Tuesday, 25 November 2008

The Samsung NC 10 Running Ubuntu Linux 8.10 or Intrepid Ibex

This little marvel runs Ubuntu 8.10 in very much the same way as the Aspire One runs on Hardy Heron. A couple of things need tweaking however.
They are namely;

1. The brightness buttons
2. WiFi
3. The Euro key
4. F5, F8 and F9
5. the headpone port works but fails to silence the internal speakers when headphones are inserted into the 3.5mm jack socket.

What does work:

1. Sound
2. the screen is at its correct resolution of 1024x600
3.internal webcam which the terminal command identifies as made by "Namuga" with the command 'dmidecode' or 'dmesg'
4. the SDHC card reader
5. CPU scaling. The Intel Atom 1.6 GHz supports this under Intrepid Ibex.
6. All three USB 2.0 ports.
7. The Fn buttons F6,F10,F11,F12 and the sleep feature subsumed under the Esc button. The volume buttons also work properly.

Virtual all of my peripherals function perfectly under Intrepid. The compiz 3D desktop works brillianty when extra features are enabled. The graphics card is an Intel 945 GSE with 128MB integrated. The upgradability of the NC10 as opposed to the Acer Aspire One is very, very easy. No need to dismantle the entire encasement to access the SODIMM slot.

The battery power is what everyone seems to be talking about and it is genuinely impressive when compared to the competition at this time.

It is a netbook, and most netbooks use the Atheros 5000 type WiFi card which still does not work out of the box with many Linux distros. To get it to work you open a terminal sudo or log on as root and add the following commands to the /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist file and add to the end it the following code:

blacklist ath-hal
blacklist ath-pci

Having done that, you'll need to connect to a wired network via your ethernet interface or 3G USB dongle if you have one and enter the following in your terminal as root:

sudo apt-get install linux-backports-modules-intrepid

Reboot and you're sorted. WiFi is alive and operational. These instructions are to be run at your own risk and I disclaim all responsibility for what follows. It worked for me and I only quote what I have learned from the following site; http://netbook-forums.com

Failing that there's always the Edimax WiFi USB dongle I have mentioned on my earlier blogs which works out of the box and requires no configuration at all with latest Linux kernels i.e. 2.6.24 xxx and beyond.

The Samsung NC 10 is quite frankly the best netbook I have used to date. The battery power is remarkable, the keyboard superb and the design simple but complete.
My only worry is this: the superb keyboard is also coated with Silver Nano (Ag), that is de-ionised water and silver known for its anti-bacterial action. Some specialists ,however, say there are health risks associated with it. See www.nanoaction.org. This is worth bearing in mind.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Getting a Huawei USB broadband dongle to work in Hardy Heron

..And finally the web with Ubuntu! Ignore the statements below concerning lack of internet access with a T-Mobile USB Web 'n' Walk dongle. Massive thanks to the Ubuntu Forum for the instructions, work and insights of Sleep-ZZ-John, IanB, Callum and many, many others. I'm able to surf and download from repositories anywhere. Here's how it all goes and the steps I took:

In order to find the modem log on in a terminal as root and type 'dmesg'. The scroll down until you find Huawei E220, which shoulf be listed a GSM modem and as /dev/tty/USB0. This same dongle may also appear as a CD-ROM ( Windows exec files for setting up the device in Windows). You need to disable that by typing 'modprobe -r'.

Having gone through the above while still logged on as root type wvdialconf. This creates a file in /etc/wvdial.config. With gedit you need to edit this file and have ready you APN ie the name of your carrier in my case 'general.t-mobile.uk. You'll also need the dial number and your user name and password in that order. The wvdial.config file should look like this for example:

[Dialer Defaults]

Init1 = ATZ

Init2 = ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0

Modem Type = Analog Modem

Baud = 9600

New PPPD = yes

Modem = /dev/ttyUSB0

APN = general.t-mobile.uk

Phone = *88#

username = username
password = username

The above is only an example. Fill in the entries as appropriate and note when the wvdial.config is opened there are semi-colons before the entries Phone, Username and Password. DELETE THEM. I could not get a connection with them present.

You also need to enter the above details in Administration>Networking and enable the connection.
You should also delete the last line of the file chap-secrets found under /etc/ppp.chap-secrets.
At this juncture close the terminal and reboot. On rebooting open the terminal and log on as root.Type su, followed by your password and then type wvdial. It should dial and if successful display this dialogue:

somebody@somewhere:~$ su


root@somewhere:/home/user# wvdial

--> WvDial: Internet dialer version 1.60

--> Cannot get information for serial port.

--> Initializing modem.

--> Sending: ATZ



--> Sending: ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0

ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0


--> Modem initialized.

--> Sending: ATDT*99#

--> Waiting for carrier.


--> Carrier detected. Waiting for prompt

If you are successfully authenticated you'll get:


--> Don't know what to do! Starting pppd and hoping for the best.

--> Starting pppd at Wed Sep 10 13:23:22 2008

--> Pid of pppd: 6407

--> Using interface ppp0

--> pppd: ا[06][08]��[06][08]

--> pppd: ا[06][08]��[06][08]

--> pppd: ا[06][08]��[06][08]

--> pppd: ا[06][08]��[06][08]

--> pppd: ا[06][08]��[06][08]

--> pppd: ا[06][08]��[06][08]

--> local IP address

--> pppd: ا[06][08]��[06][08]

--> remote IP address

--> pppd: ا[06][08]��[06][08]

--> primary DNS address

--> pppd: ا[06][08]��[06][08]

--> secondary DNS address

--> pppd: ا[06][08]��[06][08]

Now click on your favourite web browser (ie Firefox, Galeon or Konqueror). REMEMBER to click on file and untick "work offline". Click on any hyperlinked object and you ready to surf.

If feel my EEEPC and Acer AA0 are now complete. Why wait for the new model to feature 3G when you can have it now. Perhaps Intrepid Ibex when it becomes available will better application support for 3G devices.

Anthony Johnson


Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Acer Aspire One under Hardy Heron

The Acer Aspire One

Running Ubuntu

Anthony Johnson


CPU: Atom, specifically a Diamondville-SC mobile processor N270 (1.60 GHz, 533 MHz FSB, 512 KB L2 cache)
Display: 8.9” WSVGA TFT LCD, 1024 x 600
Hard Drive 120GB SATA (Earlier Models have 8GB SSD)
Chipset: Intel 954GSE + ICH7M
Wi-Fi: 802.11b/g (Atheros )
Webcam: 0.3Mp Integrated CrystalEye
Battery life: 3 cell, up to 3 hours (usage level not specified)
Warranty: 1 year
Weight: 985g
I installed the lastest revision of Ubuntu 8.0.4, which is This necessary for anyone seeking to install Ubuntu on any Atom based device. Earlier distros go into a kernel panic otherwise.Linpus Linux Lite was sent into oblivion as it was totally useless to me.
The installation went very quickly and without incident. The resolution is correct, the sound card works, the F keys also worked too, an being able to press F7 to disable the mouse is welcome . The Atheros wireless card was not detected, neither is the mic or nor the web cam. The web cam can be put into service by downloading “Cheese” by entering into the terminal sudo apt-get install cheese. Getting onto the web is not trouble with the Edimax USB WiFi dongle (Ralink T2571) (@ around £20 see www.linuxemporium.co.uk) and it works out of the box.

The battery power is not the best but will yield a passable two hours with a bright screen and WiFi enabled.
One peculiar report by the utility sysinfo which is downloadable from the Ubuntu repositories is the CPU consisting of two processing cores running at 800MHZ, ie 1.6 GHz. To the best of my knowledge the Intel Atom N270 is not based on twin core architecture-, that is to come at the end of the year.

Upgrading the RAM on the device IS A MAJOR OPERATION!!..though possible with patience, preparation and some experience of basic electronics. This is the one feature of the machine I hate. It is as if Acer really want you to void the warranty.
In the Acer Aspire One is great mini-computer. The keyboard is more sensibly designed that the counterpart found on the ASUS EEEPC 900-, another great device but marred by the non-functional F keys and absence of CPU scaling under Ubuntu.

Another choice of Linux OS may be Mandriva 2009. I tried earlier versions but they refuse to install. This may be related to the presence of the Intel atom chip though Mandriva should treat it as an X86. The reason I nominate Mandriva 2009 is that firstly, the WiFi issues may be resolved, and two HSDPA usb dongles such as the Huawei E170/E220 work! -, it works on an ancient reconditioned IBM Thinkpad. Actually, it works a treat.

London, UK

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Ubuntu 8.04 on an ASUS EEEPC 900

Ubuntu 8.04



A worthy successor to the 701 series, the ASUS EEEPC 900 runs well under Ubuntu 8.04 or Hardy Heron. Though the following do not function as they did not also function in 7.04 and 7.10:

internal atheros wireless 802.11 b/g
integrated web cam
pinching/two finger touchpad for increasing and decreasing size of text etc. Supported only in the factory installed OS and applicable only in selected applications.

The sound card was automatically configured. No tweaking was required. The display resolution is correct at 1024x600, unlike its predecessor. Battery power is slighty less than the 701 possibly due to the larger screen.

The first installation of Hardy Heron went quite wrong, and here's why!
By default, the factory installed OS (custom Xandros) designates the 16GB SSD as '/home'. I attempted to install Ubuntu 8.04 on a removable SD card which I have done successfully in the past. One major snag ensues. After the installation is complete, GDM fails to log on a user because there exist TWO “/home” directories -, Ubuntu mounts the 16GB SSD automatically as /home. An aggressive security measure perhaps?
I resolved this by using the 16GB SSD entirely for an Ubuntu installation and it was full steam ahead. The installation takes about 2.5 GB and leaves plenty of space on the 16GB SSD. Incidentally, the 16GB SSD will not be accessible through the Xandros installation. System Information and Diagnostics will not report it! If you confine all serious work to Ubuntu and surfing and other applications to the factory installation as I do then this should not be a problem.As to the Atheros WiFi adapter,an immediate remedy to this (if you do not fancy compiling) is the Edimax WiFi USB RT2571 dongle with a chipset provided by Railink (very important,the model is RT2571) which 'works out of the box' since access to the internet is essential to take full advantage of Ubuntu's vast software repositories and also to make media packages fully functional.The driver for the Edimax dongle is part of the 2.6.24-19 kernel and above.See the website www.linuxemporium.co.uk.

I love working on my ASUS EEEPC 900 under Ubuntu 8.04, it is far more customisable and mature -, but I have not totally banished the factory-installed Xandros OS since I need it for internet access via an HSDPA T-Mobile USB dongle which works again 'out of the box' and very well (Huawei E220). GRUB allows for for dual booting and should be best installed last.

A. Johnson

London UK