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How to run Archlinux on an Acer Aspire 1522 WLMi

Note #1: this laptop model has "Aspire 1520" written on it, and it is sold with that name. But, as you might have guessed, its model name is actually Aspire 1522 WLMi.
Note #2: this is version 3.0 of this document. Archlinux uses a rolling release system, so there is no point in specifying what version this guide applies to, so I gave up on that. These informations apply to the latest packages available. There are little to no problems in running Arch on this machine nowadays, so smile :)

Does it work?

Everything i tested works properly. I did not test the modem and firewire, but if i will I will upgrade this document. There should be no problems with firewire though, just install the relative packages (search for 1394 on the packages page of the archlinux website).

Installation

Everything should be fine. After installing, you should upgrade your whole system with a pacman -Syu I will assume your Archlinux is fully updated from now on.

X, touchpad and external mice

To run X correctly you need to download the nvidia driver with a pacman -S nvidia and use it in X.org. You cannot install this driver while running X, so shut it down first, and run the command from a console. You will also need to set the correct video mode. You can use my xorg.conf (copy it in /etc/X11/). Also install the synaptics driver and utility with a pacman -S synaptics gsynaptics before running X, since it is used by my xorg.conf, and it is a real improvement in the usability of the touchpad. You will have to make sure that gsynaptics-init is executed when you run X, so add it to the list of autostarted applications e.g. in Gnome or Xfce. An issue with the touchpad is solved in the next section. External usb mice just work.

Boot

Open /boot/grub/menu.lst in your favourite editor, find the part that boots the default archlinux (i.e. not the fallback initrd), find the kernel line, which should look like this kernel /boot/vmlinuz26 root=/dev/sda5 ro Change it to this kernel /boot/vmlinuz26 root=/dev/sda5 ro vga=773 i8042.nomux=1 The vga=773 option gives you a nice screen resolution during the boot process. The i8042.nomux=1 prevents the touchpad from hanging when some application is polling acpi information about battery status.

Sound

The easiest way to get your soundcard working is to run alsaconf and answer its simple questions (use the default values). The script will set up the volume levels correctly. The module for the soundcard is snd_via82xx, which is automatically loaded.

Ethernet

The ethernet card works correctly out of the box. The system will load the right module (r8169) automagically.

Wireless

To use this card you will need ndiswrapper, so install it with the usual pacman -S ndiswrapper You are probably starting to notice how wonderful pacman is. Grab the windows drivers. Unzip the drivers in a directory, then cd into that directory and run: ndiswrapper -i 80211g/Winxp/neti2220.inf Add the following line to your /etc/rc.local to have the driver loaded at boot time: modprobe ndiswrapper The wireless card will be associated with the interface wlan0. Anyway, the internal wireless card is awful, so I am using an atheros-based card now and this information may be outdated. Take it with a grain of salt.

lspci output

Let us have a look under the hood: $ lspci
00:00.0 Host bridge: VIA Technologies, Inc. K8M800 Host Bridge
00:00.1 Host bridge: VIA Technologies, Inc. K8M800 Host Bridge
00:00.2 Host bridge: VIA Technologies, Inc. K8M800 Host Bridge
00:00.3 Host bridge: VIA Technologies, Inc. K8M800 Host Bridge
00:00.4 Host bridge: VIA Technologies, Inc. K8M800 Host Bridge
00:00.7 Host bridge: VIA Technologies, Inc. K8M800 Host Bridge
00:01.0 PCI bridge: VIA Technologies, Inc. VT8237 PCI bridge [K8T800/K8T890 South]
00:0a.0 Ethernet controller: Linksys, A Division of Cisco Systems [AirConn] INPROCOMM IPN 2220 Wireless LAN Adapter (rev 01)
00:0b.0 CardBus bridge: Texas Instruments PCI7420 CardBus Controller
00:0b.1 CardBus bridge: Texas Instruments PCI7420 CardBus Controller
00:0b.2 FireWire (IEEE 1394): Texas Instruments PCI7x20 1394a-2000 OHCI Two-Port PHY/Link-Layer Controller
00:0c.0 Ethernet controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL-8169 Gigabit Ethernet (rev 10)
00:10.0 USB Controller: VIA Technologies, Inc. VT82xxxxx UHCI USB 1.1 Controller (rev 80)
00:10.1 USB Controller: VIA Technologies, Inc. VT82xxxxx UHCI USB 1.1 Controller (rev 80)
00:10.2 USB Controller: VIA Technologies, Inc. VT82xxxxx UHCI USB 1.1 Controller (rev 80)
00:10.3 USB Controller: VIA Technologies, Inc. USB 2.0 (rev 82)
00:11.0 ISA bridge: VIA Technologies, Inc. VT8235 ISA Bridge
00:11.1 IDE interface: VIA Technologies, Inc. VT82C586A/B/VT82C686/A/B/VT823x/A/C PIPC Bus Master IDE (rev 06)
00:11.5 Multimedia audio controller: VIA Technologies, Inc. VT8233/A/8235/8237 AC97 Audio Controller (rev 50)
00:11.6 Communication controller: VIA Technologies, Inc. AC'97 Modem Controller (rev 80)
00:18.0 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] K8 [Athlon64/Opteron] HyperTransport Technology Configuration
00:18.1 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] K8 [Athlon64/Opteron] Address Map
00:18.2 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] K8 [Athlon64/Opteron] DRAM Controller
00:18.3 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] K8 [Athlon64/Opteron] Miscellaneous Control
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation NV36 [GeForce FX Go5700] (rev a1)

Final words

After this configuration your Archlinux system should be up and running. If you need more detailed explanations or just want to talk, head on to the contact page.
This page is linked at tuxmobil's acer page.
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