Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Install xubuntu 8.10 on eee 901

Got my WindowXP eee901 today. Actually, it arrived in a *pink* box.

First impression: It's really small, especially when viewing it side by side with my T61. The keyboard is indeed small, and some keys are in unconventional places. But the feeling of key strokes is not bad. The screen is matte rather than glassy finishing, which I really like. Unfortunately, the outside of the screen panel is polished, which I don't really like.

Now the important thing: take off the Windows XP sticker and put the xubuntu 8.10 on it. There are quite a few tutorials online on this, just name a couple:

A side notes. When I tried to make the first flash drive live disk a few days back, I ended up with a stick which didn't boot. The complaint is "No operating system found". I came across a post in some forum (I tried hard to locate it today, but not able to) saying about the same problem, and the fix is to use the testdisk utility to fix disk errors (MBR, partition table etc). So I installed the utility:
  sudo apt-get install testdisk
and it did the job. Now I have a bootable xubuntu stick made with the usb-creator program come with ubuntu 8.10, and ready to purge the XP.

Step 1: Install xubuntu 8.10 on the eee 901.

i) The flash drive is treated as hard drive rather than Removable drive in the eee's BIOS. So you should find it in the HDD boot device menu.

ii) The installer window is a little big bigger than eee's screen and buttons might be missing. Maximizing the window solves the problem.

iii) Disk partition. The eee 901 has a 4GB primary and a 8GB(windows) or 16GB(linux) secondary SSD. I formated the 4GB one to ext2 and used it for the root file system. The secondary SSD is also formated into a single partition and mounted at /home. This way, your home directory is untouched anytime you want to reinstall the system. I didn't make any swap partition since SSD is slow, and frequent reading/writing might do a lot of harm to the disk. The installer will complain about this, just ignore it.

After the installer has done its job, unplug the flash drive and boot into the new system. Wireless network does not work at this point, but the wired LAN works.

Step 2. Install the kernel.

Follow their instructions to install either the stable eeepc kernel or the eeepc-lean kernel. Reboot, the wireless network and most other hardwares now work.

Step 3. Install eee-control, which will make life a little bit easier.

Step 4. Tombuntu provides a few helpful tweaks.

Step 5. Remove preinstalled useless packages, upgrade, and install wanted packages, -- the usual thing.


metabradley said...

now that some time has passed since you installed xubuntu 8.10 i would like to know if you have run into any major issues or minor annoyances?

i am thinking about installing xubuntu on my eee 901 as well so i would like to know how it has been going.

Plutino said...

Thanks for your comments. But unfortunately, as saying in a later post, I returned both eee 901 I received for quality issues. I would say that if you have a good unit, xubuntu would rock. During the two days I played with them, all hardwares are supported, and battery life is an amazing 5 hours under intense use.

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