Linux on the Asus eee pc 1005ha

So I just bought myself this nifty little laptop that claimed to be great on battery life and is quite portable with a ten inch screen. It came with Windows XP, and this, of course, was unacceptable. I kicked that off right away and ran through a few distros, like Linux Mint 8 (worked great, but a little heavy for my needs) and eeebuntu 3.0, which was too old for this laptop. For working wireless and ethernet, you need at least kernel 2.6.30. That ruled out a bunch of distros as well, including my favorite, Debian. I finally settled on Xubuntu, which turns out to be fairly snappy (though my debian box running the same xfce configuration on similar hardware checks in at about 150mb less RAM at boot).  Unfortunately, the bluetooth just isn’t working as of Xubuntu 9.10. Hopefully the update that’s supposed to come in late April will fix that. I can live without it.

Quick fixes from the wiki…

Wifi worked, but was a bit flaky, this fixes it:

sudo apt-get install linux-backports-modules-karmic
              

And to get the mic working:

sudo apt-get install linux-backports-modules-alsa-karmic-generic
              

The eee-control package

Grab eee-control to get at all the eee pc powersaving options, plus setting hotkeys, wifi, camera, and card reader controls. It’s available here, and install it like this: sudo dpkg -i eee-control.deb # TeXLive and the equivs package

Now, my software needs for this computer were pretty slim:

  1. VLC for music and movies: sudo aptitude install vlc

  2. Firefox is already installed. That’s good.

  3. Emacs for editing all kinds of text: sudo aptitude install emacs

  4. And finally,AucTeX  and the newest version of TeXLive, which will allow me to compile my TeX document to PDF (this program, in combination with emacs is what I use to write and publish damn near everything). This is where things get a little hecktic. AucTeX depends on TeXLive, but the packages in ubuntu’s repo for TeXLive are from 2007. That is way too for me.

So to cure this problem, I used a package called equivs, which allowed me to create a dummy package to install so that apt will think the packages from the repo are installed. This allows me to install other TeX related software without having the old verson of TeXLive install as a dependency from the package manager. Lets install it: sudo aptitude install equivs Now, create a dummy file called texlive.ctl. The content of the file should look like this:

Section: tex Package: texlive-dummy Provides: dvipdfmx, latex-beamer, latex-xcolor, lmodern, pgf, prosper, ps2eps, tex-common, texlive-base, texlive-base-bin, texlive-base-bin-doc, texlive-common, texlive-doc-base, texlive-extra-utils, texlive-generic-recommended, texlive-latex-base, texlive-latex-base-doc, texlive-latex-recommended, texlive-latex-recommended-doc, texlive-pstricks, texlive-pstricks-doc 
              Description: texlive dummy package This package provides dpkg with the information that, there is the package texlive-latex-base installed.
              

You can add or remove from the “Provides” list to suit your needs. I wanted to cover a lot of packages, so my list is long. Anyway, in the terminal, change directories into the same as the texlive.ctl file, then issues the command: equivs-build texlive.ctl This will build you a .deb file that you can then install using: sudo dpkg -i texlive-dummy_1.0_all.deb

Then go ahead and installauctex from the package manager.

sudo aptitude install auctex
              

Then install texlive 2009 by using the terminal to change directories into the TeXLive install directory. Then enter:

sudo ./install-tl
              

Answer a few questions in the installer and that is that. I love TeX. It’s yummy.

Outro

I am quite happy with the Asus eee pc 1005ha. The batter life is a solid 9 hours, the screen is crisp and clear (and LED backlit!).  The keyboard is 92% of the size of a full size keyboard, which makes it large enough to be comfortable. The touch pad is really sensitive, and if my typing posture is not good, I end up moving and click on something else. I’m sure there is a way to disable that. Anyway, go get one. I take mine everywhere.

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