July 28, 2009

Don't buy Linux laptops (atl1c fail)

Friend of mine bought Acer Aspire 5810T with big sticker advertising Linux support on it. After installing Fedora 11 on the laptop the "fun" started. He had constant issues and we talked for some time over the phone... and all that time I thought it was only a new user error.
After he brought it to me and after some investigation I saw that the issue is with ethernet card driver. Ethernet card uses atl1c module from companny called Attansic that has been bought by Atheros. For details on the issue you can look at Fedora and Ubuntu bugs.
But the moral of the story is that if you want to run Linux don't buy laptops that have stickers advertising Linux support on them, and don't buy Acer laptops!
UPDATE: This Acer laptop came with Linux pre-installed. My friend called me and asked what should he do after after laptop boots and shows him "root:#" prompt! I told him to type startx but it seams that it came without any GUI or Window Manager! Then I told him to install Fedora 11.
Also there is a big sticker on the laptop exclaiming "8h battery life", but after installing Fedora 11 Gnome battery applet displays only 4h of battery life! Any comments? Maybe they tested battery performance with that pre-installed Linux - they leave it at root prompt and do nothing for 8 hours :)
I send mail to atl1c developers at Atheros and props to them - they replied almost instantly and sent the source of correct driver. I tried compiling module on my machine and it works, I'll try it on friends machine today and report back. So we are making some progress.