Asus EEE PC is t3h h4wtn3ss

Okay, so I have to write something about this. Ever since the end of the summer, I’ve been obsessing over this new laptop from Asus. It’s name is the EEE PC. Short for “Easy to learn, Easy to work, Easy to play”. Well, the thing is, it was too easy. Hardware wise, this thing is amazing. The initial software installed on it however, was sub par. Sure their interface was cute for all of 5 minutes. I am one of those people that likes things simple. In fact, I actually use IceWM (the same window manager it comes with), but kept very simple. Auto-hide the task bar, no desktop icons. So disabling the fancy launcher application became a first priority. It wasn’t that hard actually. Just have to copy a new set of configurations using the file browser to your own ~/.icewm folder and you’re set.
What annoyed me most about the way the system was set up was the partitioning of the 4GB flash hard drive. Already you have limited space, but they had the gaul to use 2GB so that you’d be able to restore your EEE PC to factory settings was very annoying. Furthermore, they didn’t even have a grub menu entry visible on boot, so it didn’t even tell you that upfront.
Another thing that annoyed me software wise was the fact that it only recognized 1GB of main memory. If you were to load up any other operating system with more than 1GB installed, it would recognize all of it. When I purchased mine, I bought a 2GB stick of RAM so that it would have plenty of memory, because there would be no swap space.
I ended up formating the drive and putting Ubuntu linux on it. Actually, formatting isn’t the proper term. I combined the first two partitions (system and backup) into one and installed. I left the last two partitions alone, as they have something to do with flashing the bios which is a very cool feature. While I had the original installation, I messed around with the bios, and found (as others have too) that the default bios it comes with, is the best one for now. Flashing the bios from linux was accomplished by writing the bios ROM to the 3rd partition on the drive, and sending a signal to some ACPI device to flash the bios on next reboot. I have not figured out how to get that to work yet in Ubuntu, but will probably try it sometime.
So basically, I have Ubuntu installed right now, and the webcam works with Ekiga and the new Skype 2.0 beta, the wireless works without problems, suspend is an awesome feature that works. Shutdown had some issues initially, but if you read the wiki on eeeuser.com there are solutions about that too.
They also released a version in black for the same price. I carry mine around wherever I go. The charger is small and weighs little so I bring it too. I’ve never run into a problem where I didn’t have enough power to run the laptop be it with a battery or AC power.
If you’re in the market for a laptop that you’d like to take to class or to meetings, this is probably the best combination of portability and power you can get on the market today. You can even install windows on it and play some computer games. I saw some YouTube videos on someone playing Half Life’s Counter Strike on it. I myself have played a couple rounds of ArmageTron on it.
Very nice computer indeed.
-Fekete András

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