Errata‎ > ‎

Acer Aspire OS Alternatives

FINAL Update 21 November 2021  

This page will be used to collect requirements and rate alternative operating systems for an Acer Aspire One Netbook (532h).  Originally setup to evaluate alternatives to win7 home but turned into somewhat of a hobby.  The evaluation checklist is tailored to my world, but may be useful to others.  Slow/Low Priority project ... Thoughts/comments welcome.

Jan 2021:   Playing w/ SSD in AAO.  Win10 reinstall on an SSD - Notes


2021 Status:   AAO  is STILL alive 10+ years!

Current Config:  AA0 532hUpgraded Memory (2g) and Win 10 in 2017

Now used as our one and only Windows machine.  Also periodically used as a home Network Monitor, via USB boot to Network Security Toolkit (NST 32) - Notes

2021 Plans:
  • Attempt to breath final life into AAO - Win 10 has bogged down a lot!
  • Dual Boot to favorite Linux
  • OS Testing will continue, but likely to slow

Latest Tests

 Ratings:  A=Perfect (out of box), B=Little Tweak,
C=Big Tweak, D=Works/Flaky, F=Total Fail
  Win 10

In Process

 Fix Major Win7 Annoyances      
 Fast user switching

 Autorun Portable Devices

 Upgrade $$$!                  
 General Simplicity3           
Our World    
 Home Network Participant
 Music Library Participant   

 Home Applications
 Apps/Add-ons Availability 
 Ongoing Evolution/Support  
Hardware (532h-2588)
 Touch pad (2-finger scroll) 

 Card Reader

 Audio Input (mic)
 Audio Output 
 External Monitor

 Power Management 

 Keyboard/Function Keys

 USB Slots
 Desktop/Window Manager
 Version Tested
Change Wallpaper, Screensaver, Visual Style, etc - Where Win 7 Starter totally fails
2 VERY Clumsy with wifi, mapped drives, network printers, and non-windows peers 
3  Intuitiveness, e.g. Finding/installing drivers/software, locating files, Security & Maintenance reboots ......
See Notes

Latest Test Notes

SSD + Win 10 Reinstall

  • Overall:  In process, Attempt #3!  Attempting fresh Win10 install on SSD to breath some life into AAO.
  • Motivation: AAO Hard disk has now turned 11! 
    • Had an unused Samsung EVO 850 (250g) SSD* on my workbench ...
    • Still have a couple of Windows-Only Apps in the house, AAO now is our only windoze machine!
    • Current AAO Win 10 has never been snappy, but has slowed after years of updates.
  • Notes:

2020 Activities

December 2020
  • Manjaro KDE Plasma - Live Boot from SSD:  Wow!  Nice & fast!  Same version installed to SSD - BAD!   Notes
June 2020

May 2020
  • Elive - Works great on AAO, would take a lot of getting used to!  Notes
  • Bodhi - Minimal w/ Enlightenment - Nice!  Notes 

Feb 2020

2020:   Our AAO  is STILL alive and kicking,  9 years old and counting!

Our Aspire's role is typically a Network Monitor on IoT subnet, running Network Security Toolkit (NST 28) - Notes

Other tests Planned for 2020
  • Lightweight OS alternatives - see how long AAO keeps kicking!
  • Other Network Security tools

2020 Tests

 Ratings:  A=Perfect (out of box), B=Little Tweak,
C=Big Tweak, D=Works/Flaky, F=Total Fail
Bodhi 5.1

Runs Pretty Well!

Elive 3.0.6

Pretty fast
Very Different

 NST 32


KDE Plasma


 Fix Major Win7 Annoyances          
 Fast user switching F F F B F
 Autorun Portable Devices
 Upgrade $$$!                  
Free! Free/Donate! Free/Donate Free & Pro Free/Donate
 General Simplicity3            B B CN B A+
Our World    
 Home Network Participant A A C B B
 Music Library Participant   
 Home Applications B A B n/a A
 Apps/Add-ons Availability  B A A A A
 Ongoing Evolution/Support   TBD A A A A
Hardware (532h-2588)
 Touch pad (2-finger scroll) 
 Webcam A A A
 Card Reader
 Speakers/Audio     A A A  A
 Audio Input (mic)


 Audio Output  A A A A A
 External Monitor
 WiFi A A A B B
 Ethernet A A A A A
 Power Management 
 Keyboard/Function Keys
 USB Slots A A A A A
 Desktop/Window Manager Pixel Moksha
based on Enlightenment
Enlightenment (17.6)
Mate KDE Plasma
 Version Tested Version:
February 2020
Release date:2020-02-12
Kernel version:4.19
Size:2985 MB
5.1.0 64bit
March 2020
Based on Ubuntu 18.04 (Bionic Beaver)
Elive Stable 3.06
Based on Debian "wheezy"
NST 32 SVN:11992 20.1.2-201019
KDE 5.19.5
Kernal 5.8.16-2
Change Wallpaper, Screensaver, Visual Style, etc - Where Win 7 Starter totally fails
2 VERY Clumsy with wifi, mapped drives, network printers, and non-windows peers 
3  Intuitiveness, e.g. Finding/installing drivers/software, locating files, Security & Maintenance reboots ......
See Notes

2020 Test Notes

Manjaro KDE Plasma

  • Overall:  Still Investigating.   Worked VERY well when I booted from USB - Live boot. 
    Same version installed to SSD from VERY same USB, is running like crap... what the heck is going on here!  
  • Motivation:  Have settled on Majaro KDE for my Raspberry Pi desktop replacement project - it has been working very well.   Decided to boot it up on a couple of older X86 machines to see how it does, including AAO!
  • Official info @
  • Notes:
    • Start here @
    • Downloaded manjaro-kde-20.1.2-201019-linux58.iso (2.9g) and burned it to 8g USB stick using Etcher
      (on a Raspberry Pi 4 Manjaro Desktop!)
    • Booted right up - pretty snappy
    • Live Boot Tests
      • AAO Hardware
        • WiFi - worked fine. 
          One little glitch, it didnt dicsonnect when I plugged Ethernet.  Probably by design
        • Webcam via VLC, seemed to work fine.  smooth movement!
        • Audio - tested using YouTube video via Firefox, smooth, 40% CPU max!
          • Internal Speakers worked fine
          • Headphone jack, switched when plugged, worked fine
        • External Monitor - worked!  Popup when plugged, options of mirror, dual left/right, etc
          • Some flaky behavior when using dual monitors, mouse stuck on Monitor#2. 
            I didn't fiddle with it,
        • Function Keys - Most work fine, WiFi was exception, had to enable/disable via panel
      • Software - I like Manjaro  A LOT!
        • Active Project
        • Official Repository is quite full and active
        • Also access to Arch AUR applications, VERY nice, integrated into Software GUI

NST 32

  • Overall:  In Process.  Looks really good, so far!  Seems much faster than current (NST 28)
  • Motivation:  Our AAO runs NST most of the time, monitors our IoT/Things subnet.  Accessed via browser 
    • Have been running NST 28 for quite a while, thought I'd try 32.  
    • Also sort of a test of Fedora 32, NST underpinnings
  • Official info @
  • Notes:
    • Too big for usual NST 8g Memory stick - first time!  Used 16g for live boot test
      Downloaded nst-30-11992.x86_64.iso from
    • Live Boot test
      • GUI seems MUCH faster - may be Fedora 32
      • Does support multiple users, not sure I'd say FAST user switching
      • Home Network, SHOULD Work.  Samba installed, may have to play with smb.conf.  I suspect it is secure.  I may have to set min protocol and WG name in our world
      • AAO Hardware most seems to work ... 
        • skipped a few, but suspect cam, mic and such will work
        • Some FCN keys work, be careful with external monitor
        • Something went bump switching to external monitor, freeze!  Had to reboot, didn't dig into it.
      • Some Mate config screens didn't fit on AAO display using default resolution ... probably can be fixed, easy to work-around
      • Looks good enough to push on ...
    • Install to faster/larger Thumb Drive (instead of messing with fedora persistence)
      Takes quite a while.  Watch Anaconda installer, I always mess it up.  BE PATIENT!
      • Run Set NST System Passwords - sets passwords *and* starts web worlkd (NSTWUI)
    • Post install - pretty random setup and testing, mostly for my world.  Getting old, need to leave tracks
    • <More to come>


  • Overall:   Runs well on AAO, but too different to operate.  Probably OK if this were only OS in use
  • Motivation:  Just HAD to try ... 
    • Very intrigued by Enlightenment Desktop *and* support for older/slower hardware
    • Taglines on main web page are sooo good ...
      "...Elive, maybe the best Linux OS ever made
      - And probably the only distro you'll stay with -
      But Elive is not for everyone, are you the exception?"
      "...Do not waste your time doing your own customizations which already took 14 years of polished work here."
  • Official info @
  • Notes
    • Download immediately with donation or wait an hour of so.  Interesting technique, reasonable!
    • Started with Stable version 3.0.6.  Live USB image w/ persistence!
    • Install notes - first time boot
      • Persistence is option right out the gates!
      • Skipped hardware accelerated desktop (OpenGL), don't think OpenGL supports AAO GP 
      • Post boot setup is nice/thorough!
      • Very keyboard/hot-key oriented.  Would take some getting used to 
        • alt+esc:  Launcher
        • Hotkeys help in toolbar helps!  (looks like boat throw ring)
        • easiest to left-click on desktop to bring up app menu
      • Boots sloowly AND presents GUI WHILE things are still ramping up, confusing
    • AAO Hardware - so far so good
      • Cam - tested via Cheese ... fired it up via Terminal
      • Power management is here someplace, would take some GUI tweaking  
      • AAO hardware seemed to work well in general
    • Software - I did a lot of fiddling via Terminal.  I suspect all will work, but may take some effort
      • Windows network wasn't browsable, couple of smb.conf tweaks didn't help
      • Launcher wasn't much use - comes up, but doesn't fire stuff up - trackpad?
      • Quite a lot pre-installed software!  3 or 4 internet browsers, for example
      • Repository seemed pretty well populated -


  • Overall:  Runs pretty well, nice and light.  Will probably take some tweaking for full time use
  • Motivation:  Have noticed a couple of lightweight with Enlightenment desktop ... interesting
  • Official info @  
  • Notes:
    • Downloaded and etchered a 16g usb drive using bodhi-5.1.0-64.iso - 820M Download
    • Live booted, didn't install.  No obvious way to add persistence
    • Nice/light install not a lot of extra apps
    • AAO Hardware seems to work fine 
    • Settings are a little different - felt light/minimal.  Suspect brute force to adjust some things
    • Did not get image on ext (vga) monitor, didn't fiddle much.  Should work 'Presentation Mode"
    • Browser didn't seem to handle html5(?) - youtube visit failed.  VERY odd
    • Little sluggish at times, but may have been the old/slow USB stick I used
    • Interesting App Center @  
      • Pretty nice library, AppStore-Like installs
      • Traditional Package MGR also included


  • Overall:  Quite painless.  Seems a little sluggish at times, but it works, usable - especially for Pi/Pixel fans!
  • Motivation:  I have a lot of PI's, just wanted to see how this works on AAO
  • Official info @
  • Notes
    • ISO Download was 3.1g.  from
    • Created Bootable (16g) usb using Etcher from
    • Booted RIGHT UP!
      • Even had option to run with Persistence
    • Automagically Fired up "Welcome to Raspberry Pi" dialog to take of must-do's
      • Language/Keyboard 
      • Change Password
      • Set up WiFi
      • Update OS and software friends
      • Restart!
    • AAO Hardware looks pretty good!
      • WiFi worked right out of the blocks
      • Webcam, OK
      • Touchpad worked fine, even 2-finger scrolling.  No fine tuning w/o installing help, tho
      • Audio seems fine, external jacks too!  I didn't test Mic jack
      • Keyboard/Function Keys were flaky, some may work
      • External (vga) Monitor works ... but ...
        • Function Key does not seem to switch
        • Dual Monitors (Appearance Settings in Pixel) seemed to always mirror the display
      • Power Management:  Monitored AAO battery, no pre-installed power management utils
    • Other Observations/Experiences
      • One inexplicable lockup - happened when switching from Ethernet back to WiFi
      • Seemed a tad sluggish at times - cpu pegged when visiting youtube, for example.  

2018/2019 Activities

2018/2019 Tests

 Ratings:  A=Perfect (out of box), B=Little Tweak, 
C=Big Tweak, D=Works/Flaky, F=Total Fail
  NST 26
NeverWare CloudReady Manjaro

Fix Major Annoyances






 Fast user switching
 Autorun Portable Devices
 Upgrade $$$!                  
 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 (home) $0
 General Simplicity3            B A B B B A B
Our World    
 Home Network Participant A A DN A A CN  A
 Music Library Participant   
BN A no test C B D  B
 Home Applications  n/a A
A n/a C A
 Apps/Add-ons Availability  A A D A A C  BN
 Ongoing Evolution/Support   B A B A A A  A
Hardware (532h-2588)
 Touch pad (2-finger scroll) 
 A A B A A A
 Webcam  -- F DN A
 Card Reader
  F DN A A A A
 Audio Input (mic) -- no test C A B
no test 
 Audio Output  A A C A A A A
 External Monitor

A A A A A  B 
 WiFi A A A A A A A
 Ethernet A A A A A A
 Power Management 
 Keyboard/Function Keys
A B B C A Some  Some
 USB Slots A A A A A A B
 Window Manager  Gnome  Xfce  Xfce  Xfce  Mate
(me thinks)
 Version Tested  26 SVN 9267 
Xenial Xerus 16.04.3 LTS
9.3.0 amd64 (Live ISO) 3.6
28 SVN 10439
See Notes

2018/2019 Test Notes

NST 28

  • Overall:  It works, I'm using it, but I STILL don't like NTOPng!
    Still poking around, but Network Security Tookkit NST 28 runs quite well on AAO. 
    Some new/different tools, but I'll get used to it
  • Motivation:  My AAO runs NST most of the time, it watches over our 'Things' subnet (IoT monitor), but also periodically used to debug/monitor network.  AAO has been running NST 24 for a few years ... struggled with upgrades in the past
  • Notes (used Getting_Started guide to get things rolling)
    • ISO Download was 3.6g - nst-28-10439.x86_64.iso, may be too new for me (8/24/2018)
    • Created bootable 4g USB using Mint's Disk utility (Restore Disk Image) booted up fine
    • Initial AAO tests using live boot
      • AAO Keyboard seemed fine.  fcn keys all seemed to do what they are supposed to
      • External Monitor worked right out of the box
      • Power Management seemed fine too - battery monitoring, etc
      • Sound/Audio - Seemed to be more utilities in this release (Players, Mixer controls, etc)
        • Output sound seemed to work fine out of the box
        • Did not see Mic detected, but I'll bet it would work if needed
    • Install to 32g USB drive for more testing ... 
      • I don't use persistent USB boot with NST, can't recall why.  "Install to Hardisk" w/ big/fast usb stick
      • Install is slow, seems unresponsive at times but wait it out ...
      • Had to delete all partitions on target USB - could not figure out how to get install to format/use
      • Looks like 18g avail on 32g USB after install - plenty for now
    • Ran System/Configuration/NST Package Management -> Upgrade NST System ... seemed to be worth it
    • Tools I've configured/used
      • NSTWUI - Webfrontend @ https:<ip address>:9943/nstwui 
      • Odd, I had to bookmark /etc/nst.conf - useful nst passwords in here!  And yes, I did run nstpasswd!
      • Struggling with resolving local hostnames ... more to come
      • Network/Monitors
        • Network Bandwidth Monitor works fine - eth & wifi
        • NTOP came up fine @ https:<ip address>:3001 
          • Default uc/pw = admin/admin (DID I run nstpasswd?)
          • NTOPNG Community edition only ... I'll get used to it!
      • Security/Intrusion Detection
        • Snort/Sguil is working!   NOW I remember WHY I started this NST upgrade!
          • Sguil UI is new @ https:<ip address>:7743, PW is in nst.conf!  (don't get me started)
          • MUCH easier than installing snort & friends!
          • Lot to learn here .... 
          • <still working here>
      • Lanalyzer/Packet Capture Tools (keep it simple - Single Tap capture/tshark decode)
        • Works fine, with stumbles on capture filter syntax, of course!  Just copy from examples!
        • Handy link/tool - hex packet decoder @
        • Very handy tools here - lot to learn/see, addictive/fun if you can see entire network 
      • Network/Tools & Utilities - Looks like there are new ones here, nice!
      • Stumbled on Cockpit web console via SSH - Quite nice
        • start:  systemctl enable --now cockpit.socket
        • Access via:  http:<ip address>:9090
        • Looks like AAO will be fine with NST 28 (test with snort/sguil and NTOP running)
          • Processors < 50%
          • Mem & Swap - around 1.5 of 2.6g
      • Kismet - haven't used before, struggling thru set up ... yeeesh!

Parrot OS

  • Paused - Loaded latest version of ParrotOS Security Edition on USB Drive
  • Motivation:  Home networking issue driving me nuts!  Parrot worked great in the past
  • USB Via Etcher - 32-Bit downloaded (in haste, but that's OK) - Parrot-security-4.4_i386.iso
    back to original USB stick (overwriting Manjaro, in haste again!)
  • Notes as I go (but not right now, I need to fix something!) 
    • Ack - fumbling with persistence ...  paused for now
    • <more to come>


  • Overall - It worked,  seemed nice.  A bit overloaded/cluttered for me.  Lots of preinstalled stuff!
    • Nice/user-friendly Linux Dist -
    • Testing cut a bit short when I reused the USB memory stick for Parrot!  I had a network issue
  • USB Live test - no persistence, just a quick test
  • Motivation:  Actually looking for alternatives to Mint for my main desktop, had it on USB, decided to test on AAO
  • Notes as I go
    • Apparently based on arch linux ... Been on my list!
    • Looks pretty good - sort of easy to use.  LOTS of stuff preinstalled
    • Package Manager is odd interface, not sure what it is.  No apt or yum from commandline?  Its pacman!
    • External Monitor worked, but kinda wierd.  I didn't mess with dual monitors - default was mirror, I think
    • USB's seemed to work, but looked like it was trying to autorun flash drives (failed to mount, op pending)
    • Not as simple/intuitive as I'd hoped 


  • Neverware CloudReady Home Edition - Chromium OS on a stick!
    Overall - It works, Neverware did a good job - it's ChromeOS
  • On my ToDo List for a long while, noticed that AAO 532h on the list of supported devices!
  • Motivation: I needed a Chromebook to test out an idea - we'll see how close this comes!
  • Notes as I go
    • Zip download was 1g - from Home Edition Download Page
    • for bootable USB (my fav).  Using 16g mem stick
    • Came up fine - little sluggish, but that may be old USB
    • Hardware appears to work BETTER than advertised in Aspire 532h Features & Exceptions doc
      • My webcam worked out of the blocks - which was GREAT because my test involved video calls!
    • May just be how chromebooks work, but adding apps can be fun(ny)!
      Using Web Store, some get added as 'apps' on OS others may be extensions in chrome browser. 
      Be careful in Web Store, seemed like a lot of junk to weed thru
    • My Checklist 
      • Looks like it will support multiple user accounts - sort-of Fast-User Switching
      • Home network participation w/ some help
        • Installed Network File Share for Chrome OS (in spite of 2 our of 5 star rating)
        • Printing - network printers didn't work out of the box, installed cloudprint app, but not what I was expecting.  
      • AAO Hardware - card reader, external monitor, output audio and such seemed fine
      • Some minor slowdowns/sluggishness, but overall quite usable
  • Enough of this - it works, it's OK, It's ChromeOS

Linux Lite

  • Overall, VERY NICE!  Runs great, almost everything worked w/o tweaks - one little bump 
  • Forgot about Linux Lite!  Have been using on slow PCs for some time  ... Should be great on AAO
  • Took a few tries, but ...
    • Got it running on persistent USB (4g stick with 2g persistence) using UNetbootin
    • Really struggled to get it connected to wifi initially - ended up being the keyboard!  Drove me nuts!
  • Other notes
    • Tested all multimedia with VLC - will need to install music player


  • Overall: Nah, looked like most stuff would work - messed around with USB boot too long - aborted
  • Messing with Debian Stretch for another project, could have sworn I ran on AAO before, but no record of it!
    • Have had good luck/performance with Xfce on AAO, will start there
  • Struggling to create bootable USB with persistence ... stretch may have changed things?  Some guides:
  • Test notes
    • Never did get USB w/ persistence working ... messed around long enough
    • Failed to browse home network via file manager - I didn't dig into this
    • Failed to find a couple of my favorite packages in repository 
    • Attempted quick test of webcam using VLC media player - failed, but I didn't attempt to tweak/fix
    • Audio output worked out of box but no obvious volume control on desktop - used alsamixer
    • Audio in (Mic) appeared to be working - didn't find recorder, but managed to get some feedback going
    • Did not get card-reader working - simply quick test, didn't look into this either

Ubuntu Studio

  • Overall:  Booted for the fun of it, but it ran remarkably well!  Didn't spend a lot of time on AAO, but did install on a bigger machine to do some video editing work
  • Xenial Xerus 16.04.3 LTS (64-bit), actually quite snappy on 2g AAO
  • Power Management seemed to work right out of box ... BUT ... 
    • one odd event where battery level went from 40% to critical/alert/plugin-now!   May be AAO battery
  • Most AAO Hardware worked fine - I didn't attempt to poke/tweak to get devices working

Network Security Toolkit

  • My AAO runs NST 24 most of the time - network/security probe running NTOP and Snort
  • Nov 2017 - NST 26 SVN:9267 upgrade *** Aborted ***
    • Overall:  Live Boot worked well, but install went poorly.  Features were not what I had hoped
    • Live Boot:  Things ran very well off of USB stick, fedora 26 seemed to get along fine on AAO
    • Install was rough:  No grub choice for standard Gnome Desktop - Fluxbox was default
    • Security App Changes:
      • No pre-installed OpenVAS (Vulnerability Scanner), I must have misread release notes
      • Old NTOP was removed, I like/know that one.  Will play w/ NTOPNG to be ready next time!
      • Hoped to play with Snorby - not there

    • Created 4g usb boot using iso and mint USB Disk utility
    • Initial Boot from Live USB:
      • Blueman takes a dump @ startup  ("quit unexpectedly") - has happened since NST 22
      • OS Runs fine, notes as I go
        • WiFi - no prob
        • Network - Win/Workgroup fine
        • Audio output works
        • trackpad, works fine, had to tweak to set tap-to-click
        • Seems to have more general apps, media player for example
    • Install Notes - I 'install' to a USB drive instead of using persistence ... can't recall why 
    • Apps
      • old NTOP is gone!  Oh NO! change!  I liked that one!  AAO constantly ran NTOP!
        • ntopng - it works .... but...
          • had to set admin password to match nstpassword?  THEN login with admin/admin(!) and change it again via WebUI ... I need to retrace my steps here 
          • Need to figure out filters - need to ignore the probe itself?
          • no show stopper, more testing needed
      • snort/snorby - TBD, BASE is gone, but I'd like to run snorby
        • Fumbling as usual
        • <punted>

2016-2017 Activities

2016-2017 Tests

 Ratings:  A=Perfect (out of box), F=Total Fail  
 Puppy (Slacko) Kali  Knoppix Parrot
Fix Major Annoyances    

 Fast user switching  F! n/a
 B B  A  A  A  A  B  A
 Autorun Portable Devices
 C  C  A A  C  C  A  C
 Upgrade $$$!                  
 $0  $0  $0  $0  $0  $0  $0   $0
 General Simplicity3             C  C  B  C  C  B  B  C
Our World   
 Home Network Participant  A  B
 A  A  A  A  D
 Music Library Participant   
 A  C  n/a  F  D  n/a  D  
 Home Applications  A  D  n/a  n/a  B  n/a  n/a  n/a
 Apps/Add-ons Availability   A  C  D  C  A  A  A  C
 Ongoing Evolution/Support    A  B  B  B  B  A  C  C

 Touch pad
(2-finger scroll)
 A  A  A  B  C  A  A  B
 Webcam  A  A  A  n/a  A  A4   B4  
 Card Reader
   F  A  A  A  A  A  A
 Audio Input (mic)  B  D   F  C  A  B  
 Audio Output   B  C  A F  C  A  A  
 External Monitor
   F  A  A  F  A  A  F
 WiFi  C  A  A  A  B  A  A  A
 Ethernet  B  A  A  A  A  A  A  A
 Power Management
 B  B  A  A  B  A  A  D
 Keyboard/Function Keys
 A  C  B  C  C  C  A  C
 USB Slots  A  A  A  A  A  A  A  A
 Version Tested  v1703  6.3.2
  24 SVN 7977
1 Change Wallpaper, Screensaver, Visual Style, etc - Where Win 7 Starter totally fails
2 VERY Clumsy with wifi, mapped drives, network printers, and non-windows peers
Intuitiveness, e.g. Finding/installing drivers/software, locating files, Security & Maintenance reboots ......
4 Installed Cheese and/or Google voice/video to test

2016-2017 Test Notes

Win 10

  • Works pretty well - STILL TWEAKING, but IS USABLE especially after adding memory*
  • Pretty tight on memory, Still working on making more avail for apps
  • Chrome is a PIG - pretty much un-usable!  Probably due to memory 
  • Initial Performance tweaks:
    • Turned off Animations - sysdm.cpl/performance/visual effects;  Adjust for best performance
    • Attempting to Shut up Cortana - Settings/Privacy/Speech, Inking & Typing: click "Stop getting to know me!"  BUT She is still running ... more to come
  • Windows 10 Creator (v1703) - July 2017

Elementary OS

  • Had been playing with Elementarty OS on a desktop, decided to give it a boot on the AAO.  
  • Failed - never got past splash screen 

Mageia 5

  • Always liked Mandrake, came up great on AAO - but gave up on testing/tinkering
  • Testing cut short, Aborted - never did figure out USB persistence - lost interest and patience 
  • Touch pad worked out of box with right/bottom scroll areas, but no real tweaks that I could see (e.g. 2finger scrolling is a fav) 
  • WiFi worked out of box - little different configuration
  • Power Management seemed to work fine, even suspend/resume, but noted some odd auto brightness adjustments while running on battery
  • Little slow/sluggish running off of USB stick
  • Didn't test mic or camera

Puppy Slacko

  • Nice!  Fast!
  • Different:  Not really Multi-User, session can be saved/restored - so no 'Fast User Switching"
  • Win Workgroups and Linux Network shares came right up
  • Lots of stuff installed/buit-in - a tad cluttered on AAO display ... BUT many nice facilities, including a tool to remove built-in packages!   
  • Used pAVrecord to test webcam
  • Did not get audio input working, but pretty sure I could if I tinkered with ALSA, inbuilt sound could probably use a tweak or two - sounded like crap
  • Persistence is a gimme!  You setup persistence and save config during first shutdown/restart - Nice!

Security Onion

  • Originally tested to simplify Snort install/setup 
  • Based on ubuntu 14.04 64-bit
  • 14.04 Release Notes:  Little disappointed, no Live Boot option, no Snorby
  • No Live Boot:  Couldn't find/figure out LiveCD, ended up doing an install to a 32g USB flash drive.  3 partitions - 8g ext4 for /, 4g swap and 20g ext4 for me (home).  so far so good
  • Based on Ubuntu 14.04 ... works a lot better than 13.04 (abort!), but still quirky.  
  • Mouse Pointer disappears - probably this bug - its annoying, always happens after sleep/wake sequence
    My lame work-around:  
    • Bring up app menu by moving imaginary mouse pointer to upper left
    • Type some stuff in search box of programs menu while moving mouse
    • Mouse pointer eventually reappears (Yeeeesh!)
  • Misc Notes
    • System appears to be nicely locked-down from firewall (iptables) perspective, did not fiddle to test home network.  Even struggled with ssh to access system!
    • Personalization, user switching, etc handled by outer Ubuntu 14.04, features seemed to be intact
  • Not what I was looking for.  I wanted a simple way to spin-up a portable IDS and plug into our home network to watch over things (IoT world in particular).  Looking forward to *not* installing/configuring snort/snorby, but seeing how they work.  Snorby was no longer avail on SO 14.04


  • Updated to Kali 2016.2 32-bit on 32g Flash Drive.  I needed more space for logs, capture files and such
  • No audio devices, a few fcn keys work.  Overall appears to be solid
  • Config steps and links so I don't have to find them next time!
    • Live, Persistent Kali USB drive @
    • Tweaking in process
      • AAO Trackpad - turn on Tap to Click, but still a bit touchy/odd
      • service ssh start (as needed)
    • snort/snorby - I punted, not using snort/snorby under kali - it was a pain to install/configure
      • Kali is now my road warrior boot - for external scans and such away from home
      • NST used as probe, IDS, monitor, etc when AAO is on home network


  • KNOPPIX 7.7 - install to flash disk to get reusable environment, I didn't bother
  • It talks (Audio) when it boots! 
  • LOTS of applications, very nice UI and pretty snappy on AAO 
  • Almost too much included with the distro - you have to sift through applications and menus
  • Audio did not work out of the box - record or playback.  Fiddled a little with kmixer, probably OK
  • Touchpad worked, but never found the tweaks I use for 2 finger scrolling and tapping
  • Some function keys appeared to work - Mute, Brightness and monitor on/off
  • Networking worked out of the box. One slight hiccup with WiFi required reboot

Network Security Toolkit

  • My AAO runs NST most of the time now - quite useful as a network/security probe
    more @
  • Jan 2017 - NST 24:SVN 7977 - works VERY Well
    • Successfully updated to 24:SVN 7977 64-Bit - lots of nice tools
    • "Installed" to a 32g memory stick this time - instead of live boot w/ persistence
    • Notes to self (stuff I struggle with each time I upgrade this one)
    • Runs great on AAO - lots of security tools accessible via web browser
  • Nov 2017 - NST 26 SVN:9267 upgrade *** In Process ***
    • Mostly interested in OpenVAS (Vulnerability Scanner) and snort UI (snorby), release notes @
    • Created 4g usb boot using iso and mint USB Disk utility
    • Initial Boot from Live USB:
      • Blueman takes a dump @ startup  ("quit unexpectedly") - has happened since NST 22
      • OS Runs fine, notes as I go, will fill-in test table later
        • WiFi - no prob
        • Network - Win/Workgroup fine
        • Audio output works
        • trackpad, works fine, had to tweak to set tap-to-click

      • old NTOP is gone!  Oh NO! change!  I liked that one!  AAO constantly ran NTOP!
        • ntopng - it works .... but...
          • had to set admin password to match nstpassword?  THEN login with admin/admin(!) and change it again via WebUI ... I need to retrace my steps here 
          • Need to figure out filters - need to ignore the probe itself?
          • no show stopper, more testing needed
      • snort/snorby - TBD, BASE is gone
        • Fumbling to get 


  • Security Oriented OS, runs great on AAO!
  • Followed Parrot Live Install Procedure to create 3.4.1 Live USB.  Booted fine on AAO
  • Lots of Security Tools!  Well organized.
  • Mate bottom panel gets in the way of dialogs periodically - set to autohide on AAO 
  • Looks REALLY good - Playing with persistence so I can put some more miles on it
    • Ended up moving to 16g USB Stick w/ persistence.  Some tools require space to install/use
    • Quite possibly a replacement for my Kali portable security toolkit
  • OpenVAS vulnerability scanner is pre-installed, typically a BEAR to get up and running.  
    Steps (and notes to self):
    • Menu:  Parrot->Vulnerability Analysis->OpenVAS initial setup - will take a while (hours?)
    • Remember to reset OpenVAS admin password or record password created by script
      sudo openvasmd --user=admin --new-password=<new_password>
    • Menu:  Parrot->Vulnerability Analysis->OpenVAS start
      • Menu:  Parrot->Vulnerability Analysis->OpenVAS Sanner->openvas check setup
        (fix anything that needs it 
      • Menu:  Parrot->Vulnerability Anaysis->OpenVAS Sanner->start gsd
      • Greenbone is @ https://localhost:9392 - add ssl exception and permit scripts
  • Sept 2017 update:


  • Aborted tests - lots of odd shit to deal with:  GUI apps failing, authority (even as root)
  • Installed livedvd-x86-amd64-32ul-20160704.iso
  • Had to boot with no Framebuffer (no fb) to get GUI up
  • if using USB boot - here's Persistence setup
  • Keyboard:  Most function keys appeared to work, no menu w/ windows button
  • Power MGT:  Didn't appear to deal with Battery, no monitoring 
  • External Monitor did not appear to work

Older Tests

2013-2015 Tests

 Ratings:  A=Perfect (out of box), F=Total Fail   
 Win 7


Fix Major Annoyances
 Fast user switching F

A  C
A  A  A

A  A  B
 Autorun Portable Devices
A  C
A  A  A
 Upgrade $$$!                  
 $80! $0 $0   $0  $0  $0  $0 $0 
 General Simplicity3            D
 B  D  C B B  B
Our World    
 Home Network Participant  D2  A 
 F D B A  A
 Music Library Participant   
 A C
C  D
 n/a  n/a  D
 Home Applications4  A B
B  B B  n/a  n/a  n/a
 Apps/Add-ons Availability   C A  A A A  C D  A
 Ongoing Evolution/Support    C A
 A A A  Whoops! C  C

 Touch pad 
(2-finger scroll) 
 B A  A  A A  A A  A
 Webcam  B  B4   B4  A  B4  n/a A  B4
 Card Reader
 C A  F  F F  A A  A
 Audio Input (mic)  B  C  B  B B  n/a F  B
 Audio Output   C  A  A  A A A A  A
 External Monitor
 A  A  A  D   B A  A
 WiFi  C  A  A C2 A B A  A
 Ethernet  B  A  A A   A A  A
 Power Management 
 B  B  B  B   B C  B
 Keyboard/Function Keys
 A  C  C  C   C A  A
 USB Slots  A  A  A  A   A A  A
 Version Tested    15  13.04  18  13.10 BT 5 RC3, KDE
 1.09a  22 SVN
Change Wallpaper, Screensaver, Visual Style, etc - Where Win 7 Starter totally fails
2 VERY Clumsy with wifi, mapped drives, network printers, and non-windows peers 
3  Intuitiveness, e.g. Finding/installing drivers/software, locating files, Security & Maintenance reboots ......
4 Installed Cheese and/or Google voice/video to test

2013-2015 Test Notes:

  • All tested via Live USB boot with 2g of persistence when possible
  • Mint - Worked very well.  Fast, easy to work with.  AAO hardware worked right out of the box with the exception of the mic, which required fiddling to get working - used this post  Connected nicely to mac world, windoze network and network printer (Dell M5200).  Mate is snappy and easy to use.
  • Ubuntu was rough - did not run well at all.  Slow, periodically unresponsive, not worth continued effort.  Aborted.  
  • kubunu - a little disappointing, KDE Plasma Desktop is cool.  A lot of good old Linux monkeying around to achieve network participation.  Never did get SD card reader working.  Live USB boot seemed slower and more cumbersome than Mint.  Periods of slugishness/unresponsiveness.
  • Fedora - Some probs switching between wifi networks - would not release network connection dialog box, had to reboot.  Lots of fiddling to participate in home (windows & mac) network.  External monitor was flaky, appeared to be related to differences in resolution/aspect.
  • BackTrack - Specialty distro (security tools) but a VERY pleasant surprise, it runs great on AAO 532h.  Tested KDE (plasma) window manager, but didn't mess around testing hardware or features that wouldn't be used for security scans, audits and such ("n/a" in table above).  Odd/sporadic issues adding software via kPackage. 
  • Xubuntu - Attempt #2, little rough, tinkering required.  Takes dumps on startup (ubuntu internal error and keyboard input method), connecting to smb network did not work out of the box.  Some AAO hardware seems to be working., Doesn't seem as fast as Mint ... Maybe more to come 
  • Kali -  Attempt #2. Live/USB is pretty painless/easy -  Some fiddling to get persistence  Internal mic didn't seem to work (very quick test), internal/external audio seemed fine via smoking monkey youtube test.   USB, cardreader, external monitor and trackpad worked with no putzing.  Kali tools don't seem to be as fully baked as BT - but could just be learning curve. 
  • Kali 2.0 - Somewhat of a forced update due to 1.0 EOL and repository purge.  Had a heck of a time going back to 1.1 with persistence for some reason.  I'd recommend sticking with Kali 1.x on the Aspire for the time being and using archive mirror for time being ("deb moto main non-free contrib" in /etc/apt/sources.list)
  • NST 22 - Looks REALLY good!  Still some testing to do, but the toolkit (and fedora) seems to function well on AAO!
    • 11/11 - Didn't make it through the night - looks to be hung, power management?
    • 11/19 - More testing with new USB stick (w/ 1g of persistence).  Will switch to NST until Kali 2.0 has a few more miles on it.
      • Card reader works fine, I initially used a bad adapter
      • Little burp at Startup - bluman takes a dump when you initially boot (probably due to no bluetooth)
      • Power Management seems fine, no hangs, features seem to work
      • Built-in Audio seems fine - input levels seem to change when testing mic, output tested fine
      • Did some putzing with Exile media player - did not work out of the box
      • Fedora Live USB Creator is a little flaky.  After adding persistence it fails with "vesamenu.c32:  not COM32R image" during boot.  Workaround for now:  Tab Key, then enter 'gdm' to bring up mate

AAO Tools & Links

* T. Pedersen Ventures is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to