Tag Archives: Eee701

OpenWRT on Eee701

I ran OpenWRT on my Eee701 (mostly to test Node.js). A few notes…
Use the combined image: openwrt-15.05-x86-generic-combined-ext4.img.gz
Unpack it. Write it to a USB drive with dd. For me, it boots my Eee without any modification.

Networking
You probably want networking.
Download: kmod-atl2_3.18.20-1_x86.ipk.
I suggest you put it in /root on the filesystem of the above mentioned image, before starting up.

As with the RPi, you might want to edit your /etc/config/network to act like a pure client on the network:

config interface 'lan'
	option ifname 'eth0'
	option proto 'dhcp'
	option macaddr 'XX:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX'
	option hostname 'rpiopenwrt'

USB Storage
It seems you need to install usb-block-support the usual way… and then it is good to have network.

Eee701 in 2015

My eee701 is not doing very much anymore, but sometimes it is handy to have it around. I have not upgraded it since Lubuntu 13.10, and that version is not supported anymore. I found that:

  1. Since 13.10 is abandoned upgrading with apt-get generated errors.
  2. 15.04 Lubuntu desktop ISO complains that the hard drive is less than 4.1Gb.
  3. 14.04.2 Lubuntu desktop ISO complains that the hard drive is less than 4.5Gb.

Thus, the standard upgrade or installation paths were blocked. And I was not very interested in putting lots of effort into getting my eee701 running a current system.

Instead, i tried the Ubuntu mini-iso. That was very nice! The iso itself is written with dd (rather than the Startup Disk Creator) to USB drive. The installation is text (curses) based, but very guided (just like Debian). I choose a single 4GB ext4 partition for root, no swap (since I have 2GB RAM) and “Xubuntu minimal” desktop. Keyboard, Wifi and timezones were all correctly set up. When installation was complete and system restarted I had 1.8Gb used and 1.7Gb available. Not even a web browser was installed, but Xubuntu itself was fine.

Not bad at all!

Upgrade Lubuntu 13.04 to 13.10 on Eee 701

Lubuntu is the perfect distribution for your Eee 701. Now the time has come to upgrade to 13.10, and since I have had a few problems with that before I was a bit reluctant to upgrade my Eee 701, especially since it just has a 4GB SSD.

Since I installed 13.04 on the Eee, the available disk space has disappeared. It turns out, the kernel has been upgraded several times, but the old versions have not been discarded. You just need the latest version (the one you are running, check with uname -a). If you have more linux-images than needed, purge them. Do the same with linux-headers-packages.

$ dpkg -l | grep linux-image
$ uname -a
$ sudo apt-get purge linux-image-3.8.0-XX
$ dpkg -l | grep linux-headers
$ sudo apt-get purge linux-headers-3.8.0-XX

When it was time for upgrade, I had 1.6 GB (df -h) available on /. To play safe I formatted an SD card (1GB should be enough) and mounted it on /var/cache/apt (where all downloaded packages go during upgrade).

$ sudo apt-get clean
$ sudo mkfs.ext2 /dev/sdb1
$ mount /dev/sdb1 /var/cache/apt

I updated using the normal GUI upgrade program. During upgrade, the peak disk usage (just before cleaning) was less than 550MB on the SD card /var/cache/apt and my /-device was down to 700MB available (so my 1.6GB available in the first place should have been just enough).

The computer restarted nicely. The fact that the SD card was not immediately mounted on /var/cache/apt caused no problems. After upgrade I just had 1.1Gb available on / though. After again purging unused linux-image I was up at 1.2Gb. I wonder where the extra 400Mb went; I found Firefox, and I doubt it was installed in 13.04… removing it saves about 60Mb.

So, the conclusion is that upgrading Lubuntu from 13.04 to 13.10 on your Eee 701 should be just fine, if you have about 1.5Gb available space on /, and if you feel you have about 400MB to spare on the upgrade. A permanent SD card or mini-usb-memory that can host /home, /var, /tmp and/or /usr is of course nice.

Lubuntu 13.04 on Eee 701

Do you still have an Eee 701 (4GB SSD version), and dont know what OS to put on it? Try Lubuntu 13.04 – it works perfectly, no tweaking, no problems. Just create a bootable USB memory using Unetbootin, boot it, try it, install it.

Of course, it is the 32-bit (x86) version of Lubuntu, that you should use.

Install Ubuntu 12.04 on Eee 701

Update: Have a look at installing 13.04 first.

Summary: add an 8GB SD card to your Eee 701 an install Ubuntu 12.04 on it! I believe Ubuntu has improved for this netbook with every release and now it is really nice.
Ubuntu 12.04 is the best Linux distribution and operating system for the Eee 701. This is with 1GB RAM. Not so sure about running with original 512Mb.

You need to make a little fix to run the CPU at 900MHz instead of 630MHz (if you want to).

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install cpufreqd cpufrequtils
$ sudo modprobe p4_clockmod

$ cat /proc/cpuinfo
(should tell you CPU runs 900MHz)

$ sudo vi /etc/modules
(add p4_clockmod on a line, to make it work after reboot)

On disk usage and partitioning
I choose to partition putting /var on a 1.5GB partition on the SD card, and use the rest of the SD card for /usr. The root partition (/) goes on the internal SSD, giving me more than 3GB for fast /home (also on /, to be clear). No swap. I use ext2 for all filesystems (journaling can hardly be faster than not journaling).

The great thing compared to earlier versions of Ubuntu, is that with final 12.04 Ubuntu recognizes the SD card as installable media. It will not complain that the 4GB SSD is not enough as it used to!

Install Ubuntu 12.04 (beta 1) on Eee 701

Update: Install 12.04 on Eee 701

I have been running Xubuntu a while on my Eee 701. However the 4 GB SSD drive is not enough for making system updates anymore. I could probably get rid of some applications to fix it, but I decided to try Ubuntu 12.04 instead. To improve the storage situation I got an 8GB SD Card. I have 1GB of RAM in this Eee 701, and perhaps the original 512Mb is not enough for Ubuntu.

Note, with the small 800×480 display, Alt-F7 helps you move windows around.

The disk limit
The Ubuntu installer complains that it does not have 8.6GB available. It seams it knows that it needs 4.3GB, but it wants extra space… and, I dont think it reconizes the SD Card as a legal place to install. Anyway, there is a file where you can make a change:

/usr/lib/ubiquity/plugins/ubi-prepare.py
min_disk_size = size * 2

Replace the 2 with for example 0.5, and you can attempt any configuration you want.

Partitioning and disk usage
When installing, I had the following drives:

/dev/sda     -- 4GB (internal SSD)
/dev/sdb     -- USB memory that I install from
/dev/sdc     -- 8GB (SD Card)

I decided to try the following partitioning:

/dev/sda1    -- 128 MB /boot  (24 MB used)
     sda5    -- 3.8 GB /home  (empty)
/dev/sdc1    -- 8 GB   /      (3.8 GB used, usr=3.2GB, var=423Mb, lib=176Mb)

The safer alternative would be to put / on sda, and /usr on sdc (but that would leave me with 600Mb less space for home).

Boot issues
Two possible problems with my setup:

  1. Is the memory card available when / needs to be mounted, at boot?
  2. Will Ubuntu figure out that what was sdc during install is now sdb?

Second problem should be easy to fix.

So, after installing, I rebooted WITH install USB memory stick (sbd) still inserted. And the system boots perfectly. I attempt a boot without the memory stick inserted. As I feared, root filesystem is not found, but I get a prompt (not a Panic like in the old days):

BusyBox v1.18.5...
Enter 'help'...

(initramfs)

I boot back into Ubuntu (so I put the USB stick back – and now sbc is root again) to fix Grub. Now, this is how grub works… you edit /etc/default/grub and/or files in /etc/grub.d/. Then you run grub-update. However, this procedure automatically figures out your root device, and that is what you want to change… so I did the forbidden:

sudo vi /boot/grub/grub.cfg

and replaced root=/dev/sdc1 with root=/dev/sdb1. Finally, I ran

sudo /usr/sbin/grub-setup /dev/sda

And shutdown, remove memory stick, and boot… and it works! To make sure everything is in order, I now automatically generate /boot/grub/grub.cfg

sudo update-grub
sudo /usr/sbin/grub-setup /dev/sda

And confirm with another reboot.

I believe that now everything weird I have done is history, and I have a clean system. Booting is actually reasonably fast from SD Card. Probably using the internal SSD for / would give better performance.

Updated disk usage
After updating the Beta to latest everything, this is how disk usage looks like:

8.6M	bin
48M	boot
15M	etc
288M	lib
106M	opt
8.8M	sbin
3.3G	usr
894M	var

Could be interesting for those of you who wants to install on limited disk. Probably /var can be reduced (and will grow when updating the system). Chrome is installed in /opt.

Raise CPU from 630Mhz to 900MHz
The Eee 701 is equipped with a 900MHz CPU clocked at 630MHz. It is perfectly fine to run at 900MHz, especially when plugged in to AC. This is what I did:

sudo apt-get install cpufreqd cpufrequtils
sudo modprobe p4_clockmod

# now check with
cat /proc/cpuinfo

sudo vim /etc/modules
# add p4_clockmod

If you are not connected to AC, the cpu will run slower. See /etc/cpufreqd.conf.

Moving / to SSD?
Now that I know how much disk space is required it is tempting to move / to the SSD (sda). I did some read/write performance tests…

              SSD (sda)      SD (sdb)
Write 1GB      44s            327s
Read  1GB      35s             64s

Ubuntu 11.04 Beta 1 on Eee 701

I have two Asus EEE PCs, probably the two worst ones they made. I have an EEE1101, which comes with the horrible GMA500.

And I have an EEE701. It was a nice idea, at a nice price, but the actual machine sucks. Keyboard on the brink of unusable and poor battery life. The Celeron 900HMz at 630MHz does not help much. But the worst thing is not the 7-inch 800×480 display – it is the lack of OS/Window Manager that makes good use of it.

Yesterday I came across this review of Ubuntu 11.04 Beta 1 on TheRegister. Can it really be that bad? Can it be something for my EEE701.

Well, I am writing this post on my EEE701 Ubuntu 11.04 right now – that is a good start. Installation went smooth (after I failed to boot the EEE from a 4GB SDHC card).

Most things work out of the box: Wireless network, Video, Webcam, Audio (via headset, not loudspeakers – perhaps my Eee is old and broken), volume buttons and display light buttons. Booting time is about a minute.

I removed a few Items from the Launcher/Dock because with 480 pixels you need to prioritize. I use firefox mostly in full screen mode (F11), and occationally I have to use Alt-F7 to move windows around.

The computer feels a bit slow, but useful. CPU at 630MHz (not overclocked – should maybe look into that). I have 1GB RAM and no swap partition.

Flash videos on YouTube are enjoyable, but not perfect.

Do I hesitate about updating my other computers from Ubuntu 10.10 to 11.04? Absolutely (well, Gnome is still there).

Do I think that Ubuntu 11.04 is the best OS for my EEE701? Yes – I think so.

Would EEE701 + Ubuntu 11.04 impress on anyone? No – I dont think so.

The review in The Register focuses on that Unity is nice, but it does much less than Gnome. Well, for my netbook that is not so bad. And I am used to falling back to the command line a lot anyway.