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Welcome to my blog, which was once a mailing list of the same name and is still generated by mail. Please reply via the "comment" links.

Always interested in offers/projects/new ideas. Eclectic experience in fields like: numerical computing; Python web; Java enterprise; functional languages; GPGPU; SQL databases; etc. Based in Santiago, Chile; telecommute worldwide. CV; email.

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ASUS 1015E-DS03 OpenSuse 12.3 SSD

From: andrew cooke <andrew@...>

Date: Sat, 28 Sep 2013 11:04:10 -0300

For some time I have been looking for a smaller, less valuable computer to
take travelling.  I thought a tablet might work, and bought a Nexus 7, but the
experience was awful for anything other than looking at web pages (and the way
Google tries to get in on everything is creepy - I guess an Apple device would
just drive me crazy).

So I decided to buy a netbook, only to find that they no longer exist.

So I eventually ended up buying this ASUS -

It looks like (slightly overweight?) netbook, and it comes with Ubuntu
pre-installed, suggesting that the hardware has decent support for Linux.
Unlike a netbook, it has a "real" processor (and i3 or celeron or something -
not an Atom or ARM).  But it only has 2GB of memory and the word on the
streets (dude) is that it needs an SSD to be usable.

So I bought one, plus a cheap 60GB Kingston SSD (which is way more than the
disk in my first laptop that ran OpenSuse...).  They don't deliver to CHile,
but Pauli was vitising the USA and brought them home for me (Amazon de deliver
to hotels, thankfully).

To save you reading the rest - it IS better than a tablet, but it's obviously
built to a price.  I guess I am spoilt using a ThinkPad every day.  What I
miss most are the pointing nub and a keyboard light.

Anyway, the rest of this post is info on how to install the SSD and OpenSuse.
My experience seems to differ from some other comments on the Amazon web page.
I don't uderstand why - perhaps the hardware inside changes with time?

To install the SSD you need to follow the instructions at
- there are a bunch of videos, of slightly different models, and they are
enugh to guide you through what needs to be done.

Note that, although I did this fine, it was not easy.  A fair amount of force
is needed in some moments, and it would have been pretty easy to crack the
casing / keyboard at times.

Also, be very careful with the ribbon cables.  The first time I took a
notebook apart I really messed up a cable connection.  This time I was very
careful to watch the videos closely and see how they work.  In particular, the
keyboard cable has a different socket (the clamp slides out) from others
(where the clamp hinges up).

Next, I installed OpenSuse 12.3 from DVD via a USB player.  That worked fine.
In particular, the suggested disk partition scheme included a Grub EFI (or
simila rnamed - can't remember exactly) boot partition, which is needed
because of secure boot crappiness.

However, once the install finished, I realised that I had no network.

The devices are reported as:

  netbook:/home/andrew # lspci | grep -i net
  02:00.0 Network controller: Broadcom Corporation BCM4313 802.11b/g/n 
  Wireless LAN Controller (rev 01)
  03:00.0 Ethernet controller: Atheros Communications Inc. AR8162 Fast 
  Ethernet (rev 10)

The ethernet controller (AR8162) seems to require alx from
but I haven't bothered with that yet.

The wifi controller (BCM4313) seemed to auto-detect the b43 module, which
requires firmware.  So I spent some time getting the firmware.  But NO - that
is a red herring.  In fact, that is the wrong driver.  So I blacklisted it in
/etc/modprobe.d/50-blacklist.conf and then the brcmsmac module was attempted
(you can see all this in dmesg).

That also needed firmware, which you can get by cloning a git repo as
described - use a
machine that is connected to the net to clone that and then copy across the
correct directory on a pendrive.

That got wifi working.

Later in the day I realised that the screen brightness was not working - the
screen was at maximum brightness, and the Fn+F5 anf Fn+F6 keys did not change

I cannot get those exact keys to work, but adding
  acpi_osi=\"!Windows 2012\" acpi_backlight=vendor
to the boot parameters (try this at boot time by pressing "e" at the menu and
then add permanently via Yast) got the file 
/sys/class/backlight/asus-nb-wmi/brightness working (as root you can "echo" a
value to that file and change the brightness).

With that I wrote these two small scripts:

l7 bin: ls
light-higher  light-lower
l7 bin: cat light-higher
b=`cat /sys/class/backlight/asus-nb-wmi/brightness`
b=`expr $b + 1`
sudo sh -c "echo $b > /sys/class/backlight/asus-nb-wmi/brightness"
l7 bin: cat light-lower
b=`cat /sys/class/backlight/asus-nb-wmi/brightness`
b=`expr $b - 1`
sudo sh -c "echo $b > /sys/class/backlight/asus-nb-wmi/brightness"

and bound Ctrl-F5 and Ctrl-F6 to those via KDE (system settings).  That lets
me control brightness by pressing those keys.


OpenSuse 13.1 Is Better!

From: andrew cooke <andrew@...>

Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2013 13:05:36 -0300

OpenSuse 13.1 (just released) works much better on this machine - both wifi
and screen brightness work out of the box.

To install, be careful to do two things:

 - Select the UEFI option from the initial menu when booting from the
   install DVD (and check in the summary the EFI boot is selected)

 - In the summary screen, before running the install, select software
   and add the kernel-firmware package.  Without out that, configuration
   hangs at 11% complete.

OpenSuse 13.1 doesn't actually *look* much different to 12.3 (the login screen
is nicer).  It just works better.


ASUS 1015E-DS02 Too

From: andrew cooke <andrew@...>

Date: Sun, 11 May 2014 20:22:19 -0400

I spilt a glass of coke over the previous one.  Bought a new model, and the
number is slightly different, but OpenSuse 13.1 still works fine.

EXCEPT for both models I have hit an issue with it not booting after (I think)
a kernel update.  See for the fix.


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