Acer again

At last I've bought it: a new Acer Extensa 5235... Once I said I won't buy an Acer again because it was unsupportive with GNU/Linux and too much sort of "Microsoft is the best, buy it with my computers", but it happened this one came without Microsoft Windows... Maybe (surely) not the best hardware I could get, but it is a lot more than I've got before, and cheaper than I planned at the beginning.

It came with "Linpus", that I wiped out after discovering a part of it (if not the whole system) was compiled in 2008, and that it was badly installed (in fact the computer started only selecting "start with the last working config" from grub menu), and that it wasted a lot of hd giving not too much... thus I've rejected the dual boot idea and reinstalled Ubuntu 10.10, and I am still "tuning" it (again:().

Having this powerful hardware, and a lot of room on the hd (going from 30 Gbyte shared among MS Windows and GNU/Linux to 250 Gbyte made me ask myself what I can do with all that free space...), I've installed many things I had not installed before, e.g. and notably FlightGear.

While installing software and software, I've realized I have badly partitioned the hd, and soon I'll have to change something; anyway this should not be an issue I hope.

Leaving some notes that could be useful:

  • To be able to control brightness from Ubuntu, I had to add acpi_osi="Linux" into GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT in /etc/default/grub (you have to escape the " and write indeed \"), and so in the same time I become aware of the fact that grub is changed: no more menu.lst, it's built on the run now...

  • If you install from "third parties" or, even worse, from files that are not .deb (like the Adobe Acrobat Reader which give an executable) and you are not able to edit your menus anymore, you could find interesting to know that the program for menu editing is called alacarte (from french à la carte, I suppose) and if you run it from the command line you'll be informed of what went bad; in my case, it happened that some directories and files in my ~/.config/menus folder had root as owner, instead of me... of course, a consequence of a badly written installer called with sudo; solved with sudo chown -R ME:ME .config/menus; check for symlinks before.

  • Webcam and microphone works without any effort, and wireless too...

  • ZynAddSubFx had problems and I've uninstalled it; though it is an interesting piece of software, I am now "devoted" to Csound and other tools, so I don't need it; however I think the knot that made it not work could be back when running other apps. I hope I am wrong.

  • Emacs started with a too high window (frame), I had to apply a fix in the .emacs; currently I've used a solution found in a blog, but I do not like it since it change the size after it was opened, so the user can see the change; however the solution tries to get the best size at "runtime"

  • Though this notebook was not sold with MS Windows, the keyboard has its logo on it... as usual, I've mapped it to Meta (mainly for Emacs usage); and of course the Menu key is bound to Compose

  • Euro and Dollar key near the "direction keys" do not work; xev does not "listen" to them; I will find a solution one day; but I find those keys mostly unuseful, it would be more interesting to map them to something more interesting than €$, even if their position suggests the binding can't be "critic"

I haven't copied data from the old good hd into this one yet, so I feel still al little bit "naked". Since the old laptop is out of order, I'll need to put its hd in a IDE-usb "bay" or something like that. I'll do.

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