Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) on the ASUS EeePC (701)

Last updated: Nov. 3, 2008, 1:09 p.m.

So, it's about 6 months since last time I wrote an article on getting stock Kubuntu running on the eeePC 701, and guess what - there's a new release with new bugs and work arounds.

Probably the most important thing that should affect you whether you're on Kubuntu or Ubuntu is getting wireless networking going. It seems that the proprietary Atheros wifi driver that is activated by default on install doesn't actually work. To get wifi working on mine I first had to add "blacklist ath_pci" to the end of /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist and reboot. Oddly disabling the driver in the hardware drivers manager didn't work, it was just enabled again after reboot. Then I had to get the backported modules (sudo apt-get install linux-backports-intrepid-generic). This installed a working copy of the ath5k driver for the chip used in the 701. Running modprobe ath5k suddenly made the wifi spring to life and the network-manager applet show me wifi networks to connect to. Rebooting, and the wifi still works, so there's no need to do any more config editing.

Another important bug to fix is the sound card shutdown problem which is still causing my eee to not quite shutdown properly. Possibly if you've applied one of the more involved BIOS update fixes in the past this won't re-appear. If it does, you need to go to /etc/default/halt and add "rmmod snd-hda-intel" at the end of the file to force it to turn off the sound card before trying to shut down.

I also found that the desktop effects, although pretty on my desktop PC with a decent gaming spec nVidia card, were slowing the poor old eee down almost to the verge of uselessness. (Probably not much worse than the average spyware-ridden XP install, but too slow for what I was used to). I tried disabling the fading ones etc. without having to turn off the window management enhancements, which improved the situation, but it still wasn't quite fast enough for me so I've disabled them entirely.

On the whole however this seems to be a more reasonable option for use on the eeePC than the last release of Kubuntu. The main panel is smaller and more manageable, and it all seems a little bit more refined.



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