|Hardware||Status under Linux||Notes|
|Atom D525, 1.8 GHz, dual core||works|
|2 GB DDR3, single channel||works|
|Western Digital hard disk||works||disk permanently spins down and ignores all hdparm commands except disabling APM completely, this is what I did to solve the problem|
|Broadcom BCM4313 WLAN chip||works||I use the brcm80211 driver.|
|Atheros AR8152 LAN chip||works||I use the atl1c driver.|
|USB 2.0 controller (3 ports)||works|
|HDMI port||?||didn't test|
|Intel GMA 3150 graphics||works|
|nVidia Optimus technology||?||no support under Linux; you can disable Optimus manually which gives you at least 1 hour more running time|
|nVidia ION 2 chip (512 MB DDR3)||?||didn't test (doesn't work according to Gentoo wiki)|
|Intel HD audio chip||works|
|Card reader (SD, MMC)||?||didn't test|
|Webcam, 640x480||works||tested with Cheese|
In February 2011, I got my new notebook, a 12.1" Asus 1215N. I chose this one because of its low weight and its (currently) superior hardware. When I tried to setup Debian, I had to solve some problems (I don't have much experience with Linux on notebooks). I finally managed the task using some information from the web.
There are certainly several ways to achieve the goal of installing Debian on the 1215N. Here, I will just portray how I did it. I used Debian 6.0 (Squeeze).
This file is a work in progress. It is not complete yet. At the end of the file, I list some problems I encountered with the 1215N and the solutions I figured out.
Many tutorials on the web assume that you already have a Linux machine up and running. When it comes to the driver installation, it is assumed that you have a working internet connection on your notebook. In my case, both assumptions were not the case. I used a Windows machine to download all necessary files and transferred them via a USB stick onto the Asus.
This is the first difficulty. You cannot just make a bootable USB stick from the Debian standard installer (the ISO image) and use it for installation. The installer will boot but ask for a CDROM, which of course is not present --- at least if you don't own an external optical drive. I don't, but I own an external hard drive, and I used it for the installation. If you don't own an external hard drive, you probably have to use the netinst installer image instead of the files I used.
dd if=boot.img of=\\.\X:, with X the drive letter of your USB stick. Under no circumstances make a mistake with the arguments of dd. It can destroy all data on your hard drive.
Now, the basic installation is complete. The next step is to install some important packages without you won't get any further.
mount -o loop your-iso-image-name /media/cdrom).
makewithin its directory. The build process takes a while. One can speed it up by pre-selecting the LAN driver (atl1c) using the command
scripts/driver-select atl1cbefore executing make. Then, I typed
sudo make install,
sudo make unload,
sudo make wlunload,
sudo make btunload,
sudo modprobe atl1c.
sudo dpkg -i firmware...all.deb.
The sound chip works out-of-the-box. As wireless manager, I use wicd and the wicd Network Manager, contained in the Debian ISO image. You may probably want to use another network manager, especially if you don't use Xfce. UPDATE: I now use NetworkManager instead of wicd. This is because NetworkManager supports mobile broadband connections. This required to use kernel 2.6.39, since 38 and 3.0 didn't work (system freeze). Since kernel 3.1, there are no problems anymore (and the Broadcom WLAN driver can handle weak connections much better, but still not as good as the Windows driver).
sudo hdparm -B255 your-drive-namehelps. (I modified /etc/hdparm.conf so that the change is not forgotten at reboot.) Beforehand, I had made a BIOS update using Windows and ASUS Update (the original version in the machine is outdated) and changed the disk mode from AHCI to IDE, so I don't know if hdparm alone suffices to solve the problem or if the BIOS update is also necessary.
I use Debian Testing (kernel 3.2 from the official repo) together with Xfce 4.8. The RAM usage is very moderate: immediately after startup, with NetworkManager and some panel applets loaded, the system consumes less than 128 MB memory. The software I use most of the time is gedit, Opera, LibreOffice, Pidgin, Terminal, and GCC. I also use Iceweasel, Eclipse, Netbeans, GIMP, Inkscape, VLC, Audacity, Hydrogen, FileZilla, Nemiver, and some other programs. All works smoothly, even watching full screen Flash videos (depending on the player). Also games are possible with integrated graphics: Bos Wars, Extreme Tux Racer, OpenArena, and OpenTTD work fine, only SuperTuxKart has a low frame rate (which probably is the fault of SuperTuxKart). Since kernel 3.1, the system is completely stable (before, the WLAN driver could cause kernel panics in certain avoidable situations).