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ACER Aspire 1694WLMI 1024 with Gentoo Linux

Note: This page may be outdated as I do not use Gentoo anymore since some months, I've moved to Ubuntu which is, IMO, more easily configurable than Gentoo.


1. General Informations

1.1 In Brief

Linux works very well on my laptop.
I just have some minor problems and in most cases I have found some temporary fixes.

1.2 Hardware Information

1.3 System Information

  • OS: GNU/Linux
  • Distribution: Gentoo Linux
  • Kernel: 2.6.13, Gentoo patch r3
  • XServer: XOrg 6.8.2
  • Window Manager: KDE 3.4
  • ATI Drivers: 8.18.6

1.4 Contact

If you have any comment (questions, suggestions, corrections,...) please use this mail address to contact me (in English or in French):
tuxmym -at- gmail -dot- com (replace ' -at- ' by '@' and ' -dot- ' by '.', this is a SPAM protection). Also here is my

1.5 Warning

I am NOT responsible for any damage that the information on this site may cause to your system.

2. Configuration

2.1 Boot

Kernel option: noapic to avoid a lock up at boot just after loading the kernel

2.2 Network

2.2.1 Wifi

Kernel modules and options:
  • ipw2200 led=1 (external packages: ipw2200 and ipw2200-firmware)
  • acerhk force_series=1690 autowlan=1 usedritek=1 (external package: acerhk)
System configuration:

I use the Wireless Tools (Gentoo package: wireless-tools)
In my network configuration file, I have these kind of lines (in Gentoo, the file is /etc/conf.d/wireless):

What doesn't work: to make the WIFI working, I have to press the wireless button of my laptop when Linux is booting, after the ipw2200 and acerhk modules loading but before the activation of the wireless interface. If I forgot to do this, I have to press the wireless button and restart my wireless interface.

2.2.2 Ethernet

Kernel module: tg3 (TIGON3 at Device Drivers|Networking Support|Ethernet (1000 Mbit)|Broadcom Tigon3 support)

2.3 Acpi

Before any modification, everything is working except the battery state.
The problem comes from the bios' DSDT which is buggy.
I didn't manage to debug it, thus I've downloaded a DSDT for my laptop Acer model here: 
Didier Clerc's blog (other DSDTs can be found here: ACPI4Linux)
I provide the file here too (for an Aspire 1694WLMI): DSDT.aml

To use this DSDT, you can dynamically load it at boot (other solutions and more informations are available here):
  1. patch your kernel with an initrd patch from here: ACPI DSDT in initrd,
  2. enable 2 options in the kernel (not as module!):
    • ACPI_CUSTOM_DSDT_INITRD at General Setup|Power Management|ACPI Support|Read custom DSDT from initrd,
    • BLK_DEV_INITRD at Device Drivers|Block  Devices|Initial RAM disk (initrd) support,
  3. copy the DSDT.aml file into your compiled kernel directory (/boot in Gentoo),
  4. edit your boot loader configuration file to load the file at boot:
    • with grub you have to edit grub.conf and add this line in your menu entry: initrd /DSDT.aml
      • example (do not use this example as is, adapt it accordingly to your system):

2.4 Sensors

I haven't found any Hardware Sensors Chip support (in the Linux Kernel 2.6.12).
The I2C Hardware Bus support is Intel 82801 (ICH), however, without Chip support I cannot access to the temperatures and the fans speeds.
With ACPI I have, at least, the processor temperature (I use ksensors from KDE).

2.5 Graphic

2.5.1 ATI Drivers Configuration

Since I've installed the ati drivers 8.18.6, there is no need to modify the ATI settings generated by the tool fglrxconfig to make the display rendering working well.
Here are my ATI and screen settings, in the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file:

Section "Device"

Section "Screen"


What doesn't work (tested with drivers 8.14.13):

  • if I start another X serveur (start -- :1), the system can freezes at any time (for instance if I start some games like Neverwinter Nights),
  • I do not manage to get working simultaneously the S-Video output and the laptop screen. If I want to use the S-Video, I have to plug the device to the S-Video connector, next I restart the X Server, then I'll have the S-Video output working but a black laptop screen.

2.6 Sound

Kernel modules: snd_intel8x0, snd_ac97_codec, snd_pcm, snd_timer, snd, snd_page_alloc

What doesn't work: for some applications, sound only works on the first one launched. A solution is (for alsa users) to use the alsa dmix plugin for playing sounds. For example, with amsn I've replaced the command "play $sound" by "aplay -D plug:dmix $sound". So I can listen music with xmms and have sound with amsn simultaneously.

2.7 Input devices

2.7.1 Touchpad

Kernel module needed: psmouse

XOrg driver: synaptics (Gentoo package: synaptics)

To use it, you have to add an Input device in the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file:

Section "InputDevice"

Section "ServerLayout"


What doesn't work: some applications and some function keys make the touchad stop working. The solution is to remove the psmouse module (modprobe -r psmouse) and reload it (modprobe psmouse).

2.7.2 Function Keys

I used the
Didier Clerc's blog once again, thanks to him.

  • You have to first set them with the setkeycodes tool.
    Execute this script at each boot (in Gentoo, call this script from /etc/conf.d/local.start):

  • Then you have to define an action for each key using the hotkeys tool (Gentoo package: hotkeys).

    • add the Acer Aspire 1690 series definition file (file path in Gentoo: /usr/share/hotkeys/aceraspire1690.def):

    • define the model and the actions in the /etc/hotkeys.conf.
      For example:

    • start hotkeys with your Window Manager.

      In KDE you can create a script and put it in your ~/.kde/Autostart directory (name: hotkeys.desktop):

What doesn't work:
  • the FN + F5 function key (to switch between S-Video output and laptop screen) do nothing,
  • with some full screen applications (Neverwinter Nights or dosbox for instance), function keys don't work, they are even disabled, so I have to start the script again after having closed the application.

2.8 My Configuration Files

3. Miscellaneous

3.1 Performances

3.1.1 glxgears

Score: 3999

3.1.2 Neverball

Frames Per Second (FPS): 78.5
Configuration: Neverball version=1.4.0 / resolution=1280x800 / textures, geometry, audio=high / reflexion, background, shadows=on / set=Mehdi's level, level=1, start position

3.1.3 UT2004 (bench parameters from Linux-Gamers)

3.1.4 3DMark 2005 (tested before removing the pre-installed Windows Familial Edition SP2)

Score: 2503

3.2 LiveCD tests

3.2.1 Ubuntu 5.04

To make the kernel booting, I had to add "noapic" to the kernel command line: "live noapic".
To make the devices detections not freezing, I had to add "acpi=off" to the kernel command line: "live noapic acpi=off".
The LiveCD make my sound card working, detect my ATI X700 video card, configure my 1280x800 screen resolution, set the free ATI driver, however I had a black screen when the X server was launched. I haven't found any way to make it working.

3.2.2 Knoppix 3.9

Same kernel options than Ubuntu at boot: "knoppix noapic acpi=off".
X server is working fine, sound and ethernet network are working too.

3.2.3 Bouldows (Unofficial Windows LiveCD)

Freezes just after the boot... the same for the WinXP install CD (first version).
WindowsXP Service Pack 2 may install properly.
The same for the restore CDs, but they will probably remove existing partitions before create new ones and copy the pre-installed system.

Last update: October 21th 2005