Jaunty Jackalope (Ubuntu Remix 9.04) on eeePC 901

Today is the migration day for the netbook of my wife, Alice. After a long time with pleasure and  some annoying things , we’ve decided to migrate the eeePC 901 from Xandros to Ubuntu Remix.
And to be honest, it hasn’t been really painful to achieve this job.

Find here the steps to do the same with your netbook:

1- download the last release from the Ubuntu server:

2- install ImageWriter:
sudo apt-get install usb-imagewriter

3- use ImageWriter to put ubuntu-9.04-netbook-remix-i386.img in the USB key (need a mini. 1Gb usb stick)

4- insert the usb key to the eeePC, start the PC and tape on ESC touch to view the boot menu. Select the USB key in the list.

5- in the boot menu, choose the right language (F2) and the right keyboard map (F3) and Enter
You’ll start the live distribution.

6- when the system is ready, click on the Install shorcut.

7- after the firsts easy steps, you arrive to the screen of partitioning. Here, you have some choices to make. I chose to make 3 partitions: 1 partition on the first SSD (root “/”), 2 on the second SSD (10Gb for”/usr” and ~5Gb for “/home”) all with the new format Ext4 (better results than Ext3).
You have noticed that I didn’t add swap partition, why? First of all, because the netbook has 2Gb of RAM and secondly because after some reads, the writings in the swap seems bad for the life of the SSD (not all people are agree with that but I had to take a decision).

8- after this important step, the installer copies the OS on the netbook.

9- reboot when it’s asked (don’t forget to remove the usb key).

As you can see, the boot is quite quick, under 40 seconds to go to the desktop with the wifi connexion.

Alice uses her eeePC for 4 main usages:
– to stay in touch with our family (in Spain, France, ),
– in the kitchen as a (luxury) webradio
– to make videos of our children or take a picture during cookery.
– to record her voice for her French lessons.

So, I had to install some softs:
– for the video, wxCam (sudo apt-get install wxcam). It has better perfomances than Cheese in video recording mode.
– for the webradio, Rhythmbox with a customized list of French webradios.
– for the webphone, Skype for linux (works better than on Xandros even the webcam). You must specify the sound device to get sound. Go to Options / Sound Devices and choose in the 3 lists, “HDA Intel (hw:Intel,0)”, then Apply.
– finally, nothing to do for the voice, Sound Recorder is already installed on Ubuntu Remix.

To finish the job:
– remove unused stuff like Evolution
– add plugins like Flash (nonfree), Jre (SUN).
You can do this job with the Synaptic Package Manager (in Administration tab).
– remove unused applications started with the system: go to Preferences tab / Startup Applications and unselect “Bluetooth Manager”, “Check for new hardware drivers”, “Remove Desktop”, “Visual Assistance”. Of course it depends of your specifi hardware or preferences.
– add shortcuts in the Favourites tab: simply selecting the shortcut (from its tab for example, Internet) and to glide it into the Favourites tab.

Here you can see the result.


Update (2009.06.13):
Wifi WPA authentication is impossible with the current rt2860 driver. To solve this problem, we have to downgrade the driver.

1) Get the driver from http://www.array.org/ubuntu/dists/intrepid/eeepc/binary-i386/rt2860-dkms_1.7….

wget http://www.array.org/ubuntu/dists/intrepid/eeepc/binary-i386/rt2860-dkms_1.7.1.1_all.deb

2) Go to terminal, and move the pre-installed driver so it won’t get loaded.

cd /lib/modules/2.6.28-11-generic/kernel/drivers/staging/rt2860/sudo mv rt2860sta.ko rt2860sta.bak

3) Install rt2860-dkms_1.7.1.1_all.deb. It will also install dependencies needed to compile the driver.

sudo dpkg -i rt2860-dkms_1.7.1.1_all.debsudo apt-get install -f

If it doesn’t retrieve the right packages, makesure “build-essential”, “linux-header-generic” and “dkms” is installed. Let it run and it should complete without a problem.

4) Restart. The new driver should work automatically.


Auto updating security packages with Ubuntu (Debian) system

It’s a bit hard to maintain manually a lot of servers but it’s really
important to keep them updated. It’s why I looked for an automatic
solution and it has been pretty easy to find a good and simple one.

I propose to you to use an utility called apt-cron.

installing it on our system:
sudo apt-get install apt-cron

creating a new security list:
sudo nano  /etc/apt/sources.list.d/security.sources.list

deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu hardy-security maindeb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu hardy-security universe

setuping APT actions:
sudo nano /etc/cron-apt/action.d/5-install

autoclean -q -ydist-upgrade -q -y -o APT::Get::Show-Upgraded=true -o Dir::Etc::sourcelist=/etc/apt/sources.list.d/security.sources.list -o Dir::Etc::sourceparts=nonexistent -o DPkg::Options::=--force-confdef -o DPkg::Options::=--force-confold

adding a cron task:
sudo crontab -e

5 0    *   *   *  test -x /usr/sbin/cron-apt && /usr/sbin/cron-apt

To test the auto update process:
sudo /usr/sbin/cron-apt

To check the log:
sudo cat /var/log/cron-apt/log

idea / source from http://www.turnkeylinux.org/