Acer Aspire 8920G

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Notes: please use the first argument of the template to provide more detailed indications. (Discuss in Talk:Acer Aspire 8920G#)
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Introduction

This is my 1st ever wiki and I hope that by writing this it can benefit another user out there to setup archlinux on their laptop like me. I should also like to explain that I am a novice in the World of Linux and so I shall try and pass on as much knowledge as I possibly can. These are the settings that apply to my machine and my network setup so you must remember that what works for me will not necessarily work ok for you. This machine is running 2.6.31-ARCH and all the hardware is ok other than having to load the wireless driver iwl4965 and nvidia everything else just worked from the core install.


Hardware

Standard Hardware

Hardware Description

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Additional Hardware

Hardware Description

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System Files and Command Outputs

System Files

fstab

This contains the commands to connect to my Buffalo NAS drive, which I have added incase it helps someone else with one. I connect to the drive which is on a static IP address and has no security set for the shares, so in your case connecting up to your own network shares would of course differ from mine. Template:File

resolve.conf

I needed to change this as my network is setup to use static IP addresses and this points to my router to resolve dns. Template:File

rc.conf

This contains the settings I used that apply to my machine and my network, so your rc.conf will be different to mine. Template:File

xorg.conf

Template:File

Command Outputs

lsusb

Template:Command

lspci

Template:Command


Troubleshooting

These are some of the things I needed to download and the configuration files that needed modifying in order to configure the machine to behave as a laptop should... be wireless and consume less power! I assume by this point that you have already got to the stage of a working desktop and just need to dot the i's and cross the t's to polish things off.

Wireless

Wireless needs the module "iwlwifi-4965-ucode" installing, and if you use wireless security WPA2 etc then you would also be better to load "wicd" to configure and connect to your wireless. First you need to install "iwlwifi-4965-ucode"

sudo pacman -S iwlwifi-4965-ucode


Then you need to edit /etc/rc.conf to load the module at startup. Make these changes to the Modules section

MODULES=(... !pcspkr loop iwl4965 lp)


Stage two involves getting connected to our wireless network via wicd, so let's install that now. Type this into a console

sudo pacman -S wicd


Then you need to edit /etc/rc.conf to load the wicd daemon at startup. If you put a bang(!) in front of a network interface then you are allowing wicd to control the interface. The Interfaces and Routes are optional but you will need to load the Daemon. Then after a reboot in the system notification area you should now be able to use the wicd client to hook up to your network. Make these changes to the Networking, Routes & Daemons section

INTERFACES=(!eth0)
ROUTES=(!gateway)
DAEMONS=(@syslog-ng !network @crond @alsa hal fam !netfs wicd @cpufreq @cups @openntpd @bluetooth gdm)

Nvidia Graphics

I assume by now that you have a working desktop and just need to "tweak" the system for 3-D apps and power management so this is what I changed in my system.

In the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file I made the following changes to allow compiz eye candy and power management. The PowerMizer options are set to lowest performance on battery, with the option of increasing speed if needed and the system will run at full speed when the mains are plugged in.

Make these changes to the Device section

Section "Device"
   Identifier     "Device0"
   Driver         "nvidia"
   VendorName     "NVIDIA Corporation"
   Option         "AddARGBGLXVisuals" "True"
   Option         "NoLogo" "True"
   Option         "RegistryDwords" "PowerMizerEnable=0x1; PerfLevelSrc=0x3322; PowerMizerDefault=0x3; PowerMizerDefaultAC=0x1"
EndSection

Tips & Tricks

Here are some of the hacks that I have made to my system in addition to the above.

fstab mounting and offline drives

I found that despite mounting my network drives is fstab and having the wicd daemon loading that the network shares would not connect at startup. I think that fstab mounts drives at an early stage and the wicd daemon has not even loaded yet so they fail and the boot process carries on. So I found a solution where I run a script just after I logon to check to see if the drive is online and to connect if it is. I found that if I tried to mount -a and the NAS box was offline that the mount command would retry to connect a few times and this would cause the system to hang until it is finished. So as you will see from the script it first "pings" the NAS box to see if it is online and only then does it issue the mount -a command, if it is offline then it just exits.

Since I use gdm to logon to Gnome I discovered that it could run scripts at certain defined events via PostLogin, PreSession & PostSession. So I added this script that I found on the internet whilst googling and changed it a little to suit my needs.

Type this into a console, using su at the start to become root (nano method)

su
<insert root password>
cd /etc/gdm/PostLogin
cp Default.Sample Default
nano Default

in nano add these lines to the bottom of the script...

# This ping's the NAS box to see if it is online, and if it is then mount
# the shares.
# If not then just exit, or the mount command will hang the system for
# about 20~30 seconds which just plain sucks!
if [ "$(ping -c 1 192.168.1.2 | grep '0 received')" ]
       then
                : ; exit 1
       else
                mount -a
fi


Now exit nano by using "ctrl-x" and press "y" to save your changes. Then logout of the terminal as you are still running as root! When you next login to Gnome it will run the script and mount the drives if the NAS box is online. Type this into a console

exit
exit


...or if running Gnome like me then use gedit as it is much easier on the eye. Type this into a console, using su at the start to become root (gedit method)

su
<insert root password>
cd /etc/gdm/PostLogin
cp Default.Sample Default
gedit Default

in gedit add these lines to the bottom of the script...

# This ping's the NAS box to see if it is online, and if it is then mount
# the shares.
# If not then just exit, or the mount command will hang the system for
# about 20~30 seconds which just plain sucks!
if [ "$(ping -c 1 192.168.1.2 | grep '0 received')" ]

then : ; exit 1 else mount -a

fi

Now exit gedit and save your changes. Then logout of the terminal as you are still running as root! When you next login to Gnome it will run the script and mount the drives if the NAS box is online. Type this into a console

exit
exit

Ok, I've mounted my network shares now my laptop hangs on shutdown!

Sadly there is a bit of a bug with Linux which stretches back to it's unix roots: The concept of connecting to network drives was not around it seems and when the shutdown scripts execute it does things in reverse... so basically one of the consequences is that networking goes down before the drives have been un-mounted. This causes the system to hang as it would like to shutdown the shares properly to check to see if files are open etc but it cannot connect.

So to fix this we need to un-mount the drives at some stage before the shutdown script gets rolling. I could have added a script to /etc/gdm/PostSession/Default like above, but it seems silly to un-mount the drives if I just logged out of Gnome and let someone else login to use my laptop. So I found a suitable location that works well is /etc/rc.local.shutdown and added these commands... Template:Command in nano add these lines to the bottom of the script... Template:Command Exit out of nano saving changes and voila! The system now shutdown clean and fast.


Saving Power

This is an ongoing concern for me... I am working on trying to have the display dimmer when on battery and full brightness when on mains adapter. If I get this fixed then it shall appear here. Meanwhile I have so far been able to save some power with the PowerMizer settings for nvidia in xorg.conf file above, but is there more? Well yes!

Cpufreq is our first port of call

We need to install acpi and cpufreq, then configure the system for AC and battery.

Install the components

First you need to install "acpid" Template:Command

Then you need to install "cpufrequtils" Template:Command

Now setup the modules and daemons

We need to load the Modules and Daemons into /etc/rc.conf Template:Command In nano makes these changes to rc.conf Template:Command

Now configure the files for powersaving

We shall first edit the cpufreq files making the changes in bold Template:Command in nano add these lines to the bottom of the script... Template:Command


Now the "harder" one to do is sort out the power events in acpid as they don't work out of the box. The problem is that the power event for plugging in your power adapter is not defined in the script so you need to add the event to the file. Template:Command Now with this terminal open unplug the power adapter or plug it in and you will see this pop up in the log open on the terminal (use ctrl-c to exit log) Template:Command

The bold entry is the one we are concerned with, this is what changes when we plug in and remove the power adapter.

Now for the interesting part, changing the acpid events to "catch" this change of power adapter. Template:Command

Template:Command

Save and exit this file and after a reboot the system will load by default the "ondemand" profile which changes the CPU speed quite nicely I find. If you then plug in the mains for something intensive like a game with graphics or some compiling then the both processor cores will ramp up to full speed and so will the graphics card as we did that earlier. Then when you need to use the laptop on the battery you will find that the clock will drop down to 800MHz from 2,400MHz and the graphics will slow down and conserve power.

Bluetooth

As we have a hardware switch for bluetooth then we can turn this on only when we need it and this will save battery power and make the system a bit more secure. Hopefully I won't need to tell you how to install bluetooth, and on my machine I made no changes to the default configuration files.

Verify that it works

If you have installed bluetooth stack and started the daemon as per the wiki instructions available here Bluetooth Send a file to a mobile phone using Gnome-Bluetooth utility in the system tray. If that worked out fine then move onto the next step, if not then troubleshoot bluetooth until you do get it working.

Saving power by turning off bluetooth by default when the system is logged into the Desktop

Basically I figured the best way to do this was to use gdm's PostLogin script that I used earlier and add a line to turn off the power to the device.

Template:Command Template:Command