Ubuntu Netbook Remix in AA1

Ubuntu Netbook Remix, originally uploaded by FransBadger.

Another thing I did the late at the other night (not getting much sleep this summer) was finally install another OS version for my netbook, Acer Asprire One. The stripped-down Linpus Lite it shipped with was ok for basic stuff, but I kept on tweaking it, pushing it towards a full, networking capable desktop system. Since Linpus is built on Fedora, you can actually do pretty much with it, but at some point it just became so patched up and broken I realised I needed to do something.
I had been following the development of netbook versions of popular operating systems, but for a long time there appeared to be serious problems: a full Ubuntu desktop, for example, would be running very slow, being too heavy for a meagre AA1 (my system is version ZG5, with 512 MB of DDR2 memory). There are also many hardware drivers that would stop working if one reformats the Linpus environment Acer had set up.

But finally, it appeared that the Ubuntu Netbook Remix project had managed to produce a version of Ubuntu that would be running smoothly on weak systems, plus it would support almost all of the AA1 hardware out of the box. Trying it out now for couple of days, I am pretty happy. It is not a speed demon, but I am amazed at the scope and quality of functions they have managed to pack into a lowly 512 MB netbook machine. Reason to be happy for a while! 🙂

Author: frans

Professor of Information Studies and Interactive Media, esp. Digital Culture and Game Studies in the University of Tampere, Finland.

6 thoughts on “Ubuntu Netbook Remix in AA1”

  1. Glad you are enjoying UNR. I found it to work pretty well on my AA1. I decided, though, to go with Fedora LXDE spin. All hardware just works with Fedora and LXDE puts fewer demands on my computer’s meager resources. Also, I found it pretty easy to set up LVM using Fedora. Now the left card is completely seemless integrated with the internal SSD.

  2. Timdor, thanks for the tip. Memory card handling seems to be one of the weak spots of UNR currently. I will take a look at Fedora LXDE also if I have time at some point.

  3. It may not actually be that painful running the conventional Ubuntu desktop. You can actually test this: go to System or Preferences and click “Switch desktop”.

    Netbook Remix is really GNOME with a different interface and some different apps (and a kernel with some different modules with it) – it’s not going to be vastly different in speed, I’d have thought. I have two laptops here running UNR and I don’t see much difference in speed switching to GNOME (or KDE4).

  4. Timdor – I tried installing Fedora to AA1 and it actually does respond faster. But how did you get the memory card integrated with LVM file system? I tried formatting the memory card as ext3 volume, but it still shows as separate from my file system. Probably some additional configuration is required?

  5. Nope, Fedora did not work for me. I got all kinds of installation errors while trying to set up LXDE, and even tried to install different versions of LXDE Remix, but there were continuous errors that I was not able to fix. I could not find help and information as easily for Fedora that I have got used to under Ubuntu. Coming back to Ubuntu Netbook Remix, there were some issues with my newly formatted memory card, and it was difficult to get Dropbox working again, too. But finally, everything appears to be back. (Promising to myself not to tweak the OS again in near future…)

  6. I have recently upgraded my AA1 into Ubuntu Netbook Remix v. 9.10, and there are some improvements that might make the change worth its while. However, I run into problems also – one thing is that while there are many useful modifications still in the old UNR community pages (e.g. https://help.ubuntu.com/community/AspireOne110L), I particularly found that using ‘noatime’ argument in fstab is a bad idea in 9.10. The filesystem will be unable to mount any more. It might be related to the fact that 9.10 uses ext4 filesystem by default.

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