Mike has a friend with an Acer Aspire One netbook (which he bought over 6 months ago) and it has been no end of trouble getting it to work properly. The main issue has been the horrible built-in Atheros wireless chip. There was much to-ing and fro-ing, the end result of which is that the guy wanted to buy a Windows netbook to replace it (all because of this one main issue). In fact, it’s been down right embarrassing that Linux doesn’t work. He’s wanted to give the rotten thing away, or rather, throw it away (preferably somewhere jagged with lots of rocks).
Eventually we did get it working with Intrepid and even though it was clunkalicious, it did work. Until he did an upgrade that is. So Jaunty comes along and everything is supposed to work out of the box, but it doesn’t. Wireless is still broken. The device is detected, but network manager just won’t work (also
iwlist wlan0 scanning does not work).
I dug around on launchpad and found out, lo and behold, there is a bug that stops wireless from working.
The fix? Blacklist the acer_wmi module (add blacklist acer_wmi to /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist) and reboot. Essentially the rfkill switch on the Aspire One is dodgy and it gets permanently set to off. Not loading this module prevents that, which means it’s free to be, well, on.
So, if you have an Acer Aspire One with Jaunty (or other distribution) and you don’t get any wireless love, try this work around. Now I just have to get his dodgy Telstra 3G USB modem device working.. and that’s a whole other level of pain.