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Linux crashes on new laptop

July 22, 2019 — BarryK

Well, not so new, I bought it in January 2019, as replacement for my baby Cherry Trail based laptop that Linux did not run properly on. The new laptop is an Acer Aspire 1 A114-31-C014 and I have had ongoing issues with Windows 10 on it:

I have since then blocked updates, by setting them to only occur when wi-fi is connected, then setting a very low data limit on wi-fi. Windows has been working ok, except recently there is a notification that pops up every time that I run the laptop, telling me that there is something wrong with my Microsoft account, that the password seems to have changed. Well, I haven't changed it, and I did click on the link which is supposed to resolve it ...and it asked for a password, then wouldn't accept my password.

I am getting desperate to run Linux on this laptop, unfortunately Linux crashes. Not just EasyOS, I also tried the latest beta of Linux Mint, version 19.2. The desktop starts, then after about 20 seconds the screen freezes but the mouse pointer still moves, then after a few more seconds there is a drop to black screen.

It requires holding down the power-button to power-off.

I did a lot of googling, tried various things, such as kernel boot parameter "iommu=igfx_off", there was even a suggestion that one particular commit was to blame -- which I reverted, recompile 5.1.18 kernel. Nothing worked.

The mystery is, EasyOS works fine on my Mele pcg35 mini-PC, which has a Intel Celeron (Apollo Lake) J3455. The Acer laptop has Apollo Lake N3450. These are the same chip, same video Intel HD graphics 500, the J3455 is just faster.

I wrote about the Mele PCG35 here:

Hmmm, what to do? The only crash information I have is from the log:

/usr/bin/xinit: connection to X server lost 
waiting for X server to shut down XIO: fatal IO error 11 (Resource temporarily unavailable) on X server ":0"
after 113 requests (112 known processed) with 0 events remaining.
(II) Server terminated successfully (0). Closing log file.

I wondered if a bug has been introduced into the Intel i915 kernel module at some stage, so I tried older releases of Easy and Quirky. I had success, booted Quirky Xerus 64-bit version 8.1.5, with 4.8.8 kernel. That version was released in December 2016, and the Apollo Lake CPUs were also released in 2016, which is interesting. Perhaps the Intel i915 driver in the 4.8.8 kernel is not Apollo-Lake-aware. Whatever, it works.

I suppose that I could very painstakingly test kernels after 4.8.8 and try to narrow down where the problem comes in. really don't want to have to do that, it is really outside the scope of what I do. 

EDIT 2019-07-22:
Tested Debian Buster 10.0 LXDE live ISO, written to a USB stick. Same problem, the desktop freezes but mouse still moves. I see also the clock in the tray is still working. Watched it for several seconds, did not drop to black screen, but then clicked on something in tray and it did drop out to black screen. Had to hold down the power button to power off.  Debian is using the 4.19.5 kernel. Given how popular the Acer Aspire 1 series is, this is not good. 

EDIT 2019-07-22:
Fixed, see here: 

Tags: easy