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
  1. Thanks for this useful information. However, I got stuck with Ubuntu 12.04 beta 2 since in /usr/lib/ubiquity/plugins/ubi-prepare.py I do not find the min_disk_size definition. Have you looked into beta 2, and do you have any idea of how to solve the installation issue on that version?

  2. I have not tried beta 2, but I might try the final version when it is out (I believe it is just a matter of days, unless it already is out).

  3. I can’t get the /usr/lib/ubiquity/plugins/ubi-prepare.py command to work either.

  4. The “not enough disk”-problem is solved completely with 12.04 final release. Just insert your 8GB SD card and install. Also see Ubuntu 12.04 on Eee 701.

  5. the file that contains “min_disk_size” string has been changed to /usr/lib/ubiquity/ubiquity/misc.py (line 796)

  6. You can still bypass the space check from within /usr/lib/ubiquity/plugins/ubi-prepare.py; just change to “True” the following:

    def set_sufficient_space(self, state):
    if not state:
    # There’s either no drives present, or not enough free space.
    # Either way, we cannot continue.
    self.controller.allow_go_forward(False)
    self.prepare_sufficient_space.set_state(state)

    🙂

  7. Hey! I was wondering how you installed without the installer?

    I have a Asus EEE PC 900A with the 4GB SSD – which is by far much faster than my 8GB SD card I have. I can’t ever get it to install using the installer – can you maybe write up a short walkthrough?

    Thanks!

    PS: Booting from a 2GB USB drive that is running the ubuntu 12.04 desktop ISO – I have the 4GB SSD and an 8GB SD.

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