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Ubuntu-eee on the eee PC 901

So a new year’s gift to myself for 2009: an Asus eee PC 901. After a quick play with the Xandros-based operating system that came pre-installed I decided to give the eee-specific Ubuntu distro a whirl. Despite the claim on their wiki that it would work ‘out of the box’ for the 901, there were a few issues with my installation (Ubuntu Hardy Heron v 8.04.1 on Asus model no. EEEPC-BK006) that I’ve resolved with the help of posts on the wiki and the eeepc users’s forum. So, largely because I might need to do it again, here’s my step-by-step guide on how to get the thing running as I like it:

UPDATE: ubuntu-eee, used in the description below, has rebranded itself as easy peasy. It seems to contain more license restricted software than the standard ubuntu installation and looks pretty swish. But ubuntu are clearly pushing their own netbook-remix so I’ve installed v9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) from Ubuntu’s main site. Where necessary I’ve updated the advice below for that, and added tips on Firefox and Mobile Broadband. Incidentally, Ubuntu Netbook Remix on the eee-pc absolutely rocks.

Another UPDATE:¬†As the Ubuntu versions have rolled on and got a bit bigger and slower I’ve now moved to lubuntu 11.04 for the occasional-use eeePC. It feels nice and quick for the kinds of simple jobs I’m doing with it.

N.B. I’ve mostly included eee-pc specific things here – there are other necessary steps with Ubuntu (like making flash work properly, and getting drivers to play .mp3 files). These all relate to using software with restricted licenses, but that software is available and works very well and Ubuntu now generally offers wizards to do these things which should pop up when you need them.

  1. Install the OS
  2. Recognise removable drives (N.B. Not necessary since Ubuntu 9.10)
  3. Wifi (N.B. Not necessary since Ubuntu 9.04)
  4. Webcam
  5. Make bluetooth work and enable other devices to push files via bluetooth
  6. Password lock after standby (N.B. Not necessary since Ubuntu 9.04)
  7. Make ‘home’ key show desktop
  8. Install eee-control
  9. Install Launchy (N.B. Gnome Do is probably preferable since 9.04)
  10. New fonts
  11. Firefox 3.5 (N.B. Not necessary since Ubuntu 9.10)
  12. Mobile Broadband

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