Sunday, April 22, 2012

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin) on Acer Revo RL70

Acer Revo RL70 is a compact computer (a nettop), good for web browsing, watching high resolution videos, and very quiet. In Moscow I got one for $420 with these specs:
CPU: AMD E-450 APU with Radeon(tm) HD Graphics
HDD: 160G (WDC WD6400BPVT-22HXZT3)
OS: Linpus Linux
CD/DVD drive: none

The pre-installed OS is a bad choice: Linpus Linux (32bit) that only uses 3G out of 4G available RAM, and only 2G out of 160G of available disk space. Clearly needs a better replacement. Installing Ubuntu is quite easy with access to the Internet and a USB stick no less than 1G. The EFI boot picks the USB stick at the highest priority by default, and we are on with the installation process.

I took Ubuntu 12.04 (64bit) which is currently in Beta, and going to be released in less than a month. I loved how the Ubuntu Installer 12.04 works. It asks you questions about timezone, root password etc. while actually installing. Speeds up a lot. The graphical interface is all nice and pleasing.

Except that it does not work. Out of the box it installs legacy GRUB, and does so incorrectly. Well, at least on the setup I was doing, with manual choice for disk partitioning. So on reboot to your freshly installed system you get nothing but "Error 15". Then after some stupid tricks I was able to change it to "Error 17". What a relief.

This is what helps: Purge and Reinstall Grub2 into MBR. After that I boot to the new system, yeeah! Magic! Then I find out that the graphical update manager is broken, fire some commands:
sudo apt-get purge gwibbler
sudo apt-get upgrade

And viola!

Most used applications on the system are now Chrome, XBMC and Transmission. All of them work noticeably faster (and cooler) than on the Acer AspireRevo that I had previously. And it did not require any closed source drivers yet. I am pleased.