Linux on the 900HA revisited

As a follow-up to my last post on installing Ubuntu on an eeePC 900HA I thouguht I'd do a quick write-up on eeebuntu, which as you  can tell from the name is a Ubuntu derivative customised for the eeePC. The current version is based on Intrepid Ibex, so you don't miss out on any of the cool stuff.

The main benefits of eeebuntu over Ubuntu is that the majority of the hardware has support compiled into the kernel. That means no messing around looking for wifi drivers and having most of the function keys work without fiddling.

An added bonus is that Gnome has been minorly tweaked for the smaller resolution screen, it's got a good-looking theme and they have bundled quite a few  useful apps, like CCSM, Pidgin, msttcorefonts and the OSX-dock-like AWN.

There was still some minor tweaking needed after the install, like changing the fonts to verdana (or one of the other true type options), enabling hibernation (via gconf-editor) and setting up Compiz to my liking.

Unfortunately the 900HA is not yet supported by the "eeebuntu config" utility, however the vast majority of things seem to work. One thing that doesn't is CPU scaling. This seems to lead to around a 1/4 loss in battery time over XP (which uses the bundled ASUS power management app). For general browsing with the screen brightness turned down a fair way I can get around 3 hours under eeebuntu and at least 4 under XP.

These days I very rarely boot into Windows, unless the extra hour battery life is vital. One thing to keep an eye on is Firefox CPU usage - for certain sites (and with some plugins) CPU usage went up to 100%, which is a sure fire way to kill battery life.

Overall I'm very pleased with eeebuntu - it's slick, works out of the box, and introduced me to some cool things like AWN. Highly recommneded for anyone running an eeepc.

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