Saturday, November 5, 2016

Running Ubuntu 16.04 LTS on Acer Aspire ES1-111M

Lovely laptop, but there are things that don't work out of the box. Linux is fun!

I tried several installation methods and the one that worked the best was UEFI install, connected to the wifi, accepting 3rd party (which does something with Secure Boot) and using LVM. To access all UEFI options you must set an administrator password, which is good policy anyways.

Important notes

  • F2 gets you into BIOS mode - press it repeatedly after you see the Acer sign. Since I had the Ubuntu image in a usb drive (made in Windows with Rufus) I needed to set it to boot before my hard drive, or enable the F12 option to get a boot menu
  • If you install in UEFI mode, all power options and acer hotkeys work out of the box - did not happen for me when disabling secure boot for a Legacy install. This is why I preferred it
  • If after installing  in UEFI mode you do not have a boot device, you probably didn't check the "Disable Secure Boot" option in the Ubuntu installer. This is fine - you can leave Secure Boot Enabled, but in the BIOS trusted UEFI boot, you have to add the shimx64.efi. This link is a good walkthrough. If you made a mistake, choose the option to delete all, reboot and then add it
  • Trackpad works ok in both Advanced and Basic modes, but you had to choose 3rd party installers in the setup while connected to the internet, and once you log in, press Fn+F7 to enable the mouse (why it's disabled by default is beyond me)
  • Two finger scrolling works, but so far, two finger right click doesn't - I really have to right click. It's weird and I'll have to check out why.
  • Wireless, bluetooth, volume, screen brightness, sleep - all work

I've seen google results for the Synaptics trackpad state that the I2C tools have to be installed, or blacklisted, or add this to grub... I didn't have to do any of that (and don't see any of those entries in the corresponding files in this working setup) and both setting it to Basic and Advanced work the same on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. I even like how the mouse responds better in Ubuntu than it did in Windows!

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