While anyone can install Ubuntu Linux on an Eee PC, you need to do a little tweaking to get the WiFi working. And if you want the Fn keys to let you adjust the volume and screen brightness, that’s a little more tweaking. Shortly after the Eee PC was releeased last year, OasisBob at the EeeUser forums put together eeeXubuntu, a custom version of Xubuntu designed to work out of the box with the Eee PC, adding support for the computer’s hardware.

But there hasn’t been an official update to eeeXubuntu in ages. The installer uses Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon even though Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron has been out for several months. Sure, you could always install Gutsy and upgrade to Hardy, but it turns out there’s a simpler way to install Ubuntu 8.04 on an Eee PC if you’re a Linux newbie.

Yesterday, a small team of developers released Ubuntu Eee, another custom version of Ubuntu 8.04 designed to work with the Eee PC. Ubuntu Eee includes support for all of the Eee PC’s hardware, including the WiFi card. Here are a few of the other optimizations:

  • Fonts are reduced by 20% to give you more screen real estate
  • Removed some optional packages like gnome-user-guide, ubuntu-docs, brasero, gimp, and evolution (you can always reinstall these applications if you need them)
  • Installed 915resolution, thunderbird, skype

The folks behind Ubuntu Eee 8.04 say they plan to continue developing this custom distro. There are still a few known bugs. For example, sometimes WiFi doesn’t work after your system has been suspended. And by the time Ubuntu Eee 8.10 is released this fall, there are plans to include more optimizations for small screen devices. The team may also incorporate some elements of Ubuntu Netbook Remix.

[via Asus Eee HowTo]

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6 replies on “Ubuntu Eee 8.04: Custom Ubuntu distro for the Eee PC”

  1. So far I am not loving this thing.

    I got an EeePC today (finally!) and figured I’d install this on it, since I wanted Ubuntu on it.

    Instead it’s been a living nightmare. The Ubuntu Eee people have assumed that you have a desktop running Ubuntu. I don’t, so this annoyed me incredibly. I tried running their directions using an Ubuntu LiveCD but it didn’t work.

    Trying to get it to boot from USB was frickin’ impossible until I went to the official Ubuntu helpsite and used Unetbootin like a sensible person.

    Now it would actually boot, however, it crashed within 10 seconds of X loading up.

    We really need a poll for what EEE optimised Ubuntu variant is less of a flaming PITA to use. Or at least a reccommendation along those lines.

      1. UPDATE: Turns out I did not pay the Ubuntu EEE team enough credit. It does not in fact freeze during the install. It’s just that it takes a couple of minutes to do something, so it just *looks* like it’s frozen.

        Lesson learned: A watched pot never boils. When booting up from the USB stick, go make a sandwhich and come back when you’re done.

        I would still reccommend using the Unetbootin method to get a bootable USB stick rather than the unecessarily difficult method the ubuntu EEE team use, though.

  2. Very interesting. Is this designed just for the 700 and 900 and do you think significant changes will be in order for the 901 and 1000? (The “released Ubuntu Eee” link doesn’t work for me).

    1. Hmm… it looks like their site is down. As far as I can tell, this version
      was designed with the Eee PC 701 in mind, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t
      work with the 900. The font optimizations might not be necessary. As for the
      901 and 1000 series, it’s not yet clear whether you’ll need to tweak Ubuntu
      to work with the Atom CPU. But since Canonical is developing Ubuntu Netbook
      Remix specifically for devices with the Atom processor, I don’t think it
      should be too hard to do.

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