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Ubuntu 12.04 - Installation on Acer Aspire One 722 (AO722)

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Acer Aspire One 722

This article explains the specific steps needed to fully configure an Acer Aspire One 722 to run under Ubuntu Precise 12.04.

Even if Acer AO722 support is much better under Ubuntu 12.04 than under Ubuntu 11.04, there are still some tuning to be done before getting a perfectly running laptop.

It will allow you to specifically deal with :

  • Random system freeze
  • Problems with microphone configuration

A standard installation of Ubuntu Precise 12.04 AMD64 desktop edition is a pre-requisite for this procedure.

If you have replaced your Hard Disk by a SSD, you should also as a complement follow the procedure Ubuntu - Tweaks for SSD drive.

1. Avoid Wifi adapter Freeze

Under Ubuntu Precise 12.04, the Aspire One 722 wifi adapter is fully supported.

It doesn't have the very annoying bug where the system freezes instantly when activating the wireless adapter, but you can still encounter some system freeze from time to time. To get rid of these freezes, you have to follow the same procedure as for the previous wifi activation freeze.

This bug comes from a conflict between the ethernet and the wireless adapter and can be corrected by seting-up a specific boot order, where the network boot is used first. With this setup, the ethernet adapter will be configured in a way that there won't be any conflict with the wifi adpater at the time of wireless network connexion.

To do so, reboot your netbook and enter the BIOS by typing F2 at boot time.

First, set the Network Boot as the first one in the boot priority order :

Network boot order

Next, be sure that Network Boot is enabled :

Network boot enable

Save and exit.

After reboot, the freeze problem should be part of the past …

2. Update to Kernel 3.4

Ubuntu Precise 12.04 is provided with kernel 3.2.

AO 722 embedded sound card Conexant CX20588 is not fully supported by this kernel version.

But, good news, it is fully supported by kernel 3.4 ... and an official kernel 3.4.0 for Ubuntu Precise is available from the Ubuntu Kernel Repository.

To install it, no need to declare any PPA, we will just download the DEB packages and install them.

# wget http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v3.4-precise/linux-headers-3.4.0-030400_3.4.0-030400.201205210521_all.deb
# wget http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v3.4-precise/linux-headers-3.4.0-030400-generic_3.4.0-030400.201205210521_amd64.deb
# wget http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v3.4-precise/linux-image-3.4.0-030400-generic_3.4.0-030400.201205210521_amd64.deb
# sudo dpkg -i linux-*.deb

Kernel 3.4 will be operationnal after next reboot.

After the reboot you can check your kernel version :

# uname -a
Linux xxxx-laptop 3.4.0-030400-generic #201205210521 SMP Mon May 21 09:22:02 UTC 2012 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

3. Wifi Adapter BCM4313

Acer AO 722 is embedded with a Broadcom BCM4313 wifi adapter. This adapter is using the bcmwl-kernel-source package, which provides the wl module.

# lspci
...
07:00.0 Network controller: Broadcom Corporation BCM4313 802.11b/g/n Wireless LAN Controller (rev 01)

But, the bcmwl-kernel-source package provided by Precise 12.04 is not compatible with kernel 3.4.x. During the package installation, the DKMS module compilation fails.

So, in order to use the wifi interface under kernel 3.4, we need to install the Quantal version of this package.

This is done quite easily :

# sudo apt-get remove bcmwl-kernel-source
# wget http://ubuntu.linux-bg.org/ubuntu//pool/restricted/b/bcmwl/bcmwl-kernel-source_5.100.82.112+bdcom-0ubuntu3_amd64.deb
# sudo dpkg -i bcmwl-kernel-source_5.100.82.112+bdcom-0ubuntu3_amd64.deb

Your wifi adapter is now accessible thru network manager.

4. AMD64 microcode

During boot, you may notice some error message

Failed to load file amd-ucode/microcode_amd.bin

This comes from the fact that microcode of AMD processors is not provided by default by kernel 3.4.

You need a specific package to install that firmware :

# wget http://ftp.sv.debian.org/ubuntu/ubuntu/pool/multiverse/a/amd64-microcode/amd64-microcode_1.20120910-1_amd64.deb
# sudo dpkg -i amd64-microcode_1.20120910-1_amd64.deb
Using per-core interface to update microcode on online processors...
update-initramfs: deferring update (trigger activated)
Traitement des actions différées (« triggers ») pour « initramfs-tools »...
update-initramfs: Generating /boot/initrd.img-3.4.0-030400-generic

At next reboot the error message will be part of the past.

5. Sound Card

Once you have installed kernel 3.4, the sound card is fully recognised by default.

The only problem is that by default the internal microphone level is extremely low. It needs to be adjusted thru a microphone boost device.

5.1. Enable Microphone Boost

In a terminal, start alsamixer.

# alsamixer

As AO 722 is having 2 sound cards :

  • Card 0 : HDMI
  • Card 1 : Intel HDA

select the second one with F6.

precise-ao722-alsamixer-device

Select F5 to display input & output devices.

Adjust both Mic Boost to the maximum.

precise-ao722-alsamixer-level

Once this adjustment done, you should be able to use the internal microphone with a proper sound level.

5.2. Apply Levels at every Boot

We also need to setup this parameter to be applied at every boot time.

Before being able to restore the alsamixer levels at boot, we need to store them.

# sudo alsactl store

We now only need to add a level restore command in the startup commands. Command should be :

  • Name : Restore Alsamixer levels (mic boost)
  • Command : alsactl restore

Under Gnome, this can be done with gnome-session-properties :

# gnome-session-properties

precise-ao722-startup-alsactl

Your microphone boost level will be restored to its maximum level at every boot.

5.3. Skype

By default skype tries to adjust your microphone level. This will waste the boost level that we have setup up.

So, before giving your first call, you need to make sure to uncheck Allow Skype to automatically adjust ... in the menu Options / Sound Devices.

precise-ao722-skype-audio

You should now be able to place calls with audio & video support, even using internal microphone.

6. DIsable OpenOffice Hardware Acceleration

By default, latest versions of OpenOffice Presentation is using Hardware Acceleration to display slideshows.

This configuration gives trouble when displaying a slideshow, as the Radeon graphic card bypasses the OS and writes directly to the screen.

With this default setup, when starting a slideshow, you will see either nothing, or a white screen, or a black screen !

To correct the problem, you just need to disable Use hardware acceleration in the Display section of the Tools / Options menu :

precise-ao722-libreoffice-acceleration

 

You should now be in front of a fully functional Acer Aspire One 722 powered by Ubuntu Precise 12.04 !

You can now ask for your Windows licence refund  :-)

Hope it helps.

Signature Technoblog

This article is published "as is", without any warranty that it will work for your specific need.
If you think this article needs some complement, or simply if you think it saved you lots of time & trouble,
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