After three years of really good service, it was time to replace my old Asus 901. I checked online, did some searches, looked at the price lists and finally I pulled the trigger on an Asus 1215N, which is one of the Ubuntu Certfied Asus netbooks.
This netbook is really nice: great keyboard and great 12" screen; plus the battery lasts about five hours (not that I use my netbook on battery, but this is a great improvement since my old Asus). It comes shipped with Ubuntu 10.04. I tested it briefly, and all the hardware was working fine. I also tracked down which locally created packages were installed to make the proprietary hardware working.
Since I wanted to try the recently released Ubuntu 11.10, I went for a fresh install of the 32 bits version from a USB stick, and immediately found that things would have been a bit harder than expected.
First issue - the network: I don't have a working wireless network
at home, so I have to rely on my LAN... the Ethernet card is an Atheros
AR8152 (ver. 2.0) and the correspondent
atl1c module shipped with the
kernel 3.0.0 - installed by default with Ubuntu 11.10 - acts oddly.
Saving the technicalities, it has to be updated.
Second issue - the wireless: It's a Broadcom BCM4313 chipset, and needs a proprietary firmware (included in the Ubuntu repositories).
Third issue - ACPI: there's something I haven't yet figured out, but on battery both LAN and WLAN don't work. I guess it's due to the controller which is under powered to save some battery, but I haven't dug too much so far, as I rarely use my netbook on battery.
To make the Ethernet card work, I followed the instructions in this message; for the wireless you are just one package away from the solution, and for the ACPI I need to investigate a little further.
So far so good... :)
NOTE: on the hard disk there's a FAT32 partition with the original installation on it. It can be mounted, so I took a great advantage from it while struggling with the fresh install.