Confirmed: Ubuntu Netbook Remix 9.10 Does Not Support Acer Aspire One Battery – Moblin Does

I upgraded my Acer Aspire One (the first netbook I bought) from Ubuntu Netbook Remix (UNR) 9.04 to 9.10 this past December. It had been running UNR 9.04 fine for many months and I didn’t even consider the possibility that the 9.10 upgrade would be any problem. However, after the upgrade I found I could no longer run the netbook on battery power as noted in my personal blog:

Unlikely, But Did Ubuntu Netbook Remix 9.10 Kill My Acer Aspire One Battery?

UNR 9.10 reported the battery as fully charged when plugged into an AC outlet. I also tried charging the Aspire One overnight with the unit turned off. However, the netbook refused to book unless plugged in.

This past weekend I decided to try to “fix” the issue by trying another operating system. The logical choice seemed to be MeeGo. MeeGo is the result of merging Intel’s Moblin project with Nokia’s Maemo. Both are Linux based platforms for mobile devices. Unfortunately, I did not know that MeeGo’s initial release (March 31, 2010) for Atom based notebooks is just the core system. All you get is a text-based shell after logging in as root. This would be fine for a Linux server. But, it is not useful for an end-user with a netbook.

So, I downloaded a copy of Moblin 2.1, created a bootable USB flash drive and installed it on my Aspire One. I’m still not thrilled by Moblin’s graphical user interface (compared to UNR). But, the good news is that the Aspire One was able to run on battery power after fully charging it. Moblin reported the battery was fully discharged (0% battery). However, with Moblin in charge of the hardware, I watched the battery charge level move from 0% to 100% in a couple of hours.

It looks like UNR 9.10’s battery management subsystem does not support the Acer Aspire One. I’ve repeatedly run UNR’s system update over the months hoping some system level update would fix tis problem. However, this has not happened as of the batch of updates I ran over the weekend before wiping UNR off of the Aspire One’s SSD in favor of Moblin.