Computer Notebook Computer Notebook: EEEPC Updates--Previous

After buying an EEEPC in early 2008, I updated the computer several times. See the EEEPC Updates page for the most recent. This page shows older updates.

I kept the same operating system that came with the computer for a while. The operating system was a custom version of Linux called Xandros and came in a tabbed interface which I switched to a full desktop mode (KDE) installation option.

After a while, I could see that the original operating system was difficult to keep updated, so I decided to install a new operating system. In 2010, I installed an operating system called EasyPeasy (based on Ubuntu, a Linux-based operating system) and used that for a while. In 2011, I installed Linux Mint Release 11 (based on Debian and Ubuntu). By 2014, although my Linux Mint installation was still working, it was no longer being supported, so I re-examined the issues involved in updating the EEEPC and installed Xubuntu (based on Ubuntu with the Xfce Desktop Environment) (See the EEEPC Updates page for this most recent update.)

The following sections cover previous operating systems I installed. These are no longer supported, so I wouldn't advise trying to install them. The information is kept here for reference. See the EEEPC Updates page for the most recent update. EasyPeasy is covered first, and then Linux Mint is discussed.

EasyPeasy Installation

I decided on EasyPeasy, an open-source operating system designed for mobile computers like the EEEPC. EasyPeasy, formerly known as "Ubuntu Eee," is based on ubuntu, a Linux-based operating system. However, I ran into some disk space problems in using EasyPeasy long-term. So by late 2011, I installed Linux Mint LXDE (Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment), and that is what I have been using ever since.

Note that I installed EasyPeasy 1.6. As of February 2014, I don't believe EasyPeasy is available anymore.

To install EasyPeasy, I went to the EasyPeasy Web site, and I started with the installation instructions. I used my Windows 7 desktop computer to prepare the installation file.

  1. I downloaded the ISO file for EasyPeasy. This ISO file is an archive file that has the data contents for the EasyPeasy operating system. When I downloaded it, it was 838 MB in size, version 1.6 of EasyPeasy.
  2. I downloaded the installer for Windows. It is called UNetbootin (Universal Netboot Installer).
  3. I started the UNetbootin software to put the EasyPeasy ISO file onto an SD card.
    Important Notes:
  4. Once I had the ISO file written to the SD card, I removed the SD card from my desktop computer.
  5. I went to my EEEPC (with its power off). I attached the SD card using an SD card reader via a USB port to the EEEPC. I suspect you could just put the SD card right in its slot.
  6. I powered up the EEEPC and hit ESC when I got to the EEEPC boot screen. A screen came up that allowed me to boot to the SD card. I selected that.
  7. A menu came up which had "default" at the top. I selected that.
  8. Easy peasy started up. I could explore and use the operating system as it was running live as booted up from the SD card. You can explore EasyPeasy thoroughly before you decided to install it on your EEEPC.
  9. I decided to install it. There is an option in the Systems section in EasyPeasy to install EasyPeasy onto your computer's hard drive. I selected that.
  10. EasyPeasy went through a series of prompts about my time zone, keyboard, and disk partition. For the disk partition, I selected to use the entire disk (wiping out the original Xandros installation).
  11. Once I completed the installation dialogs, nothing happened. I was confused. I saw no further activity and I wondered if the operating system had been installed. I tried this several times before I realized that I was not getting the dialog boxes which showed the progress of the installation. Important Note: wait until you get a confirmation dialog box that states that EasyPeasy had been installed. You may see drive activity, but when I installed EasyPeasy, I saw no progress dialogues showing the progress of the installation--and it takes about 30 minutes or so!
  12. Once installed, I rebooted the computer, and EasyPeasy worked!
I was then able to get to the GNOME (GNU Network Object Model Environment) desktop:


My impression was that EasyPeasy was a fast, easier-to-update, and easier-to-use operating system than what I'd had on the EEEPC.

I was not quite satisfied with the GNOME interface. I have become accustomed to a full desktop environment, so I installed the Xfce desktop environment:


However, after using Xfce, I decided that I missed the KDE (K Desktop Environment) that I used to have on the EEEPC when it had Xandros on it (the full desktop mode). So I went through the installation process again, this time with the goal of installing KDE on the EEEPC.

Important Note: my EEEPC has only a 4 GB hard drive. I was very careful to first remove open office and other software programs that I know I would not use. My goal was to make sure that installation of KDE would not fail due to low disk space.

Initial State of KDE full desktop when installed

On rebooting, on the login screen, I have the chance to go back to GNOME, but then GNOME was in a full desktop mode. With some modifications (moving the panel), I had a full-desktop:

GNOME full desktop mode

The GNOME desktop loads very quickly and responds very quickly. The KDE desktop is more complicated, and I will likely reserve its use for more complex work. I made further efforts to remove software that I would not use so as to preserve as much of the 4 GB disk space as I could for browsing the Web and room for necessary operating system updates.

I have gotten very used to the Google Chrome browser, so I installed the version for Linux:

Google Chrome browser installed on the EEEPC!

The Chrome browser download and installed in about 7 minutes. It works wonderfully--very fast. It is my default browser now. In the Chrome browser, I installed some extensions (Wrench Symbol->Tools->Extensions):

On the Mozilla Firefox browser, I installed the HTTPS Everywhere extension.

In using public WiFi hotspots, I don't recommend ever accessing sites that contain sensitive personal or financial information. If you access your email, make sure that you use the https protocol. I use a set of Surf Links (see about) for browsing Web sites on public WiFi networks. Essentially, I don't login to any password-protected site while using my computer on a public WiFi network such as in a Net Cafe.

After further customizations, I had the GNOME operating system working very well:

GNOME desktop in action on the EEEPC 4G Linux

I had installed the Gufw firewall. I installed the audacious media player because I couldn't get the one that was pre-installed to work (it was too complicated--so I deleted it.)

I installed a neat World Sunlight map application to change my desktop wallpaper to an earth map every 30 minutes:

World Sunlight Map background wallpaper on EEEPC running EasyPeasy / GNOME desktop

Further Use: A Minimal EasyPeasy Installation

On using the EEEPC with EasyPeasy, after a while, I ran into problems with disk space available. My EEEPC has just 4 GB on its solid-state drive. I believe it may have had to do with Web browsers filling up their disk storage cache until all of the disk space was used. This led to problems in logging into the EEEPC. So I decided to reinstall EasyPeasy with minimal features--no desktop environments like the Xfce desktop environment or KDE. Even though I was able to install both environments (while also agressively deleting any applications I did not need), the disk space usage kept creeping up to the limits.

To install the minimal installation:

  1. I reinstalled EasyPeasy again.
  2. In the GNOME desktop, I selected Ubuntu Software Center. There, I deleted every application I knew I did not want to use. I use a Web browser for mail as well as google documents, so I deleted any mail program or document editor except for a simple text editor.
  3. I also removed the software for Bluetooth, Open Office, Empathy, Evolution, Gwibber, and all games.
  4. System -> Synaptic Package Manager. Find packages picasa, skype, openoffice, bluez, mark for removal, apply.
  5. System -> Startup Applications. I unchecked all applications I would not want to start up.
  6. System -> Language Support. Be sure to uncheck the greyed boxes of the languages you don't want to load.
  7. I looked at How to Free Up Space for other ideas.
  8. I ran System-> Computer Janitor.

I ran this on a terminal session:

sudo apt-get clean

I restarted the system to make sure it still worked! After I connected the computer to a network, I ran System -> Update Manager. This updated the software that needed updating. There was a process of downloading the required updates, and then installing them. NOTE: this took a long time! It took me about 4 hours to download, install, and tweak the installations.

When you login to EasyPeasy, be sure to select the GNOME desktop option. This will give you the full desktop mode without having to install the Xfce or KDE:

GNOME full desktop mode

Linux Mint Installation

I ran into problems with my EasyPeasy installation. While EasyPeasy worked very well when first installed, subsequent updates of the operating system eventually filled the 4 GB SSD (solid state drive). Although EasyPeasy didn't require that much space to operate, there needed to be more "wiggle room" on the hard drive to perform the updates. I didn't feel like doing a fresh install because it was so time-consuming. Instead, I installed the Linux Installation, Linux Mint 11 LXDE, which fits on the 4 GB Solid State Drive of the EEEPC: (NOTE: subsequent updates of Linux Mint LXDE have exceeded the 4 GB size of the SSD, so I will stick with this installation until it is no longer supported.)

The installation was very easy and fast (the whole process took less than 30 minutes) to install Linux Mint. Be sure to back up your personal data on your EEEPC before doing this.

Here is how I installed Linux Mint on my EEEPC.

  1. Using my Windows 7 PC, I downloaded the ISO file of the Linux Mint 11 LXDE Release.
  2. I downloaded and used the UNetbootin (Universal Netboot Installer) to put the ISO file on an SD card. Note that in using UNetbootin, you don't have to fill in the top part of the dialog box (Distribution, Select Distribution, Select Version). All you need to do is identify the Diskimage file ISO location and identify the dirve with the SD card in it.
  3. Once the ISO was written to the SD card, I removed the SD card from my PC and put the SD card in the SD card slot on the EEEPC.
  4. I powered up the EEEPC and hit ESC when I got to the EEEPC boot screen. A screen came up that allowed me to boot to the SD card. I selected that.
  5. I installed Linux Mint. I chose to wipe the whole 4 GB SSD for the installation since I don't store any data on it anyway (I store my data on a SD card that sits in the drive slot (removed temporarily, of course, during the installation)).

    Welcome to Linux Mint

    Summary - System Information

After installation, I ran the Update Manager, and that took a while, perhaps about an hour. Following that, there was less than 0.5 GB of free space on my 4 GB drive. However, I just use the mozilla browser, the simple text editor, and a music player, and I use an SD card to store my documents. I do not need any more applications. My only concern is that operating system updates might again overflow the 4 GB SSD. My typical use:

Applications running on the EEEPC 701 with Linux Mint

Tweaking the Linux Mint Installation

One of the first customizations that I did with my Linux Mint installation was to remove some of the programs that automatically start when the computer starts. To do this, I needed to edit the file /etc/xdg/lxsession/Minut-LXDE/autostart.

To edit this file, I used LXTerminal (Applications->Accessories). At the Linux prompt, I used the cd command to navigate to this directory:

john@john-701 $ cd /etc/xdg/lxsession/Minut-LXDE

(If you need to learn the very basics of linux directory structures and commands like cd, ls, and chmod, see my little course on Unix).

I saw the permissions on the autostart file:

LXTerminal at location of startup file

In order to edit this file, I used the su (superuser) command to gain root permissions and then used chmod command to change permissions on the autostart file:

Changing permissions on autostart file in order to edit it

The key line here is:

john-701 Mint-LXDE # chmod 777 autostart
Then I used the gedit program to edit and save changes to the autostart file. I entered a # in the first column to comment out the lines:
The # symbol at the start of these lines makes them comments and thus the computer does not execute them on startup. After commenting out the lines and saving the autostart file, I change the permissions on the autostart file back to 755:
john-701 Mint-LXDE # chmod 755 autostart

Finally, I show the contents of the autostart file:

Showing contents of autostart file

See the EEEPC Updates page for the most recent updates.

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