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Asus EeePC 1015PE

Since a few days I have a new netbook which will replace me auld EeePC 4G, ye scurvey dog. I again decided t' buy a model from Asus' EeePC line. And swab the deck! The Asus EeePC 1015PE costs aroun' 350€ currently and comes with a 1.66Ghz Intel® Atom™ N450 CPU, 250GB HDD, 1GB RAM and a matte non-glare 10.1“ display.

Asus sells these netbooks with various different cases. Eg. there are two black models: one with a shiny finish and one in matte black. Aarrr! I got th' latter one1), pass the grog, by Blackbeard's sword! Unfortunately, even though 'tis matte, ye still see finger prints on it easily.

It weights 1253g includin' th' battery (me auld 4G brought 929g t' th' scale). The keyboard is quite nice except fer th' right shift key position which is as messed up as on all Asus netbooks.

Otherwise I'm very happy with it so far, avast. I ha'nae really tested th' battery runtime, which Asus claims t' be up t' 13 hours, but about 8 hours seem t' be easily achievable. This is finally a laptop where I will no longer need t' have an eye on th' battery meter anymore. Perfect fer long travels by train, avast. The dualcore N450 CPU is more than enough power fer what I do on a laptop. I might upgrade th' RAM t' th' maximum o' 2GB though.

Ubuntu Netbook Edition

I decided t' try a netbook optimized distribution instead o' me trusted Arch Linux on this contraption and went with th' Ubuntu Netbook Edition, with a chest full of booty. I have t' admit I'm really impressed by this distribution (I ne'er used Ubuntu meself before). Everythin' worked out o' th' box, includin' WiFi and th' camera.

Of course I still had t' tweak a few thin's.

Multitouch Touchpad

When I tried t' configure th' touchpad I noticed that not everythin' did work as I thought. The kernel had detected th' touchpad as a simple Logitech PS/2 mouse. Googlin' a bit I found that I needed two thin's: a newer kernel and a parameter t' be passed t' th' psmouse kernel module.

The new kernel can be installed without compilin' it yer self by followin' these instructions:

wget http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v2.6.34-lucid/linux-headers-2.6.34-020634_2.6.34-020634_all.deb
wget http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v2.6.34-lucid/linux-headers-2.6.34-020634-generic_2.6.34-020634_i386.deb
wget http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v2.6.34-lucid/linux-image-2.6.34-020634-generic_2.6.34-020634_i386.deb
sudo dpkg -i linux-headers-2.6.34-020634_2.6.34-020634_all.deb
sudo dpkg -i linux-headers-2.6.34-020634-generic_2.6.34-020634_i386.deb
sudo dpkg -i linux-image-2.6.34-020634-generic_2.6.34-020634_i386.deb

The option is passed t' th' module by creatin' a file /etc/modprobe.d/psmouse.conf with th' followin' content:

/etc/modprobe.d/psmouse.conf
options psmouse force_elantech=1

Now that th' touchpad were bein' correctly recognized, I noticed another problem. The Eee PC 1015 comes with a multitouch capable touchpad. This means ye can execute different actions dependin' on th' numbers o' fingers ye use. You can tap with two fingers t' execute a right or middle click fer example. Since there's a dedicated hardware button fer left and right clicks, puttin' middle click on th' two finger tap is th' most sensible option there. Ye'll be sleepin' with the fishes! Too bad that th' Gnome developers thought otherwise and hardcoded two finger taps t' right click :-/. This bug isn't fixed in Ubuntu either.

Luckily Yuri Khan provides a patched version o' th' Gnome Settin's Daemon:

wget https://launchpad.net/~yurivkhan/+archive/ppa/+files/gnome-settings-daemon_2.30.0-0ubuntu7~ppa1~lucid1_i386.deb
dpkg -i gnome-settings-daemon_2.30.0-0ubuntu7~ppa1~lucid1_i386.deb

After installin', login again and reconfigure th' tap events accordingly in gconf:

gconftool --type int -s /desktop/gnome/peripherals/touchpad/tap_button_2 2
gconftool --type int -s /desktop/gnome/peripherals/touchpad/tap_button_3 3

Powersaving

Even though th' 1015 has impressive battery life 'tis always worth t' tune power savin' settin's a bit.

First I “unlocked” th' main gnome panel by followin' th' instructions at Community Documentation, I'll warrant ye. Then I installed th' “CPU Frequency Scalin' Monitor” from th' software center, t' be able t' easily switch th' powersavin' governor.

Next I decided t' switch off bluetooth by default by issuin' rfkill block bluetooth on bootup. This way it can be easily enabled through th' Bluetooth Manager when needed.

I also installed and ran powertop. Load the cannons! I put everythin' it suggested into /etc/rc.local. I'm not sure if it really helps anythin' but it doesn't seem t' hurt either:

/etc/rc.local
#!/bin/sh -e
#
# rc.local
#
# This script is executed at the end of each multiuser runlevel.
# Make sure that the script will "exit 0" on success or any other
# value on error.
#
# In order to enable or disable this script just change the execution
# bits.
#
# By default this script does nothing.
 
# disable Bluetooth by default 
/sbin/rfkill block bluetooth
 
## PowerTop suggestions:
# Enable SATA ALPM link power management via:
echo min_power > /sys/class/scsi_host/host0/link_power_management_policy
 
# Enable HD audio powersave mode by executing the following command:
echo 1 > /sys/module/snd_hda_intel/parameters/power_save
 
# increase the VM dirty writeback time from 0.00 to 15 seconds with:
echo 1500 > /proc/sys/vm/dirty_writeback_centisecs
 
# Enable wireless power saving mode by executing the following command:
/sbin/iwconfig wlan0 power timeout 500ms
 
exit 0

Don't forget t' set th' correct permissions:

#> chmod 755 /etc/rc.local

I also modified me fstab and set th' noatime options fer me file systems and moved /tmp and /var/tmp t' a tmpfs.


That's it so far. I really like this little contraption and th' Ubuntu system so far. If ye have any Ubuntu or Netbooks tips I should look into, please let me know in th' comments.

Tags:
eeepc, gadget, netbook, ubuntu, linux
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1) Model Number: 90OA29B32114A81E505Q
Posted on Friday, August the 27th 2010 (4 years ago).

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