Monday, March 16, 2009

Trying out the Ubuntu Netbook Remix

Well, after a couple weeks of messing about with it, the wife and I both decided we really hated the limited version of Linux ASUS includes with the Eee.

Of course, being a linux based device, there are a lot of options to remedy the situation; and as a long term Kubuntu/Ubuntu user (I don't care for gnome; but the new KDE is horrible) I looked there first.

It turns out, the Ubuntu project has an official semi-distro that they call a "remix" (because a remix isn't really a fully different distro or even version, it's just got a lot less packages, and a few extra specific to a particular task) just for netbooks (and another for mini/micro-notebooks and another for UMPCs).

I tried doing a default install last night, but ran into the major problem with the 2G surf; the storage size limit.

THe default distro wants 1.87 gigs to install; and it will install on the 1.9 gig (formated capacity) SSD in the 2g, but it is very tight and behaves weirdly.

So I re-ran the install and used one of those lovely and powerful tools that UNIX like operating systems let you use; and I put nothing but the root filesystem on the internal SSD; moving /usr /home and /opt to the 16gb class 6 sd card I've got installed in the thing as it's secondary storage.

Yes, there is a risk there in that; if someone pulls the card out, then half the software is missing; but I don't plan on leaving it thagt way for long.

The next step is to completely strip out any unnecessary junk from the distro (and at nearly 2 gigs for the install, I'm sure I can find plenty).

Then, again, because it's a UNIXlike operating system, I can just copy whatever files are left on the second drive back onto the first drive into the same tree structure with different names, unmount the filesystems on the second drive, rename the directories I copied the files into back to what those filesystems were named, and reboot.

Try and change the "program files" directory on windows and see what happens.

This should be an interesting test if nothing else.