked on Linpus (, which I believe is the Linux version that is shipped on some of the Acer netbooks. The Linpus folks said that they would be releasing a new version in December, and implied that it would support my particular netbook, but it was hard to tie them down on how their solution addressed my particular situation. Perhaps it was a language issue? I'll keep an eye out for that, and evaluate what to do when it becomes available.

Last edited by bhiggs; 12-03-2009 at 09:17 AM.
Old 12-03-2009, 12:52 PM   #6
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There's a thread on this site about distros customised for netbooks which might help you. One is the Ubuntu Netbook Remix, which might be what you need.
Old 12-03-2009, 01:54 PM   #7
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I have the AO751h as well...after running *Nix for 4 years on just about every conceivable machine (both built and bought), it never occurred to me to check for hardware compatibility. More fool me...

Anyway, I've found the *buntu NBR is waaaay too slow for what it is and what it's supposed to do. I actually get better performance out of the desktop install, though I recommend using the Alternate Minimal ISO and building it app by app instead of carrying around a truckload of stuff you won't need/can't use. There are Launchpad repos for the GMA500 drivers depending on which version you're running (best support is for 9.04 and 9.10).

Also, FWIW Mandriva has the GMA500 drivers in their repos, but only for the One edition not the full DVD. HTH

EDIT: If you have the time and you know what you're doing I believe someone has done a PKGBUILD for ArchLinux, which absolutely flies on these things.

Last edited by zeno0771; 12-03-2009 at 01:59 PM.
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