April 30, 2010

Ubuntu Netbook Edition

I have an original EEE PC 701 that I've not used since getting my MacBook. The stupid reason was that I didn't have enough RAM in the EEE PC to run Windows XP since I moved that RAM into my MacBook.

However, recently I wanted to put the EEE PC to use again by installing one of those netbook-specific Linux distributions. Since Ubuntu 10.04 ("Lucid Lynx") happens to be released today, I decided to go with the newest. Starting from 10.04, the netbook version of Ubuntu is called Ubuntu Netbook Edition. It used to be called Ubuntu Netbook Remix, which I think is a much better name.

I have an external DVD drive, but I wanted to try installing from a USB flash drive, so I ran the USB creation utility included in the Ubuntu CD to create a bootable USB drive to do the installation.

The entire installation only took a few minutes, and it automatically detected all the hardware of the EEE PC 701. It just works. One issue I have is that since the EEE PC 701 only has an 800x480 screen, a lot of the dialog boxes are cut off on the bottom. However, it's possible to drag dialog boxes off the top edge of the screen by holding down the Alt key and dragging anywhere inside the window.

The second issue is that when waking up from standby, Ubuntu complains that "disk is being used outside design parameters", which is apparently a known bug. Since my EEE PC has a 4 GB SSD, it shouldn't have any trouble, so I just ignored the warning by clicking "don't warn if the disk is failing".

I had a lot of experience with Linux a long time ago before it turned all graphical, but recently I've only used Linux to cross-compile router firmware. The only Unix-like OS I still use these days is actually OS X, which is Unix-like, with a GUI. So with these experiences behind me, you would think that I should have no trouble using Ubuntu, especially the simpler netbook specific edition. But noooooo, I can't even figure out how to install Skype from the GUI.

After a lot of Googling, I found out the best way is to install Ubuntu Tweak, which is supposed to help with the installation of third-party software from in third-party repositories. After installing Ubuntu Tweak, I could see Skype being an installable option in Ubuntu Tweak's Application Center, but no matter what I did, I still couldn't get it to install.

After like two hours of Google and trying everything in the GUI without getting anywhere. Give up simple user interface. Open terminal. "sudo aptitude install skype". Done.


Allie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Allie said...

I also have an eee pc 701 and could not read the whole screen nor get skypeon previouse karmic release. Thanks for posting solutions.

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