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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.