Review: Acer Aspire One


Geri Druckman reviews the Acer Aspire One ultra-portable laptop.

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Root password

Anonymous's picture

I never worked on Linux before, I upgraded my cell phone contract
and got the accer aspire one and when trying to install skype it prompted please insert root password, i never recieved one from the place that i bought it and they can't help me.

Is there away i can get around this or who can I contact with regard to this

go to the terminal

Webmistress's picture

type "sudo -su" then enter, then type "passwd" and enter again. It will then ask you to set the password.

Katherine Druckman is webmistress at You might find her on Twitter or at the Southwest Drupal Summit

Installing addtional apps

Graham L's picture

This is an ideal travelling companion especially if you need to simply check emails and keep in contact with family and friends, especially as many hotels in Europe offer free WiFi connections. Because I'm quite unfamiliar with Linux, I'm a little nervous about installing Skype on this device despite the excellent primer offered in the video of Geri. I concerned about the need to edit an XML file to get the icon up on the Internet workspace. Is there some way that you could show the actual code on these posts so that it takes the guess work out?

If Skype is added to this device, it almost becomes a mandatory addition to a travellers luggage.

I've successfully answered

Graham 2's picture

I've successfully answered my own enquiry!

I found this at

Follow the instructions and Skype will be installed on your system and append the Skype icon in the Connect panel. No editing of XML files - EXTREMELY EASY.

Skype download on Acer

Andyman001's picture

I seem to be having a similar problem - trying to download Skype onto my Aspire One netbook with Linux. I've downloaded the software and it is sitting there. When I click on it , it says it is already installed - so how do I launch it? If i right click and open with Xarchiver i just get a list of files?

thanks for the help


stanfm1000's picture

I am new to Linux, and love this machine! So pardon my simple question... I can read files on this Linux from my PCs on a thumb drive, but not the other way around-- XP can't see my Open Office files created on the Aspire. Other than emailing the files I want to share, is there another practical option?


Open office doc

Pierre Forget's picture

In Open Office Writer (or Calc) simply go in Tools, Options, Loading/Saving, In the General, you will see Document Type, where you can change the default format in which you can save your documents. Make sure you use the Microsoft way, so that all your docs will be saved that way. Or if you prefer use the standard format of Open Office, choose File, Save As, and you can change your doc format.

Coming Live from Aspire One

Anonymous's picture

I am an avid Linux user, and have been since the early days of Slackware and Yggdrasil. I LOVE the Aspire One. Even my wife loves it. (had to pry it from her hands lastnight) I have not changed the OS from Linpus, and don't see any NEED to. Although I do want to try out Arch and SLAX on this little bad boy.

Most importantly, I think the keyboard of the Aspire One absolutely blows away the EEE. I couldn't even type my name on the Asus.

wireless internet card

George D's picture

Id and have a usb adapter for ALLTEL KPC680 express card but no linux OS drivers , so thought about a cellular wifi router but for power consumption and speed prefer air card . Where to find driver ?

AV Experience

tiutmcclain's picture

Thanks so much for the review.

I am curious about the camera/audio integration with Skype. The organization I work for has had success with Adobe Connect. I commonly participate in the webinars and despite my love for Linux, I have not had a good experience with Adobe Connect and Linux.
Thanks for any feedback.


no problems

Webmistress's picture

So far I have not had problems using video with skype on this Acer.

Katherine Druckman is webmistress at You might find her on Twitter or at the Southwest Drupal Summit


Lilly's picture

I can't donwnlode skype on my Acer Aspire one I have Linux on ist and I can't find out how to downlod it... can you pleas tell me how??? Thanks

Skype on the Aspire One

Calvin Jones's picture

Getting Skype working on the Aspire One is an absolute doddle.

1 Simply go to
2. Click on "Connect" and download the Skype zip file to your download
3. Go to your file manager and navigate to the downloads folder
4. Double click on the zip file you downloaded, and extract the files it contains.
5. Now find the "" file in the resulting folder, double click on it and follow the onscreen instructions.

You'll find Skype in the "Connect" menu the next time you reboot your machine.

There are also some other handy downloads optimised for the Aspire One in each of the categories, and you'll find more on


Skype and other questions

KimTjik's picture

I haven't used it myself, but I suppose this forum would be a good starter:

As for Skype you go to and select for download the Fedora package. After that it's just to open the downloaded file, and you'll get prompted to give the root password. Be aware though that to see extra installed packages you need to apply the trick so you'll get the default XFCE menu with a mouse-click on right button (in case you don't learn how to modify the Acer custom menu).

External CD-ROM / 3G Mobile Support

JohnBradbury's picture

Hi guys,
I have no experience with Linux so I'm a little worried about dropping the cash on something I might not be able to use.

Would any eternal USD CD-ROM work?

Also I like the idea of having this with mobile broadband. It says something about putting a mobile phone sim card directly into the device but some sites are saying this doesn't actually work?


depends on your use

Webmistress's picture

For basic web, email, productivity stuff, Linux experience is really not necessary at all I don't think. I am pretty sure an external CD would work fine, but I have not tried it. I so rarely need an optical drive anymore anyway. As far as I know, there are currently USB models of broadband modems that work with the Acer, and I have also read that built-in wireless broadband is on its way.

Katherine Druckman is webmistress at You might find her on Twitter or at the Southwest Drupal Summit

Great Review

Anonymous's picture

That was a thorough review, and the Aspire One sounds like a nice laptop. BTW, wasn't that Gonzo in the background?

Thank you!

Geri Druckman's picture

I appreciate the kind words, and yes it is Gonzo in the background :)

Geri Druckman is a technology evangelist, you can follow him on twitter at or just google him - gdruckman

got one

anonymouse's picture

I have worked with linux for years, tho mostly as servers and am exploring linux desktop. at the price I figured why not.

I just opened the box 30 mins ago, so I havent installed any packages yet.
Did see that it was fedora under the hood. Not sure how I feel about that. I would definitely like the option to try ubuntu.

Here are a few immediate gotchas which I am not clear on yet which prevent the thing from being an utterly amazing replacement for my "normal sized" laptop.

1-resolution on external display. only 1024x768 shows up to drive the external display wah! I could totally use this thing as a replacement for my home machine and tote it to work as well if I could get just a bit more screen realestate. my ancient dell xp machine does much better.
Also the ability to stretch desktop to laptop + external would make this thing much better. I am not sure whether these limitations (screen resolution, dual view monitor) is an inherent hardware limitation, or whether some fiddling with x stuff could improve the situation.
2- support for wpa-enterprise. I completely need this to use at work - Iwas not clear that this is working though I am looking forward to mucking around with it tomorrow. I see something called wpa-supplicant, so that looks promising.
3- # which ssh
/usr/bin/which: no ssh in (/usr/local/bin:/bin:/usr/bin:/usr/acer/bin:/sbin/:/usr/sbin/:/home/user/bin:/usr/acer/bin:/usr/acer/bin)
ok, I can probably install this. but no ssh client? c'mon how much disk space are you saving by leaving that off?

all in all - even without an upgrade to the external video driver.. which is my most fervent concern. well worth $300. no point to have a windows mobile phone with this in my purse! (once ssh is on it)
with another gig of memory, and expansion of the flash/ disk space
I'm curious how that works.

Though now I'm wondering if the dell/ubuntu version of this has a better external video capability.

Xubuntu works on mine

evilsoccerfiend's picture

I put Xubuntu on my Acer and it works well (I used a USB DVD/DVDR to do the install. I also use this DVD drive to burn disks from the netbook).

There are some limitations with the video. I had to manually make changes to the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file to enable a virtual desktop of 2048x2048. The driver that ships with 8.04 has this limitation with acceleration. IIRC this will be corrected for 8.10.

I would also get cozy with xrandr. Sure there GUI front ends but I personally find them limiting.



Carlie Fairchild's picture

@jasonwert and @edythemighty from Twitter land point readers to if they're interested in the Acer Aspire One. OneLinux is a remastered version of Ubuntu made specifically for this machine. It uses Gnome for the Desktop Environment and has support for Netbook Remix if the user decides to use it.

Carlie Fairchild is the publisher of Linux Journal.


Zv's picture

The OneLinux distro is not available at this time. The distributor has stability problems with it and will release it when it is better...

I don't like Linpus

Stefano Canepa's picture

A friend of mine bought an ACER laptop with Linpus and I found it is really limited. Even if it's based on Fedora it is quite impossible to install software from Fedora repositories and updating all software was a painfull operation out of the possibility of a non experienced Linux user.


Conrad Murray's picture

This comment is absolutely wrong. I have no Linux experience and getting the machine going and working on our Windows network was just a question of switching it on and following a few simple clicks. We set up the right click option as detailed in the video and numerous other places online - also simple. Installing apps was easy and largely from the system/add remove software menu. Skype isn't there but anyone with any braincells should find that easy to do too. The only app that eluded me was Pidgin - it has dependencies and bothering with it was a jump too far. The only reason I wanted it was the built in Messenger does not support ICQ - so I got myself a Gmail account. The only gripe I have is that if you are a UK user your googlemail account will not work for chat in the inbuilt Messenger and you will need to get yourself a proper Gmail one by using a service such as to hide your UK IP address, but that seems so be a Google issue rather than anything in Linpus. I suspect my own customisations are far more than most would make and for what essentially is a mobile device it is far better than any of the opposition and Linux is a much better OS for this than any Windows equivalent. That said using Linpus is entirely intuitive to a Windows user and I cannot see anyone regular Windows user having any problems whatsoever. The only other negative stuff I have seen is from (one suspects) sandals-wearing Linux early adopter tekkies who seem to think it is all a bit easy to use and "commercial".

I completely disagree. The

msl's picture

I completely disagree.
The Linpus o/s is the most dreadful system it has been my misfortune to encounter. I have wasted hours trying to get this piece of carp to use my Epson stylus printer, all to no avail. As far as plug and play goes, for get it. It has no idea that the Bluetooth dongle is in the slot.
Buy the windows version of this computer, at least it works properly out of the box.

Your printer is a piece of carp

MH's picture

Sorry to say, it's not the OS but your printer - Epson probably didn't bother to make a non-Windows driver for it. In the say way that a lot of hardware doesn't work with Vista because the manufacturer didn't bother to write new Vista drivers.

It would be unfair to slam Vista because there is no driver for my old Creative sound card, and in the same way slamming Acer for not supporting your printer is unfair.

It's up to the device manufacturer to provide device drivers... and the solution is not to buy devices that have "secret sauce" drivers.

> The only gripe I have is

Poldie's picture

> The only gripe I have is that if you are a UK user your googlemail account will not work for
> chat in the inbuilt Messenger and you will need to get yourself a proper Gmail one by using a
> service such as to hide your UK IP address, but that seems so be a
> Google issue rather than anything in Linpus.

I'm not sure this helps, but is exactly the same as Have you tried just typing gmail instead of googlemail? It's worked for me whenever I've tried it.

Not exactly right...

FRLinux's picture

Actually, the laptop is left with default repositories from Fedora8, i could quite easily add pidgin, firefox 3 (from alternate repo), vlc, mplayer updates and codecs amongst other things.

Saying it is a painful operation is looking at it the wrong way. First time you went on Windows, I guess you didn't exactly know where to get software you wanted to install or how to install it. With yum, i don't exactly see how that differs.

This is a nice latop and works well especially with 1.5GB of RAM (beware Geri, it does void your warranty but at that price, i don't think this is a biggie).


Webmistress's picture

I find the package manager extremely easy to use. I added filezilla, skype, etc. I don't think this would be too difficult for a new Linux user, esp after enabling the menu on right-click.

Katherine Druckman is webmistress at You might find her on Twitter or at the Southwest Drupal Summit

What about the audio

Anonymous's picture

What about the audio quality, from the speakers and thru earplugs ?

Acer Aspire One

KimTjik's picture

Speakers on these small devices aren't anything to boost about, but with earplugs I would say sound is as good as what any laptop would give.

I bought one to my wife and she loves it, even though the touchpad still gives her trouble. Personally I can't wait to install Arch on it with xmonad as wm, but as courtesy to my wife I let her get familiarized with Linpus... eh, I agree with the review: it's more a light version of Fedora 8.

Since a couple of easy clip & paste tweaks open up many possibilities, including the fedora and livna repositories, I can't see why this could be viewed as difficult. It will maybe take a newcomer to Linux parts of a day to understand, but what is that compared to several years of using for example versions of Windows?

Rumours say that extra 6-cell batteries soon will be available. I only hope that the price setting will be corrected. As it looks now it will cost too much compared to the worth of the whole machine, which in a sense contradict the purpose of these devices. An extra 6-cell battery in the bag would be nice and make Aspire One an even better working tool (6 hours should cover the need of a typical working day).

Just as an Anonymous person wrote I see this as a good tool with ssh installed. Cellphones are compared to this device overpriced and awkward to work with. If only telecommunication companies would offer USB-modems without the for linux unnecessary included storage device which has a tendency to interfere (I've struggled with one such modem on this computer but couldn't get it to switch to modem mode), so we could get these babies connected easier, then it would be close to perfect.