Tuesday, June 17, 2008

EEE PC - Migrating to 8.04

Being haunted with some rather odd driver issues I have been thinking about moving to Ubuntu or Xubuntu 8.04 for a good week now. Yesterday I bit the bullet knowing full well that this installation would cripple most of my drivers and leave me fumbling to restore all my broken functionality. But you know ... it wasn't *that* bad.

Creating a Live USB stick of Xubuntu 8.04
This was a bit more challenging than I had imagined. eeeXubuntu (release 3) came with this nice little shell script that does all the work of making a thumbdrive/jumpdrive into an installation source for you, so you can skip out of some lengthy tutorial steps. That script is not part of a standard Xubuntu release, so this is what I did.

1) I needed a copy of mkusbinstall.sh from the eeeXubuntu 7.10 disc. Ths involved booting it up, and copying the file onto a thumbdrive. You can also get it from here. I mirrored it for anyone else attempting this.

2) Next I downloaded and booted up Xubuntu 8.04, and inserted my thumbdrive. Then, I copied the script my thumbdrive out to my home directory.

3) Next I prepared my thumb drive again with fdisk and mkfs. This process is documented very well in this blog entry.

4) You need "syslinux" installed for this script to run. One of the magical factors of Live distributions is installing software. Open up a terminal. Go ahead and do a 'sudo apt-get install syslinux'. This will take a moment or two, and you will be done.

5) Now in your terminal, run the script you copied over earlier like this 'sudo ./mkusbinstall.sh --autodetect'. The rest should be smooth sailing as you just wait for copying to complete. You *will* get a few error messages about symbolic links. But don't mind those.

6) Boot your eee PC up to your thumbdrive and get to installing.

Keep in mind, you will need to install madwifi drivers from source to restore your wireless settings. And there are far more tweaks and hacks to fix the remaining stuff. Since I combined about three different methods myself ... I will not try to offer advice on that topic.

Check the eeeUser.com forums for more info.

Additionally, since installing the latest svn source for the madwifi driver - I am getting about 15 percent better signal quality with the built in Atheros WiFi card. It was enough boost to allow me to connect to a network up the street from my house without using any external cards or antennas. Awesome?

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