Sunday, March 29, 2009

Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope on Acer Aspire One

If you use Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala, please read this first (thanks Pjotr!):
In 9.10 Karmic Koala, there's the same problem with acer_wmi as in 9.04.

However, your 9.04 fix causes instability in the kernel, in 9.10. That's because the blacklisting should be done by editing the existing /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf. And not by creating a new file named blacklist.

Blacklist.conf by default already contains a list of blacklisted kernel modules. You can simply add the following lines for acer_wmi:

# switch the wireless chipset on
blacklist acer_wmi
Original Post:
The new kernel in the beta release of Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope provides better support for netbook hardware including that of my Acer Aspire One, but it still has a few wrinkles that are fairly simple to iron out.

The first thing you're likely to notice is that the wireless connection doesn't work correctly out of the box. It should automatically load the open source ath5k driver and give you the option of using the proprietary madwifi driver (unnecessary in my experience), but you will get no signal and network-manager will have all of the options grayed-out/disabled.

To fix this, hop onto a terminal and type:
sudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist
and add the line
blacklist acer_wmi
This should fix your wifi access (and possibly fix your wireless indicator LEDs[!]) in one fell swoop, once you restart.

Next, there is a known issue with the SD card readers stemming from Jaunty's version of the Linux kernel that causes the left reader to fail with this error:
mmc0: error -84 whilst initialising SD card
The left-side SD reader is otherwise not acknowledged, i.e. it doesn't create a /dev/ entry when cards are inserted and hotplug doesn't mount the disk (this problem also exists on the Dell Mini 9, so you guys can benefit from this too). To correct the situation, type into a terminal:
sudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/options
and add (be wary of line breaks; I recommend copy/pasting instead of manually typing):
options sdhci debug_quirks=1

ProblemType: Bug
Architecture: i386
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 9.04
Package: linux-image-2.6.28-6-generic 2.6.28-6.17
ProcCmdLine: User Name=UUID=e309fb14-05db-4e9a-b137-c6bf63eeb6a4 ro quiet splash elevator=noop
ProcEnviron:
SHELL=/bin/bash
LANG=it_IT.UTF-8
ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 2.6.28-6.17-generic
SourcePackage: linux

Reboot and most everything should work properly, hotplugging and all. Also to be aware of, the right-side reader does not work properly if there is not a card in it at boot. In this case, it won't show any trace anywhere that you even have a right-side reader.

For both of these fixes, all we've done is created a text file that the system loads as it boots. If you wish to undo these fixes, you can just delete the text files and it'll go back to normal.

Finally, ctrl+alt+backspace doesn't kill the xserver anymore in Jaunty because people were apparently pressing it accidentally...? You can supposedly re-enable it (if you like) by installing a program called dontzap:

sudo aptitude install dontzap
and then typing into a terminal:

sudo dontzap --disable
Unfortunately, this did absolutely nothing on my system. Maybe you'll have better luck. In the meantime, you can either restart your entire system, or hit ctrl+alt+F1 to drop down to a console and type:
sudo /etc/inti.d/gdm restart
A scary blue and red error screen will pop up notifying you that there's already an xserver running, to which you can just hit OK and it will restart with the new one.

I've been using the netbook remix, which is really attractive and easy to use. Its launcher menu is incompatible with Compiz-fusion, but it looks nice enough that I don't even miss compositing.

Also of note, suspend actually seems to work now instead of totally borking my system, and the integrated mic/webcam seem to work much more reliably now.

Let me know if you have any issues and I'll try to help resolve them.

45 comments:

L J said...

I like these tips but sometimes such commands cause something to go wrong! With package managers there is an uninstall route but with command-line installations/switches I don't know anyway back. Wouldn't be fair to provide with each tip a way to reverse it if one wishes?

Thanks, JJ

Hunter K. said...

Hi JJ,
I can certainly understand your apprehension about tinkering with no clear way of undoing things.

Luckily, you can undo these steps by just deleting the text files you created, e.g. by typing:
sudo rm /etc/modprobe.d/options
for the SD reader fix or:
sudo rm /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist
for the wifi fix, and you can install/uninstall dontzap through Synaptic.

If you run into any problems, I'm happy to help.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the blacklisting tip! That enabled my wifi at last in Jaunty Netbook Remix.

Weird that this is an issue in an OS that's targeted at netbooks.... I hope they fix it before Jaunty becomes final.

The wireless LED still doesn't blink. In openSUSE 11.1 it works fine (my Acer Aspire One is triple boot), more or less out of the box (after a kernel update it suddenly worked).

Any idea how I can fix the LED in Jaunty Netbook Remix?

Greeting, Pjotr.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the SD Reader fix, worked a treat on my Dell Mini 9

Ram

ham609732 said...

Thanks for the tips! This is probably a little off topic but ive noticed that the webcam doesnt work on anything that is java based after i installed jaunty (i came from xp but have used ubuntu in the past, i still wouldnt call myself experienced tho) Would you happen to know a work around for this?? i like to use meebo for video chat from time to time

Hunter K. said...

@ham609732

No problem about being OT. I'm not all that familiar with java or webcams, but it might just be a matter of installing the java media framework and/or webcam-server packages.

Conversely, this post from the ubuntu forums might be a little more helpful:
http://ubuntuforums.org/showpost.php?p=5440498&postcount=5

Hunter K. said...

@Pjotr

Unfortunately, my wifi light worked wonderfully using the blacklist fix when jaunty was still in beta. However, it stopped working after upgrading to the RC and remains dead with the official release :(

I think the best bet is to leave a bug report at Launchpad and hope someone cares enough to fix it.

Chikita Bakana said...

I have a Jackalope install in an Acer Aspire One ZG5 model and only adding "options sdhci debug_quirks=1" to "/etc/modprobe.d/modprobe.conf" (not "/etc/modprobe.d/options" as you instructed) did work. The instructions you gave add a lot of lines to the "options" file BTW. I guess they're wrongly there. Thank you!

Matthew Rutledge said...

This is the only site I have found a reasonable solution to the SD card issue. Thank you.

I love how everyone's going "Jaunty is perfect!" when it is most certainly still suffering from the same driver/compatibility issues as in previous versions.

Anonymous said...

I tried the tips for the card reader on my Dell Mini 9, but it doesn't work at all :(
Can anybody help ?

Anonymous said...

Also tried the tip for recognizing media card on my Dell mini 9 under Ubuntu 9.04 and didn't work! Anyone find a solution would appreciate copying me at bruce@erlichman.com

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for your sd fix. It worked great for me on my Aspire One with Jaunty. Greets!

Bayo said...

Thank you very much. After spending whole day without success to enable wireless on my Acer Aspire one running Ubuntu. I found your blog, followed your instructions it works fine now. You are GREAT!!!!! Thanks again

bps1865 said...

Dude! I have been reading every "F-ing" thread known to man in a few different languages trying to get my Acer, which worked flawlessy in 8.10, to enable wireless. This worked in one fell swoop. All the other crap I tried just screwed a few things up that I had to undo. Mega Uber thanks for this.

Andrew said...

I've tried the tips and they work perfectly well! I hope that there wwould be a fix for the card reader on the right-handside soon.

Thanks, Andrew

Hunter K. said...

Glad I could help, everyone.

@Andrew,
While it's certainly not a perfect solution, a workaround for the right-side reader is to take your card from the left reader and put in the right reader while you boot, then just switch it over to the left side (if that's where you want it) after it's been recognized on the right.

Boot time is when the OS detects (or doesn't) the right-side reader if you put a card in, while the left side will always be hotpluggable after the fix.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad I stumbled on this. Couldn't get the wireless working at all till I read this, so a big thanks to you! Just like to say that the LED light is happily flashing away as well.

Anonymous said...

OMG OMG OMG I feel like a valley dude who just got his first BMW... lol...

your solutions are perfect.

one thing i noticed...

when i loaded :
sudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist

i added the black list line and my led for the wireless started working.... but my internet began to suck.. it loaded quick and then slowed down and then lost connection,,, so i reloaded:

sudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist

and deleted the entry, resaved it and rebooted....

now my led works... wierd... and my internet is even faster than before...

oh yeah.. and the sd card reader fix was fantastic. thank you for also posting how to undo incase of problems... its nice to see someone give a fix with the understanding that some fixes are not for all people.

keep up the guru master level work!

many many thanks.

oh yeah i use Ubuntu netbook remix on a new acer aspire one 9.1".

Sincerely,

Super Ubuntu Noob

Anonymous said...

I have an acer extensa 2300, as far as I can see the inbuilt wireless card is disabled, so it never sees the driver I loaded. I'm using ubuntu 9.04
I tried the blacklist idea, no go, so where to from here??
frustrated
Jim

Anonymous said...

ok. so i did the internet black list thing and my internet worked for a bit but then kept dropping after two or three pages loaded... checked forums and found a better dolution... might work for some of you also after using that line.

sudo apt-get install wicd

wicd seems to be way more stable. install it , it removes two packages to work and then turn off pc/turn on pc... reenter connect wpa's (passcodes) and it connects better than ever now, actually conected before my os was fully booted... might help find your drivers too,... just a thought.

Hunter K. said...

@Jim
It looks like your model could have one of three different wireless chipsets (Ambit, Atheros, or Intel), so you're going to need to identify which one it is by typing into a terminal:

lspci

It should list one for ethernet and one for wireless network. If the wireless is Atheros, you might be able to use the proprietary MadWifi driver. Does your driver manager control panel have any proprietary drivers listed as available?

I'm not familiar with the other two chipsets, but I'm happy to help look for a solution once your chipset is identified.

Anonymous said...

I put in the command and this is what came up
Ethernet controller: Linksys, A Division of Cisco Systems [AirConn] INPROCOMM IPN 2220 Wireless LAN Adapter (rev 01
Is that the atheros?
many thanks Hunter
Jim

Hunter K. said...

@Jim
Inprocomm is the chipset, but it does not appear to be supported directly in the kernel (from what I've found online). However, you should be able to get it working using ndiswrapper to load the Windows driver.

I've never had to do this myself, so I'm certainly not an expert, but I believe it basically amounts to:

download the Windows driver for your card (this one might work, but is also old so a newer one is preferable if you can find it: http://ubuntuforums.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=24433&d=1170478866)

then, in a terminal, type (replace [inf file] with the path to the Windows driver:
sudo ndiswrapper -i [inf file]

then:
sudo modprobe ndiswrapper

then, to enable the card at boot:
sudo ndiswrapper -m

This thread, though very old, may be helpful:
http://ubuntuforums.org/showpost.php?p=753384&postcount=2

Good luck and let me know if you need any more help.

hobbitt said...

SDHC card fix worked a treat on my Dell Mini 9. Thanks much!

Question: If/when a formal fix is released, will we need to remove this file? Or will the various version values cause it to be ignored?

Note for those who've tried it with no luck, be aware of any line breaks in the original posting caused by your browser! I selected the text and copied it, then pasted it into the new file.

Hunter K. said...

@hobbitt
I believe the fix will be automatically ignored once the original problem is corrected in the kernel. However, if you start having trouble unexpectedly after a dist-upgrade (about the only way you would get a brand new kernel), I would recommend renaming the file and restarting, just to be sure.

Also, that's a good point about the line breaks. I'll add a note to the post.

Tatang said...

Thank for article... I have some problem about SD/MMC in Compaq Presario CQ40 ... and I try to apply this Tutor... and well done... Thank u

Anonymous said...

I have a Dell Mini 9, and just updated to 9.04.. but my 16GB SDHC card isn't working.. but it did under HH. I tried your fix, looked at the forums, and I've still found no options.

Smaller cards show up.. just not that one.

Any ideas?

Thanks ahead of time.

schimschone

Hunter K. said...

@schimschone
This is a bold step, but you could try upgrading your system to use the Karmic kernel instead of the one packaged with Jaunty (known as a backport). If you add to your /etc/apt/sources.list this PPA: https://launchpad.net/~a7x/+archive/kbp

you can attempt to update. Another option is to just install a full Karmic system and see if that helps.

Andreas N. said...

Seconding the comment by "Chikita Bakana":

Adding only the line

options sdhci debug_quirks=1

to "/etc/modprobe.d/modprobe.conf" in my Jaunty Jackalope installation on my Acer Aspire 7520G did the trick.

Donn Ingle said...

Hey that blacklist thing worked!

I have an AAO 7G5 and now the Atheros AR5006EG chip is working!

Thanks a million. Yours was the *only* info I found on the web that actually worked.

\d

Meekohi said...

The SD card fixed my Dell mini 9 perfectly! I was getting the error:

mmc0: error -84 whilst initializing sd card

Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

Worked on my Mini 9
Thanks!

Dusto_Magnifico said...

I just installed the remix 9.04 on my AAO ZG5. The wifi does not work out of the box, obviously, but none of the suggestions listed here work to get it going. Unfortunately it might be more user error than anything. I love Ubuntu, but I have no clue what I am doing.

Help please!

Dusto_Magnifico said...

tr

Anonymous said...

In 9.10 Karmic Koala, there's the same problem with acer_wmi as in 9.04.

However, your 9.04 fix causes instability in the kernel, in 9.10. That's because the blacklisting should be done by editing the existing /etc/modeprobe.d/blacklist.conf. And not by creating a new file named blacklist.

Blacklist.conf by default already contains a list of blacklisted kernel modules. You can simply add the following lines for acer_wmi:

# switch the wireless chipset on
blacklist acer_wmi


Please change the instruction in your blog post accordingly.... This blog post has become quite famous! :-)

Regards, Pjotr.

Hunter K. said...

Thanks for the info Pjotr! I updated the post to reflect your advice.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your quick reponse! :-)

I see that I've made an error in the file path: modeprobe.d should be: modprobe.d

So the command for editing is:
gksudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf

Regards, Pjotr.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

Have been running UNR 9.04 on an AAO for some time with no problems (apart from the known issues with the wireless LED). Have just tried booting from a Live version of UNR 9.10, and find that wireless networking isn't working at all. It resolutely refuses to turn on when I try the "Connect to hidden wireless network" menu entry. A few queries:
- is there any reason why Live booting should upset the wireless subsystem?
- is 9.10 meant to fix the wireless LED problem and should the wireless on/off switch work correctly?

I am reluctant to overwrite my present 9.04 installation until I can be fairly certain that the wireless subsystem will work with 9.10, and so (I assume?) I can't try out the tips (modding the blacklist, etc) given in this blog. A catch-22 situation! Is there anything else I could try?

Thanks for any advice

Keith

----------------------------
AOA 110 Ab/ ZG5 / 512MB / 8 GB
Atheros AR5001 Wireless Network Adapter (rev 01)

Hunter K. said...

Hi Keith,
from my (brief) experience with Karmic on my AAO, the wireless will definitely work, you'll just have to apply the acer_wmi blacklist fix (notice the change for Karmic as reported by Pjotr).

You won't be able to test it out in the live environment, obviously, but I can assure that it will work as well as it does in Jaunty.

If you run into any issues, feel free to leave another comment and I'll help in any way I can.

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for the advice.

I've now installed UNR 9.10 -- with no problems (apart from the same failure of the wireless subsystem).

So I have edited the blacklist.conf file and appended the line "blacklist acer_wmi". But this hasn't helped: in fact, it seems to have totally knocked out all evidence of the wireless subsystem! A left-click on the NetworkManager applet now drops down a list which no longer includes any option for setting up a wireless connection; it simply has an entry "wireless is disabled".

Thus, it looks as if the problem with my machine may be different to the one described in your blog (especially since my AAO had no problems at all with the 9.04 UNR release).

Do you know if there any diagnostics I could run to get more info on what's causing this problem. (Running lspci reveals that my machine has the Atheros AR5001 adapter).

Maybe I need to give the system a positive hint as to which wireless-related modules to include?

Any further advice would be much appreciated: 9.10 looks such a beautifully crafted release I would be disappointed to have to revert to 9.04!

Thanks

Keith

----------------------------
AAO 110 Ab/ ZG5 / 512MB / 8 GB
Atheros AR5001 Wireless Network Adapter (rev 01)

Anonymous said...

Hi,

Just a follow on to my previous note (immediately above). I have been probing my machine in detail and it may be that, with the results from this (appended), you could offer a suggestion as to what might be worth trying next.

Keith

----------------------------------
Machine:
Acer Aspire One
Model No: ZG5

AOA 110 - Ab
512 MB, 8 GB

BIOS:
CPU Type: Intel Atom N270
System BIOS Version: v0.3109
Product name: AOA110

OS:
Ubuntu Netbook Remix: 9.10

---------------------------------
Extracts from data yielded by
executing the following commands:

iwconfig:
wlan0 IEEE 802.11bg ESSID:""
Mode:Managed
Frequency:2.412 GHz
Access Point: Not-Associated

lsmod:
ath5k, ath, led_class,
cfg80211, . . .

nm-tool:
Device: wlan0
Type: 802.11 WiFi
Driver: ath5k

lshw:
*-pci:2
*-network DISABLED
description: Wireless interface
product: AR5001 Wireless
Network Adapter
vendor:
Atheros Communications Inc.
logical name: wmaster0

lspci:
Ethernet controller:
Atheros Comms Inc,
AR5001 Wireless Network
Adapter (rev 01)

Hunter K. said...

Hi Keith,
it seems to be recognizing your wireless device okay, so have you checked to make sure that your hardware kill-switch (located on the front-right of your machine) isn't disabling your wireless?

If that's not your problem, you could try checking your restricted driver manager (System > Administration > Hardware Drivers) and see if the madwifi driver is available.

Anonymous said...

Problem solved!

I trawled around further and have just found solution to the above problem. Simply necessary to remove and replace the ath5k module. Executing these two commands does this:
modprobe -r -f ath5k
modprobe ath5k

Works perfectly now!

Thanks for your interest.

Keith

Henry Oz said...

This is the only post I've found that actually has the right solution. Thank you for getting me online!

Paul Brighton said...

This is really great tips posted by you. thanks

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