Tweaking Linux on the EEEPC

The EeePC is possibly the first of a new breed of solid state laptops. The default install has some silly "easy" interface with bits of KDE, but following the instructions on the eeeuser forums you can expose a full KDE desktop. I don't like KDE. What follows is a selection of notes on customising this little linux box so it's just like all your others! There are a couple of addons asus provide to show hotkey actions, and to bind to the power button, so I'll cover getting those working too.

Getting More Programs

As the eeepc runs debian, or at least xandros, installing new software is pretty simple. Add some extra repositories to /etc/apt/sources.list, apt-get update and you're off. I've added one from the default xandros distribution -- see below for my sources.list.

$ cat /etc/apt/sources.list
deb http://update.eeepc.asus.com/p701 p701 main
deb http://update.eeepc.asus.com/p701/en p701 main
deb http://xnv4.xandros.com/xs2.0/upkg-srv2 etch main contrib non-free

As the eeepc's running a custom xandros version it's probably best not to upgrade any of the packages without configuring apt's pinning policy.

Getting Out of "Easy Mode"

By default the eeepc runs in an "Easy Mode" with lots of pointy clicky bits to get in the way. Ctrl-Alt-T will get you a terminal though, and from there you almost have a real computer. If, like me, you never want to see easy mode again then you'll be pleased to hear the version of xinit on the eeepc honours the ~/.xinitrc. According to the forums, there are a few details you need to everything set up just so:

$ cat ~/.xinitrc
#Needed to get automount working
xhost + si:localuser:root
sudo rm /tmp/nologin

#Needed to get the network working
sudo /opt/xandros/bin/start_netserv &

But after that everything works just as expected (get my .xinitrc). Incidentally, my sawfish theme with it's single pixel borders is very well suited to such a small screen.

Asus Extras

When you're running in easy mode changing brightness, volume, toggling wifi etc. brings up a little display. Running in full desktop mode, these notifications disappear, starting /usr/local/bin/asusosd from your xinitrc will get them back.

Another difference you might notice in full desktop mode is the lack of a dialogue when you press the power button. If you'd like it back then add something along these lines to /etc/acpi/powerbtn.sh:

if [ ! -f /home/user/.doingLogin ]
then
    DISPLAY=:0 su -c /opt/xandros/bin/shutdown_dialog user &
fi

Lastly, the default battery monitor applet is /usr/bin/powermonitor.

Using Network Manager

Living on an SD Card

Bootloader Tweaks