Hardy and Compiz on a cheap Acer Aspire 4315

I did a fresh install of Hardy onto my Acer Aspire 4315 notebook (which had Gutsy pre-installed by the vendor Dick Smith Electronics). With a bit of help from a good friend I managed to replace the proprietary wireless drivers with madwifi ones*. I decided to see if the more complex compiz effects would work for me – and I was delighted when most of them did**. Fantastic – and all possible with a fraction of the hardware required for Vista (my notebook is only a 1.86GHz Celeron with 1Gb of RAM). Ubuntu is where the WOW begins.

[Update – use sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras to do everything in one go]

The general codecs issue was easily dealt with once I added medibuntu as a repository as per https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Medibuntu.


sudo wget http://www.medibuntu.org/sources.list.d/hardy.list -O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install medibuntu-keyring && sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install libdvdcss2
sudo apt-get install w32codecs

and you’re good to go playing DVDs etc.

To get youtube working I just let it prompt me for the codecs and they worked just fine.

Some extra touches to make the system easier to use: system>preferences>keyboard shortcuts and remap the special “e” key to the left of the keyboard to mute.

It might be best to avoid remapping the wireless key for anything – I think it still works to enable/disable wireless at a hardware level. See http://ubuntuforums.org/showpost.php?p=4804137&postcount=30. You can see it changing the contents of /proc/acpi/acer/wireless from 1 to 0 etc (NB to refresh in nautilus to see effect).

[Update for Intrepid onwards – install SHMconfig https://help.ubuntu.com/community/SynapticsTouchpad#shmconfig]

I wanted the touchpad disabled on boot so I added a new session under system>preferences>sessions with the command synclient TouchpadOff=1. I also added the line
Option “SHMConfig” “on”
in /etc/X11/xorg.conf as follows:

Section “InputDevice”
Identifier “Synaptics Touchpad”
Driver “synaptics”
Option “SendCoreEvents” “true”
Option “Device” “/dev/psaux”
Option “Protocol” “auto-dev”
Option “HorizEdgeScroll” “0”
Option “SHMConfig” “on”


But how to get it back again when I don’t have a mouse? I went applications>system tools>configuration editor then apps>metacity>global_keybindings and bound run_command_1 to Alt t
Then under apps>metacity>keybinding_commands set command_1 to synclient TouchpadOff=1. Now I can enable the touchpad by pressing Alt t.

And I have just discovered that there is a webpage devoted entirely to this model notebook with Ubuntu. http://www.hbclinux.net.nz/acer4315.html

* madwifi-nr-r3366+ar5007 for those interested. Check out http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=662877
The change away from proprietary drivers may have been what restored the functionality of restart.

Power management in Linux seems to be perennially problematic if you use a closed binary driver, and Ubuntu was, unfortunately, no exception. The desktop machines suspended and hibernated fine as long as you weren’t using proprietary video drivers, and the VAIO (with its Intel 915 controller) had a lightning-fast suspend/resume cycle. The Thinkpad also balked when using proprietary drivers.

** NB to get cube effects working, set the workspace preferences to 4 cols and 1 row. To configure compiz, run the following:
sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager To get cairo dock working go to http://developer.berlios.de/project/showfiles.php?group_id=8724&release_id=13311 and install the appropriate deb. Then run cairo-dock (e.g. Alt F2) – see http://thedailyubuntu.blogspot.com/2008/02/cairo-dock-animated-launch-bar-for_03.html

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