Ubuntu Open Week - Ubuntu on the Eee PC - Christer Edwards - Thu, May 1, 2008

17:02 <@Zelut> I'll be presenting on the EeePC and using Ubuntu on the EeePC.  Stick around till the end, I have some cool screenshots :)
17:03 <@Zelut> I should mention that I don't represent the EeePC in any official sense, its just my new favorite laptop.
17:03 <@Zelut> I have done quite a bit of documentation on getting in going well on ubuntu.
17:03 <@Zelut> As a basic outline today I'll be going over the following:
17:03 <@Zelut>  - Specs on the current and future EeePC
17:04 <@Zelut>  - Who might want an EeePC?
17:04 <@Zelut>  - Get Ubuntu on that sucker!
17:04 <@Zelut>  - Screenshots Baby!
17:04 <@Zelut>  - Plans for the future
17:04 <@Zelut> A little bit about the history and specs for the machine.
17:04 <@Zelut> The Asus EeePC was designed by Asus and Intel and released in the US and UK in the latter part of 2007.
17:05 <@Zelut> It is known for its lightweight, portability and Linux default OS (Xandros variant)
17:05 <@Zelut> The 700 and 701 series are the most widely used at this point, the 900 series coming soon.
17:06 <@Zelut> The model that I have, which is the basis of most of my documentation (community wiki + my blog) is the 4G 701 series:
17:06 <@Zelut>  - 512M RAM (upgraded to 2G for $35. NewEgg FTW!)
17:06 <@Zelut>  - 4G solid-state flash drive (added 2G via MMC/SD slot, mounted as /home)
17:06 <@Zelut>  - 7 inch TFT LCD (800x480 resolution)
17:07 <@Zelut>  - 900 MHz intel celeron, factory underclocked (can be overclocked)
17:07 <@Zelut> Intel 915 integrated graphics card (Yes, Compiz works on the EeePC!)
17:07 <@Zelut>  - 4 cell battery (3-3.5hr battery life)
17:07 <@Zelut>  - 10/100 wired, 802.11b/g wireless (both atheros drivers)
17:08 <@Zelut>  - weighs about 2lb
17:08 <@Zelut>  - $399 US at the time I bought it.
17:08 <@Zelut> Its just super tiny, easy to carry around. My boss refers to it as my "laptoplet"
17:09 <@Zelut> The new 900 series improves on the 701 series by increasing specs, including:
17:09 <@Zelut>  - 8.9" display (1024x600)
17:09 <@Zelut>  - 4G + 16G (SD) for 20G total flash storage.  (only 12G if you buy it with XP.)
17:10 <@Zelut>  - 900 MHz processor (basically just not underclocked)
17:10 <@Zelut>  - 1G DDR (upgradable to 2G)
17:10 <@Zelut>  - 4 cell battery (2.5hr battery life)
17:10 <@Zelut>  - $549 US is the estimated price.
17:11 <@Zelut> So, that's a bunch of specs.  As you can see its not a powerhouse but its definitely usable!
17:11 <@Zelut> I run this EeePC as my production, primary machine most of the time and I'm perfectly productive.
17:12 <@Zelut> Who might want an EeePC?
17:12 <@Zelut> I tihnk it works great for normal users.  Web, email, chat, code, etc.  All of those things work just fine.
17:12 <@Zelut> its super lightweight.  its tiny.  Great for traveling.
17:13 <@Zelut> I travel two-weeks per month for my job and my EeePC is what I take a long with me.
17:13 <@Zelut> works just great.
17:13 <@Zelut> People who might *not* want an EeePC?
17:13 <@Zelut> probably everyone who left the room before when we started :)
17:13 <@Zelut> gamers
17:13 <@Zelut> my dad (he can't see his 800x600 LCD)
17:14 <@Zelut> ...giant people with abnormally fat-fingers
17:14 <@Zelut> I have big hands and I can type on it just fine.  Its the only laptop that I can palm like a basketball! :)
17:14 <@Zelut> So what are some of the complications of installing Ubuntu on the EeePC?
17:15 <@Zelut>  1) no optical drive so installation has to be done another way
17:15 <@Zelut>   - USB installer (migrating .iso to USB), USB CDROM or PXE based
17:15 <@Zelut>   - boot.img.gz on USB boot + network install is my preferred method
17:16 <@Zelut>  2) It uses solid state flash media, which will wear out faster than traditional drives
17:16 <@Zelut>   - ext3 is arguably fine with noatime or relatime.  Maybe ext2 if you prefer no journaling.
17:16 <@Zelut>   - no swap is common for gaining additional drive space and avoid swap writes to disk
17:17 <@Zelut>   - 4G drive doesn't leave a lot of space for additional stuff after installation
17:17 <@Zelut>   - I have 100M /boot, 3.9G /, 2G /home.  All ext3 and no swap.
17:17 <@Zelut>   - The 2G /home is via an SD card I've added
17:17 <@Zelut>  3) 800x480 is not a lot of screen real estate!
17:18 <@Zelut>   - Gnome can be shrunk quite a bit!  You'd be surprised.
17:18 <@Zelut>   - I also suggest gnome-do --mini for navigation. (screenshot later)
17:18 <@Zelut>   - My desktop has no menu, auto-shrinking panel + gnome-do.
17:19 <@Zelut>  4) Wireless does not work out of the box.. (surprised?)
17:19 <@Zelut>   - Takes about 5 commands to compile the driver -- not hard at all.
17:19 <@Zelut>   - ndiswrapper is also available.. if you're into that sort of thing ;)
17:19 <@Zelut>  5) Overclocking or "I want my 300Mhz back!"
17:20 <@Zelut>   - The EeePC is fairly easy to overclock to the 900Mhz but its not "supported"
17:20 <@Zelut>   - I've run mine overclocked and it works great.  Actually "bursts" to 900Mhz when needed but idles at the 630Mhz
17:21 <@Zelut>  6) ACPI support is not 100%
17:21 <@Zelut>   - instructions also on the wiki for this.  Fairly simple package installation
17:21 <@Zelut>   7) Not all the hotkeys are supported
17:21 <@Zelut>   - Also, documented how to get this working.  not complicated.
17:21 <@Zelut> So, now that I've mentioned all the difficulties and you've left the room, what *does* work?
17:22 <@Zelut> Remember, it all *does* work it just needs to be configured.
17:22 <@Zelut> The wireless for example isn't shipped because part of the driver is non-free.  We *can't* ship it.
17:22 <@Zelut> The Desktop needs to be customized because, well, not many displays are this small.
17:23 <@Zelut> solid state flash media is still fairly new so configuring for that is also something a little "non-standard"
17:23 <@Zelut> The EeePC is not your normal desktop/laptop, which is what Ubuntu Desktop is normally aimed for of course.
17:23 <@Zelut> with just a little customization we can get everything working and it makes for a nice, easy to use machine.
17:24 <@Zelut> Plus, another thing to note is that the default os, Xandros, is also a debian variant so I'm sure spending a little time with them and we can get everything supported the same way they do.
17:24 <@Zelut> It'll just take a bit of communication, something that I'm more than happy to work towards.
17:24 <@Zelut> I would love to see the EeePC fully supported by Ubuntu 8.10, and I *will* work towards getting that done.
17:25 <@Zelut> I love this little thing, and if any distribution can excel at supporting hardware & making a great desktop experience its Ubuntu!
17:25 <@Zelut> Now, let me share some screenshots of the EeePC desktop after Ubuntu is installed.
17:25 <@Zelut> I did a fresh install just last nite of Ubuntu 8.04.
17:26 <@Zelut> After using the UI shrinking tweaks that we have on the wiki it looks a bit like this:
17:26 <@Zelut>
17:26 <@Zelut> basically we've just shrunk everything down to size.
17:27 <@Zelut> I then like to shrink that down even more & add gnome-do for navigation.  That looks a bit like this:
17:27 <@Zelut>
17:27 <@Zelut> That uses a auto-shrinking single panel + gnome-do for all navigation.  That adds a bit more real estate.
17:27 <@Zelut> ..and a few screenshots for common applications:
17:27 <@Zelut>
17:28 <@Zelut>
17:28 <@Zelut>
17:28 <@Zelut>
17:28 <@Zelut> and lastly, because I know everyone likes the bling, Compiz on the EeePC (out of the box!)
17:28 <@Zelut>!.png
17:29 <@Zelut> Before we go on lets get some of the questions.  I've seen them but I assumed someone would paste 'em in here (nudge popey)
17:30  * popey wakes up
17:30 <@Zelut> 10:28 < jonphilpott> QUESTION: what's the boot time, and how disk space is ubuntu 8.04 using?
17:30 <@Zelut> The boot time, last I clocked it was 45sec.  Default install uses about 2.5G, so that leaves about 1.5 for your files.
17:30 <@AndrewB> Zelut: I can paste them if you wish
17:31 <@Zelut> running df -Th just now on my machine (after adding my fav apps), I am using 3G of the 4G total.
17:31 <@Zelut> AndrewB: ok.
17:31 <@Zelut> The Xandros boot time is faster, yes, but I'm working on getting to that same speed.
17:31 <@popey> say next when you want one
17:31 <@Zelut> next
17:31 <@popey> 17:04:36 < alexpgp> QUESTION: I was impressed with eeexubuntu on my eee. Is the upgrade to 8.04 worth it?
17:31 <@AndrewB> ah popey has appeared
17:32 <@Zelut> I think 8.04 has a lot of great new features and definitely suggest the upgrade.
17:32 <@Zelut> I only briefly used eeeXubuntu.  I prefer the gnome desktop so that is what I've primarily worked on.
17:33 <@Zelut> eeeXubuntu is definitely a great variant though--a lot of good work has gone into it.
17:33 <@Zelut> next
17:33 <@popey> 17:06:20 < Odd-rationale> QUESTION: Debian has an easy way to install debian on an eeepc. all you need is a 16mb flash drive. does ubuntu have any plans to benefit from this as well? (
17:33 <@Zelut> I am not familiar with that but now that I know about it I'll be sure to put it on the TODO.
17:34 <@Zelut> I'm sure it won't be too difficult to port anything over.  Thanks for pointing that out!
17:34 <@Zelut> next
17:34 <@popey> 17:14:16 < ZrZ> QUESTION: is there a community hack to fix badly designed website (through greeamonkey or something else)
17:34 <@popey> ( I think he is referring to the lack of screen real estate )
17:34 <@Zelut> None that I'm aware of.
17:34 <@Zelut> I agree sometimes it is difficult to navigate a website on such a small resolution, but that is the price we pay for the size I guess.
17:35 <@Zelut> it would be something nice to develop though
17:35 <@Zelut> next
17:35 <@popey> 17:15:54 < artir> QUESTION: Why dont you make a eeeubuntu (like eeexubuntu) version with all the hacks by default ?
17:36 <@Zelut> I would love to develop an eeeubuntu.  I am a little hesitant to create yet another variant.  I think I might prefer to add the hacks by way of a .deb package.
17:36 <@Zelut> that way you can install as normal and just install a package.  too many variants and things can become complicated.
17:36 <@Zelut> but, again, an all-in-one solution for this is definitely something on my list!
17:36 <@Zelut> next
17:36 <@popey> 17:24:08 < alexpgp> QUESTION: What is the best way, in your opinion, to distribute partitions if you plan to have a 4GB SD card in the machine at all times?
17:37 <@Zelut> I like to use the new encryption features in Ubuntu so I use something like 100M /boot, / uses the remaining onboard and whatever you put in the SD is /home.
17:37 <@Zelut> Again, I don't use swap (particularly with the 2G RAM upgrade)
17:37 <@Zelut> I also like to encrypt /home
17:38 <@popey> side question - does that make a difference to performance?
17:38 <@Zelut> With flash drives getting bigger and bigger putting /home on the SD makes it really portable as well.
17:38 <@Zelut> I don't think i've seen any issue with performance in that regard, no.
17:38 <@popey> ta
17:38 <@Zelut> I recently saw some encryption benchmarks and the performance hit was minimal.
17:39 <@Zelut> plus, with as small as the laptop is I think encryption is critial.  its so easy to steal or even lose! lol
17:39 <@Zelut> next
17:39 <@popey> related to that...
17:39 <@popey> 17:26:10 < rzr> QUESTION: have you tested some filesytem that support "intelligent" on the fly compression ? this will reduce bandwidth but optimise storage
17:40 <@Zelut> I have not.  The only filesystems I have used are ext2/ext3 and reiserfs.  The jffs, which is meant for flash media, is not really designed for something a user will interact with.
17:40 <@Zelut> as I understand it it is better used for embedded devices or something.
17:40 <@Zelut> next
17:40 <@popey> 17:29:34 < rzr> QUESTION: are there some ways to make intellegent usage of user inteface (mousewheel etc) to scroll horizontally ?
17:40 <@Zelut> There are no ways that I know of, but I'm sure its something that can be implemented.  It is open source after all.  All it takes is time :)
17:41 <@Zelut> next
17:41 <@popey> (note the 900 has multitouch)
17:41 <@popey> 17:29:44 < jonphilpott> QUESTION: what's the boot time, and how disk space is ubuntu 8.04 using?
17:41 <@Zelut> popey: I think we covered that one.
17:41 <@popey> oh sorry
17:41 <@popey> 17:30:47 < Sionide> QUESTION: Why not Xubuntu? Since XFCE is designed with lower specifications in mind?
17:41 <@Zelut> ..and that one lol
17:42 <@popey> 17:31:14 < jonphilpott> QUESTION: Were you able to get the acpi keys (wifi on/off, etc) working out of the box?
17:42 <@Zelut> eeeXubuntu is a variant based on XFCE, which works great.  I just prefer gnome so that is what I've focused on.
17:42 <@Zelut> Those are not yet working in the default install out of the box, but they can be made to work with some minor tweaks.
17:42 <@Zelut> again, by 8.10 I would like to have much better support for teh default install.
17:43 <@Zelut> everything *can* work now, just not by default.  My goal, again, for 8.10 is to improve that as much as I can.
17:43 <@Zelut> next
17:43 <@popey> 17:31:39 < jd2100_> QUESTION: Would the 900 model need shrinking?
17:43 <@popey> ( I don't know what this means here )
17:43 <@Zelut> if that is referring to the display I'm sure it wouldn't hurt.  the 1024x600 is still fairly small.
17:44 <@Zelut> the drive space will be plentiful on the 900 model though. 20G means 5x more space than the 700 series!
17:44 <@Zelut> next
17:44 <@popey> 17:44:13 < jd2100_> popey: screen shrinking
17:44 <@popey> to clarify
17:44 <@popey> 17:32:15 < rzr> QUESTION: are there works done to replace default bios by opensource one such as coreboot (linuxbios)?
17:45 <@Zelut> not that I am aware of, but there is a lot of scattered tutorials and work on the eeepc.  Its still been a project just collecting it all.
17:45 <@Zelut> If there is, and if it is possible, it will be something we will document on the ubuntu wiki.
17:45 <@Zelut> next
17:45 <@popey> 17:37:35 < maffru> QUESTION: what are your thoughts on fastinit?
17:46 <@Zelut> I have not tried fastinit with the eeepc yet. (thank you guys by the way for these links!)
17:46 <@Zelut> looks like it could be a nice potential improvement for 8.10
17:46 <@Zelut> next
17:46 <@popey> 17:38:47 < rzr> QUESTION: is it possible to merge what xandros did in any distribution ?
17:47 <@Zelut> A few of the things Xandros did to its default install are non-free, so that will make things difficult.
17:47 <@Zelut> Anything that they do that are free software we'd be more than happy to cooperate on
17:47 <@popey> What things are non-free out of interest?
17:47 <@Zelut> the wireless driver (atheros) has binary blogs. some of the desktop software I believe is non-free.
17:48 <@Zelut> *blobs
17:48 <@Zelut> I have not done a full audit by any means, but I'd be more than happy to incorporate what I can.
17:48 <@Zelut> next
17:48 <@popey> 17:43:23 < maffru> QUESTION: how hard would it be *g* to put a unionfs layer on, like the Xandros shipped; and other than for security checks, is there any point?
17:48 <@popey> (Note: This is what Canonical does with the Intel Classmate PC Ubuntu Build)
17:49 <@Zelut> that isn't something i've even looked at yet.  If there is interest in it I'm sure we can collaborate on it.
17:49 <@Zelut> next
17:49 <@popey> thats your lot
17:49 <@Zelut> thanks
17:50 <@Zelut> with the last few minutes let me say what I would like to see happen
17:50 <@Zelut> I know there are a lot of Ubuntu community members with EeePCs.  I think it'd be great to start working together (beyond just the wiki) to make it better.
17:51 <@Zelut> I've learned about a few things just from the questions--things I hadn't even started doing yet.  I think if we collaborate we could definitely improve the support and functionality.
17:51 <@Zelut> if anyone would be interested in working together on a project like this feel free to email me:
17:51 <@Zelut> perhaps an ubuntu-eeepc team? :)
17:51 <@popey> yes!
17:52 <@popey> get a spec together before uds prague!
17:52 <@popey> I'll champion it there
17:52 <@Zelut> I don't think there is any reason that Ubuntu can't be as much of an option an Xandros or EeeDora or anything else.
17:52 <@Zelut> popey: perfect!
17:52 <@Zelut> Let me also drop some links for resources:
17:52 <@Zelut>
17:52 <@Zelut> that is the ubuntu community wiki page.  please feel free to improve it.
17:53 <@Zelut>
17:53 <@Zelut> this is the eeeuser global wiki.  note: not creative commons licensed!
17:53 <@Zelut>
17:53 <@Zelut> the debian wiki, of course
17:53 <@Zelut>
17:53 <@Zelut> ..and the eeeuser global forum.
17:53 <@popey>  < leftyfb> QUESTION: not really a question, but a uselful link:
17:53 <@Zelut> there you go.
17:54 <@popey> also useful, this place are selling EEE 900s now :)
17:54 <@popey>
17:54 <@Zelut> if you have any additional links *please* add them to the community wiki.
17:54 <@Zelut> yeah, I guess the 900 is out now in the UK.  /me is jealous of popey
17:54 <@popey> ordered two already :)
17:54 <@Zelut> I believe the 900 will be available in the US in another two weeks.
17:54 <@Zelut> likely available at newegg, amazon, etc.
17:54 <@Zelut> any other questions?
17:55 <@popey> not from -chat
17:55 <@popey> great session Zelut, thanks!
17:55 <@Zelut> again, please contribute to the wiki or contact me ( if you'd like to help improve ubuntu support on the eeepc!
17:55 <@Zelut> I guess that'll do. Thanks for coming guys.  Appreciate it.
17:56 <@popey> \o/
17:56  * Zelut waves

MeetingLogs/openweekhardy/EeePC (last edited 2008-08-06 16:25:55 by localhost)