Sat Dec 10 17:09:59 EST 2011

Acer Aspire TimelineX AS3830T-6870

( Bought some new gear.  Ususally I don't, know that it's an adventure
to get it to a stable driver state in linux.  Anyways, here it goes,
practicing patience.. )

Won't boot from USB with all bootable sticks I can find and the
netboot doesn't seem to accept DHCP packets..

Current BIOS 1.05.  There's 1.07 available.  I'm reluctant to upgrade,
more room for nasty failure..  Not upgrading.

I did find an old Redhat bootfloppy that had syslinux 2.00 on it,
which booted using an USB floppy drive.  I stripped that image and
add3ed grub4dos[1][2] to get a grub console.  Made a FAT32 partition
in windows.  Copied the debian install files to that partition.  Used
the grub console to start linux+initr from the install image.  This
got the installation going:


* Squeeze installer didn't recognize the atheros ethernet 1969:1083.
  I managed to get through the debian installer using an
  usb<->ethernet adapter.

  Ethernet is supported by atl1c in linux-image-3.1.0-1-amd64 which is
  currently in wheezy.  (supposedly since 2.6.38-2-amd64).  All well.

* Wireless works after installing firmware-iwlwifi from non-free.
  However, it drops out after a while, disassociate reason 7.
  Bringing it up again seems to work.

* Soundcard driver snd_hda_intel PCI 8086:1c20 seems to load, but I
  get no sound.  Yes I tried mixer settings.  After loading
  snd_pcm_oss, "cat /dev/dsp | hd" doesn't give anything.

  I did get a serious beep unplugging the power cord.

  A vanilla 3.1.5 doesn't seem to fix it, so the problem is probably
  something else..

  HDMI "mplayer -alsa:device=hw=0.3" works as long as
  "xrandr --output HDMI1 --auto" is enabled.

  How to find this..  Would be nice to find someone with exactly the
  same hardware.  Problem is known: [3].  Nope that's a different PCI
  ID.  I found something on the gentoo wiki [4] so maybe I just use a
  more recent kernel?  The patch that's mentioned there is the same as
  in [3].  Confusing..  (NEXT: check after reboot + check alsa diff).

  So, this morning I powered it up and it worked.  Yesterday after
  just reboot it didn't work.  So it's probably the power cycling that
  reset the chip.  Because of that I'm not sure if it's actually the
  last alsa snapshot or the one in 3.1.5 that fixed it.

* Video is an Intel Sandy Bridge Integrated Graphics Controller PCI

  Running glxinfo gives an error.  (bad resource something)

  I tried mplayer (xv) and this leads to an X hang.
  ../../intel/intel_bufmgr_gem.c:1069: Error setting domain 3: Input/output error
  After that keyboard seems to be locked
  I'm at xserver-xorg-core 2:1.7.7-13 (squeeze), upgrading to 2: (wheezy)

  Upgrade seems to have fixed the glxinfo problem, and xvideo now also
  works in mplayer.

* Webcam seems to work.  uvcvideo internal USB device for Alcor Micro
  Corp USB 058f:b002

* Battery life seems to be about 5 hours mostly idling (8+
  advertised), and 1.5 hours compiling a kernel with 5 jobs, producing
  quite some heat.

[1] http://www.icpug.org.uk/national/linnwin/step1-9x.htm
[2] http://aronzak.wordpress.com/2008/09/16/howto-syslinux-and-grub-on-one-usb-drive/
[3] http://mailman.alsa-project.org/pipermail/alsa-devel/2011-June/041379.html
[4] http://en.gentoo-wiki.com/wiki/Acer_Aspire_TimelineX_3830