≡ Menu

Ubuntu on the Asus Eee PC: Part 2 (or How to Install Ubuntu on the Eee’s Internal Drive)

If you followed all the steps in my last post about the Asus Eee PC, then you have a persistent and fully functional copy of Ubuntu on a USB stick. The problem with this (besides that USB stick jutting out the side of the Eee all the time)? Boot time is slow. Since the USB stick install is also an Ubuntu Live install , you can easily install Ubuntu onto the primary drive of your [[[Asus Eee PC]]]. The majority of this info is remixed from this page at the Eee User Wiki. Here’s how:

Step 1: Boot into Ubuntu Live and click Install on the desktop.—Make sure that you have a live Internet connection (it can be wireless for now, but when you reboot into the actual installation, you will need to have a live Ethernet connection nearby and ready for you to plug into, as you’ll lose the wifi that we set up in the last installation).
Step 2: At the partitioning screen choose manual.—Using the Guided option will work, but it set’s you up with an ext3 partition and some swap space. Since the Eee sports a flash-based drive, we want to avoid swap space, b/c it writes to the drive too much. Some people are saying you should avoid ext3 partition b/c it’s journaling and also does more writes. Most people advise ext2, but the Eee’s default installation uses ext3 for one of the partitions. Choose the internal drive (it’s the one whose partitions = 4GBs), choose to format it as a single partition , choose a format for the partition (I chose JFS b/c it’s supposed to perform well on processor light systems and it’s journaled; you could also go with ext2 or ext3. Some people are recommending JFFS b/c it’s good for flash drives, but I haven’t seen any “I did this and it works great” reports yet so I steered away from it). Set the mount point to / and ignore the warning that pops up about there not being any swap space.
Step 3: Go with the defaults for everything else—Click on through, set up the defaults for your username and password and start the full install. After it’s done, run your Eee over to your wired Ethernet internet connection and reboot. When it says Eject the CD at the end of shutdown, remove the USB stick. Notice that the boot time off the internal disk is about 52 seconds. Nice.
Step 4: Draggable Windows, Screen Real Estate, and Updates—After you reboot the machine into Ubuntu, log in with the account info you set up in the previous step. You’ll most likely get a “Your battery may be broken” error, a pop-up about an Atheros Restricted Driver, and another pop-up about Updates being ready to install. Ignore and dismiss the first two and ignore the updates message (but leave it there temporarily). This new install lacks the draggable windows we set up on the USB stick, so repeat step 4. Now (taking some ideas from here) go to System—>Preferences—>Appearance and click on the Fonts tab. Change the Application font, the Desktop font, and the Window title font from 10 to 8 size fonts. Next click on the Interface tab and change Toolbar button labels from Text Below Items to Text Only, then close the window. Now go to both the top and bottom panels on the screen, right click on them and choose Properties. Under Size, lower the pixels to 19. Now things aren’t crowding the screen that shouldn’t. Go ahead and start installing the updates.
Step 5: Post install command line clean up and tweaking—While the updates are installing, go ahead and navigate to Applications—>Accessories—>Terminal. At the command prompt, type:
sudo pico /etc/fstab
Type in your password. Find the line that reads:
/dev/sdc1 /media/cdrom0 udf,iso9660 user,noauto,exec 0 0
Type a # at the beginning of that line to comment it out. Type Ctrl+o to write the file, hit Return to use the same name for the file and then type Ctrl+x to close pico.
Back at the command line type:
sudo pico /etc/apt/sources.list
Type in your password. Find the line that reads:
deb cdrom:[Ubuntu 7.10 _Gutsy Gibbon_ - Release i386 (20071016)]/ gutsy main restricted
Type a # at the beginning of that line to comment it out. Type Ctrl+o to write the file, hit Return to use the same name for the file and then type Ctrl+x to close pico.
Both of these two above fix post install problems where Ubuntu will look for the Ubuntu Live CD when you are trying to update packages over the internet using apt-get or Synaptic Package Manager.
Back at the command line type:
sudo pico /etc/fstab
Add the following lines to that document:
tmpfs /var/log tmpfs defaults 0 0
tmpfs /tmp tmpfs defaults 0 0
tmpfs /var/tmp tmpfs defaults 0 0

Type Ctrl+o to write the file, hit Return to use the same name for the file and then type Ctrl+x to close pico.
This helps limit writes to the hard drive by keeping /var/log, /tmp, and /var/tmp in a RAM disk.
Back at the command line type:
sudo pico /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base
Add the line:
options snd-hda-intel model=3stack-dig at the beginning of the options section.
Type Ctrl+o to write the file, hit Return to use the same name for the file and then type Ctrl+x to close pico.
This will make the internal mic on the Eee work.
I ignored most of the information in this section of the Eee User Wiki, but I did replace /etc/X11/xorg.conf with the version listed in that section. To replace your copy simply sudo pico /etc/X11/xorg.conf
And delete everything and paste in the code from over there. However, I recommend at the end of the file you change one bit. I changed:

Section "Extensions"
# You may want to enable this.
Option "Composite" "Disable"

Section "Extensions"
# You may want to enable this.
Option "Composite" "Enable"

This preserves all the pretty effects of Ubuntu while maximizing the rest of the video.
Follow all the steps in this section to fix Suspend and Resume issues (hibernate won’t work b/c we didn’t set up any swap space) and then skip ahead to the solution to the shutdown / poweroff problem.
Step 6: Now that you’ve changed all these things and the updates have finished, reboot.
Step 7: After reboot—Now that you’ve rebooted all the above tweaks should be in place and we can start downloading some extra updates. Repeat Step 5 from my last Eee post to enable the Wifi

After you complete all these steps everything should be working as right as rain (except no flash in the browser yet; go to Adobe and download from there and follow the instructions). There are some other tweaks that can be done mentioned in this post, but I haven’t done any of them yet (although this was where I got the idea to use JFS).

I’m in day two of using this machine to do a *lot* of stuff. I typed this entire post on it. I’ll have more follow up tips for maximizing screen real estate in Ubuntu next time I manage one of these posts (which probably won’t be until next week. Busy week ahead).

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Richard Chechik 12/14/2007, 4:45 pm

    All Finished and thanks for you help. Adjust this html code if it doesn’t post thru. but here are a couple of shots, and thanks again.

    shot this with scrot installed!

    See Ya!

  • Richard Chechik 12/14/2007, 4:50 pm

    All let you clean this post up, I guess it didn’t go thru.
    shot this with scrot installed.
    And here’s my PC.

  • c.k. 12/15/2007, 2:09 am

    Awesome! Glad I could help. I should have some more posts soon about tweaking Ubuntu on the Eee.

  • Jim Lau 12/19/2007, 11:06 pm

    Hey, thanks for putting this together! I get my Eee in a few days, and I plan to come back here then to get ubuntu going. Following these steps, what are you left with for disk space on the 4GB SSD? What’s the best way to trim down the install, just using synaptic to uninstall unused packages?

  • c.k. 12/20/2007, 3:21 pm

    When I first did the install, I think I had about 1.5GBs left. Since then I’ve installed a lot of stuff and am hovering at about 200MBs free, and now I’m going through with Synaptic and trimming out all the fat I can find. I also have been running through the steps in this post to keep everything trimmed that I can: http://www.ubuntugeek.com/cleaning-up-all-unnecessary-junk-files-in-ubuntu.html

  • jdog 1/4/2008, 8:23 pm

    Here’s a summary on the ubuntu wiki that includes your excellent work here along with some other stuff.


  • c.k. 1/4/2008, 9:31 pm

    Hi, jdog,

    I don’t see any mention of this post on the forum you linked to. Also, the instructions look woefully incomplete compared to what is offered at the Eeeuser Wiki. There’s not even any mention of the MadWifi drivers for WiFi that are native and better than the hacked solution that page espouses.

  • c.k. 1/4/2008, 9:37 pm

    Oh nevermind. i see the Madwifi drivers mention now.

  • jdog 1/7/2008, 11:38 pm

    Well, I mentioned your writeup to Zelut and he seemed to indicate your article was one of the resources he consulted. I’ll see if I can add a link to here on the wiki.

  • Eric Toupin 3/8/2008, 10:09 am

    This is a really great consolidated resource. Even with divided focus I had my Eee PC set up with Ubuntu in just a couple of hours. Thanks for putting this together!

  • Tim Wintle 5/5/2008, 4:06 am

    Thanks for the post – really great!

    I can’t afford an eee pc right now, but as soon as my next pay cheque comes through I’ll be popping back here with one of the new 8.9 inch models.

    I really wanted Ubuntu on it to keep the system related to my other devices (which are all Ubuntu or Fedora) – and I’m not sure that I want the tabbed GUI that comes on the default Linux install. I spend most of my time in terminal anyway, so I was almost thinking about keeping it command line. (being able to carry one of these around with me all the time would be so useful when I get a phone call along the lines of “the server’s down, have you got ssh …”)

  • oyun 7/26/2008, 2:36 pm

    Francois, i love my skultrail, one question though, can you tell me who supplied the CPU meter used on this video. Thanks as always…Trubritar

  • Omar 8/18/2008, 9:15 am

    Good day to you . I need some help to get my wifi to work on the eee pc . I have try your instruction before and it work .
    But I am not having any luck this time. This is what sudo said

    rboy@rboy-laptop:~$ sudo apt-get install build-essential
    [sudo] password for rboy:
    Reading package lists… Done
    Building dependency tree
    Reading state information… Done
    build-essential is already the newest version.
    0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 225 not upgraded.

    so now I do know what to do . Could you Please help me

  • Fred Merchant 11/17/2008, 9:19 pm

    I followed your instructions from part 1 until it got involved with the madwifi.org site. Things aren’t there as you described. And then the patch didn’t take (of course, the files weren’t right) but the errors I got referred to there not being a file.

    I’m not too familiar w/ linux, so I assume “patch -p0 < ../filename)”
    means to patch the file that is in the above directory and deposit the patched file in the current directory. With bad stuff (guesses) from madwifi, I guess there wouldn’t be anything in the directory you had me do in your instructions.

    So, anyway the make clean, make and sudo make install had no rule to make target ‘clean’.


  • Fred Merchant 11/17/2008, 10:35 pm

    To appenend last message… I’m installing the 8.10, not the 8.04.

    The Wireless doesn’t work on the 8.10. I even tried the battery out manouver. I guess I have more work to do…


  • cheap electric guitars 12/14/2008, 4:45 pm

    This is what I'm looking for. I google around the net and found this nice tutorial. Thanks!

  • private investors 3/18/2009, 4:21 am

    this is really helpful thanks for posting it

  • Belerofon 3/19/2009, 3:17 pm

    Nice one mate. Does exactly what it says on the tin!

Next post:

Previous post: