Linux AT
< Author: Iacopo_I - 15 Jun 2005 >

Linux on Acer Aspire 1681WLCi Laptop ( 1980 Series ) - SuSe 9.3 Pro

I tried to install Linux on this laptop for about 5 months, I have found some different kinds of problem but now I can use all the functionality of this notebook this system not only with MS XP but with Linux too. I have installed some different distributions (Suse 9.1, Suse 9.2, Mandrake 9.2, FreeBSD (Impossible!!!!), Ubuntu, Fedora (the biggest problem!!!)) but every time I found some problems regarding the HW compatibility. At the end, last month, I have installed SuSe 9.3 Professional and after some manual configuration everything looks to work.

- Acer Aspire 1981WlCi
- Suse 9.3 Pro

Hardware Information

General Information
Manufacturer Acer Inc. Acer Aspire 1681WLCi Description - Linux
Manufacturer Part Number LX.A2805.010
Manufacturer Website Address
Product Line Aspire
Product Series 1680
Product Name Aspire 1681WLCI Notebook
Marketing Information

The Aspire 1681WLCI multimedia notebook with Intel Centrino Mobile Technology in the new Acer Folio design meets the needs of SOHO professionals, such as architects, designers and engineers, as well as home users who want a work/entertainment system.

Mobile Technology Intel Centrino
Operating System Windows XP Home - Native
Software Included

  • Acer Launch Manager
  • Acer Disk-to-Disk Recovery (uses 2GB of hard drive space)
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Aspire Arcade
  • CyberLink PowerDVD*
  • Norton AntiVirus*
  • NTI CD-Maker*

    *OEM, not full-featured, version

  • Battery Information
    Batteries 1 x 8-cell Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) Standard
    Battery Life Up to 5 Hour(s) (Main Battery) - 1,5h/2h In use
    Battery Recharge Time
  • 1.5 Hour(s) Passive (Main Battery)
  • 3.5 Hour(s) Active (Main Battery)
  • Miscellaneous
    Package Contents
  • Aspire 1681WLCI Notebook
  • Lithium Ion Battery
  • AC Adapter
  • Acer System Recovery CD
  • Additional Information

    Display and Graphics Support:

  • Support for simultaneous display on notebook LCD and external monitor
  • Microsoft DirectX 9.0 support

    LAN Feature:

  • Wake-on-LAN ready

    Modem Feature:

  • Wake-on-Ring ready

  • Security Features
  • User and administrator BIOS passwords
  • Kensington lock slot

  • Linux Compatibility

    Processor & Chipset
    Processor Intel Pentium M 715 1.50GHz

    Completely recognized

    Bus Speed 400MHz FSB
    Cache 2MB L2
    Chipset Intel 855GME
    Standard Memory 512MB DDR SDRAM

    Completely recognized

    Maximum Memory 2GB DDR SDRAM
    Memory Speed 333MHz DDR333/PC2700
    Hard Drive 80GB Ultra ATA/100 (ATA-6)

    Completely recognized

    Optical Drive CD-RW/DVD Combo Drive Integrated
    Optical Drive Speed 24x 10x 24x CD-RW/8x DVD-ROM
    Display & Graphics
    Display Screen 15.4" WXGA Active Matrix TFT Color LCD

    During the installation process you need to configure manually, but it is extremely simple.
    Some consideration on 3D Acceleration for ATI 9700.

    Graphics Controller Intel 855GME Integrated
    Display Resolution 1280 x 800 @ 16.7 Million Colors (24-bit) Internal Support
    Color Support 16.7 Million Colors (24-bit)
    Graphic Card ATI MOBILITY RADEON 9700 - 64 MB DDR video memory
    Sound Card Stereo Integrated

    Completely recognized

    Speakers Stereo Speakers Integrated
    Network & Communication
  • Fast Ethernet 10/100Mbps
  • Intel PRO/Wireless 2200BG Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11b/g 54Mbps
  • OK
    - Fast Ethernet completely recognized
    - Wireless completely recognized but needs some considerations

    Modem V.92 56Kbps Fax Modem

    Not tested yet!

    Input Devices
    Keyboard 88 Keys

    Completely recognized

    Keyboard Features
  • Hotkey controls
  • International language support
  • 12 function keys
  • Four cursor keys
  • Two Microsoft Windows keys
  • Wireless LED button

    Easy-Launch Buttons:

  • Web browser
  • E-mail
  • One user-programmable

  • Pointing Device TouchPad
    Pointing Device Features
  • Four-way integrated scroll button
  • Interfaces/Ports
  • 1 x TV-out
  • 1 x i.Link IEEE 1394 - FireWire
  • 1 x IrDA Fast Infrared
  • 1 x Headphone(s)
  • 1 x RJ-11 Modem
  • 1 x RJ-45 Network
  • 1 x VGA
  • 1 x Microphone
  • 3 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x DC Power Input
  • OK
    Completely recognized

    Power Description
    Power Management
  • ACPI (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface) 1.0b
  • OK
    Completely recognized but only after applying some changes to the system.


    1) ATI 3D Drivers for SuSe 9.3 Pro

    On SuSe there is not automatically support for ATI 3D acceleration, but this distribution offer the possibility to resolve this problem in a very simple and official way.

    1- You only need to visit this link on the suse ftp tree:
    2- Enter in the last release directory of fglrx drivers (the official one for ATI Graphic Cards).
    3- follow the README file for instruction.

    2) Linux Wireless consideration on SuSe 9.3 Pro

    Probably everything work properly but in some cases I found some problem and I noticed some little things that I think is better to know:
        1- The drivers that you find with the SuSe distribution are only optimized for X86 systems. I try to recompile my kernel choosing for the processor type "Pentiun M" but the wireless card didn't work. When I executed the "dmesg | grep -i ipw" command I found this output:
            ipw2200: version magic ...
    It means that that module only works with the X86 system and so you need to recompile your kernel with that system or you need to download from the latest official drivers and recompile it for your system.
        2- The other thing to consider is that the button in the front of your Laptop work on Linux System too, but the yellow light doesn't. In fact you are not able to see from that light if you Wireless card is in an up or down state, you can only executing the command iwconfig and looking at the output. If it is in a down state you will see the hardware address with all 0s. Press the button to activate the network card.
        3- In some cases I notice that there is a problem with the name of the interfaces. Some times my system put the Ethernet interface on eth0 and the Wireless on eth1, some other times after restarting the computer I found the name inverted. This is a known problem that may happen in the case that you have two Ethernet interfaces too. This is not a real problem, everything works properly but in some cases you need to fix the name.

    At this link you can find a little and practical guide to use WiFi on SuSe system:
            How to use and configure WiFi with Suse

    3) ACPI problem on ACER  

    In the past week I have worked a lot to try to resolve some problems regarding the use of the Power Management on my laptop. Thanks to google I find a lot of useful information but I was unable to find a real definitive solution for this kind of notebook.
    The problem are:
        1- This kind of laptops doesn't support APM (Advanced Power Management) but only ACPI (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface)
        2- Today many company build their BIOS only supporting Microsoft OS, so they are incompatible with some standard used by every other OS
        3- I can't find anything in the directories /proc/acpi/ac_adapter and /proc/acpi/battery so I was unable to see the status of my battery and I can't implement the functionality of ACPI on my system
        4- The DSDT (Differentiated System Description Table) resulted to be bugged, I had to correct it
        5- There is a missing ECDT (Embedded Control Description Table) on my system so I have had to patch the kernel to resolve this problem
        6- Acer Laptops uses a so called Smart Batteries that have a different way to work

    To resolve this problem there is an useful guide at this link:
            How to resolve ACPI problem on Acer Laptop

    Links - Linux Laptop and Notebook Survey: Acer



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