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Ubuntu 12.04 - Installation on Asus F301A

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dropcap-ubuntu-asus-f301a

This article will explain how to fully configure an Asus F301A laptop under Ubuntu 12.04 LTS with Gnome Shell or Gnome Classic interface.

This laptop is very versatile, offering a 13'' screen with a performant dual core Intel CPU. It is embedded with Windows 8, which can be easily replaced by an Ubuntu Linux distribution.

The following article will allow you to fully configure your Ubuntu Linux, allowing to use :

  • Elantech touchpad
  • Ralink RT5390 wifi adapter
  • brightness function keys

It has been tested on an Asus F301A-RX172H.

All the following tweaks have to be applied on a basic Ubuntu 12.04 LTS 64bits installation.

If you are ready to follow this procedure, you can safely ask for your Windows licence refund  :-)

1. Ubuntu Installation

As the touchpad is not properly recognised by default, it's better to install Ubuntu with a standard USB mouse connected. You'll be able to remove it as soon as the touchpad support will be configured.

As you won't be able to connect to WPA or WPA2 wifi networks without tweaking the wifi driver, the best is to do the installation using an ethernet cable.

At the end of the installation, after your first boot, do a complete system update :

# sudo apt-get update
# sudo apt-get upgrade

You are now ready to do the final adjustments.

2. Elantech Touchpad

Elantech touchpad is detected as a standard PS-Mouse. As a result, most of the touchpad features are not working as expected (left click, ...).

To enable the complete touchpad features, we need to get the latest driver sources and to compile them.

To be independant from any future kernel update, this will be done thru DKMS.

# sudo apt-get install dkms
# cd /usr/src/
# sudo wget http://www.pcw.fr/linux/ubuntu/drivers/psmouse-elantech-v6.tar.bz2
# sudo tar jxvf psmouse-elantech-v6.tar.bz2
# sudo dkms add -m psmouse -v elantech-v6
# sudo dkms build -m psmouse -v elantech-v6
# sudo dkms install -m psmouse -v elantech-v6

Your touchpad will be fully working after next reboot.

Your mouse can be disconnected.

3. Enable Wifi WPA & WPA2

Asus F301A laptop is embedding a Ralink RT5390 802.11b/g/n wireless card.

# lspci -nnk | grep Network
01:00.0 Network controller [0280]: Ralink corp. RT5390 Wireless 802.11n 1T/1R PCIe [1814:5390]
Subsystem: Hewlett-Packard Company U98Z077.00 Half-size Mini PCIe Card [103c:1636]
Kernel driver in use: rt2800pci

With this chipset, under Ubuntu 12.04 the hardware encryption by the firmware is giving trouble.

One typical symptom is that you will be able to connect to a WPA2 access point using a correct key, but you won't get any IP address thru DHCP, you won't be able to access internet, ... Your network status is connected, but nothing works !

There is a very simple solution : to disable hardware encryption. With the processor of Asus F301A, you won't even notice the difference between hardware and software encryption.

This is done thru an option with the rt2800pci driver. Just create /etc/modprobe.d/rt2800pci.conf and declare the option :

# sudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/rt2800pci.conf

/etc/modprobe.d/rt2800pci.conf

options rt2800pci nohwcrypt=1

After your next laptop reboot, you should be able to connect to any WPA2 network without an trouble.

4. Enable Brightness Function Keys

By default, most of the function keys are recognised, other than brightness keys.

The brightness keys can be enabled thru Compiz user defined commands.

First thing to do is to replace the default kernel parameters to add the acpi_backlight=vendor option.

This is done by editing /etc/default/grub, adding the acpi_backlight option in the default command line and updating grub.

# sudo gedit /etc/default/grub
# sudo update-grub

/etc/default/grub

...
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash acpi_osi=Linux acpi_backlight=vendor"
...

You need to reboot to get it operational.

Next step is to install the following packages :

  • xbacklight to control the backlight via acpi
  • compizconfig-settings-manager to enable edition of compiz settings

# sudo apt-get install xbacklight compizconfig-settings-manager

Once installed, you should be able to control brightness thru command line.

These 2 commands will decrease brightness by 10% and then increase it back.

# xbacklight -dec 10
# xbacklight -inc 10

If everything works, we can now configure the behaviour thru Compiz by opening Compiz Setting Manager.

In the commands section, add these 3 commands :

  1. xbacklight -dec 10
  2. xbacklight -inc 10
  3. xbacklight =100

In the second section, add the corresponding keys :

  1. <SUPER> F5
  2. <SUPER> F6
  3. <SUPER> F7

With these settings, you can now control brightness straight from your keyboard :

  • SUPER (Windows) + F5 increases brightness
  • SUPER (Windows) + F6 decreases brightness
  • SUPER (Windows) + F7 sets brightness to its maximum

 

Your Asus F301A laptop should now be fully operational running the latest stable Ubuntu Linux distribution.

Let the Open Source spirit be with you !

 

Hope it helps.

Signature Technoblog

This article is published "as is", without any warranty that it will work for your specific need.
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