How to Install Kubuntu on Acer Aspire One

Installing Kubuntu on the Acer Aspire is really rather easy, but it will take a while.  I had installed an additional 1GB of RAM on my Aspire One, but this should work with the 512MB RAM defaults.  Kubuntu is nothing more than another version of Ubuntu.  I like it because it’s a little easier to manipulate some of the settings than Gnome desktop and it has a more familiar looking desktop.  This guide is for the Acer Aspire One mini notebook, but should work on just about anything computer that would run Kubuntu.

I have the ‘slow’ SSD Acer Aspire One.  It’s the SSD that’s slower and doesn’t have the write speed of the better SSD Aspire One, but I am quite happy with the performance of Kubuntu on my little Aspire One.  I did install the additional 1GB RAM, which is another process all together.  With the slower SSD and 1.5GB of RAM, I have Kubuntu running like a top and I love it!

Known issues: the WiFi led won’t light up after installing Kubuntu.

Anyway, let’s cut to the chase.  You want to install Kubuntu on your Aspire One and need a little help?  Well, I’ll help as much as I can, so here it goes…

Estimated Time for Install Kubuntu on the Acer Aspire One: 2 Hours

You will need:
Computer with Windows OS (I know)
Min 2GB USB Flash that you can erase all data on.
Kubuntu 8.04.1 ISO (Like Ubuntu, 8.04 will not work on the Aspire One)
Cat5 Cable with Internet connection

Creating a bootable USB with Kubuntu Live CD

  1. Download the Kubuntu ISO from here and save it on your hard drive.
  2. Download the Ubuntu8convert8.exe from  I know, it says Ubuntu, but it works for Kubuntu too.
  3. Insert your USB drive into the Windows machine and make note of the drive letter (If the drive letter is higher than K: you’re going to have problems, so change the drive letter if needed to something below K that doesn’t conflict with other drives.
  4. Run Ubuntu8convert2.exe you will be prompted to extract the contents. (I extracted to Y:) Be sure you have around 1GB free on the drive you’re going to extract to.  DO NOT EXTRACT TO THE USB!!   A new folder has been created called “Ubuntu8″
  5. Copy the Kubuntu ISO into the Ubuntu8 folder.  You can just drag and drop it, but be sure you have enough room on the hard drive to accommodate the size of the ISO.  You should now have the Ubuntu8 folder on your hard drive with the Kubuntu ISO inside the Ubuntu8 folder, there will also be other files inside the Ubuntu8 folder
  6. Click on fixu8.bat inside the Ubuntu8 folder (If you’re using Vista or logged in as restricted user, right click and run as administrator).  A command window will open and begin the process of copying the files and preparing the USB to be bootable.   Follow the directions of the prompts!!  You will need your USB drive letter, enter it when prompted.  This process can take a rather long time and seems to get longer with larger USB.  DO NOT STOP THE PROCESS!!

You have now created a bootable USB Live with Kubuntu 8.04.1

Installing Kubuntu on the Acer Aspire One

  1. Plug the USB into your Acer Aspire One with the power turned OFF and power on the unit.
  2. Press “F12″ when the machine starts to pull up the boot menus  F12 allows you to choose which device you will boot.  Choose the USB device
  3. Plug in your Acer Aspire One with a Cat5 cable that has internet (this isn’t mandatory and won’t cause a problem, but it will make things easier during install)
  4. Choose Try Ubuntu without any change to your computer.  Notice, it says Ubuntu and NOT Kubuntu, that’s OK and no need for alarm.  The install option may work, but it’s not what I used.  Let the machine load. It takes about 4 minutes for me from the USB on the Aspire One to load the Kubuntu OS from the USB Live.
  5. Let it load! If you’re using the Aspire One, there will be a prompt saying, you’re using restricted drivers, wait until this prompt pops up and close it.
  6. Click the Install icon on the desktop.  You will be prompted to choose your language, then time zone, keyboard layout until you get to “Prepare disk space”
  7. Choose “Guided – use entire disk” unless you don’t want to and you know what you’re doing.  You WILL loose everything that’s stored on the hard drive
  8. Let it install.  There are a few prompts, like are you sure you want to do this?  If you’re sure, then continue. The install is going to take a while (40 minutes for me) and is a good time for a coffee and donut break.   When the install is complete, you will be prompted.
  9. Reboot.  You will want to reboot!

You have installed Kubuntu, but you need to ‘fix’ a few things.

  1. Plug your Cat5 into your Acer Aspire One.  You’ll need to enable DHCP on your router.  If you don’t know what DHCP is, then you probably have it enabled, so don’t worry.
  2. Boot your machine.  The first time is going to take a little longer than normal as you’re going to be prompted for user name, password and such.  Don’t forget your user name and password!
  3. Open a terminal window no, this isn’t scary, it’s really quite easy.  Go to “K” which is where “Start” is on windows, then go to utilities and open the terminal.
  4. Get ready to do a little typing, but this is going to get your WiFI working, so it’s worth it.Into the terminal type:
    sudo apt-get update
    wait for the machine to do its thing.  Then type into terminal
    sudo apt-get upgrade
    These will get the latest updates for your new OS

    Now, let’s get those wifi drivers ready!  Into the terminal, one a a time, type in:
    tar xzvf
    We are NOW using the current builds which will change directories, depending on the build.  The above step will show the directory that was created (mine was madwifi-hal- this directory WILL change every time a new snapshot is made.  You will see the directory listed in the files extracted in the terminal (This IS easier than it sounds)
    cdmadwifi-hal- (This will change when new snapshots are made)
    sudo apt-get install build-essential linux-headers-$(uname -r)

    Sweet, you’ve just donwloaded the WiFI drivers for your Acer Aspire One, now let’s install them!  Type into the terminal, one line at a time:
    sudo make install
    sudo -i
    echo ath_pci >> /etc/modules

    You may or may not need the sudo on the last line before echo.  If you get an error without sudo, then add sudo.  If it still won't work, try kdesu.

    Now, we’re almost done.  Here’s the last line you need to type into the terminal

Viola!  You are done.  You now have Kubuntu installed on your Acer Aspire One.  I had to reboot to get the WiFI to work, so you might want to do it to.

Optimize and tweak your Kubuntu install

There are a lot of setting inside Kubuntu and if you want to have your OS running as fast as possible, you might want to get rid of some of the edsktop efffects and change the OS partition type from ext3 to ext2.

To change the desktop settings and much more in your Kubuntu install, go to “K” in the taskbar and then “Run” type in “kcontrol” and you will be prompted with w huge list of settings for the desktop to help optimize performacne.  I got rid of all the GUI effects and the bouncy cursour (which I hate).

To change the filesystem from ext3 to ext2, which I would recommend, you’re going to need the same bootable USB with kubuntu and follow the directions here.

Reducing SSD wear
Follow the directions in this post in the section about “Reducing SSD Wear” at Ubuntu users seem to report errors using this method, but using Kubuntu, I have had no errors.  But I also can’t ‘see’ a difference in performace.

Special Thanks!

Special thanks go out to AubreyWanderingStar and sbemail over at the forum.  Without their help, I would not have been able to install the WiFi drivers.