In my previous post (Installing Linux on a Netbook), I played with the initial setup to get Lubuntu installed on my ACER ASPIRE ONE netbook (model AOD150). I expected to do it as a solo install, dumping Windows in the process, but the installer gave me a dual boot option that seemed like a pretty good option, so I left a partition running Windows XP. The default boot is Linux, but if I change the menu selection in a prompt window that lasts ten seconds, it will switch to booting Windows.
When I finished off last night with the quick install (start to finish, just over an hour), I had five things on my to-do list to label it “ready”. Today, I started trying to tweak those five “little” issues.
The first issue was that there was something going on with my power management settings. Here’s what would happen — I would boot, it would start the Linux option, and then about 15-20 seconds in, my netbook would go into suspend mode. Easy enough to “revive”, enter my password at the lock screen, and it would continue. Then, once “active”, it would go about another 20 seconds or so, and go back into suspend. Even if I was typing or moving the mouse, it would go into suspend mode about every 30 seconds. Not a lot you can do in 30 seconds, right?
I did a bunch of searching online and found out that others had encountered the same problem on multiple devices by multiple manufacturers, particularly with netbooks, and they had narrowed it down to one of three things going on:
- My operating system thought the lid was closed even when it wasn’t, so it was going into suspend mode as it thought I wanted it to do so;
- My operating system wasn’t interfacing well with the BIOS, and the BIOS was telling it the lid was closed and thus to enter suspend mode; or,
- My power management module was conflicting with normal power management on the device, and hence thinking it was time to enter suspension mode.
While the first one looked a bit like a sensor problem, the solution was basically to tell the operating system to ignore the “input” from the sensor so to speak. In other words, “If the lid is down, don’t suspend”. The problem, of course, is that if the lid really WAS down, it still wouldn’t suspend. I can work around that issue, but I couldn’t work around the system shutting down every 30 seconds. So I gave it a go. Or at least I tried to.
First of all, I had to find the file /etc/systemd/logind.conf and edit it. I could open the file manager, click to get to etc, and then the system would suspend (30 seconds were up!). Revive, enter password, scroll down, click on systemd, and suspend mode would activate again. Revive, enter password, click on logind.conf, enter to open. Suspend/Revive/Password, keep going. I’m going to call that S/R/P so I don’t have to retype it again. Scroll through the file looking for a specific phrase called “HandleLidSwitch”. S/R/P. Edit it to be “=ignore”. Try to save. S/R/P. Try to save again, overwrite, but nope, don’t have permission to overwrite this file. S/R/P.
I did some more searching on my main PC. Turns out that I didn’t have full root privileges opening it that way, so I had to go to the terminal mode. I thought I would be in terminal mode going just “RUN” and entering the command, but no. Several S/R/Ps later, nothing working, realized I wasn’t actually in terminal mode. Figured out how to get there, several more S/R/Ps in between, entered the edit command I had. Nada.
More searching, realized the commands I had were for a specific flavour of Linux, not Lubuntu. Close, but not exact. The correct command I needed was: sudo -H leafpad /etc/systemd/logind.conf and once entered, and another S/R/P later, I could edit the file and save it. Which I did, rebooted, and it died half way through reboot. S/R/P, and then it died again on live mode. Grrr…
I re-edited the file, and looked for other settings. I didn’t want to go too crazy and shut off all the controls, but I did see one that at least said 30 seconds, changed it to 90 at least, and rebooted. It died during the boot, S/R/P later it got me to live mode. And stayed on. I waited 90 seconds, still on. Five minutes, still on. Okay, half the problem solved.
Option 3 was a potential conflict, but I checked and I didn’t have another power management software choice running, just the default. So that left me with option 2 above — my bios and my operating system didn’t like each other. Marriage counselling was out, and I had already changed the O/S. Which meant I followed the options for updating my BIOS on the netbook.
Normally this would make me flat out freaked. Upgrading a BIOS, really? I’m really doing this? Well, I had some positive experiences with reflashing tablets in the past, and honestly, it was equivalent-to-bricked earlier, so what did I have to lose? I found a link to the ACER download site, used my main PC to get there, entered my model, it gave me three OS versions (Win 7 in 32- and 64-bit versions, or Win XP), chose WinXP to match what I had, downloaded the one file, put it on a flash drive, and rebooted the netbook in Windows mode (see, I knew there was a reason I kept it!), and ran the installer. The website said one to seven minutes, it was done in less than one. It gave me a giant warning to say, “Hey, idiot, this is the BIOS that you’re messing with”, clicked through, completed with no errors and rebooted.
I chose Linux for my boot, and it made it all the way through with no power outages. While I’ve been typing this, the system went blank after ten minutes for screen blanking, but no suspension. I may reset everything back to the way it was, as I seemed to have found the conflict and resolved it already. This means if I want to turn the lid sensor back on, I can!
The second thing on my original list was to test the Windows boot. Essentially, I already had! All working fine, no problems.
The third thing was to connect to the network. Now here’s the thing. It already figured it out on its own. It gave me no end of problem last night; today, oh there’s the network, thanks, here’s the password, connected. Not the most stable of connections, it dropped a few times but immediately reconnected each time. Tick!
Fourth on my list was to run Firefox (it was originally fifth, but I moved it up), so I booted the browser. And I was able to access Gmail, no problem at all. Everything is working EXACTLY as it should. Which leaves only the fifth item to address — installing any additional software I need. 🙂 Let’s call it another 2 hours so far today, and a bit of real frustration in there for the tweaking (rather than the initial install) with the constant S/R/P process. But it’s all working relatively well.
EDIT: I spoke way too soon apparently. I was able to reset the settings back to normal for Lubuntu and get rid of the lid sensor problem, but the earlier reflashing had apparently created a conflict with Windows XP — it won’t boot at all. I had tested it before the reflash, everything worked fine. Now? Won’t boot in safe mode, not by last known config, not starting normally, nada. This means I have to reinstall Lubuntu from scratch and take WinXP completely off the system, no dual boot. Just make it a full Linux machine. Wish me luck!