Installing Ubuntu 8.10 on the Eee-pc 901

I have to say that I was slightly disappointed by the 8.04.1 version of Ubuntu-eee. I know I blogged about how the Netbook Remix version of Ubuntu would probably be ideal for netbooks, but now that I’ve actually played around with it I feel differently. The 901′s 9″ screen is big enough to use the regular UI, and having even the smallest little popup window be maximized bugged the hell out of me.

That’s why I decided to go ‘back’ to my old setup with regular Ubuntu made ‘eee-friendly’ using the array.org kernel. I put the word ‘back’ between quotes in that last sentence because this also allowed me to go with the newer 8.10 version of Ubuntu (Intrepid Ibex). It may not be as easy as installing Ubuntu eee, but I found it to be well worth the extra effort.

Installing Intrepid Ibex

This really couldn’t be any simpler. Ubuntu’s installer is even easier than the one that comes with Windows. I chose to pay a little extra attention to the disk partition setup (like with 8.04), but other than that there’s nothing to it.

Once you’ve successfully installed the OS and rebooted your Eee-PC you’ll find that the wireless network adapter doesn’t work. Luckily the wired one does, so I grabbed an old UTP cable I had lying around and used that to install the array.org kernel.

Installing the Array.org kernel

The installation instructions will guide you through this. It will require you to type in a bunch of cryptic terminal commands, but it won’t take more than five minutes or so. After that, all the hardware on your Eee-PC wil work.

I went with the ‘lean’ kernel. Why would you want support for all sorts of hardware that the Eee-PC does not have? A high end video card won’t fit into your tiny little laptop, so there’s no need for nVidia drivers. It’s currently marked as ‘experimental’, but I’ve had no trouble with it so far and it does make your 901 boot faster (mine now takes around 40 seconds to boot from power on to login prompt).

Eee-control

This step is of course optional, but if you want control over the Eee-PC’s performance modes and the ability to toggle wifi and bluetooth on or off you’ll need Eee-control. It’s a simple .deb installer download, so nothing tricky here either.

Ubuntu 8.10 has Firefox 3, A newer version of Transmision (the older one worked OK but lacked essentials like a ‘time remaining’ estimate) and lots of of other updates. Unlike with Ubuntu eee you’ll need to manually add Skype by downloading the client from Skype’s website. Ibex was set to medium eye-candy by default on my 901 and you can easily bump it to ‘high’, making it a very sleek OS to work with.

14 Comments

  1. Thanks for the good review, but you didn’t link to the intrepid setup page :) http://www.array.org/ubuntu/setup-intrepid.html

    The setup is almost exactly the same as hardy, the only difference is that the “alternate” hardy method needed on the 901s and later is not needed under Intrepid; and there’s a slightly different APT line.

    BTW, the ‘lean’ kernel has now been flagged as “testing” in 2.6.27-8-eeepc-lean, which was released yesterday.

    -Adam

    Comment by Adam McDaniel — November 18, 2008 @ 9:48 pm

  2. Oops, I forgot to actually link to the setup instructions. Thanks for pointing that out Adam, and thanks indeed for your work on this great kernel. Much appreciated.

    Comment by Roy — November 19, 2008 @ 8:54 am

  3. Do both suspend and hibernate work in 8.10?

    Comment by Hart — November 24, 2008 @ 10:17 pm

  4. БЛя, ну ты и чмо, ебливый лох, тупой хуй, мать твоя шлюха, сдохни пидор чмошный.

    Comment by Хуй — November 25, 2008 @ 12:09 am

  5. I’ve got the 10″ Eee and am actually a big fan of the netbook remix’s interface. It seems really well-suited to this screen size for my workload, because I rarely have any windows that I wouldn’t want full-screen.

    Comment by Donnie Berkholz — November 25, 2008 @ 6:08 am

  6. is there some way to test this distro out from a USB stick first, without installing over the existing OS? My wife is starting to notice the ‘age’ of the pre-installed 901 O/S, but I don’t think she’s likely to approve any irreversable mods to her precious without trying them out first.

    Comment by mrG — November 27, 2008 @ 8:48 pm

  7. @mrG: Once you’ve got a working USB stick with Ubuntu on it you’ll be able to boot off of that in ‘preview mode’. Wireless won’t work, but you’ll be able to play with the interface and correct to the internet using the wired network port.

    You won’t be able to install any additional software, but Firefox is already there, as is OpenOffice.

    Comment by Roy — November 28, 2008 @ 9:43 am

  8. thx

    Comment by mrG — November 28, 2008 @ 4:13 pm

  9. I like article.
    But I like ubuntu 8.04 at all, it has all I need.

    Comment by Galdetsky — November 30, 2008 @ 12:24 am

  10. Roy-

    box and kernel are:
    ubuntu 8.10, Intrepid Ibex
    kernel 2.6.27-11

    I have an HP Deskjet 670C printer which a while ago, before these latest ubuntum? would print fine with lp or lpr or something like that… now I get this message ‘Not connected? Printer hp … may not be connected.’ maybe it comes from a missing driver … or maybe I have to go wireless?

    Anyway Roy, If this is easy and sort of cheap, I would be happy to get the printer working. Let me know price approx and if you are inclined,

    thanks, Kelly Busche 202-106 Kings Rd West, North Vancouver B.C. V7N-2L8 Canada. 604-990-7278.

    Comment by kelly busche — February 2, 2009 @ 10:56 am

    • Hi Kelly. Ubuntu’s very best feature is the genuinely helpful community that surrounds it. I’m sure if you post your question at the Ubuntu forums the people there will be able to help you.

      Comment by Roy — February 2, 2009 @ 1:34 pm

  11. This string hasn’t had a comment for a few months so I thought that me enjoying this ubuntu eee blog and writing a “thank you” wouldn’t go amiss.

    Comment by yoyoboy — April 20, 2009 @ 12:19 am

  12. Roy – thank you for helping me figure out why I kept losing my wifi on my EEE PC every time Ubuntu upgraded!

    Now I have another question I hope you can help me with – can you point me to somebody who can talk me through setting up ndiswrapper for the eee step-by-step, with no “I guess you’re a Linux expert so you’ll understand what I mean here!” holes in the explanation? I’ve found three different ndiswrapper setup pages, and they ALL contain some part in them where I’m clutching my head in my hands and sobbing, “But I don’t UNDERSTAND! I’m a Linux Newbie!”

    Comment by drdarkeny — April 21, 2009 @ 10:19 pm

  13. Link: Two easy ways to install Ubuntu 8.10 on an Eee PC - Liliputing