Acer Aspire s3-391 Ubuntu configurations after fresh install.

Acer Aspire S3-951

Acer Aspire S3 is one of the first Ultra book to hit the market.

Introduction

This laptop is a 13.3” ultraportable, meant to be an alternative to a netbook with more powerful specs. It has come in two flavors. The first generation has a hybrid 20GB Solid State drive (SSD) and 320GB/500GB Hard disk drive (HDD) and is powered with an Intel core i5 processor. The second generation has a 256GB solid state drive and a faster Intel core i7 processor.

This page is for discussing using Linux on the Acer Aspire S3. Most information is available for Ubuntu and Linux Mint (There is a specific section for OpenSuse at the end of this article) but should be applicable for other distros as well.

Notes on S3 variant with Broadcom 4313 hybrid WiFi/Bluetooth radio are available in a Generic_Linux section and are not tested on Ubuntu (which can have compatibility patches in place).

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Specifications

The specifications may vary from one model to the other.

Name Acer Aspire S3
Processor Intel® Core™ i7-2637M processor (4 MB L3 cache, 1.70 GHz with Turbo Boost up to 2.80 GHz, DDR3 1333 MHz, 17 W), supporting Intel® 64 architecture, Intel® Smart Cache
Intel® Core™ i5-2467M processor (3 MB L3 cache, 1.60 GHz with Turbo Boost up to 2.30 GHz, DDR3 1333 MHz, 17 W), supporting Intel® 64 architecture, Intel® Smart Cache
Intel® Core™ i3-2367M processor (3 MB L3 cache, 1.40 GHz, DDR3 1333 MHz, 17 W), supporting Intel® 64 architecture, Intel® Smart Cache
Screen 13.3” TFT LED-Backlit HD Widescreen CineCrystal™ LCD Display (1366 x 768 (WXGA))
RAM 4GB Dual-Channel SDRAM DDR3 memory
Mass Memory First S3 model: 320GB/500GB Toshiba Serial ATA hard drive (5400 rpm) and 20GB integrated SSD (Probably MyDigitalSSD or Patriot Torqx 2)
- Second S3 model: 256GB integrated SSD (Probably MyDigitalSSD or Patriot Torqx 2)
Graphics Intel® HD Graphics 3000
Wireless Intel WiFi Link 5100 802.11 b/g/Draft-N Wireless or Broadcom BCM4313 802.11b/g/n or Atheros AR9485 Wireless Network Adapter?
Bluetooth Atheros AR3012 Bluetooth® 4.0+HS or Broadcom BCM4313 InConcert®
Sound built-in stereo speakers - Dolby Home Theater® v4 audio enhancement
Card Reader 2-in-1 Digital Media Card Reader Supports Secure Digital and Multi Media Card formats.
Battery capacity 3-cell battery 36.4 (Wh)
Connectivity HDMI® - 2xUSB

Linux Compatibility

Device Compatibility Comments
Processor Works tested
Screen Works needs brightness adjustment tested
HDD and SSD Works tested
Graphics Works tested
Sound Works (Fn) Volume controls work perfectly, headphones jack works
Wireless Works tested, but probably causes kernel panic with Intel (?), has poor signal reception with Broadcom
USB Works Tested
Card Reader Works Tested with SD Card
Camera Works Tested using Cheese and Skype
Microphone Works Tested with Skype
Fan Works Tested
Touchpad Works With kernel 3.5 works fine after adjustment kinetc scrolling in Gnome 3.4
External Monitor HDMI Works Tested with different kind of monitors
Playback HD movies 720p and 1080p Works Great, “Screen tearing” disappeard after linux kernel 3.2.9
Bluetooth Works with extra /sys tweak or kernel patch Bug with autodetection posted to git.

Acer Aspire S3 on different linux distributions

This part aims to describe the steps needed, to fully enable all features of the Acer Aspire S3 when using Ubuntu 13.04, Linux Mint 15 (both released in spring 2013) For Opensuse, see the appropriate section at the end of the article.

Please update or merge the relevant sections if appropriate.

Preface

Ubuntu and Linux Mint supports most hardware components of this notebook. Sound is fully supported. WLAN support works right away. Due to the dual core processor, Ubuntu runs with excellent performance on this ultrabook. Some things still have to be tweaked manually, for example the powersave-mode. The battery will not last for the claimed six hours. Depending on the system load, the battery life time is something around four hours.

BIOS update

The Bios (Basic Input/output System) is the operating system between the hardware and the Linux or Windows operating system. This Bios is in charge of the fan and many other low-level processor features. It is the one that loads up first, before linux or Windows.
Your Acer S3 came with the 1.15 version. It has now been upgraded to 1.18 and does noticeably make the processor cooler and lowers your laptop battery drainage. I would recomend the upgrade. Installing the incorrect Bios may harm to your system, so please be carefull.

1- First go to the Acer site : Acer Bios update site
2- Select the Aspire S3-951 model and click on the “Bios” thumbnail
3- Download the 1.18 (as of april 30, 2012) or higher version of the Bios

For those who still have a Windows partition
4- Uncompress it and then enter the Windows folder and double click on the only file you will find.
5- Wait patiently until the update comes to an end. It will automaticely reboot your computer.

You sould now notice a lower fan noise

For those who have only a linux partition
You need a usb Stick and a internet connection.
4- Uncompress the file ( We vill only use the DOS folder not the Windows one),
5- Format, if it is not already done, your usb stick using the standard fat16 format,
6- Install unetbootin and choose freedos in “select distribution”, choose usb and press “ok”,
7- after the install is finished move the “DOS” folder to your usb stick.
8- Boot your laptop on the usb stick, then choose option number 5 of boot “FreeDOS Live CD only” ,
9- go to “C:\” then to the “DOS” folder and start “flash.bat” file .
10- after update is finished comp. reboots , and remove the usb stick to avoid freedos to boot again !

Basic Installation Instructions

To install linux on your laptop, first download the Iso file of you favorite distribution (Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora, OpenSuse,…). Remember your Acer Aspire S3 requires a 64bit Linux version. Now you need to put Linux on an USB Stick (if you don't have an external DVD reader). There are two ways of doing this depending if you have already linux on your S3 or on any other computer or if you just have Windows.

If you have not yet installed Linux on your S3

Please follow the excellent guide at : future desktop

If you already have a Linux distribution installed on your S3 or on any other computer that you can put your hands on

Put a USB Stick into one of the USB ports and use imageWriter to be able to copy your linux distribution onto it. If you don't have it open a Terminal (Al+Ctrl+T) and run this command:

sudo apt install usb-imagewriter

Launch imageWriter from the menu, select your ISO image and your USB device and press “Write to device”.

Now that you have the USB stick filled with your prefered Linux distribution

When you power up your S3 with the USB stick inserted, You can ask it to boot from your USB stick by pressing F12 when the computer bios starts (The first screen that appears). A menu will then appear showing the different drives to boot from. (In alternative, press F2 during the bios boot start it will lead you to the bios setup. In the boot tab, make sure that the USB stick is at the top of the boot order. Save the changes and leave the BIOS.)

Go on with the installation procedure. The Hard disk drive will be recognized as /dev/sda and the SSD (solid state drive) is recognized as /dev/sdb by the installer. (It seems like Windows uses the SSD only for hibernation) You will get a performance boost if you customize your installation by instaling Linux on the SSD.

To install Linux in the more efficient manner, try the custom installation. You need to delete one of the primary partitions because the factory configuration of your S3 Acer uses the maximum four primary partitions available. Deleting the SSD (/dev/sdb) seems a good option. I use this partition :

  • 16GB ext4 for the root ”/” on the SSD (/dev/sdb)
  • 4GB for swap. on the SSD (/dev/sdb)
  • Half the Hard Disk Drive for Windows (/dev/sda)
  • Half the Hard Disk Drive for my documents ”/home”

Don't forget to place the Windows/ Linux system boot launcher called “Grub” on the Sda Hard Disk Drive (look at the bottom of the partition window). By default, Grub is installed on the SDD and will not boot giving you the “Grub rescue” prompt.

Initial adjustment for Brightness and trackpad

The brightness adjustment (FN+ left/right arrow) is apparently increased/decreased in two steps for one key press and has no effect on the screen brightness. The track pad does not recognize the right click.

First open a terminal window (digit Alt+Ctrl+T) and type :

sudo gedit /etc/default/grub

This will open the grub configuration file. (Grub is the initial boot selection software)
To be able to set the brightness, You've got to modify the line:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX=""

to

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="quiet splash acpi_osi=Linux acpi_backlight=vendor"

For your information,

  • “acpi_osi=Linux” indicates that you are running Linux so the hardware behaves acordingly if it has been programed to.
  • “acpi_backlight=vendor” gives the priority to the acer_acpi module over the stock acpi. The stock acpi doesn't know how to manage brightness

You can also add the folowing parameters to save battery but at your own risk :

  • “pcie_aspm=force” sets the Active-State Power Management (ASPM) to save power in the Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCI Express or PCIe) subsystem by setting a lower power state for PCIe links when the devices to which they connect are not in use. This means your USB pointer will not allways work when your computer is not on power.
  • “i915.semaphores=1” Semaphores are not enabled by default on all generation of graphics cards. Enablement of semaphores solves several stability issues on Ivy Bridge graphics cards, such as GPU hangs, and improved stability and performance on Sandy Bridge generation of graphics cards. The drawbacks are occasional stability issues on some systems with VTd enabled. Semaphores can be enabled manualy via the i915.semaphores=1 kernel parameter.
  • “elevator=noop” The Linux kernel has various ways of optimizing disk I/O. One method it uses to help speed I/O reorders requests to the disk so that when the head moves across the disk it can service those requests in an orderly, sequential manner, rather than going back and forth a lot. This is known as an “elevator,” since it’s basically what an elevator does, too. An elevator doesn’t drop people off at floor 11, then 2, then 5, then 3. Instead, it drops people off in order: 2, 3, 5, 11. Same with I/O to disks.

Save and close the file and digit in the terminal window :

sudo update-grub

This will tell grub to reconfigure with the modified configuration file. Restart your laptop and you should be able to adjust the brightness with the hotkeys, you can go so low that the screen is completely black. (Thanks Florian)

Don't forget to disable the automatic brightness dimming of the screen by going into “system settings” > “Screen”
When dimming the screen, it goes so dark you can't see it and it doesn't go back on when you hit a key.

Reduce laptop screen brightness persistently

(tip by user esteban1uy)
You can change screen brightness in the Screen settings dialog, but it won't be persistent, you must repeat it every time your boot up your laptop. This has bugged many users. There are two methods

First method : Manual method

Thanks to esteban for pointing to a relatively easy fix.

Create a start-up script to reduce brightness by typing in a terminal:

gedit ~/.lowerbrightness.sh

… and paste this into the opened empty document:

#!/bin/sh
#change brightness setting on startup or resume
pkexec /usr/lib/gnome-settings-daemon/gsd-backlight-helper --set-brightness 488

… BUT! change the the last digit to a number relevant to you. I've put ”–set-brightness 488” to get a ca. 50% brightness setting (the maximum brightness value is 976). If you want e.g. 75% screen brightness, set the number to 3/4 of your max_brightness number (only give whole numbers, no “324,5”!). You get the idea. That done, save and exit.

Go to the file manager and right-click on your newly created ”.lowerbrightness.sh” file (it may be hidden, press CTRL+H to see it in your home directory), select Properties and in the Permissions tab make the file executable with a tick in “Allow executing file as program” - this is important or it won't work. Lastly, run the following command (replace USERNAME with your user name):

gsettings set org.gnome.settings-daemon.peripherals.input-devices hotplug-command "/home/USERNAME/.lowerbrightness.sh"

And that's it, persistent brightness setting.

Second method : Using intel-gpu-tools

intel-gpu-tools can controll brigthness !

$sudo apt-get install intel-gpu-tools
$sudo intel_backlight 50 (set brightness at 50%)

if you use script from Power saving tips you simple can add :

sudo nano /etc/pm/power.d/powersave
under rmmod rts5139 line intel_backlight 50
find lines and add line intel_backlight 50(for 50% of backlight)

...
rmmod rts5139
intel_backlight 50
...

and add line intel_backlight 80(for 80% of backlight)

...
modprobe rts5139
intel_backlight 80
...

when AC pluged=80% backlight , on Battery=50% backlight

Reducing the SSD wear further increasing speed

Using the noatime option

Normally linux keeps track which file has been *read* when. If you don't nead this information the system does not do so neither — just type :

gksudo gedit /etc/fstab 

and add a noatime and a nodiratime to the lines for the file system / and /home.

Here is an example of my fstab before the modification:

# /dev/sdb1
UUID=35668c52-2bfa-4137-b2ca-75f0444ae174	/	ext4	rw,errors=remount-ro	0	1
# /dev/sdb5
UUID=ea13eea5-2e82-4a14-a9fb-f3fa4c39a145	swap	swap	sw	0	0
/dev/sda5                                      /home    ext4    nodev,nosuid 0 2 

Here is what it looks like after the modification :

# /dev/sdb1
UUID=35668c52-2bfa-4137-b2ca-75f0444ae174	/	ext4	noatime,nodiratime,rw,errors=remount-ro	0	1
# /dev/sdb5
UUID=ea13eea5-2e82-4a14-a9fb-f3fa4c39a145	swap	swap	sw	0	0
/dev/sda5                                      /home    ext4    noatime,nodiratime,nodev,nosuid 0 2 

Moving temp and log files from the SSD

SSDs are fast when you read from them. But writing is slower and repeatingly writing the same sector tends to wear out the sector that is written to. Also writing to a disk always needs some battery power if running on battery. Therefore: sudo gedit /etc/fstab and add the following lines to move all temporary and log files to the RAM instead:

none /var/log tmpfs defaults 0 2
none /var/tmp tmpfs defaults 0 2
none /tmp tmpfs defaults 0 2

Alternatively Aspire S3 that own the version with the hard-disk can move the temp directory to the hard disk if they want to. This reduces the SSD wear and gives you nearly unlimited space in the /tmp directory but needs a little more power and is slower: Don't add the none /tmp tmpfs defaults 0 2 line to /etc/fstab and type the following into a terminal:

sudo mkdir /home/.tmp
sudo chmod a+rwx /home/.tmp
sudo rm /tmp
sudo ln -s /home/.tmp tmp

ETPS/2 Elantech Touchpad

Before xf86-input-synaptics-1.5.99.902 (git tag, March 23 2012), synaptics driver wasn't able to recognize clickpad hard-clicks (pushing touchpad down physically, not to be confused with “taps” or “soft-clicks”) as different buttons (depending on a finger position on a touchpad during the click).

Starting from 1.5.99.902, there is a “SoftButtonAreas” parameter for clickpads, which defaults to “50% 0 82% 0 0 0 0 0”, meaning that pressing the right(50%)-bottom(18%) corner will result in “Right Click” emulation (as provided with simplier “mouse” protocols).

So multi-touch starts working with kernel 3.2 (Ubuntu 12.04 “Precise Pangolin” or Linux Mint 13 “Maya”), and the ability to physically right click with the mouse with Ubuntu 13.04 or Linux Mint 15 “Olivia”. Dragging while the physical left button is down is difficult. The various tapping combinations can be used instead, e.g.

* 2-finger tap instead of right-click
* double-tap and hold + drag for dragging.

From Ubuntu 13.04 or Linux Mint 15 “Olivia” be aware that the trackpad can be shaky. In that case go to the mouse and trackpad options and select disable trackpad and the trackpad gets more stable !

Read the contents below only if you use a version of Ubuntu before 13.04 or Linux Mint 15 “Olivia”

Note for Linux Mint users before Linux Mint 15 “Olivia”: for the tapping to work you need to type

sudo gedit /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-synaptics.conf

and just after this section :

Section “InputClass”
Identifier “touchpad catchall”
Driver “synaptics”
MatchIsTouchpad “on”

Just add :

        Option "TapButton1" "1"
        Option "TapButton2" "2"
        Option "TapButton3" "3"
        Option "VertEdgeScroll" "on"
        Option "VertTwoFingerScroll" "on"
        Option "HorizEdgeScroll" "on"
        Option "HorizTwoFingerScroll" "on"
        Option "CircularScrolling" "on"
        Option "CircScrollTrigger" "2"
        Option "EmulateTwoFingerMinZ" "40"
        Option "EmulateTwoFingerMinW" "8"
EndSection

This will give the 2 finger tap the right button emulation

If you prefer to get back right click button and to be able to drag and drop as usual at the price of loosing all two or three finger tapping (two finger scrolling for example) :

Open up a terminal window and run the following commands:

sudo modprobe -r psmouse
sudo modprobe psmouse proto=imps

After that, you’ll notice your touchpad is working as as a simple mouse.
Now, if you want to make the changes permanent :

sudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/options

and add this line into it, in order to make the changes permanent:

options psmouse proto=imps 

(Thanks to rmordor)

Save and close the file and upgrade in the terminal window :

sudo update-grub

Be aware that this is not recomended. For the xf86-input-synaptics driver to work as described earlier, it must be recognized as a touchpad (not a mouse) by kernel, thus needs CONFIG_MOUSE_PS2_ELANTECH enabled in-kernel and *not* have proto=bare, proto=imps or other protocol restrictions passed to a kernel module. xf86-input-synaptics provides much better configurability and capabilities (even with default settings) than generic evdev driver.

=Synclient=
If you like to fine tune things, with the 3.2 kernel, you can use synclient to setup the sensitivity you want and many other things.

Here is an example script from Aurélien Jacobs (which you can add e.g. to /etc/rc.local):
(This has not been tested yet on the Aspire S3 please test it and delete this line)

# higher sensitivity
synclient FingerLow=9 FingerHigh=12

# faster movements
synclient MinSpeed=2.0 MaxSpeed=3.5 AccelFactor=0.1

# 2 fingers scroll
synclient VertTwoFingerScroll=1 HorizTwoFingerScroll=1

# faster coasting
synclient CoastingSpeed=10 CoastingFriction=25

# enable tap to click (2 fingers for middle click, 3 fingers for right click)
synclient TapButton1=1 TapButton2=3 TapButton3=2

# faster tap and double tap
synclient FastTaps=1 MaxDoubleTapTime=100

# continue dragging movement when reaching the edge of the touchpad
synclient EdgeMotionMinZ=30 EdgeMotionMaxZ=40 EdgeMotionMinSpeed=100 EdgeMotionMaxSpeed=400
Only the first line is required to increase sensitivity. Other lines make the touchpad much more useful, but may not fit your needs. It is highly recommend to spend some time playing with synclient to find a setup that you really like (see 'man synaptics').

WiFi

There are two types of WiFi cards the Acer Aspire S3 comes with :
* AR9485 Wireless Network Adapter
* Broadcom 4313 WiFi

To get to know which one of those you have in your laptop just open a terminal with <Ctrl> + <Alt> + “T” and type:

lspci

This command will describe the list of the peripherals your laptop has. The last line or so is your WiFi network adapter. If it is the “AR9485 Wireless Network Adapter” then you are fortunate because it has a good Linux support. If not, skip this section. At the end of this page you will find a section dedicated to the “Broadcom 4313 WiFi”

If you are connected on wireless and its slow or your Aspire S3 experiences problems in connecting with encrypted signals:
Open a terminal window with <Ctrl> + <Alt> + “T” and type:

$sudo -s
#echo "options ath9k nohwcrypt=1" > /etc/modprobe.d/ath9k.conf

and restart your laptop. Your problem should be gone.

If you prefer to test it in live mode without yet making the change permanent:

$sudo -s
#ifconfig wlan0 down 
#rmmod -f ath9k
#modprobe ath9k nohwcrypt=1

if your WiFi connection is not up and working then type:

#ifconfig wlan0 up

Thanks to vultur

One person has reported problems with the wireless chip, after some time wireless connections just disconnected. So, if you experience such problems you can fix it by compiling the Compat wireless drivers for the 3.0 kernel. Heres how :

First download the “build-essential”, “automake”, package in the Ubuntu Software center.

Download the file following this link:
http://www.orbit-lab.org/kernel/compat-wireless-3.0-stable/v3.0/compat-wireless-3.0-2.tar.bz2
Uncompress it using archive manager or another solution.

Compile and run it.

Thanks to Geezee

HDMI

It worrks but don't forget to tell change the screen options to tell the computer to use the projector. It recognises it but does'nt automaticaly shift to it. I recommend usind both screens. This way, when you plug your projector in it automaticaly works without you needing to make it work…

Bluetooth

The bluetooth module is the new Atheros AR3012, which requires loading a firmware before it can be used. For now, patching the kernel is required to recognize this module as AR3012 one.

The patch, and it's upstream progress, can be seen here: http://thread.gmane.org/gmane.linux.bluez.kernel/18801

New atheros AR3012`s id is not included in ath3k bluetooth kernel module, you can compile your own kernel using this:

https://lkml.org/lkml/2011/12/4/69

More info: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1867447&highlight=zenbook

Bluetooth is always enabled upon startup, using up power (that is precious when running on battery) and not always unused. You can turn off Bluetooth using Bluetooth panel applet but you often forget to do so and it's not convenient.

However, there is a very easy way to disable it at startup :

Press <Alt> + <Ctrl> + T to open a terminal window and type:

gksu gedit /etc/rc.local

Add the following line before the “exit 0” line:

rfkill block bluetooth

Reboot your Ubuntu computer and Bluetooth is automatically disabled on start-up.
You can still turn on Bluetooth using the Bluetooth panel applet as usual (on the top left part of the screen by clicking on the Bluetooth logo).

Sound

Works perfectly out of the box, both internal and through HDMI.

When you plug-in a headset microphone to the jack on the left side of the S3, the system does switch the output to the earplugs but doesn't switch the input microphone from the built in one to the headset microphone. Does someone have any idea ?

Sensors (temps & fans)

Works by default however to (optionally) read the sensor data requires the package lm-sensors which is installed by:

sudo aptitude install lm-sensors
sudo tee -a /etc/modules <<-EOF
        coretemp
EOF

Power saving tips

You can install Jupiter from the software center. It gives you a ligtning icon in the notificationn area where you can select between three performance modes : “Maximum performance”, “Power on demand” and “Power saving”, thus saving battery life. The “Poxer saving” mode gives me a theoretical 4 hours life with WiFi enabled.

Thanks to Alex that did some tweaking, which brought down the power consumption from 12.5 Watts to about 9.2 Watts (with the screen at about 45% brightness), which gives a battery life of 3.5 - 4 hours.
The main tricks are :
- If you use Ubuntu “Oneiric Ocelot” set Unity in 2D mode (you can choose this in the log in screen, try to log out and when you log in back again you will see a small wheel next to the log in field, just click on it and select Unity 2D), compiz wakes up the CPU far to often. This is a known bug in 11.10.
- disable the SD card reader when on battery power, the rts5139 module polls more than 50 times per second which alone uses about 1 W of power.
With just those two modifications the power use goes down to about 10.2 - 10.5 W. With a bunch of other tweaks suggested by powertop you can save another 1 W. I put it all together in the following script. You just need to save the following script in /etc/pm/power.d

sudo gedit /etc/pm/power.d/powersave

Then copy the following code and paste it in the new file created:

#!/bin/sh
case $1 in
  true)
      # go into powersave mode
      # NMI watchdog
      echo 0 > /proc/sys/kernel/watchdog
      # SD card reader
      # TODO test if sdcard mounted
      rmmod rts5139
      #VM writeback timeout
      echo 1500 > /proc/sys/vm/dirty_writeback_centisecs
      # SATA link power management
      for i in 0 1 2 3 4 5 ; do
              echo min_power>/sys/class/scsi_host/host${i}/link_power_management_policy
      done
      # Runtime PM for PCI Device
      for i in /sys/bus/pci/devices/*/power/control ; do
              echo auto > ${i}
      done
      # Runtime PM for USB Device
      for i in /sys/bus/usb/devices/*/power/control ; do
              echo auto > ${i}
      done
      # CPU freq scaling
      for i in /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu?/cpufreq/scaling_governor ; do
              echo powersave > ${i}
      done
  ;;
  false)
      # go into AC mode
      echo 1 > /proc/sys/kernel/watchdog
      modprobe rts5139
      echo 60000 > /proc/sys/vm/dirty_writeback_centisecs
      for i in 0 1 2 3 4 5 ; do
              echo max_performance>/sys/class/scsi_host/host${i}/link_power_management_policy
      done
      for i in /sys/bus/pci/devices/*/power/control ; do
              echo on > ${i}
      done
      for i in /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu?/cpufreq/scaling_governor ; do
              echo ondemand > ${i}
      done
  ;;
esac
exit 0

Then run:

sudo chmod +x /etc/pm/power.d/powersave

Reboot and you should see the difference.
Note that this bluntly does an rmmod of the SDcard module, which will probably fail when an SD card is mounted. Alex is planning on making a simple tcl/tk tool to switch the SD reader on and off.

If you want to know more about your power savings, it is a good idea to first get a base line for what your current power consumption is. Go to the Ubuntu Software center and search for “powertop”. install it and open a terminal <Alt> + <Ctrl> + T and type :

sudo powertop

You must be running on battery power for powertop to get the machine's current watt usage.

If you use a remote pointer to access your S3 for presentations

When the screensaver goes into action and you wake up your computer back, it mixes your remote pointer with your track-pad, and you are not able anymore to access your computer using your track-pad. All your left with is turning off your computer and turn it back up again. Solution : You can disable the screensaver by using “Screensaver Inhibit 1.2” for Linux Mint. Here's the link : http://cinnamon-spices.linuxmint.com/applets/view/59

Battery

If you wifh to replace your acer Aspire S3 Battery please look for Compatible Part No:

Acer 3ICP5/67/90
Acer AP11D3F

Summary

All components known to work under Linux… Works with some fixes

Please update this page, if you have figured out anything, that is not mentioned here!

Post installation tune-up

* Google Chromium navigator. You can find in the “Ubuntu Software center” : Go to the left of the screen with the mouse and click on the filled paper bag icon. It can also be downloaded at http://www.google.com/chrome check for the 64 bit .deb (For Debian/Ubuntu). Download it and open the self installer.

These are other common install you can get directly from the Ubuntu Software center:
* Microsoft fonts To install Microsoft fonts like (Arial, Times New Roman). Search for “ttf-mscorefonts-installer” in the Ubuntu Software center To install Wingdings and other fonts, download the font file (wingding.ttf) here: http://cid-a69c4d1ba0c53559.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/WinExperience/Fontes/WINGDING.TTF . Copy the font file to ~/.fonts and refresh the font cache by typing in a terminal

 sudo fc-cache -fv 

* WiFi Radar (Tool to scan neighboring WiFi signal), Wavemon to measure the intensity of wifi signal so to adjust the position of your laptop in increase reception (don't forget this is a terminal application, you have to add a launcher for it) EtherApe (Graphical Network monitor that shows you who you computer is talking with), Umit Network scanner, Zenmap to check what ports are open in your network, Wireshark to see what is going on on your network, GNUCash a very usefull accounting software, GLabels to stamp labels, Inkscape A fine vectorial drawing application, HPLIP-GUI to manage HP printers, Gparted Gnome partition editor, Audacity Fast audio editor, Avidemux A simple video editor, Dropbox A cloud file system, Gnome Gmail A very fast access to Gmail email and sets Gmail as the preferred email application in Gnome, Rhythmbox The old simple yet sturdy audio player, Nixnote Keep in touch with your Evernotes from Linux,
* Sync-ui is a sync application to synchronise all your agenda and contacts with an external server (needs medibuntu) Search for sync-ui in the Ubuntu Software center and Sync will appear. Install it and run it. It will first ask fo a slow sync
* Software-Center The Ubuntu Software center is very handy if you ar running linux mint

Automatic logon unlock

After the netbook has been in powersave mode, you will allways be asked to logon. If you don't want this:

1. Go to the system menu (Click on the top right icon of your screen) then select “System settings…”. In the new system settings window click the Screen icon. Put the lock on “Off”.

2. Open a terminal window and type :

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.lockdown disable-lock-screen 'true'

In alternative you can open gconf-editor and go to desktop/gnome/lockdown and check:
“disable_lock_screen”. Credits to itslofty below for this tip!

Known Bugs

Core i5 version (at least) seem to have a problem with AES-NI instructions, resulting in kernel panics when using AES with dm-crypt (disk encryption) or eCryptFS, WiFi drivers (WPA uses AES), etc, and segfaults for userspace apps using AES-NI (libgcrypt, for example).

It can be disabled (with the various degrees of “ease”, depending on the distro), see Generic_Linux section for details.

First generation with HDD seams to be hit by lp bug #361680

It manifests itself by clicking hdd noise, video freezes and even disappearing of hdd when trying to read/write, running on battery. This is easy fixable by installing this package:

sudo apt-get install laptop-mode-tools

This further greatly extends battery life. Tested on Ubuntu 12.04

Generic Linux

Issues with AES-NI instruction set

Crashes of various scale can be experienced with systems where these are enabled in kernel Crypto API or in some userspace packages.

In some userspace apps, like libgcrypt (libgcrypt-1.5.0, at least), issue manifests as segmentation fault errors (which propagate to apps using the lib, like GnuPG), which can be reliably reproduced and tracked to aes_ni functions with gdb.

Kernel stack traces, on kernel panics (which can be repr

Kernel Upgrade (only if you didn't yet upgrade to Ubuntu 12.04 or Mint 13)

To make Ubuntu work seamlessly we advise you to upgrade to the new 3.2 kernel (that is available by default in the 12.04 “Precise Pengolin” version of Ubuntu). This resolves the following problems:

- System freeze after half an hour or so if the computer is in idle and no sleep configuration has been set up.
- Fan operating to fast and leaking battery
- The touch pad is not recognized

Here is how to install the new version of linux kernel:

If you want to upgrade to the newest kernel, which improves power use, wlan and a number of other issues which are solved from time to time, do the following:

1. Download the kernel
Browse to http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v3.2.1-precise/ to find the kernel version 3.2.1 and works also on Oneiric (If you want to keep on the safe side don't download newer kernels as kernel panic has been reported from different users), and from that folder download. In alternative, you can use the kernel compiled by Geezee on the 25 of March, 2012 which includes the bluetooth patch. It's built from the 3.2.13 sources and so far everything works. Feel free to download the the kernel image and headers:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/15891187/linux-headers-3.2.13_1_amd64.deb
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/15891187/linux-image-3.2.13_1_amd64.deb

Note. You cannot build any code (e.g. kernel modules) against above kernel headers. Missing asm/types.h

Installation:

sudo dpkg -i linux-image-3.2.13_1_amd64.deb linux-headers-3.2.13_1_amd64.deb

2. Install the kernel by double clicking on the downloaded file or have it the manual way :
Open a terminal <Alt> + <Ctrl> + T and change to the directory where you downloaded these files, and run

<code>
sudo dpkg -i linux-*.deb

if it doesn't work for you, you can always boot into your old kernel and remove this one with:

sudo dpkg –purge linux-*

(if you have older linux-*.deb files laying around in that folder, you should specify the new files explicitly instead of using wildcards). Reboot to run the new kernel. You can verify the kernel version from the grub menu selection, or by running

uname -a

3. After this restart your laptop. You can check that the temperature is going down eventually and the battery time going up, as well you can setup the touchpad under “system settings” > “mouse” and enable two fingers scrolling. (Thanks Timex)
oduced reliably by using dm-crypt or wireless drivers), featuring calls with aes_ni in the names or cryptsetup not recognizing the (correctly-typed) password can also be a symptoms of the issue.

General workaround is disabling usage of the instruction set in apps, where it's usage is enabled or compiled-in (libgcrypt does that by default) and blacklisting/removing “aesni-intel” kernel module (fedora suggests doing that in initrd) or disabling CONFIG_CRYPTO_AES_NI_INTEL option in kernel config.

Broadcom 4313 WiFi

Works with either brcmsmac (Broadcom SoftMAC) module or proprietary binary Broadcom Linux STA driver.

Linux support (as of linux-3.3) can be qualified as “poor” due to existing issues with both binary and open-source drivers.

brcmsmac

As of linux-3.3, provides much worse signal reception than proprietary (“Linux STA”) driver.

Needs brcm/brcm43xx*.fw firmware.

Lossy medium issues, caused by poor reception, can be made much more bearable (increasing auto-tuned-down rate 20x) with some manual tweaks of transmission options. In author's case:

iw phy phy0 set rts 250
iw phy phy0 set txpower fixed 1900
iw dev wlan0 set txpower fixed 1900
iw dev wlan0 set power_save off
iw dev wlan0 set bitrates legacy-2.4 18 24

See description of changed parameters in “iw” output (or iwconfig(1), although it's superseded by iw(1) tool in general functionality and support).

By default, driver tunes bitrate down to very low bitrates due to constant transmission issues, which might be preferrable if packet loss is very undesirable, otherwise it hurts performance for regular TCP connections much more (from ~2 MiB/s to ~100 KiB/s) than benefits.

Bitrates higher than 24 Mbit/s (last line) might be sustainable in a less noisy environments.

Linux STA driver

Has very similar capabilities to Windows driver (which can be used with ndiswrapper).
Provides much better signal reception than mainline brcmsmac module.

As of “hybrid-portsrc_x86_32-v5_100_82_112” version, requires CONFIG_WIRELESS_EXT symbol exported to be built (which can be done by enabling, HOSTAP module, for example) and the following patch for linux-3.2 or 3.3:

--- a/src/wl/sys/wl_linux.c
+++ b/src/wl/sys/wl_linux.c
@@ -385,7 +385,7 @@ static const struct net_device_ops wl_netdev_ops =
 #endif
        .ndo_get_stats = wl_get_stats,
        .ndo_set_mac_address = wl_set_mac_address,
-       .ndo_set_multicast_list = wl_set_multicast_list,
+       .ndo_set_rx_mode = wl_set_multicast_list,
        .ndo_do_ioctl = wl_ioctl
 };
 

Module is called “wl”. By default, creates an ethX interface, but can be forced to use more conventional name with “name=wlan0” module parameter. Has a few other parameters to tweak it's behavior, see “modinfo wl” for details.

Packaged in main repositories for Fedora and Debian/Ubuntu.

Broadcom 4313 Bluetooth

Works fine, but vendor/product id combo is not auto-recognized by btusb module (as of linux-3.3).

Appears as following line in lsusb output:

Bus 001 Device 004: ID 0489:e047 Foxconn / Hon Hai

If not present, should be enabled with radio rfkill button (Fn+F3), if enabled in kernel, and/or “rfkill” utility.

After that btusb module can be loaded manually (if not) and told to work with the device ids:

modprobe btusb
echo "0489 e047" >> /sys/bus/usb/drivers/btusb/new_id

Note that according to this thread, windows driver uses some kind of RAM patch for this device, but it seem to work without it (at least for input device profiles) for the author.

Since Atheros AR3012 radio in different configuraton of this device also seem to use btusb driver, maybe it can also be used with the aforementioned /sys echo instead of kernel patch. If you can test it out, please update this section.

Kernel Upgrade (only if you didn't yet upgrade to Ubuntu 12.04 or Mint 13)

To make Ubuntu work seamlessly we advise you to upgrade to the new 3.2 kernel (that is available by default in the 12.04 “Precise Pengolin” version of Ubuntu). This resolves the following problems:

- System freeze after half an hour or so if the computer is in idle and no sleep configuration has been set up.
- Fan operating to fast and leaking battery
- The touch pad is not recognized

Here is how to install the new version of linux kernel:

If you want to upgrade to the newest kernel, which improves power use, wlan and a number of other issues which are solved from time to time, do the following:

1. Download the kernel
Browse to http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v3.2.1-precise/ to find the kernel version 3.2.1 and works also on Oneiric (If you want to keep on the safe side don't download newer kernels as kernel panic has been reported from different users), and from that folder download. In alternative, you can use the kernel compiled by Geezee on the 25 of March, 2012 which includes the bluetooth patch. It's built from the 3.2.13 sources and so far everything works. Feel free to download the the kernel image and headers:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/15891187/linux-headers-3.2.13_1_amd64.deb
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/15891187/linux-image-3.2.13_1_amd64.deb

Note. You cannot build any code (e.g. kernel modules) against above kernel headers. Missing asm/types.h

Installation:

sudo dpkg -i linux-image-3.2.13_1_amd64.deb linux-headers-3.2.13_1_amd64.deb

2. Install the kernel by double clicking on the downloaded file or have it the manual way :
Open a terminal <Alt> + <Ctrl> + T and change to the directory where you downloaded these files, and run

<code>
sudo dpkg -i linux-*.deb

if it doesn't work for you, you can always boot into your old kernel and remove this one with:

sudo dpkg –purge linux-*

(if you have older linux-*.deb files laying around in that folder, you should specify the new files explicitly instead of using wildcards). Reboot to run the new kernel. You can verify the kernel version from the grub menu selection, or by running

uname -a

3. After this restart your laptop. You can check that the temperature is going down eventually and the battery time going up, as well you can setup the touchpad under “system settings” > “mouse” and enable two fingers scrolling. (Thanks Timex)

Annex A : Acer Aspire S3 with openSUSE 12.1

The S3 works perfectly with openSUSE 12.1 with just a little tweaking. Here's a complete guide. Credit goes to all other authors of this page, as I wouldn't have gotten my system to work so nicely without the precious hints I found here…

Creating a USB installation medium and booting it

Just download an .iso from opensuse.org (I recommend the full installation DVD) and follow the instructions here to create a bootable USB device from it: http://en.opensuse.org/SDB:Live_USB_stick
Plug in the medium, boot the Acer, hit F2 to enter Setup, and in the Boot Menu, move USB HDD to the top. Exit and save. Now the installation medium starts.

Disk setup for dual boot with Win

I strongly recommend installing openSUSE on the 20GB SSD for performance. Also, I would put /swap there. /tmp and /home can go on the HDD. So the plan is to wipe the SSD, and shrink the Win partition “ACER” on the HDD. I also got rid of the “ACER RECOVERY” partition. However, you need to keep the “SYSTEM RESERVED” 100MB partition, otherwise Win won't boot.

For some reason, during the installation process, if you choose to install to SSD, you cannot resize partitions on the HDD. So, I just chose to install to HDD, doing the partitioning on HDD, and then installed again to SSD using the HDD partitions created earlier. Installation from USB is so quick that this approach was okay for me.

So, I deleted “ACER RECOVERY” and created a 15GB ext4 partition for /tmp in its place, shrank the ACER partition to 50GB, and used the remaining 230GB or so for an ext4 partition for /home. The SSD got wiped, then I added a 2GB partition for /swap, the rest for /.

Important: Auto-setup for GRUB makes the Win boot entry point to the ACER partition. This doesn't work, you need to manually point the Win entry to the 100MB SYSTEM RESERVED partition.

Touchpad

Multitouch worked out of the box. However, right-clicks don't get picked up. You can configure the touchpad in KDE, and I made two-finger taps my right-click, and three-finger taps my middle click. Sweet!

Wireless

There are two minor issues here. First, “Use wireless” in the network manager plasmoid is always unchecked after reboot. Solution: add a line

blacklist acer-wmi

to the end of /etc/modprobe.d/50-blacklist.conf

Second, the network manager plasmoid never saved my WPA key. Solution (kind of weird): Create a new user, login, create the wireless connection there, mark it as “system connection”, and save the password. Now the password stays saved for all other users…

Bluetooth

First, the firmware is part of the package kernel-firmware, which you'll need to install (e.g. with YaST). Then, the driver needs to be patched as described above. In a nutshell:

1) Install package kernel-source (e.g. with YaST).
2) Edit /usr/src/linux/drivers/bluetooth/ath3k.c. After the line starting with

static struct usb_device_id ath3k_table

there are a few lines of the form

/* Atheros AR5BBU12 with sflash firmware */
{ USB_DEVICE(x0489, 0xE02C) },

Add a line

{ USB_DEVICE(0x04ca, 0x3004) },

Same thing again after the line starting with

static struct usb_device_id ath3k_blist

add a line

{ USB_DEVICE(0x04ca, 0x3004), .driver_info = BTUSB_ATH3012 },

3) Edit /usr/src/linux/drivers/bluetooth/btusb.c. After the line starting with

static struct usb_device_id blacklist_ta

add a line

{ USB_DEVICE(0x04ca, 0x3004), .driver_info = BTUSB_ATH3012 },

4) Now compile and update the kernel (takes a little time):

cd /usr/src/linux/
make O=/lib/modules/$(uname -r)/build oldconfig
make O=/lib/modules/$(uname -r)/build M=$(pwd)/drivers/bluetooth modules
make O=/lib/modules/$(uname -r)/build M=$(pwd)/drivers/bluetooth modules_install
depmod -a

5) Reboot.

Brightness Control, Fan Speed, etc.

For the brightness function keys to work, I basically followed the advice above. Go to YaST → System → Boot Loader, and hit “Edit” for your main openSUSE boot lader entry. There, in “Optional Kernel Command Line Parameter”, append

pcie_aspm=force i915.i915_enable_rc6=1 acpi_osi=Linux acpi_backlight=vendor

Fan control works perfectly out of the box under openSUSE 12.1, no need to change anything.

Finally, I also installed laptop-mode-tools as suggested above.

That's it, please enjoy & comment!

Annex B : For old kernels < 3.2

CPU fan speed control

To control your cpu's fan speed you need to change values in S3's embedded controllers' (EC) registers using acer_ec.pl

93 is the fan state (auto/manual), 94 is the input for fan speed, 95 is the read only output for current fan speed.

Remember, using fan other than in AUTO mode WILL PROBABLY VOID YOUR WARRANTY!! So be damn sure what you are doing!

# Set S3 fan to AUTO
sudo perl acer_ec.pl := 0x93 0x04

# Set S3 fan to MANUAL
sudo perl acer_ec.pl := 0x93 0x14

# When manual, set the speed in value 0x00-0xFF (0xFF min vs. 0x00 max)
sudo perl acer_ec.pl := 0x94 0x00

There is also a modified version of acerfand for your S3 ultrabook: https://sourceforge.net/projects/acers3fand/


Backlight shortcut:

one more way we have to do this is with another new program named as xbacklight , open your terminal and type this

sudo apt-get install xbacklight 

then type this xbacklight -set 50

there 50 stands for brightness range we can get it upto 100 from 0 .

you can also increase and decrease the brightness from present value to specified level.as you mentioned if you want to increase to 10% from current value of brightness then you can give this

xbacklight -inc 10 

and to decrease 10% you can give this

xbacklight -dec 10  


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Saturday, April 26, 2014,10:47 PM | Category: Linux
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