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Ubuntu Eee Goes Gold 89

Posted by kdawson
from the small-screen-big-heart dept.
bjcarne writes in to commend Jon Ramvi and his team, who have delivered their first stable release of Ubuntu Eee, an Ubuntu version customized for the Asus Eee PC. "In December Ubuntu Eee started as a one man project, but [over] the last months several people have joined in on the development. We're trying to achieve something which [hasn't] been successful for any other Linux distribution yet: a OS targeting a single computer which includes the best applications available. This means people can buy this really cheap computer and easily get a great OS on it for free. Ubuntu Eee is just for the Asus Eee. Ubuntu Eee is smaller, faster and we're bringing people the cutting edge of technology (while being stable and free of course)."
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Ubuntu Eee Goes Gold

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  • But... (Score:1, Funny)

    by l_bratch (865693)
    But does it run Linux?
  • Awesome (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chuckymonkey (1059244) <charles.d.burton ... Dl.com minus bsd> on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @08:43PM (#23739427) Journal
    Here ladies and gentlemen is what I really love about Linux. Anybody can take it and build it specifically for the platform that they want and still have it inter operate with all the other flavors out there.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I am writing this in a hotel room, on an EeePc. I happen to like the interface and although I would not put Xandros on any computer, I am fairly happy with how it works. I did add the extra repositories and can switch to the regular desktop, I usually leave it in Easy mode.
    So, what does the Ubuntu Eeepc offer me. I will have to try it in a VM and see. They will be hard pressed to improve on this already working system.
    • whats more is that if its not compiled specifically for the system, just using Ubuntu with a particular set of programs such as Xfce4 or E17 or whatever, what benefits does it give over just taking the default Eee Xandros and installing those packages yourself? I mean, anybody that knows how to install some random distro will likely know how to add repos - in which case why not just add the repos being easier?
      • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @09:31PM (#23740209) Journal
        The default Xandros is kind of, shall we say, odd. It is mostly Debian, and usually plays along with recent Debian or *buntu packages; but Xandros is comparatively proprietary and by adding repos you take your chances.

        That said, I've got one sitting on my desk, and the default Xandros isn't bad; but it is markedly less "normal" than I had expected it to be.
      • by Paradigm_Complex (968558) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @09:34PM (#23740265)
        Ubuntu's more popular than Xandros. If you are still new to linux and want some help their forums etc are wonderful. With that in mind: (1) It can be a bit of a pain - especially for much of Ubuntu's less-than-super-savvy audience - to do things such as get the eeepc's wifi up or get the fn keys to work from an official ubuntu install. (2) The eee doesn't have an optical disk drive, knocking out a rather popular option for installing an OS. (3) Ubuntu's defaults, even xubuntu, aren't fit for such a small screen. Probably others I haven't thought off, too.
        • by CheShACat (999169)
          Hold on, rewind a minute. I was going to say "well if you're new to linux then Xandros is commerically supported so who needs the forums"...

          But then I realised...WTF? I though the idea of using Linux on the eeepc was to reduce costs by using free (beer) software, but looking on the Xandros site, they usually charge $99/desktop license - not all that much of a saving from Windows XP. They must have slashed their licence costs on the Asus bulk deal, and if so I wonder what kind of profit margin they are
          • by CheShACat (999169)
            To add to that, could there be a link here with why the pricing has f_cked up on the newer Eees with Windows being cheaper than the Linux version? Maybe Xandros kicked up a fuss about how little they made from the revolutionary gadget and stung Asus for more cash this time round. Combine that with MS anticompetitive practices and you get the hugely disproportiante difference in prices that are now evident rather than just a small undercut.

            Sorry about replying to my own post, my mind is working overtime on
            • Think if you were Asus for a moment.. you build hardware, not software. Would it not be a smart business decision to out-source the software to a commercial company to support your hardware?

              Sure you could hire developers to work on drivers and some thing, but your business is not a linux distro -- so you find a commercial vendor with a decent price-per-device and go with it.

              Just a thought.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I will say one thing: UnionFS is kind of neat, but as you add packages to the default EeePC you are using space. It is a bit of effort to remove the UnionFS and at that point it is tempting to try other distros.
    • Have you updated/upgraded the system after adding the extra repos? I'm thinking about Ubuntu for my eee because the Asus and Xandros updates are some of the worst I've seen in a while. Simple UI icons go missing (backup simpleui.rc and copy it back), the network panel stops working, (still haven't found the cause of that, appears to be a KDE update) other stuff breaks. I hit F9, rolled it back and haven't updated it since. A good repository and decent updates from ASUS would make this thing perfect.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by jawtheshark (198669) *
        I wrote a review of it yesterday: here [slashdot.org]. It has quite a few problems, it's a fun and nice machine, but it doesn't live up to the hype.
  • OLPC? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    how bout something for the OLPC. Sugar is cool and all but a regular interface would be awesome for everyday use
  • is it the standard Ubuntu Gnome? because I would be truly amazed if a full gnome setup ran snappy on an Eee. I want to install this on my laptop that isnt an Eee just to see how it runs
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by CastrTroy (595695)
      I wouldn't be surprised. Check out this video with compiz on an EEE [youtube.com]. Granted, that is with Xubuntu (XFCE?) but I don't see why you couldn't run Gnome on an EEE. The EEE has 512 MB of RAM, a 900 MHz intel chip, and an intel mobile CPU. For comparisons sake, I have a full sized Acer 3680 with 512 MB of RAM, a 1.7 GHz processor, and an Intel GMA 950. It runs quite fast. Never noticed any kind of slowdowns.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by MrZaius (321037)
        Don't forget that you probably have twice the number of pixels on your desktop that you do on your Eee.
        • Re:What manager? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by CastrTroy (595695) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @10:00PM (#23740665) Homepage
          You're right. My laptop has a resolution of 1280x800. The 9 inch EEE has a resolution of 1024 x 600. That's 1024000 vs. 614400 pixels. Pretty close to half. It has even less than half if you go with the 7 inch, which only has 800x480 resolution, and 384000 pixels. There's no reason the EEE shouldn't be able to handle a full Linux distro. The only thing holding it back, is the size of the SSD.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Cryophallion (1129715)

            Gnome is modified. Check out MArk Shuttleworth's blog for some screenshots. They made the window title appear in the top bar for instance, so they understand the spacing issue and are trying to maximize it.

    • Re:What manager? (Score:4, Informative)

      by MrZaius (321037) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @09:44PM (#23740415) Homepage
      Ubuntu is still basically just a snazzied up Debian. You can choose which WM to run just like you would anywhere else.

      You've got to keep in mind, though, that the resolution of the screens are 800x480 for the 7 inchers and 1024x600 for the 9 inch model. At such a very low resolution it seems to run Compiz, GNOME, XFCE, and KDE without any major problems. There are plenty of videos on Youtube demonstrating as much.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      my eee is running standard ubuntu with gnome and its fine. i tried xubuntu but the difference between gnome and xfce is a worlds apart for me. I'd rather take a very slight unnoticable hit with gnome than use xfce on a daily basis.
  • by Ecuador (740021) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @09:21PM (#23740047) Homepage
    hoewever I have to say that I am more than impressed at what ASUS has done with Xandros on the Eee PC. Ok, it was set up for novice users so I had to switch to advanced mode, get devel packages from debian, but it has been an amazingly smooth experience and everything works exactly as it should (the sd, the usb, the wifi, the camera, the LAN...). So might give Ubuntu Eee a try, but I will definatelly be pleasantly surprised if it can be even better.

    I might get moded off topic, but I do have a question for the default Xandros OS of the Eee PC that somebody might know to answer. At work, we have set up a linux gateway that has NO DHCP, so both linux and windows clients that we connect have to be setup with a static IP, plus the internal DNS and gateway IP. However, I just hooked on the Eee pc for the first time and it found the gateway and got an IP, PLUS it found the INTERNAL DNS and could access internal machines by name. How is that possible, it is exactly what DHCP is supposed to do, however we don't have DHCP.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CastrTroy (595695)
      You could probably have a program that guesses at the IP of the the gateway, which is probably the same as the DNS. Guess a couple different gateway addresses like 192.168.100.1, and so forth. Figure out the gateway. Once you found the gateway, you could probably probe a couple other addresses for the DNS server. I'm not saying this is what they are doing. But it would be trivial to get most of your network settings configured by default by just scanning a bunch of addresses and ports to find the stuff
      • by neomage86 (690331) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @09:44PM (#23740423)
        I'll bet dollars to dimes you do have a rogue DHCP server up somewhere.

        You should have a second machine sniff packets in promiscuous mode while your EEE attaches to the network to figure out what is going on.
        • Will sniffing work if there is a switch involved. I thought switching makes sniffing impossible. Well there is the ARP Cache poisoning but, that would involve an extra step. If there is switching involved, then merely putting a NIC card in promiscuous mode won't help, will it ?
          • so grab an old 10 megabit hub and connect it to the office network. plug the eee into one port, the sniffer into another.

            problem solved
        • by quenda (644621)

          You should have a second machine sniff packets in promiscuous mode while your EEE attaches
          Why a second machine? Just use tcpdump on the EEE and avoid all the worries over switches.
    • by kelleher (29528) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @09:35PM (#23740273) Homepage

      ... However, I just hooked on the Eee pc for the first time and it found the gateway and got an IP, PLUS it found the INTERNAL DNS and could access internal machines by name. How is that possible, it is exactly what DHCP is supposed to do, however we don't have DHCP.

      Yes you do... surprise!

    • by mashade (912744) <mshade@nOspAM.mshade.org> on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @09:36PM (#23740291) Homepage
      This is a new feature of the linux kernel, called Zealous Autoconfig. It is documented here [xkcd.com].

      In all seriousness, is there a chance that there is an access point, router, or gateway somewhere that has inadvertently been activated as a DHCP server? Can you bring another laptop in to see if it behaves the same way?
      • by Ecuador (740021)
        Hehe, xkcd is always relevant...

        However, no, we don't have any routers, just switches. It was obviously my first guess, but if I connect a vista laptop (not mine - honest!) it does not work if left to dhcp - but of course it is a Vista laptop so that does not say much. Plus, how would a router know our internal DNS? As a post above said, I know it *could* be done (besides, our gateway is a "classic" 192.168.1.1), but I have never seen such a "zealous autoconfig" (even without the kidnapping) and so I am ask
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MichaelSmith (789609)

      I am more than impressed at what ASUS has done with Xandros on the Eee PC.
      The quick startup is absolutely fantastic. Few other linux distributions seem to go to that amount of effort to get it running and usable so quickly.

      Ubuntu on my HP laptop bogs down too much when running indexing programs. It is naturally a very heavy distribution, so I am sceptical about the eee specific build.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by emilng (641557)
      Might it have something to do with Samba [wikipedia.org]?
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It is called zeroconf (apple calls it bonjour, used to call it rendezvous).

      Basically it is able to negotiate ip address local to the lan segment (mdns), resolve hostnames and lookup up local services (dns-sd).

      The service responsible for this is called Avahi.
    • by mhall119 (1035984)

      At work, we have set up a linux gateway that has NO DHCP, so both linux and windows clients that we connect have to be setup with a static IP, plus the internal DNS and gateway IP. However, I just hooked on the Eee pc for the first time and it found the gateway and got an IP, PLUS it found the INTERNAL DNS and could access internal machines by name. How is that possible, it is exactly what DHCP is supposed to do, however we don't have DHCP.

      It probably uses Avahi [wikipedia.org] to implement Zero Configuration Networking [wikipedia.org].

  • Two questions (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ParaShoot (992496)
    I've been thinking of installing Ubuntu on my Eee for a while but I wanted the distro to get to a stable state before installing. Now it has, I have two questions (which I hope /. will be able to answer):
    1. What's the SSD wear like? I believe the default Xandros has some clever wear levelling stuff installed. Has this been ported to the Ubuntu edition?
    2. I don't like Gnome. Is there going to be a KUbuntu Eee edition?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      I think the eeepc has wear leveling built into the hardware (like SD cards and usb drives, and most consumer flash devices). So it should be able to happily run ext3 or any filesystem you want.

      As for KDE, well you could just apt-get install it...
      • by ratboy666 (104074)
        Um... it's flash.

        So, don't run ext3. Use ext2 instead. The use of ext3 is expected to cut the usable life of the media in half.

      • As for KDE, well you could just apt-get install it...

        I would like to respectfully disagree. That simply doesn't work in such a simple way.

        The system integration of KDE in Ubuntu is poor if compared to Ubuntu's. Many applications just use Gnome's default settings instead of KDE's.

        The *whole* system of /etc/mailcap, and /etc/alternatives is hard-wired to prefer Gnome instead of KDE. So if you ever install a single Gnome alternative to a KDE program, MIME will point to the Gnome app, and not to KDE's.

        Other than that there is the fact that Kubuntu breaks KDE

    • by Cato (8296)
      Actually SSD wear is really not a big issue as long as you have a reasonable FTL (flash translation layer) in the SSD, which all reputable ones do. Basically you'd have to be writing continuously to the entire disk for many months or years, 24/7, and in reality people and apps don't work like this - people sleep, and apps read far more than they write.

      See http://www.storagesearch.com/ssdmyths-endurance.html [storagesearch.com] and also the eee forums which have an FAQ on this - http://wiki.eeeuser.com/ssd_write_limit [eeeuser.com] has some
  • by zappepcs (820751) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @10:13PM (#23740853) Journal
    In years gone by, you'd have to pay through the nose for that, to have an OS and applications configured and built for installation on a single pc system.

    That makes F/OSS awesome. period.

    It also means that handset makers, private endeavors, and all sorts can ALSO make their own distribution. No matter what it is based on, they can, and that is totally AWESOME.

    I know some will not be impressed, but I've been around awhile and to get that, and have it be free too, well... it just rocks in ways that even senators won't be able to commend high enough.

    I actually see a future where you can go to a distro download site and specify the pc make and model and get choices of pre-built distributions for that setup. Why that instead of a one size fits all system?

    Simple, if built right it is much faster while containing all the same applications. It's also not cluttered with support files for everything your uncle harry wants but you do not. I hope to see OEMs doing this in the near future. Imagine if Windows were tuned for each OEMs box? oh... what the fuck was I thinking there... it is, but it's tuned to run slow... sorry about that.

    Still, I'd like to see it in the very near future. click and go, updates scheduled etc. and have it fit the EXACT hardware that I have (under condition that I bought a specific OEM pc).

    Yep, that would make it much easier for ma and pa kettle to use the F/OSS with their internet pc thingy.
  • by Falstius (963333) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @10:19PM (#23740937)
    I have a desktop with a 15" 1024x768 monitor and these interfaces aimed at subnotebooks look very appealing. From screenshots they almost remind me of MythTV, but not hideous. Has anyone played with them enough to know if it is worthwhile?
  • I am currently evaluating the Eee platform for my children's school. I use Debian (Ubuntu) quite a bit and would like to install it instead of Xandros, just for my own comfort and ease of use. However, thats not a good enough reason to dump Xandros and go with something else. I have my doubts about Xandros such as the status of their updates, but don't have any concrete reason that I should dump it for Ubuntu.

    What can I go back to the technical director at school with as proof that Ubuntu is "better" for us? Is it faster? Easier to use? One thing I would like to get working is mesh networking. Xandros doesn't have it, Ubuntu might.
    • by Burz (138833) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @12:39AM (#23742479) Journal
      As a long-time Xandros user who moved to Kubuntu, I have a good idea of what the trade-offs are:

      1) Ubuntu will have much more software, and it will be much newer. With Xandros, you may find yourself looking for 'backports' and other specially-packaged versions of software that is otherwise commonly available under Debian and Ubuntu.

      2) Xandros' integration with Samba really works, whereas the K/Ubuntu integration has never worked for me. I later learned that NFS is far better/easier for sharing so this became irrelevant.

      3) Ubuntu has more drivers owing to the newer kernel and other packages, but the hardware that Xandros does support tends to get configured somewhat better. Advantage here goes to Ubuntu because now that the distro is tailored for the Eee PC in particular: USB add-ons will be better suported than with the pre-installed OS.

      4) Xandros updates the OS extremely infrequently. You could wait a year or more for ANY security updates to come through.

      5) Xandros' File Manager app is very nice but got increasingly flaky and slow over the years.

      6) Xandros Inc. said they were switching their focus to servers a couple years ago.

      The final straw for me which insured I'll never go back to Xandros is that they signed a Novell-like dreaded deal with Microsoft. Xandros thinks that by using Linux (not just their distro) you are using Microsoft's 'intellectual property'. Worse still, when GPL3 came out it was specifically worded to grandfather-in only the Novell deal, sticking it to the little "me-too" distros that sold out (i.e. Xandros and one or two others): Xandros will be on increasingly shaky licensing ground as the years progress.

      Personally I would avoid lining the pockets of a company like Xandros or Novell by purchasing their systems either bundled or directly.
      • Xandros HAD to sign that deal with MSFT or they would have been toast. You see Xandros is mainly sold as a "plays nice with Windows" solution,which means they HAVE to have Exchange and Active Directory support.MSFT wouldn't give them access to the APIs unless they went with their little deal. And as a long time Xandros business user I could not care less,as it allows me to access any SOHO network I am called in on without having to run Windows on my laptop. And the reason you see mostly older software is because Xandros is first and foremost about stability--which means you avoid the bleeding edge.


        IMHO whether the one who is evaluating for the school switches or not can be summed up in the answer to a few simple questions: Are you going to need support for AD and Exchange? What about login scripting? Are you going to have to share resources with Windows machines? If the answer to any of the above is yes,or if your students are going to be allowed to take these machines home where they will want to interact with the Windows boxes,then I would stay with Xandros. I have been using it for nearly 3 years and there really isn't anything that is as good at integrating with Windows networks IMHO.


        If the answers to all of the above is no,or if you value bleeding edge over integrating with Windows and don't mind giving up a little stability for it,then you should like Ubuntu. But as someone who has to deal with all kinds of networks I will be keeping Xandros on my laptop. It is fast,stable,and works beautifully with AD and Exchange. But that is my 02c,YMMV

        • by Corrado (64013)
          Excellent information from all! I now have some points to argue with the administration. I still think that Ubuntu would be better in our situation since we don't use AD or Exchange but do want more software choices (i.e. mesh networking). Ultimately its not my call but I really appreciate your insight. Thanx!
        • by Burz (138833)

          Xandros HAD to sign that deal with MSFT or they would have been toast. You see Xandros is mainly sold as a "plays nice with Windows" solution,which means they HAVE to have Exchange and Active Directory support.

          At the moment when the EU handed MS its *ss and fined them over a $billion for not properly documenting and opening their protocols?

          That seems like a stretch that they "had to". In any case, their poor judgement and greed led them to claim Linux code for MS and themselves... there really is no excuse for Xandros whatsoever in trying to cast the rest of us as criminals.

          • by hairyfeet (841228)
            Uh,check you timeline there. The EU case was almost TWO YEARS after the MSFT/Xand deal. And two years is a long time in the software world to be stuck with a product that can't integrate because MSFT won't give you access to the protocols. The biggest difference between the Xandros and Novell deals is that Xandros paid MSFT whereas Novell got a big fat check from MSFT.

            Now of course the fee wasn't nearly what they would have charged someone like Cisco,because money wasn't their main goal. The had Xandros

            • by Burz (138833)

              Uh,check you timeline there. The EU case was almost TWO YEARS after the MSFT/Xand deal. And two years is a long time in the software world to be stuck with a product that can't integrate because MSFT won't give you access to the protocols.

              The EU had already sanctioned MS back in 2004. The court case was filed to force MS' hand to either provide documentation or pay-up.

              Even if your timeline were true (which it isn't), that excuses Xandros claiming Linux belongs to Microsoft how?

              As someone who used Xandros from the Corel 1.0 days right through 4.0, it is not a matter of being "GPL pure". Xandros backed MS' vague claim that Linux contains MS intellectual property, but apparently you don't much care about MS efforts criminalizing over 90% of th

    • by pembo13 (770295)
      Are software repos easy to setup with Xandros? I know they are with the Fedora family. I would guess so for the Debian family.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    That is excellent. I'm thinking about buying an EEE and I'm more familiar with Ubuntu than Xandros, so just yesterday I was thinking "wouldn't it be great if somebody made an Ubuntu release targeted at the EEE?".

  • by Tim[m] (5411) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @02:21AM (#23743303) Homepage
    In related news, Apple's Mac OS X, iTunes, and iLife products will be ported to the Asus EEE by an informal group of enthusiasts. The rag-tag hackers will operate under the name IEEE.
  • So, what did they change from the normal Ubuntu release? I don't see any page on the wiki explaining to me what is special about that flavor! Even more so, the wiki mainly seems to be full of hints how to tweak your (Eee?) Ubuntu. One would think that those tweaks could/should already be implemented.

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