With a couple of tweaks, the Acer Aspire 5740 series looks like a winner for Linux users. Two issues I have run into both have workarounds. The other one should be an easy fix as well.
As I mentioned before, I am running Arch Linux on this computer. Out of the box you can’t adjust the backlight brightness. I confirmed the same with Ubuntu 10.04. This can be fixed by adding the following to your GRUB kernel parameters:
A kernel patch has been proposed here to prevent the need for this; maybe it will make it into the next release.
Because of an issue with the tg3 driver in the kernel, the Broadcom wired NIC is not detected properly at startup. A temporary fix is to remove the tg3 module, load the Broadcom module then reinsert the tg3 module. A better solution is to download the current driver from Broadcom, compile it yourself and install it.
N.B. – Make sure you have your kernel headers installed before you try to compile the module.
UPDATE – It seems that the tg3 driver is fixed in the 2.6.35 kernel so the above procedure is no longer necessary (after you upgrade).
There also seems to be an issue with audio coming from the built-in speakers when the headphone jack is in use. I will get to that one soon.
Everything else just works! If I come across any other issues I will update this post.