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The Acer Aspire 1 (A114-61) is a cheap laptop with a 14 inch full HD display, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen 1 processor, it launched in 2021 as a budget notebook running Windows 10 in S Mode software.

But developers have been working to add mainline Linux support, and with a recent addition to the upstream Linux kernel, that work is almost complete.

As Phoronix notes, support for the Acer Aspire 1 was largely added to the Linux kernel when Linux 6.5 was released this summer. But some hardware still wasn’t supported.

The latest kernel patch includes an embedded controller driver for Acer’s laptop that brings support for USB Type-C DisplayPort Alt Mode (for video output to an external display), detection of lid status (allowing the computer to be put to sleep when the lid is closed, for example), and monitoring of battery and charging status. The update also adds support for configuring the behavior of the Fn keys on the keyboard.

Developer Nikita Travkin says the EC driver is “one of the latest pieces to get almost full support for the Acer Aspire 1 laptop in the upstream Linux kernel.” While the kernel patch doesn’t specify which components of the laptop aren’t supported yet, an entry in the postmarketOS wiki suggests that the built-in microphone probably isn’t supported by the mainstream Linux kernel yet.

Acer is no longer selling new Aspire 1 (A114-61) laptops, but this is all good news for anyone who already owns one and is hoping to run Linux on the laptop… or for folks looking to pick up a cheap, Linux-friendly laptop with an ARM-based processor, because you can buy a refurbished model for $250 from Acer or Newegg.

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  1. So it says multitasking is easy with 4 GB ram, but let’s say I want to also run an application as well as a pdf viewer…?!?! Mmm but battery life tho?

    1. Very dependent on the OS. For comparison, I have the pinephone pro (arch, sxmo, 4gb of ram). At the moment I have Spotify (web app), Google Messages (web app), Voyager (web app) and two other tabs opened. I also have three TUIs running (finch, neomutt, gomuks) and the heaviest app running is easyeffects… it’s doing okay but a lil warm. I do have a swap find but I generally don’t need it if I’m not running all of this at once.

      Now battery life… well I can’t speak for that chip but my og pinephone 3g had great battery life and was mostly functional (old chip could chug sometimes). The pro.. is okay.. if you know what you’re doing – but not great in sense of battery life

  2. It’s so interesting to me what systems people will work to make Linux run on while there are so many options without special hardware, original OS to remove or other restrictions/complications.

    1. If anything, it’s the most anyone can do to show that demand for systemready ARM motherboards, although I doubt Microsoft and Qualcomm aren’t going to respond to that demand with anything but refusing to use the standard and locking the bootloader….then go do guerilla marketing insulting people for “still” using x86 even though “the world has moved on, get with the times or get left behind”.

      1. I wouldn’t be surprised if RISC-V smartphones will reach the market before Windows on ARM makes 10% market share (vs. windows x86).

    2. If no one worked to make Linux and other OSes work on various hardware platforms, we wouldn’t have all those other options today. Why stifle innovation and exploration? That’s the kind of attitude I don’t understand.

    3. Well, I guess most people want to run Linux on an ARM laptop and there aren’t many that are capable to do so just out of the box, I can think only of the Pinebook Pro.