My Eee Box (model B202) arrived today. I actually plan on using this machine to run Windows (I have a very short list of things that I *require* the blasted OS to run).
First impressions: Yeah, they really are 'cute'. About the size of a Wii, but thinner. The splashtop mini OS that's built into the BIOS is pretty groovy, but I haven't really been able to think of a good use for it. The VGA mounting bracket for LCD monitors is just plain awesome. Out of sight, out of mind. I plan on using Windows XP via remote desktop from my main Ubuntu machine.
Who cares about all that, though. I obviously had to try and see if I could get Ubuntu running on it, which I did, and that's what this post is all about.
To do this, you'll need a linux machine with internet access and a USB key.
Create a bootable USB key with ubuntu-8.04.1-desktop_i386.iso and the isotostick.sh script mentioned on the Ubuntu FromUSBStick Wiki page. This assumes that you have an already pre formatted (ext2 or fat32) USB key, and that the device is /dev/sde1 (to find out what device your key is using, type 'dmesg' a few seconds after plugging it in).
$ wget http://mirrors.xmission.com/ubuntu-cd/hardy/ubuntu-8.04.1-desktop-i386.iso $ wget http://www.startx.ro/sugar/isotostick.sh $ chmod +x isotostick.sh $ sudo ./isotostick.sh ./ubuntu-8.04.1-desktop-i386.iso /dev/sde1 Not verifying image...(no checkisomd5 in Ubuntu so skipping)! Copying live image to USB stick cp: cannot create symbolic link `/media/usbdev.Dn7319/dists/stable': Operation not permitted cp: cannot create symbolic link `/media/usbdev.Dn7319/dists/unstable': Operation not permitted Installing boot loader USB stick set up as live image!
The 'cannot create symbolic link' errors are normal if your key is formatted with fat32. Next, you'll want to get the initial custom eeepc kernel packages from array.org and copy them on to the usb key.
$ mkdir eeepc $ cd eeepc $ wget http://www.array.org/ubuntu/dists/hardy/eeepc/binary-i386/linux-image-2.6.24-21-eeepc_2.6.24-21.39eeepc1_i386.deb $ wget http://www.array.org/ubuntu/dists/hardy/eeepc/binary-i386/linux-ubuntu-modules-2.6.24-21-eeepc_2.6.24-21.30eeepc5_i386.deb $ sudo mkdir /mnt/disk $ sudo mount /dev/sde1 /mnt/disk $ sudo cp -rv ../eeepc /mnt/disk $ sudo umount /mnt/disk
Next, you'll want to configure your Eee Box to boot from your USB key. Unlike the manual (and the interwebs) would like you to believe, pressing F8 at the splashtop boot screen will not allow you to choose your USB key as the boot device. Plug the key in, and enter the BIOS setup screen. Press the right arrow key to "Boot", down arrow to "Hard Disk Drives" (if you don't see this option, make sure you plug your USB key in before you power on the Eee Box), select the "1rst Drive" option and choose your USB device. Press F10 and enter. The Box should now boot the Ubuntu install ISO.
If you are using an LCD monitor connected via the VGA->DVI converter, once you get past the "Ubuntu" boot logo screen with the progress bar, your monitor might just go into powersaving mode. If this happens to you, press CTRL+ALT+F2 to go to a virtual terminal. Your monitor should come back on. Type 'sudo bash'. Edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf and change it so that it looks like the xorg.conf file located here. Once you've saved it, type 'killall -9 X'. If X doesn't start back up automatically in a few seconds, just type 'startx'. If the installation doesn't start automatically after X is running, hit ALT+F2, type 'ubiquity' in the box, and press enter. The familiar Ubuntu installation screen should pop up.
I'm not going to go over the installation process, I assume you already know how to install Ubuntu. The Eee Box 80GB hdd is separated nicely into two partitions already. One for Windows, and one for "data". I chose to dual boot the machine, so I just erased the "data" partition, created a 2GB swap and used the rest as the root ext3 filesystem. Obviously you can partition the system however you want.
Once you get Ubuntu installed, and you've booted into the new installation, you're going to want to install those two custom kernel .deb files you copied onto the USB key. Because you installed Ubuntu from the USB device, your /etc/fstab file will have an entry telling the OS that your USB key is a cdrom drive, and it won't mount correctly when you plug it in. Edit /etc/fstab and remove the last line. Plug your USB key in if you haven't already, and if you have, remove it and plug it back in. It should mount automatically. Open a terminal, see where it mounted using the 'mount' command, and install the .deb files:
$ cd /media/disk/eeepc $ sudo dpkg -i *.deb
Reboot. Everything should be working at this point. WiFi, the wired network device, sound, compiz, etc. Woot!