Friday, April 16, 2010

Installing Ubuntu(Jolicloud) on Acer Aspire Revo R1600

I recently purchased an Acer Revo R1600 ($249CAD) and seeing as it only came with FreeDos I decided to install Ubuntu on it.
Acer AspireRevo AR1600-U910H Black/White Desktop PC (Windows XP Home)
It also comes with a keyboard and mouse
First I tried a live boot with Ubuntu 9.10 and noticed everything was working except the wireless card(Atheros 5000). The wireless did not seem to be detected at all, ifconfig showed no wireless entries and the network manager did not show it either. I decided to install anyway and see if I could get the wireless working. After a lot of googling compiling drivers etc. I still didn't have working wireless. Seeing as wireless is crucial because I am setting up my R1600 as a Home Theatre PC(HTPC). I decided to give the Ubuntu 10.04 Beta a try. Things were a little better, the card was detected but did not function at all.

At this point I figured I would try Jolicloud. If you are not familiar with Jolicloud it is an Ubuntu variant based on version 9.04 designed specifically for netbooks. It has some great features including an "App Store" and the Ubuntu Netbook Remix(UNR) interface which is ideal for small screens or touchscreens. The thing I love most about Jolicloud is the Hardware support. Basically all netbook hardware runs out the box(and on a live boot) including wireless cards, webcams, graphics cards including NVIDIA and the problematic GMA 500 and it even comes with codecs pre-installed.

I tried a live boot of Jolicloud from a usb stick and all the hardware worked flawlessly. The screen was running native resolution at 1920X1080 and the wireless card was detected and working. After an install to the hardrive and an install of XBMC my HTPC is up and running.

Even though Jolicloud is a netbook OS it scales well to larger resolutions, automatically switching to window mode rather than using Maximus which is specifically for small screens. It still uses UNR at higher resolutions but seeing as I am using it as a HTPC and have XBMC running on the occasions when I need to jump out of XBMC to do something UNR works quite well when using the PC from the couch.

All in all 5 stars for Jolicloud. The installation was easy, the hardware support is amazing, I haven't installed a single driver or codec myself and everything is working perfectly.

Some useful links:


  1. Do you use a remote with jolicloud? I also have an R1600, and I'd like to use boxee as mine is also used as an HTPC. I'm having a heck of a time trying to get my Windows Media Center remote control & keyboard to work.
    There aren't any tutorials on the subject for jolicloud, so I've been trying the Ubuntu tutorials with no success.

  2. I did have a remote working with lirc but i have since switched to using XBMC Live. Google around on how to setup lirc and there should be some good info.

  3. Have you made the update to the new Jolicloud (based on 10.04)? Are there video players that work with the ION chip?

  4. @ysamjo I am now using XBMC Live which is handling HD video content perfectly with the ION chip.

  5. how did you get xbmc installed mine just spits back errors?