Ubuntu and the Eee PC 701:
A year a go if we wanted to run Ubuntu, or any other distribution of Linux becides the stock Xandros that came on the Eee PC, it would require either running a number of automated scripts or spending hours of configuring to get everything working on the Eee PC.
Canonical’s latest version of Ubuntu, 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope, runs very well out of the box with the original Eee PC. For the most part everything runs after a clean install. There are a few things could use some optimization to improve performance and usability however.
While these tips should work for the Netbook Remix version of Ubuntu, these tips are referring to the Desktop Edition running the standard GNOME desktop.
Allowing windows to be dragged off-screen:
If you turn compiz (desktop effects) off you can drag windows off the side of the screen. This is important if you want to reach buttons and controls that extend outside the 701’s small 7″ screen. If you want to use compiz enter the following command in the terminal without sudo (or as root):
gconftool-2 –set /apps/compiz/plugins/move/allscreens/options/constrain_y –type bool 0
Improving Compiz performance:
You might have noticed if you have run a previous release of ubuntu on your Eee that with Jaunty Compiz’s effects seem less smooth and laggy. This is due to the new Intel graphics card driver being used. You can regain your performance by reverting back to the drivers in Intrepid. To do this you need to first edit your apt repository lists. Open up your terminal and edit /etc/apt/sources.list. If you don’t know how to do this, you can copy and paste the following command:
sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list
At the bottom enter the following two lines and save:
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/siretart/ppa/ubuntu jaunty main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/siretart/ppa/ubuntu jaunty main
sudo apt-key adv –recv-keys –keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com 0xce90d8983e731f79
All that’s left now is to enter the following commands and restart your computer.
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg-video-intel-2.4
The original Eee PC came with either 2gb, 4gb, or 8gb of Solid State Flash space. If you are installing Ubuntu, you are probably using the 4gb or 8gb versions. In any case the Eee does not have a lot of disk space. You can clean up unused programs using the Add/Remove or Synaptic Package Manager. Remove things such as games, CD-Burner, and Bluetooth if they were installed and you don’t think you’ll use them later one. More things can be uninstalled in Synaptic, but be sure you don’t uninstall anything important.
Optional: Enable and configure CPU clock-scaling:
If you like, you can enable clock scaling. This will allow the processor to speed up or slow down depending on what you are doing and whether you are plugged in or not.
The applet to control this is the CPU Frequency GNOME applet. This can be found by right-clicking on a panel and selecting Add and finding it on the list. By default it will not allow you to set the frequency yourself.
The first thing to do is to open up the terminal and run:
sudo dpkg-reconfigure gnome-applets
This isn’t enough for the Eee though. The p4-clockmod must also be enabled. To do this add it to the end of your modules list found under /etc/. To edit this file enter the following command in the terminal:
sudo gedit /etc/modules
Now add the following line at the end of the file. Be sure there isn’t a # before the line.
All you should have to do now is restart your computer. If you wish to disable this in the future, simply edit the modules file again and put a # before p4-clockmod or remove the line all together and restart.
If you find that the CPU scales too low, you can adjust the minimum frequency that the processor will scale to. A good tutorial can be found here: [link] I personally set my minimum to 562mhz so my Eee will still run Compiz fine but will clock up to 900mhz if needed. Normally with On-Demand it will underclock to 112mhz, which is great for battery life but makes the system feel very sluggish. Clocking this may be ideal if you were using a more lightweight Window Manager however.
Optional: Install another Window Manager
There are a variety of more lightweight Window Managers out there. Using a more lightweight windows manager will use less resources and improve performance at the expense of looks and some possible convenience. A few to consider are xFce, Window Maker, and Openbox.
The easiest way to install these are to use apt.
To install the Xubuntu desktop type in:
sudo apt-get install xubuntu-desktop
For Window Maker, type in:
sudo apt-get install wmaker
With Window Maker, it’s probably worth installing other applets and add-ons. The easiest way to find and install these are to open up synaptic and search for window maker. You’ll find wmaker as well as a ton of extras.
sudo apt-get install openbox
There are many lightweight window managers. These are just a few of my favorites. Be cautioned though that they require some additional configuration. You can easily switch which window manager you use on start up by changing your session at log in however. If you install Window Maker you can still use GNOME. In fact, if you run gnome-panel, you can even have you gnome panels run inside these other windows managers.