Install and setup Ubuntu Eee 8.04

I’m glad to report back saying the attempt to install the Ubuntu Eee 8.04 was a success. Now my Eee 4G is quite a sexy machine. I’ll detail for you the steps involved in the whole installation and tweaks.

1) Install

Head over to the Ubuntu Eee Download and Install page to get the first part done. The steps listed there are pretty easy to do: download the ISO, place it on a USB drive, boot your Eee, and install. I went for the guided installation that took the full disk.

The installation process took about 30 minutes. Of course, the downloading part will depend on your connection speed.

2) Optimizations

After the complete install was done it was the moment for some tweaks:

  1. Apply automatically fixes for the Ubuntu 8.04;
  2. Reduce swappiness and decrease disk writes to relieve strains to the SSD;

3) Hardware

I was a bit surprised that the webcam and mic weren’t working even after all of these steps. But, eventually I got them to work.

  • Fixing the webcam: I restarted the Eee and went to the BIOS. On the hardware components list, for some reason the webcam was turned off. Switch it on and restart.
  • I haven’t been able to completely fix the microphone issue, but I found this tutorial to give a bit of a fix to use the microphone with Skype.

4) Removing and adding programs

My next task was to see how much space I could eliminate to place my favorite productivity programs in. I used some of the tips found here to remove:

  • all packages related to CDs and DVDs;
  • all games;
  • diveintopython;
  • wodim;
  • thunderbird;
  • and I ran localpurge.

With that saved space I felt more comfortable to install some of my favorite apps:

  • Gnome Do (much better not to rely so much on the trackpad);
  • Conduit (awesome to sync stuff to the clouds);
  • KeePassX;
  • Gimp;
  • Empathy (I liked the program so I’m willing to try and use it a bit more).

All of that left me now with 1.1GB of storage. I’m still pretty happy as I also have a couple of other USB drives I use (and the clouds).

5) Visual improvements

7 inches of screen real estate has to be planned out well. So, I spent a bit of extra time to get the best setup possible.

I decided to use only 1 Gnome panel to have as much available space as possible. So, I removed the bottom panel and did the following modifications to the top panel:

  • removed the Menu Bar applet to replace it with the Main Menu applet (now I have only 1 icon instead of 3 pull down menus);

  • removed the User Switcher;
  • added the Window Selector applet so that I could access all of the programs opened (or, ALT+Tab shortcut also works);

  • I also added the Trash, Force Quit, System Monitor, and Workspace Switcher applets.

Now the final adjustments were done for Firefox by installing:

For fun”:

Once everything was installed in Firefox, I right-clicked on an open space of the toolbar area and choose “Customize”. I configured everything to sit nicely in a single toolbar row. It seems a bit cramped now, but for me it works.

One day after the switch, everything is working very well and the Eee seems much more powerful.

Changind the eee OS

I’ve been using the eee PC for about 4 months now with the default Xandros OS. I’ve done a couple of tweaks to install some programs like Gimp and KeePass. But, I’m still not completely satisfied.

The default eee PC OS still doesn’t have the latest versions of Firefox, OpenOffice, and the hassle to update these are a bit time consuming. So, I’ve just decided to make a switch.

As I type this, my little eee PC is installing the Ubuntu EEE (an Ubuntu distro specially made for the eee PC). I’m hoping that it’ll give me a bit more flexibility on what I want on my machine, a bit more stability after all of the updated programs are installed, and improve interoperability between the different OSs that I’m running.

As a side bonus, I’m sure it’ll look a bit nicer.

Cross fingers!