Slackware Linux on Acer Aspire 5749-6850Posted by: Andrew Smith
Poster contact info: asmith16 at littlesvr.ca
Author: same as 'Posted by'
Software: Slackware 13.37
Acer Aspire 5749-6850
Intel Core i3-2330M @2.2GHz
15.6" HD LED LCD
Intel HD Graphics 3000
DVD-Super Multi DL
Acer Nplify 802.11b/g/n
I wasn't sure about this laptop, I was shopping for something that's cheap but decent and linux would work on it without too much trouble. I am very happy with this model, everything worked without too much hassle!
- Suspend (including on lid close)
- Fn shortcuts
- VGA output
- HDMI out
Backup and Partitioning
I chose to keep the Windows 7 that came with the machine. Because it's an English/French machine and the language can be selected only once during initial setup I had to do a backup before doing the initial setup. I used systemrescuecd for that: mounted my nfs share, and saved the 3 partitions that came on the harddrive onto there, gzip compressed. This took two and a half hours to finish on a 100MBps network and I ended up with 26GB of backups.
Then after running the initial windows setup I also used the Acer eRecovery Management tool to make recovery disks. I've done this because I don't trust partimage, it has failed me in the past. That burned the backup on 4 DVDs: I just used rewriteables and put the ISOs (18GB total) in the same place as the partimage images.
Then I needed to shrink the third partition from 595GB to something more reasonable. I figured 100GB is more than enough for windows, so I tried using disk management to do it but that could shrink it to no less than 350GB. I ran a defrag on the disk but that didn't make a huge difference. So I figured 290GB for Slackware should be enough and I'll worry about it later if it turns out not to be the case.
The Slackware dvd booted without trouble. I used cfdisk to create a 20GB root partition (sda5), an 8GB swap partition (sda6) and a 276GB home partition (sda7). I formatted them as ext4. Then I did a full Slackware install.
I installed Lilo in the root partition sda5 so it will work when I later install GAG to select between Windows and Linux. Later I tried to set up the LILO resolution to 1366x768 but it looks like that's not supported on Slackware. I didn't dig deeper.
X worked out of the box so right away I changed the default runevel in /etc/inittab to 4. Driver used is i915 - it works pretty well through not quite well enough to enable compositing.
Worked out of the box.
External VGA Monitor
FnF5 worked out of the box.
The touchpad didn't seem to work at first and then I noticed it started working. I didn't do anything to enable it as far as I know.
The sound card and mixer worked out of the box except it wouldn't play through the headphone jack. If I plugged in headphones the speakers would turn off but I wouldn't hear anything in the headphones.
Turns out there are two audio devices: HDA Intel PCH (Alsa Mixer) and Intel CougarPoint HDMI (OSS Mixer). For some reason if I select the HDMI mixer the headphone jack works too.
Both the built-in microphone and external mic plug work out of the box. You can use alsamixer (in the F4 tab) to set the gain.
Works out of the box.
k3b worked out of the box.
Suspend to RAM (Sleep)
Out of the box works if I run `echo mem > /sys/power/state` but the FnF4 shortcut doesn't do anything and using the suspend button in xfce gave the the error "Suspend or hibernate are only supported through HAL, which is not available". The error I fixed by adding myself to the power group. The Fn+F4 shortcut can be made to work, see down below.
Suspend to Disk (Hibernate)
This was pretty easy to fix, since I already had an 8GB swap partition I just had to edit /etc/lilo.conf and add this line to my kernel:
image = /boot/vmlinuz
append = "resume=/dev/sda6"
root = /dev/sda1
label = Slackware
read-only # Partitions should be mounted read-only for checking
After that hibernation worked just like it should.
To get the laptop to go to sleep when you close the lid you need to create a script. I put mine in (/home/andrew/programs/suspend.sh) with a single line in it:
echo mem > /sys/power/state
Then associate the lid event with that script by creating the file /etc/acpi/events/lid with the following two lines:
Obviously if you don't want the laptop to suspend when you close the lid you can do anything else instead the "echo mem".
Just go to the Xfce keyboard settings (or whatever your desktop equivalent is) and map the Fn shortcuts to commands.
You can map FnF4 to the same suspend.sh you used above, just don't forget to put sudo in front of it (or write a different script).
For the mute key you can find an aumix mute script on the internet.
The volume up/down keys you can map to "aumix -v+5" "and aumix -v-5".
FnF5 and FnF6 don't generate key events, but they work out of the box so it doesn't matter.
Just for the record, I did run xev from a terminal and see which keycodes are associated with which keys. For this laptop FnF4 is 150, FnF8 is 128, FnEnd (FastForward) is 171, FnPgDn (Rewind) is 173, FnHome (Play) is 172, FnPgUp is 174, FnDown (Volume Down) is 122, FnUp (Volume Up) is 123, FnLeft (Lower Brightnes) is 113 and FnRight (Increase Brightness) is 114.
The card is an Atheros AR9485 (168c:0032).
I thought this wasn't working so I downloaded and installed a new kernel, but then (bother) realised that I didn't do ifconfig wlan0 up and didn't set wicd to use wlan0 as the wireless interface. So I suspect I didn't need to do anything more than install wicd and set wlan0 in the prefs :)