Asus EB1012U Nettop with 128GB SSD, 4GB ram and W7/Xubuntu Dual Boot

I saw I could upgrade my Asus EB1012U to an SSD and 4GB ram, so dashed out and bought a Crucial M4 128 gb SSD and the required sticks. Hardware installation was straight forward. (Note the EB1012 is not compatible with SSD’s according to Crucial, you need the “U” at the end.)

I then shoved a W7 DVD in the drive and started the install. Had to do a telephone activation due to changes in hardware (or not using an OEM DVD) but that all went well and installation of W7 went sweetly enough. rebooted a couple of times and did the updates, and then resized the W7 partition. I should have done partitioning first as W7 would only shrink down to 60gb which was a pita, I was hoping for 35/40gb. Anyway, can easily use the spare space for some data storage.

Next I booted up with Xubuntu Desktop 12.04, partitioned the rest of the sapce for the install and storage, and left that to run. Grub installed then rebooted and tested that both Xubuntu and W7 would boot up. Fine, no problems.

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“Minimal” Install – Xubuntu 10.04 LTS – Openbox

As per a previous post, here is a breakdown of the installation carried out on a Dell Dimension 4100 with an PIII 833mhz processor and 256mb ram:

#On Install screen press F4 and select Command Line Install
#then Install Xubuntu

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

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Create GeeXBoX LiveUSB using UnetBootIn on Linux

I know we have the win32 installer,
I know we can install to USB from CD,
but I wanted to use only Linux to
create a live USB that replicates the CD.


UnetBootIn (in Xubuntu repos)
Standard or Custom GeexBox iso ( I used a Custom GeexBox 1.2.3)
USB Flash Drive (Used a Buffalo 1GB)

This all carried out on Xubuntu 9.04

Part I – Create Bootable USB Drive

Insert USB Drive to your PC running Linux (Ubuntu etc)
Start UnetBootIn
Tick the Disk Image Radio Button, ensure ISO is selected in the drop down and then select your GeexBox iso
Select your USB drive from the drop down box
Click OK and Wait until you get the Reboot or Exit buttons appear
Click Exit

Part II – Get the right GEEXBOX directory

Mount the GeexBox iso so you can access files
I use Gmountiso but you can create a directory and issue a command in the terminal

sudo mkdir /media/gb-iso
sudo mount -o loop /path/to/geexbox.iso /media/gb-iso

Go to your root directory of your USB drive and delete (yes, delete!) the entire GEEXBOX directory
Got to /media/gb-iso and copy the GEEXBOX directory, pasting it to the root of your USB drive.

Why have we done this? UnetBootIn does something to the GEEXBOX directory files, you need the unadulterated ones on the iso.

Part III – Edit syslinux.cfg

In a terminal, run the command:

sudo blkid -L

On newer systems (e.g. Karmic) run

sudo blkid


sudo blkid -o full

You will get all the UUID’s from your drives and partitions.
Note down the UUID for your USB drive
Mine was 0633-157B

Open up syslinux.cfg on the USB drive in your favourite text editor
Make it look like this:

default vesamenu.c32
prompt 0
timeout 20

MENU TITLE Welcome to GeeXboX i386 1.2.3 (C) 2002-2009
MENU TABMSG Press [Tab] to edit options, [F1] for boot options.
MENU COLOR sel 7;37;40 #e0000000 #fa833b all
MENU COLOR border 30;44 #00000000 #00000000 none

label ubnentry0
menu label Start GeeXboX …
kernel /GEEXBOX/boot/vmlinuz
append initrd=/GEEXBOX/boot/initrd.gz root=/dev/ram0 rw rdinit=linuxrc boot=UUID=0633-157B lang=en remote=atiusb receiver=atiusb keymap=qwerty splash=silent vga=789 video=vesafb:ywrap,mtrr quiet

label ubnentry1
menu label Start GeeXboX for HDTV …
kernel /GEEXBOX/boot/vmlinuz
append initrd=/GEEXBOX/boot/initrd.gz root=/dev/ram0 rw rdinit=linuxrc boot=UUID=0633-157B lang=en remote=atiusb receiver=atiusb keymap=qwerty splash=silent vga=789 video=vesafb:ywrap,mtrr hdtv quiet

label ubnentry2
menu label Install GeeXboX to disk …
kernel /GEEXBOX/boot/vmlinuz
append initrd=/GEEXBOX/boot/initrd.gz root=/dev/ram0 rw rdinit=linuxrc boot=UUID=0633-157B lang=en remote=atiusb receiver=atiusb keymap=qwerty splash=silent vga=789 video=vesafb:ywrap,mtrr installator quiet

label ubnentry3
menu label Start in debugging mode …
kernel /GEEXBOX/boot/vmlinuz
append initrd=/GEEXBOX/boot/initrd.gz root=/dev/ram0 rw rdinit=linuxrc boot=UUID=0633-157B lang=en remote=atiusb receiver=atiusb keymap=qwerty splash=0 vga=789 video=vesafb:ywrap,mtrr debugging

label ubnentry4
menu label Start HDTV edition in debugging mode …
kernel /GEEXBOX/boot/vmlinuz
append initrd=/GEEXBOX/boot/initrd.gz root=/dev/ram0 rw rdinit=linuxrc boot=UUID=0633-157B lang=en remote=atiusb receiver=atiusb keymap=qwerty splash=0 vga=789 video=vesafb:ywrap,mtrr hdtv debugging


Make sure you replace my UUID entry with your own for each stanza

Save syslinux.cfg

Part IV – Clean Up

Unmount the iso

sudo umount /media/gb-iso

Delete the directory if you wish

sudo rmdir /media/gb-iso

You are done. Either safely remove your USB drive, or leave it in and reboot.
You may need to edit your bios settings to allow booting from USB.
And there you have it, LiveUSB, just like the CD, but you can edit settings if you wish.

Acer Aspire One – Xubuntu 9.04, XP and Linpus Triple Boot – My Way

A bit late on the bandwagon, but shelled out for an 8GB SSD Aspire One the other day (factory refurb). A nice blue one. On arrival it refused to charge, so required a bios upgrade to 3309. Told the supplier they need to be aware of this problem. They said thanks.

Linpus Lite….hmmm, I guess it does what it says on the tin, and I like the way it adds the SD card onto your home directory. ButI needed more freedom, and wasn’t in the mood to learn how to yum. So out with the Gparted CD and the SSD was reshaped with a 2GB, a 3GB, and a 2.5GB partition and no swap. I kept the Linpus installation for reference, but it will probably go when things move on, I have the recovery CD after all.

So the1st partition, 2GB is for a Windows XP Pro install, to install from USB, it has to be the first partition.

The 2nd parition, 3GB is Linpus

The third partition, 2.5GB will be for Xubuntu 9.04, not a remix distro, but my own.


Making up the USB XP drive was fun, requiring an XPSP3 disc and some other softs. Instructions said i could do it with multiple partitions but that was just laying down a challenge! If I remember rightly (I didn’t take notes) this is how it was done.

I used, in the main, this tut for creation of the USB drive and installation. Just had to be careful when picking the right partition to format and install.

and this one

Windows will boot quite happily while the USB drive is still in place, but take it out and it borks. I needed to edit the boot.ini file so that it was looking at the right partition, not the one on the USB drive, but the one on the hard drive. After that things were fine.

At this point all I can do it boot into Windows having overwritten the mbr. I’ll get grub back on board and be multi-booting once Xubuntu is installed.

Xubuntu 9.04

To be honest, I went for arch-linux first, but struggled with some of the packages I needed to run on the cli, so gave up and went for good old faithful xubuntu.

Alternate CD, F4, Command Line Install. Openbox, Xorg, Wicd to manage being wired or wireless, vga=788 for framebuffer (won’t go any higher than 800×600) in grub on the kernel line. I didn’t want an xfce desktop environment, as I was seeking to have a mainly CLI setup but to be able to run Openbox with startx if needed.

CLI apps that cut the mustard here were: (link provided where not in the repos)

moc                       music player
mc                         file manager
directvnc               graphical remote control
dvtm                      multiple console windows
screen                   multiple console sessions
fbi                          view images and pdfs
calcurse                 calendar/to do
elinks                     text browser
links2                     text and graphical browser
cmatrix                  matrix like screen
pydf                       colourful df
htop                       colourful top
mplayer                 video player
gpm                       console mouse

For Openbox I installed:

thunar                   file manager
wicd                      network manager
firefox                   browser
xfce4-terminal      terminal
obmenu                menu builder
obconf                  appearance manager
vinagre                 graphical vnc viewer

I needed to add some fixes, drawn mainly from the ubuntu community page for the Aspire One . I followed the SSD life extending suggestions, added the backport modules to get the wireless LED working, made the pciehp entry to help with SD card mounting, and added the acerhdf module to control the fan speed, and some of the tweaks for improving SSD performance. Automounting of USB drives failed due to the bug with hal, so I applied this fix.

Yet to try out skype and webcam under this setup, although I know that the webcam works with cheese, and must do some more research to get all the function (Fn) buttons working, although I know this is a general issue.

My favourite toy is directvnc. Working in the framebuffer is clever enough given that you can run a graphical browser (links2), view images (fbi) and watch video (mplayer) but to be able to run remote graphical sessions from other PCs in the framebuffer knocks me over. I had to resize my remote PCs resolution to 800×600 to get it working right.

Next steps, probably to drop the linpus install, expand the size of XP so I can get Office on it (or Word/Excel/PPoint), and test out battery life – don’t know what happens when the power runs out when I am at the cli :)

Xubuntu 9.04 – post installation setup

  1. Get rid of that top panel! never been happy with two panels (but just watch me contradict myself later! :))
  2. Install the nvidia display driver for my Geoforce 6200 using the hardware drivers popup.
  3. Install xubuntu-restricted-extras for all the media stuff.
  4. Open up thunar and selected detailed view, and change the Location selector to toolbar style.  The Sidepane is set at shortcuts by default so that’s OK.
  5. Remove all the desktop icons, just like a clear desktop. That’s a right click on the desktop, choose Desktop Settings > icons, and untick the boxes.
  6. Install portmap and nfs-common for nfs client operability.
  7. Edit /etc/fstab to include all my local and network shares. I only use nfs on my LAN servers.
  8. Install rdesktop to access my ever-running Headless VBox XP on my server.
  9. Try out Vinagre. It actually works! I can easily vnc to my two servers.
  10. Try out totem. Wow! For the first time since I have used linux, totem actually played back everything i threw at it – avi,mpg,flv,wmv,ts – and it does dvb tv. More on that later. This won’t tear me away from mplayer though :)
  11. Install totem-xine to get the deinterlacing control for watching dvb tv.
  12. Edit the desktop configuration file for “Movie Player” Movie Player in /usr/share/applications so that totem runs the xine backend instead of the gstreamer one. Just add “-xine” after totem on line 3. This will change the action on the main menu icon. Continue reading

Xubuntu 9.04 Alt CD Installation

The Jaunty Jakalope has arrived, so I thought I would document my installation of the Xubuntu Alt CD version, which came down on the torrent earlier.

PC specs, Shuttle FN45 Mobo Athlon XP 1.4 overclocked to 1.9 with 1GB unmatched RAM, 250 GB HDD, multi booting with 8.10 and Arch

Start the Clock!


Boot up with the CD

Choose English, then press Enter for the default install of Xubuntu

Selected GB keyboard using defaults

Pick a name for your installation

Chose Manual partitioning (due to multi-boot environment) and went for Ext3 file system, and one partition for the whole install, but using the shared swap at the end of the drive.


Installing the base system


Set up a single user and password
(good to see Ubuntu has finally put in a check for weak passwords, but lets you have one nevertheless!)


Configuring apt / Scanning the mirror
(this always takes an age on my PCs, probably doesn’t help that I am torrenting the other 9.04 isos I need elsewhere on the LAN!)


Phew, finally, it takes so long you think the Pc has frozen, but be patient.
Select and install software

Done 60% after 10 minutes


Install GRUB Boot Loader

I like my grub from IBEX, so will install this GRUB to the install partition


Installation Complete

CD ejected, ready for reboot!

First Boot Times:

From Boot to Grub                   16.8 seconds

From Grub to GDM                   26.5 seconds

From Grub to Desktop             13.3 seconds

TOTAL                                      56.6 seconds

(A fully loaded Arch does this in 35 seconds, so given that the Boot to Grub time doesn’t change, Arch is still ahead on boot,something I was expecting to be faster on 9.04?)

Now it’s only been up a few hours and we already have 6 updates, all to do with Firefox.

Dell Latitude Cpt 333 – Finally settled on a distro

In my last writings you will have seen that I was trying out SLiTaz on my old Dell laptop with its 4GB hard drive, but following investigations in to terminal based applications I decided to head back to an ubuntu base. The main reason for this was that I had started of on ubuntu when really getting into linux, and was comfortable with the operational environment, plus the ease of package installation using apt or synaptic. So the hard drive was wiped again and a command line install of xubuntu 8.10 commenced. Following this I did install two graphical desktop environments, my old friends openbox and xfce, which are both pretty zippy, but the main aim was to try to use the command line as much as possible. For this I followed KMandla’s software guide and used dvtm, moc, mc, calcurse, htop and elinks. Of course, these are all available in the ubuntu repositories but I have linked to their home sites for info purposes. Continue reading

Cooking up SLiTaz on my Dell Latitude Cpt -C 333 Laptop

Hopefully found a lightweight enough solution to running my ancient laptop. Even a cli base install of xubuntu followed up with openbox it just too heavy. Found SLiTaz, which offered me a new learning curve too! Once you get into it, things are really easy, and as long as you don’t expect an ubuntu sized repository…..



SLiTaz cooking iso dated 20090228 (much improved desktop interface over version 1.0 20080322) Continue reading