Kubuntu 11.10 on a Asus EeePC 1215B

I wanted to have a Netbook – means a light device with 10″ to 12″ size screen, no optical drive, but hell a lot of battery power instead. Using my current Netbook usual screen resolution of 1024×600 turned out to be an issue on some web sites. Some flash based applications and even some desktop application give you a hard time with 600 px height. So the new AMD® Fusion E450 platform you get a more powerful CPU and a screen resolution of 1366×768 let us see if this is enough. This machine comes with a 6 cell battery pack, I would love to have more power. Let’s see if this has enough reserves for traveling. Read the details:

Disclaimer

This page is nothing more than my personal experiences with my notebook. This is nothing official from any vendor! I am not responsible for anything you do with your hard- and software. For any support contact the respective vendors! Please respect the legal notice.

Who should read the following description? The machine runs mostly “out-of-the-box”. All the rest is due to you. Be willing to learn, follow instructions form Ubuntu geeks, accept to fail and start again. At least you should know:
  1. How to operate apt or Adept Manager
  2. Read Readme-Files and HowTos
  3. Read Error-Messages and use search machines to find a solution

A good resource for hints, tips and questions is http://ubuntuforums.org/

Preparations

This Netbook comes with a core Linux based “cloud” operating system called Express Gate. So especially for warranty reasons it is wise to make a backup of the hard-disk first.

Let’s go: Boot the laptop from Kubuntu Live Flash Drive. You have to plug in the USB-Flash-Drive to a non USB 3.0 port, start the machine, and press <Esc>-Key during start-up. A boot device menu screen shows up, use the flash drive (not the EFI flash drive) option.

After Kubuntu is running  attach an external USB-hard-disk, open a shell e.g. by pressing <Alt>+<F2> enter “konsole” and now you can use the dd-command for low-level backup. Just as example:

sudo dd if=/dev/sda | gzip --fast -c | split -d -b 900m  - /media/disk/asus_1215B/sda_image.gz.

restore (hopefully) with somewhat like:

sudo cat /media/disk/asus_1215B/sda_image.gz.* | gunzip -c | sudo dd of=/dev/sda

Please! Do this on your own risk. Learn about dd in advance (Google is your friend). Be patient the whole process will take more than three hours, because there is a 500 GB storage to be processed at low-level. Finally on my USB-hard-disk it was approx. 9 GB backup data.

 

Installation of Kubuntu 11.10 „Oneiric Ocelot“

In my netbook there is a AMD® Fusion APU E450 2×1.65GHz CPU, so I used the 64-bit (amd64) version of Kubuntu (http://www.kubuntu.org/download.php). Be careful this machine comes with an EFI-Bios, this demands a “msdos” formated EFI partition.  Do not use the automatic partitioning option during install. It will ignore the GPT “vfat” /dev/sda1 partition and the bootloader GRUB2 will be lost. The system will not boot and stops asking for a proper boot device.

Use the manual partitioning option, leave the /dev/sda1 as it is, use the major portion of the HDD for the core system “ext4″ and you will net a swap partition. Boot device is /dev/sda. My partition is like this:

============================ Drive/Partition Info: =============================

Drive: sda
Disk /dev/sda: 500.1 GB, 500107862016 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 60801 cylinders, total 976773168 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes

Partition  Boot  Start Sector    End Sector  # of Sectors  Id System
/dev/sda1                   1   976,773,167   976,773,167  ee GPT

GUID Partition Table detected.

Partition    Start Sector    End Sector  # of Sectors System
/dev/sda1              34        39,096        39,063 EFI System partition
/dev/sda2          39,097   973,404,331   973,365,235 Data partition (Windows/Linux)
/dev/sda3     973,404,332   976,773,118     3,368,787 Swap partition (Linux)

Update 12.04: I tried the automatic partioning and again it failed. This time it was easy to fix. Boot main system from HDD via USB-Flash-Drive, then sudo grub-install /dev/sda.

+ Graphics card — AMD® Radeon HD 6320

XServer starts with the correct resolution and 3d support. The open source “radeon” driver seems to be fine. Glxgears reports approx. 60 FPS.

Using standard ATI binary “fglrx” X.Org driver KDE>System>Additional drivers works but shows an annoying “Unsupported Hardware” watermark on the screen. Installation of the “updated driver” fglrx-updates fails. The newest ATI driver 13th of December 2011 is working but even without 3D support also fglrxinfo throws some errors.

Update 12.04: The AMD Driver 12.4 works as explaned at http://wiki.cchtml.com/. This is really great you can watch full HD videos without stutter. fgl_glxgears reports approx. 335 FPS.
Update 12.10: The AMD Driver 13.1 (is the first one that) works as explaned at http://wiki.cchtml.com/. fgl_glxgears reports approx. 300 FPS.

+ Power management — ACPI

Battery sensor works, lid close, screen power save and automatic shut-down on low energy level. Because there is a Eee PC manager I installed jupiter:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/jupiter
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install jupiter jupiter-support-eee

++ Suspend to ram

Works as designed, I do not know if really every device is up and running again after suspend but it seems so USB, network, no complains from my side.

– Suspend to disk, hibernate

Does not work, the system shows a black screen and a blinking cursor. To open the Grub2 menu by holding <Shift> did not work. Strangely someone reported to remove the power and battery. Gladly this worked, the system resumed. As I do not use hibernate I do not care. Via Google I found one user who solved this using http://thecodecentral.com/2011/01/18/fix-ubuntu-10-10-suspendhibernate-not-working-bug. If you worked out to get hibernate working, please leave a comment, I will add this here.

Update 12.04: I turned off the C6 CPU mode via BIOS settings.

++ Touchpad

Works fine.

++ USB

Works fine. I have no USB 3.0 device yet so I can not report any performance figures.

++ Keyboard

The typical ACPI control keys work: brightness, volume, mute and media control keys. The keyboard offers hell a lot of other function key, they do not work. The wireless lan key (upper left corner) works, as well as the <Fn>+<F2> key the WLAN the interface will get out of service. The blue “Radio”-LED glows when either WLAN or Bluetooth is on.

++ Network — LAN

The cable interface works.

++ Network — WLAN

Shows up as “Broadcom Corporation BCM4313 802.11b/g/n Wireless LAN Controller” works fine. I immediately installed the proprietary driver (KDE>System>Additional drivers) so I do not know if it would work without it.

++ Audio

Works as designed: “ATI Technologies Inc SBx00 Azalia (Intel HDA)”. Take care to configure the HDMI and internal device to your needs. Usually kmix should do the trick, if you need more control install

sudo apt-get install pavucontrol

Update: VLC used to start with annoying cracking noise, after a few seconds the sound was fine. To resolve this add “tsched=0″ in /etc/pulse/default.pa to the line

load-module module-udev-detect tsched=0

++ SD/MMC card reader

My SD-cards are mounted, works.

++ Bluetooth

Seems to work, it connects. I did not test any details.

++ WebCam

I tried it with Skype shows up as “0.03M UVC WebCam”, should be fine with other software as well.

++ HDMI port

Works fine, even some automated kind of KDE application to choose screen set up pops up when you plug it in and out.

++ VGA external port

Works fine, see above.

LSPCI Listing

00:00.0 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] Family 14h Processor Root Complex
00:01.0 VGA compatible controller: ATI Technologies Inc Device 9806
00:01.1 Audio device: ATI Technologies Inc Wrestler HDMI Audio [Radeon HD 6250/6310]
00:04.0 PCI bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] Family 14h Processor Root Port
00:05.0 PCI bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] Family 14h Processor Root Port
00:11.0 SATA controller: ATI Technologies Inc SB7x0/SB8x0/SB9x0 SATA Controller [AHCI mode]
00:12.0 USB Controller: ATI Technologies Inc SB7x0/SB8x0/SB9x0 USB OHCI0 Controller
00:12.2 USB Controller: ATI Technologies Inc SB7x0/SB8x0/SB9x0 USB EHCI Controller
00:13.0 USB Controller: ATI Technologies Inc SB7x0/SB8x0/SB9x0 USB OHCI0 Controller
00:13.2 USB Controller: ATI Technologies Inc SB7x0/SB8x0/SB9x0 USB EHCI Controller
00:14.0 SMBus: ATI Technologies Inc SBx00 SMBus Controller (rev 42)
00:14.2 Audio device: ATI Technologies Inc SBx00 Azalia (Intel HDA) (rev 40)
00:14.3 ISA bridge: ATI Technologies Inc SB7x0/SB8x0/SB9x0 LPC host controller (rev 40)
00:14.4 PCI bridge: ATI Technologies Inc SBx00 PCI to PCI Bridge (rev 40)
00:15.0 PCI bridge: ATI Technologies Inc SB700/SB800/SB900 PCI to PCI bridge (PCIE port 0)
00:15.2 PCI bridge: ATI Technologies Inc SB900 PCI to PCI bridge (PCIE port 2)
00:18.0 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] Family 12h/14h Processor Function 0 (rev 43)
00:18.1 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] Family 12h/14h Processor Function 1
00:18.2 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] Family 12h/14h Processor Function 2
00:18.3 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] Family 12h/14h Processor Function 3
00:18.4 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] Family 12h/14h Processor Function 4
00:18.5 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] Family 12h/14h Processor Function 6
00:18.6 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] Family 12h/14h Processor Function 5
00:18.7 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] Family 12h/14h Processor Function 7
01:00.0 Network controller: Broadcom Corporation BCM4313 802.11b/g/n Wireless LAN Controller (rev 01)
02:00.0 Ethernet controller: Atheros Communications AR8152 v2.0 Fast Ethernet (rev c1)
07:00.0 USB Controller: ASMedia Technology Inc. ASM1042 SuperSpeed USB Host Controller

BIOS version

BIOS 0503 2011.12.09

Any hints?

Please send me any hints, new tips, report errors, etc. via comment below. Please no support requests, thanks!

Links

Asus Support:

http://support.asus.com/download.aspx?SLanguage=en-us&m=eee+pc+1215b

Good starting points for Linux on Notebooks/Laptops are:
http://tuxmobil.de/

http://www.linux-on-laptops.com/

8 Gedanken zu „Kubuntu 11.10 on a Asus EeePC 1215B

  1. Nicolai

    Hi, I also have just received my 1215B (the C-60 version, mind you), and, of course, the stinking Win7 went out the door. I could hardly test the beast because of all the things running in the background (glad I am not a common user who _need_ to use Win7 with that).
    Anyways, the HDD and RAM also went out after testing (1×2 GB and 320 HDD replaced with 2×4 GB and 120 GB OCZ Agility 3 SSD) and installation of Xubuntu 11.10 went smooth.
    I sadly do not have answers for the sleep and hibernation issues, but I do have a solution for the graphics adapter, more specifically the amdcccle issue.
    I followed the following link (found via searching as always), and now I get decent OpenGL performance as well as fluent 720p video (in VLC, that is, as Adobe Flash 11.1 is still only 95 % fluent) together with the built-in power savings of amdcccle:
    http://wiki.cchtml.com/index.php/Ubuntu_Oneiric_Installation_Guide#Installing_Catalyst_Manually_.28from_AMD.2FATI.27s_site.29
    http://wiki.cchtml.com/index.php/Ubuntu_Oneiric_Installation_Guide#Hardware_Video_Decode_Acceleration_.28EXPERIMENTAL.29

    I tried jupiter, as you recommended, but I am having a hard time figuring out if it works. /proc/cpuinfo says it does (at least from 800-1000 MHz, that is w/o turbo of the C-60), but it cannot see the cpu governors (and I cannot manually either, as /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0 does not exist and cannot be created – I only have the super-folder ‘cpu’)

    BTW. I also updated my BIOS to the newest (0503) after testing, of course, so no fuss there. But I am a bit confused about yours 0504 – a typo I guess?

  2. Nicolai

    Oh, yeah, I almost forgot. The fluent 720p (x264) in VLC is only using around 50 % of both cores with HW acc (Preferences – Input / Codecs), while using 100 % w/o HW acc and not quite as fluent, so UDV definitely kicks in :-)

  3. Werner Roth Artikelautor

    Hi Nicolai,

    thanks for the update, yes BIOS was a typo and the http://wiki.cchtml.com is a real great resource. Sadly even with this documentation I did not get ati-driver-installer-11-12-x86.x86_64 working.

    The driver works basically but no 3D. fglrxinfo thows the error below. Disabeling fast TLS or purging the old installation did not help. I have checked the C-60 has a Radeon HD 6290 not a HD 6320.

    Do you use a different driver?

    Best Regards
    Werner

    fglrxinfo:
    X Error of failed request: BadRequest (invalid request code or no such operation)
    Major opcode of failed request: 138 (ATIFGLEXTENSION)
    Minor opcode of failed request: 66 ()
    Serial number of failed request: 13
    Current serial number in output stream: 13

  4. chidori

    hello, werner
    Nice to see your blog, i owen this laptop same but has issue with suspend. When I suspend, the following reboot will not succeed, the boot loader(I use grub) is unable to be loaded, then the box will ask me to provide him a bootable media after a while. Many guys experience the same issue like me. I know them in archlinux forums, I’ve tried archlinux 3.x kerne land ubuntu 11.10, the same result. So, could you please tell me how about yours? Although you written it works fine here, i really hope some information to solve the problem. Thanks very much.

  5. Werner Roth Artikelautor

    Hi chidori,

    I am wondering, as I wrote “Suspend to ram” works fine. The machine wakes up perfectly. But hibernate “Suspend to disk” does not work. I will try it next with Kubuntu 12.04 :-)

    Best Regards
    Werner

  6. chidori

    Oops. Mine hibernate properly but suspend problemiticly.
    I’m very curious why the same model has diffirent behaviors.
    But I prefer to suspend works fine.

    Thanks anyway, Werner.

  7. Werner Roth Artikelautor

    Hi chidori,

    at the time I set up the machine I just found hibernate issues in the net. Sometimes when it is left alone the KDE power management sends it to suspend. I do not know if KDE adds some magic here (==different run conditions :-)
    As usual this device platform was brand new at the time being. I expect a superb support with the upcoming 12.04.

    Best Regards
    Werner

  8. chidori

    Thanks for your help, werner. Hope so. BTW: 12.04 is upcoming and 11.04 is history. :-) Thank you and best wishes.

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