Asus EEE PC 901!
July 5, 2008
Yup, I went out and got one a couple days ago, wow these things are small. Really takes a few minutes to get used to the size of the keyboard, but once you’ve adapted it’s smooth sailing from there.
Now for the painful parts…
Only the XP version of the 901 is available right now, that means only 12G of space (Linux version has 20G) and… well, it’s got windows on it. Took me about 6 hours before someone told me the Linux version wasn’t released yet. So I broke down and got the XP one. I really needed one as I’m going on vacation in a week. Going to visit a friend in Shanghai, then head down to Hong Kong. After that it’s off to the producers meeting in the states, and then to Kuala Lumpur with my wife. Lots of flying, and always got work to do.
So, we all know what happened to XP the second I got home, wipe and replaced with Ubuntu. Of course things couldn’t be easy, both the wired and wireless drivers wouldn’t work. Ok, shouldn’t be a problem right… just go find the right drivers… oh was I wrong.
First, the EEE has no optical drive, and with no network connection I had to download the missing packages and put them on a USB drive to move over. Then you discover that package requires another one… repeat, a lot. Finally get it, nope… doesn’t work.
Next step, try the IRC rooms, not always so helpful, but sometimes you find a nice guy/gal that knows what they are doing. Spent all day on it, ended up with what should have worked but didn’t… gave up.
Next day try some more… still no luck. Ok, let’s just go back to XP and verify that the things actually work. Oh wait… I deleted the recovery partition… oops. Ok, I’ve got the DVD.. I’ll just make this into a bootable USB and run from there. MANY MANY failed attempts later, I gave up and wife wanted to go out to the movies.
Get home, and found this great person by the name of SynrG on the Ubuntu IRC server. They made me realize I was an idiot… never bothered to check to make sure the Cat5 cable was good… it wasn’t. Magic, I now have wired connection. Here’s what it took to make it work:
1) Install Ubuntu Hardy (8.04) with build-essential package (Can download here: http://packages.ubuntu.com/hardy/i386/build-essential/download).
2) Download Linux driver from ASUS (card is Atheros(R) AR8121/AR8113 PCI-E): http://support.asus.com/download/download.aspx?product=1&SLanguage=us-en&type=map&model=P5KPL-CM
3) Unrar them and transfer to USB drive and place in your EEE.
4) Cd to the src directory (<usb drive mount>/LinuxDrivers/L1e_Lan/l1e-l2e-linux-v126.96.36.199/src)
5) sudo KBUILD_NOPEDANTIC=1 make
6) sudo KBUILD_NOPEDANTIC=1 make install
7) A file called atl1e.ko is made, that’s your driver. Move to: /lib/modules/2.6.24-16-generic/kernel/drivers/net/atl1e/at1le.ko (If for some reason the atl1e directory isn’t made, just sudo mkdir atl1e, your kernel name may be different)
8 ) Move into the directory from step 7 and: sudo insmod ./atl1e.ko
That’s it, you should have working wired internet now!
Now for the wireless… I’m pretty sure it’s working and it’s just my router is acting up(wife says her laptop can’t connect either) I’ll look into it later. In the mean time, here’s what I did to get it running (it can see the network, just not connect… but like I said, I think that’s my router).
1) Download driver from: http://www.ralinktech.com.tw/data/drivers/2008_0325_RT2860_Linux_STA_v188.8.131.52.tar.bz2
2) Unzip and move to USB drive(if working with second computer). Move to EEE.
3) cd into 2008_0325_RT2860_Linux_STA_v184.108.40.206
4) sudo make
5) sudo make install
That’s it, should have the driver up and running. I haven’t had much luck with it in roaming mode, so I would suggest going into the network-manager and taking your wireless connection off of roaming mode(just put any as ESSID and mode DHCP). Then use ‘sudo dhclient’ to hopefully find and connect to an access point.
An update, I got it working! Here’s what you need to do:
1) In network-manager get it to connect to anything, if nothing shows up just put any for ESSID and mode DHCP then use ‘sudo dhclient’ and it should connect up for you.
2) Once connected run the magic command… ‘sudo iwconfig <interface, mine is ra0> key open’
3) Boom, you should have a connection. A note, for some reason firefox keeps starting in offline mode when on wireles(at least for me), if yours does that just goto File and uncheck Work Offline.
After all of that, I finally got things up and running. Here are some other good sites to help out if you try the same things:
http://wiki.eeeuser.com/getting_ubuntu_8.04_to_work_perfectly – Great information on how to fix some of the smaller things that don’t work.
http://www.ubuntu-eee.com – A version of Ubuntu tailored for the EEE, really nice stuff. Be sure to read their tip on fixing the shutdown process as there’s an issue where a sound module doesn’t get removed correctly so the computer never really shuts down. Which reminds me, if you install Ubuntu be ready to yank the battery after the initial install as that fix obviously hasn’t been done yet.