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