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Ten tweaks for a new Acer Aspire One

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9. Tweak Linux for SSD usage

Linux has a number of optimisations for reading and writing data from a hard drive, and these are in place even on AA1s with solid-state drives. However, you can adjust the OS to ignore these optimisations, which should lead to faster SSD performance.

Open a Terminal window and type sudo mousepad /boot/grub/grub.conf.

Editing grub.conf

Editing grub.conf
Click for full-size screengrab

Once again, be very careful editing this file - mistakes can prevent Linux starting properly. So double-check your typing, make sure your data's backed up and have the USB recovery drive you made earlier to hand.

Looking through the file, you should see the line:

kernel /boot/bzImage ro root=LABEL=linpus vga=0x311 splash=silent loglevel=1 console=tty1 quiet nolapic_timer

Edit this to add elevator=noop at the end, making sure there's a space between the end of the old line and the new code.

Save the file and restart your AA1. If you've done it right, you probably won't notice anything specific, but Linux will now be better tuned for SSD usage.

10. Install Firefox 3

The AA1 comes with Firefox 2 - and a version tweaked by Acer, at that. Installing Firefox 3 should be simple, but it isn't because some of the pre-loaded version's support files are used by other apps too - removing them will break these programs.

First, get Firefox 3. Type sudo wget http://rpms.famillecollet.com/remi-release-8.rpm into a Terminal window and hit Enter. Then type sudo rpm -Uvh remi-release-8.rpm and hit Enter.

Next, type sudo mousepad /etc/yum.repos.d/remi.repo and make sure that the [remi] section has its enabled value set to 1. Make sure [remi-test] has its enabled value set to 0.

Now type sudo rpm -e --nodeps firefox to delete the old version of the browser - but leave files other apps may need intact - and then you're ready to do sudo yum install firefox.

Firefox 3 on AA1

Firefox 3 on the AA1

To fix the broken apps, you need to re-download Firefox 2 and re-install just the shared code. This isn't a simple process, so we'll hand over to a couple of guys who made it easy for the rest of us: Jorge Barrera Grandon and Nacho Marin. At Jorge's Road to Elysium blog, you'll find a script you can copy and paste into a file, along with instructions on how to make the script executable. This co-operative coding is one of the things that makes using Linux such a joy.

Pop over to Jorge's site and follow his instructions - scroll down a bit, past the basic Firefox 3 installation details. We've tried them and they work as they should, as does the script itself. We have Firefox 3 running on our AA1 and RSS Reader and Acer's OneMail.

In addition to thanking Jorge and Nacho for the Firefox 3 tip, we'd also like to thank blogger Jason Perlow for the Linux SSD tweak suggestion.

Thanks also go to the many contributors to the Aspire One User for the postings that made the creation of the other tips possible.

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