Linux On Laptops

Installing Ubuntu on Acer Aspire 3684WXMi

by Francesco Conti

Last updated: 25/10/2007

Acer Aspire 3684 wxmi

General Hardware Specifications of Acer Aspire 3684WXMi:

Hardware Components
Status under Linux
Intel Celeron M 1.86GhZ Works No special procedure required during installation.
14.1 WXGA Works No special procedure required during installation.
Intel Graphics Accelerator 950 Works No special procedure required during installation
1024MB, DDR2 Works No special procedure required during installation
80 GB SATA Hard Drive Works No special procedure required during installation
Integrated Network Card  Works No special procedure required during installation
Internal 56k Modem Not tested yet Not tested yet
24X Max Variable CD-ROM Drive Works No special procedure required during installation
Atheros AR5006EG wifi card Works View instructions below
Lithium-Ion Battery Works No special procedure required during installation
Audio Controller Works View instructions below

This laptop is operating under Kernel version 2.6.22-14-generic

Basic Installation of Ubuntu:

Ubuntu 7.10 "Gutsy Gibbon" (

Audio Controller

Enabling Sound

The sound driver works, but you cannot hear it because the playback device is set to mute. The playback device is actually “Surround”.
  1. Double-click on the speaker icon in the title bar. This brings up the volume control.
  2. Click on edit preference. This brings up a list of volume control preference.
  3. Check the box for “Surround” and press Close.
  4. A surround control should appear in the volume control. Unmute the surround control and adjust the volume.
  5. Close the volume control.
  6. Right-click on the volume control again and select Preference. This brings up a different volume control preference. This allow you to select which control the main slider is hooked to.
  7. In the Volume control preferences. Select Surround and press the Close button. This connects the volume slider to the surround control.

Unfortunately, all of the other controls on some of the media software like RealPlayer is hooked to the wrong control. Changing the volume control does not change the surround and so you must use the volume control on the menu bar instead of on the media player.

Atheros AR5006EG wifi card

 Under Construction

Disable "Atheros Hardware Access Layer (HAL)" module from ubuntu restricted drivers manager (in System -> Administration)

Download and install acer_acpi module :

(ubuntu howto here: )

You can find the original HOWTO at:

Make sure you use the appropriate version of the drivers for your version of Linux. If you're using a 64-bit version of Linux, you must use 64-bit drivers. You can check this using the following command:


getconf LONG_BIT

I personally recommend using the wicd program for WiFi connectivity. It boasts built-in WPA support and has been successful where other network connection manager programs have failed.

This chipset showed up on my Acer Aspire 5050-3785. The lspci program spit out the following info:


Atheros Unknown device 001c (rev 01)

It also has been incorrectly labeled as an AR5006X device, in some cases.

Here is a step by step procedure to install the drivers manually (in case you don't want to use the script I wrote, or if it doesn't work properly). Open a terminal and copy/paste the following lines:

1a. Download the ndiswrapper (v1.4 source code and AR5007EG Windows drivers:



1b. Download the AR5007EG Windows XP drivers:
If you're using a 32-bit version of Linux, use this command:



For 64-bits of blazing WiFi glory, use this:



2. Extract the archives:


tar xvf ar5007eg-*.tar.gz
tar xvf ndiswrapper-newest.tar.gz

3. Ensure you have your kernel headers and the build essential package.


sudo aptitude update && sudo aptitude install linux-headers-$(uname -r) build-essential

4. Blacklist the ath_pci kernel module (it doesn't support our chipset).


echo "blacklist ath_pci" | sudo tee -a /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist

5. Compile ndiswrapper:


pushd ndiswrapper-*/
sudo make uninstall
sudo make install

6. Install the Windows drivers (using ndiswrapper):


pushd */ar5007eg/
sudo ndiswrapper -i net5211.inf

7. Make sure ndiswrapper loads up every time we start Linux:


sudo modprobe ndiswrapper
echo "ndiswrapper" | sudo tee -a /etc/modules

8. Restart your computer.


sudo init 6

Q: Linux seems to see my device now, but it can't see any networks. What can I do now?
A: This frequently happens on built-in devices. There's usually either

Q: I can see wireless networks. Why can't connect to any of them?
A: There are a couple options to try here. If you're using WICD to connect and WPA encryption, under preferences, make sure that for WPA Supplicant Driver, you're using WEXT (make sure you've installed WPA_Supplicant). If you're using WEP, try putting your key in "double quotes". If you can't connect to an encrypted network, try removing they key to see if that's the problem. If you're not using WICD, try it out; many people have been successful simply after switching the wireless connection manager program to WICD.

Q: None of this worked. I'm no closer to having my wireless working than I was when I first installed my OS. What's wrong?
A: Try running sudo modprobe ndiswrapper; the program should run silently. If you get any output, there's a problem. If the ndiswrapper,ko file can't be found, run sudo depmod -ae, then try sudo modprobe ndiswrapper again.

If you installed your OS a long time ago, some people have had better success with a fresh install. Try installing the drivers while running from the Live CD.
EDIT: I removed the instructions for using the script. It seemed to not work for anyone other than me. I checked it over several times and couldn't figure out why. The instructions and the script seem to perform the same set of operations.

Unresolved issues

Under Construction
Configuration Files
Under Construction

More Specific Information. 

Under Construction
Contact Information (Optional)

Linux On Laptops