Thursday, March 20, 2008

Gutsy + 8Gig EEE Pc Howto

I thought I would explain my experience of how to install and tweak Gutsy Gibbon onto the Asus Eee Pc. First I'll tell my story and then I'll give the simple steps that I would recommend.

I'm using a standard Gutsy 7.10 cd install using an external CD/DVD. That install went quite normal and I chose to partition the drive with 5G for the root partition and 3G for the /home partition. As per a guide I found I made no /swap and I chose ext2 for the file system.

For working/non-working hardware post install, let me mention the non-working that I noticed right away:

Special Fn+(X) keys
wifi (ethernet did work)
sound (not really broken, just some complex setting changes)

After first boot I installed the build-essentials package from CD.

In my story, I fixed the wifi with the patch process from:
The Ubuntu Community EeePc page (had to move it over from another machine because I was too lazy to connect the cable). This got the wireless card working and I was able to de-select the CD as the source for software updates and run the normal updates online.

The updated included also kernel header updates so that broke the madwifi driver I had compiled from I re-compiled it again. That got the wifi working again after a quick reboot.

I found the page that points you to a script package which fixes most of the EeePc issues all at once. The script only gave a failure on the wifi (because I had already fixed it by hand).

Everything this script claims to fix, was fixed with the single exception of overclocking the processor. I didn't think it needed and the two times I tried it, it failed (locked up the box).

If someone were trying to to this today, I would recommend building a
usb stick of the live CD
, then with an additional usb or external drive have the script package as well as the madwifi source+patch (as a "just in case"). Armed with these two USB sticks I would:

  1. Live CD USB stick install using no swap partition.
  2. Connect ethernet port and run all updates, then install build-essentials
  3. use the 2nd USB key and run the script collection.
  4. *optional* only if step 3 didn't fix the wireless, use the source+patch to fix that.
Today I've got the EeePc running as a standard Ubuntu install. Skype (with
new version) supporting voice and video. Except for screen size, you wouldn't know it to be anything short of a standard install. I keep the compiz off to conserve resources...but for show, I can turn them on :)

I did some digging and also found a sample xorg.conf that responds properly to xrandr commands which allow for the "extend desktop left/right" which was something I never got to work correctly on my desktop. There is a plus side to standardized hardware (as apple already knows) in that "just any" xorg.conf you find on the net, usually doesn't this case, it's good for everyone :)

On my own 8G I will NOT go back to the native Xandros and it is, in fact, gone forever already. I admire what they did with it for a highly specialized hardware kit, but I'm completely lost without full software repositories and a single user machine. The Xadros made the system really usable and they had really tweaked things like the battery meter, etc.....I just needed software without fear of boinking the system by installing an app for the wrong distro.

I hope to try and use either my 4G SDHC card or my 8G usb key to run an install of Hardy Heron after release. We'll have to see how much is just working after Hardy is installed and if the script package will fix what isn't.


1 comment:

CafeNinja said...

ATTENTION: These steps only apply to GUTSY!! I have now booted from the Hardy Heron 8.04 and all of the drivers from the script bundle are for use with the kernel from Gutsy only. My recommendation for Eee Pc users is to wait for an updated script pack for Hardy which may not be developed until after Hardy Heron's final release.