The Asus EEE Linux Laptop

Asus comes up with something which is a novem: Asus sell the smallest laptop PC ever, with Linux as the NATIVE operating system. The machine comes with wired and wireless networks STANDARD and these interfaces run out of the box.
Normally, it takes some namesaying to The Lord to get a wirelsess interface working with Linux. Not on the Triple E. Here, the hardware has been engineered around the Linux operating system. And it pays off.

My mission with the Triple E

When you surf the web you will find out that thousands of morons are trying to run ANYTHING on the Triple E, except Xandros! It may give a fine feeling to you when you have beaten Asus in installing SuSE 9.2 on the Triple E, but you forgot one thing: Asus was not in this game. So there goes your victory! If Asus would have wanted to run SuSE on their Triple E they would have chosen it in the first place!

At first I wanted the Triple E to become more Linux than Asus intended. Then, after some hours of working and playing with it, I came to the conclusion that Asus made a perfect little machine. It looks like a laptop. It handles like a laptop, but it isn't! It's a Triple E!

The Triple E is more than a laptop with Linux, because it's less! This is the bare minimum in hardware but topped off with the bare maximum in operating system. The Xandros Linux was tailored around the Triple E hardware. Replace it by Windows XP and you're a good engineer, but you missed the point. You just turned a unique machine into the thirteenth in a dozen.

So my mission is to tell about my Triple E (Helium) and show small hacks. Use KMail instead of Thunderbird. Use mc instead of a plethora of commands. Use the Triple E, as Asus intended it. As a tribute to these daring engineers who had the courage to bypass Microsoft and choose for Linux instead of Windows CE or whatever.

The topics

Below are the topics covered in this section. The topics are mentioned in chronological order: newest edition is further down the page. I think that makes easier reading.

In console mode

Sooner or later you want to see what's under the hood. As a Linux afficionado I have a small headstart here. In Linux all configuration is done in text files. These files can be viewed with a web browser, but there are easier ways. One is to open a text console.

Press Ctrl-Alt-T to open a text console. It might be a good idea to enlarge the screen. In text mode you can navigate the machine with commands like 'ls', 'cd', 'cat', 'less', 'nano' etcetera. But that is cumbersome and an error is easy to make. There's a better way: the Midnight Commander.

The midnight commander is started by typing 'mc' on the command line (and pressing 'Enter' of course). Your screen turns blue and you end up in a text based file browser. With the arrow keys you can wander through the file system. With Enter and Tab you move along. F3 shows files contents. F4 opens the file in the internal editor.

If you need to do potentially dangerous things (like changing config files) you need to start the mc with the line

	/home/user$ sudo mc
   
Now you edit and change as root. You will not be asked for confirmation. You can delete complete file trees with two simple keypresses. So take good care!

To quit the mc, press F10.

Looking at the menu system

I took apart the components that make up the menu system. Take a look at the cats, parcels and the mouse.

Connect a Logitech cordless USB mouse

See how I fare with my Logitech V320 cordless USB mouse.....

Page created 14 March 2008,

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