After buying an EEEPC in early 2008, 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). (See the EEEPC Updates Old page for these previous updates.)
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 Ubuntu as described below.
The challenge in keeping the EEEPC going has been to find an operating system that can be installed and continue to work within the 4 GB size of the solid state drive of my EEEPC. Further, the processor requirements for new operating systems have changed over the years. I looked at these issues:
After quite a bit of research, I found that the key pages to consult are the Ubuntu on the EeePC help page, and, in particular, the PAE help page. After consulting these pages, I decided to install Ubuntu 12.04. (There is another very promising option for an operating system for the EEEPC 701, Bodhi Linux--however I wasn't able to get that to install.)
To install ubuntu, I first made sure I got the correct ISO file for the EEEPC 701. Specifically, I made sure that I got the ISO file for xubuntu, alternate and 32 bit (i386). The alternate part allows it to be installed in the 4 GB SSD of the EEEPC, and the 32 bit (i386) part fits the processor. The specific release, 12.04 does not assume a PAE processor. I chose the 12.04 release also because it is a Long-Term Support (LTS) release which will be supported into April 2017.
Note that installing this version of ubuntu requires that you have a live Internet connection during installation. Note also that replacing the operating system will wipe out all your information on the EEEPC. I usually keep my own files on a separate SD card, so that I was all set to just wipe out the entire SSD on the EEEPC with a new operating system.
To do the installation, (you can see a "Cheat Sheet" of my compact notes on this installation toward the bottom of this section.) I started on my Windows 7 desktop computer to download and prepare the installation file.
The freespace on the system right after installation was 461 MB.
Once Xubuntu was installed, I did some customizations.
First, make sure that in the Settings->Settings Manager->Session and Startup, you must have the Authentication Kit selected for autostart and the Network selected for autostart. The Authentication Kit must be started in order to use the Synaptic Package Manager or the Software Center. The Network must be started in order to use the Wifi.
In the panel you have on your desktop, make sure that you have the Indicator plugin installed in order to use the WiFi. For example, if you don't have this installed, on a panel on your desktop: Panel -> Add item -> Indicator. This is going to show a small icon for volume, a small icon for mail (even though you might not use it) and an icon for the wireless network.
The Lubuntu Software Center (menu->System Tools->Lubuntu Software Center) is very easy to use, as it shows a clear, concise, cogent list of software you have installed, and it allows you to remove software or seek software from repositories for installation.
Using the Lubuntu Software center from the System Tools section of the toolbar menu, I removed quite a few software packages that I knew I would not be using: printing, burning disks, bluetooth, games, the personal organizer, the email client, xpad, scanners, and quite a few others. This was very easy to do.
Using the Lubuntu Software center from the System Tools section of the toolbar menu, I added firefox and the flash plugin for mozilla.
I customized the look and feel of the desktop and in particular the toolbar panel at the bottom of the screen.
The next day, I took the computer to a neighborhood cafe with WiFi to test out how I would typically use it. After some further customizing of the bottom panel (increasing the size of the icons), I did some software updates:
I next put the machine through its paces by bringing up the music player, text editor, and firefox with 20+ tabs open at once. Finally, the system gave an error message:
However, the computer did not crash. After closing about half dozen of the tabs, the system continued, although its CPU was near maximum, there was still memory left:
This is a more typical load on the EEEPC.
The battery I have is the same one from six years ago, but it still runs well over an hour:
The result is an EEEPC that, I think, is even better than new!
After installing ubuntu and customizing the system, I was able to see that I had only about 200 MB or so of disk space left. This is a very slim margin for working space on the 4 GB SSD, and so I wanted to see how I could make the best use of the space I have and perhaps even increase it.
First, I wanted to make sure I routinely kept the system clean and didn't allow a variety of files to accumulate. While using the ubuntu system, many different temporary files are created: downloaded package files, package files no longer needed, disk cache, logs, and all kinds of files that eat up disk space.
After examining several options, I found and installed a very good cleaning program called BleachBit. You can install it from Menu->System Tools->Lubuntu Software Center. After starting up BleachBit, you can make selections in the left pane of what portions of your system to clean. I usually just leave them all checked:
After the preview, you can then click "Clean," and the software removes all sorts of files:
You can run BleachBit as root (superuser), but I found that running it just as a regular user is sufficient. I would run it as root after a big installation or session in which I deleted many pieces of software.
You can see in the above example, my free disk space went from 297.3 MB to to 318.5 MB--a savings of 21 MB. This isn't much, but it is a good feeling to know that BleachBit does quite a bit of cleaning so easily.
There are other cleaning techniques, such as Computer Janitor or using APT command lines, but I find that BleachBit takes care of these same things in one interface.
As you update the installation, you'll find your disk usage increases. To address this, realize that you can delete extra linux kernel files. Find these using Synaptic Package Manager and searching for linux- among installed packages (use Preferences to make the package size column display; note also that I have the Gkrellm monitor in the lower left to show disk usage):
Then select the packages for removal that are older versions than the current versions:
Delete the packages:
Enjoy the disk usage savings--reduced to 61% usage from 70%.
Cleaning up system files is only going to go so far, however, to manage scarce disk space. I looked at my system's disk partition using the Menu->Accessories->Disk Utility:
First, I looked at this diagram: my SSD has several partitions: a 2.9 GB bootable area which contains the installed operating system (labeled 2.9 GB in the diagram) and an extended partition that contains 1.1 GB of linux swap space. This adds up to the 4 GB of the SSD. I had mistakenly thought that there was an Extended 1.1 GB section in addition to the swap space--in truth, the Extended partition holds the 1.1 GB swap space-- the Extended Partition is just a holder.
Another way to look at the disk partitions is by using the program GParted (available in the Ubuntu Software Center):
The purpose of the swap space is to serve as a place to store computer commands and data that cannot fit in the memory. As my operating system was installed, this 1.1 GB of swap space takes up over 25% of the already-scarce disk space. Since I have installed more memory in the EEEPC than what it came with (500 MB) to bring it up to 1 GB, and since I've observed that my customary use of my EEEPC rarely taxes this space, I began to wonder if I needed such a big swap space. For example, this is a typical use:
Note that I'm using just 199 MB of 993 MB memory available. That is just about 20% of memory, and I've rarely seen the usage go over 50%.
Therefore, I looked into shrinking the size of that swap space and reclaiming more of it for working space and programs. I can't use GParted to resize the swap space partition on the EEEPC while the operating system is running, so I found a version of GParted that can be run right from the SD card slot.
To use GParted right from the SD card slot, I started on my Windows 7 desktop computer to download and prepare the installation file.
I could then see that instead of having just about 300 MB of space free, I now had 1.2 GB of space free within the 3.9 GB allocated for the operating system.
This additional space can provide more working space so that the disk doesn't get too fragmented, and I'll have room for more software. I will do another stress test to see how this well this works before the system crashes. I can always reverse the process using GParted on the SD card and bring the swap space back up to about 1 GB, but for now, I think having 1.2 GB of free space on the SSD after system installation and software installation (including both the Mozilla and Chrome browsers) is bigger benefit since I've observed that my typical use of the EEEPC consumes less than half the installed 1 GB of memory.
To test out the system, I installed GNU Krell Monitors (gkrellm) (available in the Ubuntu Software Center):
A feature on GKrellm allows you to see the Memory and also the Swap space. I brought up both the Chome and Firefox browsers with multiple tabs (5 each), audacious media player, gedit, and a few other things:
Note the memory is in use about 58% (606 MB of 993 MB available) and the swap space is 15% in use (15 MB of 100 MB available).
To stress the system further, I opened more tabs (to 12 each) on the Chome and Firefox browsers, gedit, and a few other things running:
Note that at this point, the swap space (100 MB) is 100% in use. The memory still has 16% of its capacity left.
A much more typical use of my EEEPC is:
Note that memory is used just 32% and no swap space is used. My estimate is that the 100 MB swap space is fine for my normal use (which likely will not require any use of the swap space). For example, here is the Chrome Browser open with 24 Tabs, gedit, and a few other things:
Note that swap space wasn't used at all and memory was us was less than 50%.
After installation, I found that the LXDE desktop failed to get an update. I was a bit frustrated also as the disk seemed to be filling up to 90% and more. So I reinstalled the system, using the same steps as above, but choosing the Xubuntu desktop (Ubuntu with XFCE desktop) for installation. I also removed the swap space entirely as I felt it really wasn't needed since I had extra memory. This seemed to be a better choice:
The key customizations I made to the system were:
$ sudo apt-get install ttf-mscorefonts-installer
The result is a desktop that is faster, uses less resources (battery lasts 2+ hours, SSD disk used less than 70%)--all on an EEEPC I got in 2007:
Setup of xubuntu-desktop on EEEPC
BOOT TO SD
* Have ISO on SD card and put it in the EEEPC SD card slot
* Turn on EEEPC
* Hit ESC until a screen allows you to boot from the SD card; choose that
* In the menu that appears, CHOOSE INSTALL
INSTALL Xubuntu Desktop
* NOTE: this takes about an hour
* The display size is 800x480, this is choice 7
* For most of the choices, simply hit return--say NO to detect keyboard, just select United States
* It is important that the disk partition for installation be 4 GB; remove the swap partition and keep going back to the partition menu to resize the main partition, save changes to disk and proceed; do NOT proceed unless it is clear that there is 4 GB in that main partition--otherwise the installation will crash and mess up the file system
* If the file system gets messed up, go ahead and install Bodhi linux, then shut the computer down and start again with an xubuntu desktop installation; again, and make sure there is one 4 GB partition
* For installation software, just choose: xubuntu desktop
TWEAKS TO DO ONCE INSTALLED
* Settings -> Settings Manager -> Workspaces=1
* Settings -> Settings Manager -> Session and Startup -> stop unnecessary programs from starting
Need: Authentication Kit
Need: Network (manage your network connections)
* Settings -> Settings Manager -> Notifications
disappear after 3 seconds
* Settings -> Settings Manager -> Appearance
choose and adjust style and font
* Settings -> Settings Manager -> Window Manager Tweaks -> TAB Compositor -> can
just UNCHECK Enable display composting --> seems to speed up menus and such
UNCHECK show shadows under popup windows
UNCHECK show shadows under regular windows
* Settings -> Settings Manager -> Windows Manager
* Settings -> Settings Manager -> Power settings
adjust to ASK when power is low on battery
* Settings -> Settings Manager -> Desktop - Items -> remove all Default Icons
PANEL - I usually like one panel on the bottom
* unlock panel first in order to to move: right click -> Panel -> Panel Preferences: unclick Lock panel; also make panel 100% wide and automatically widen
* grip panel by handle (on leftmost side) to move to the bottom; then relock the panel
* on the panel, add ONE launcher per application I want:
* You must have the Indicator plugin to run the wifi network: Panel -> Add item -> Indicator -- this is going to show a small icon for volume, a small icon for mail (even though I don't use it) and an icon for the wireless network
* How to get windows list to just show icons
PANEL -> BRING UP LIST OF ITEMS then choose the GEAR icon to modify it
Verdana 12 or other font
%Y-%m-%d %a%l:%M %P
2015-03-08 Sun 4:34 pm
for more format codes, see man date
Software I like to get through ubuntu software center.
Flash for Firefox
System Profiler and Benchmark (Hardinfo)
Disk Usage Analyzer
-- turn on wifi with f2
--- wireless interface = wlan0
--- wired inteface = eth0
* Gkrellm Tweaks
Select and Press F1
+ Configuration->THEMES ->
tab FONT to Ubuntu 12
CLICK hostname display
CLICK remember screen location
Set to 1 for Krell and LED updates per second
+ Bultins: I want:
enable: wlan0, eth0 charts
Mem $u/$t = $U
182M/993M = 18%
- FILE SYSTEM
create on at / mount point call it Disk
Disk $u/$t = $U
2.96G/3.67 G = 85%
uptime no seconds
- Remove all other Builtins
* Run Bleachbit as root -- clicking on Localizations really helped reduced by about 148 MB; usage now at 66%
Commands to Run in Terminal
sudo apt-get install localepurge
I selected just en_US
-- to install microsoft fonts (core fonts) such as comic sans serif
sudo apt-get install ttf-mscorefonts-installer
Synaptic Package Manager ->
Show by Status
installed (residual config) -> MARK ALL FOR DELETION and then APPLY
IN bleach bit --> as root, be sure to delete the localizations --> cleans out a lot
Synaptic Package Manager ->
show by Status
show by Installed
Search for linux-
after upgrades, look for old Linux Kernel image files -- remove oldest ones
-- these are just hints for when these might be useful
sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends xubuntu-desktop
--- this removes the package synaptic and then installs it:
sudo dpkg -P synaptic
sudo apt-get install synaptic
There is another promising option for an operating system for the EEEPC 701: Bodhi Linux. I did try to install it, but I found it crashed, when during the installation, it turned on the EEEPC's camera and asked me to take a picture. I did, but then the installation just froze up. Perhaps I had some settings incorrect on my camera. However, Bodhi Linux looks great, and its requirements as of this writing (February 2014) are just 300+MHz CPU, 128MB RAM, and 2.5GB hard drive space! You can put Bodhi's ISO file on an SD Card, boot it in your EEEPC, and see a live demonstration of the operating system.
See also: ToriOS.
(See the EEEPC Updates Old page for older updates of my EEEPC.)