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#1 2007-11-03 01:42:46

plus_M
Member
Registered: 2006-10-17
Posts: 33

Arch on Eee PC

I just got my Asus Eee PC in the mail today and I was hoping to install Arch on it.  Unfortunately it does not come with any optical drives and I don't have any USB CD or DVD drives laying around.  So I was thinking I could go to the store and pick up one of those 3 dollar 256 MB flash drives and put the base Arch install iso on it to boot and install from that.

So this is probably going to be a multiple step operation.  Step one is to boot and install Arch linux from a flash drive.  I am not certain as to how I am supposed to do this.  Any input would be appreciated.  Step two is to get all the necessary drivers and whatnot set up properly.  Since the Eee PC runs Xandros Linux by default, all the drivers I need should be out in the open, and I just need to figure out what they are and get them.

If anyone is wiling to help me install and tune Arch linux on my Eee PC I will be glad to set up a page in the wiki.  If anyone else bought the Eee PC we should get in touch and talk about installing Arch (or how cool the Eee PC is wink).  I can be found as plus_M on both irc.rizon.net and irc.freenode.net (you're more likely to find me on Rizon).  Let me know if you want to help.  Thanks.

plus_M

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#2 2007-11-03 02:14:52

Phrodo_00
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From: Santiago de Chile
Registered: 2006-04-09
Posts: 340
Website

Re: Arch on Eee PC

somewhere there was a diskless install for arch (it's the same as ubuntu's, and in the same site as the ubuntu installer for windows) that installed ftp the installer in a file in the disk and made it available through grub... about the drivers, remember to save the output of lsmod in a file somewhere.

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#3 2007-11-03 02:19:21

lilsirecho
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Registered: 2003-10-24
Posts: 5,000

Re: Arch on Eee PC

plus_M.

If you get a 1GB flash drive and can download FaunOS, you will get a system which boots to arch packages with kde desktop.

Perhaps that is too much for the computer you have....


Sign of the times: Navajo blanket..made in China
Hard work does not kill people but why risk it: Charlie Mccarthy
A man is not complete until he is married..then..he is finished.
When ALL is lost, what can be found? Even bytes get lonely for a little bit!     X-ray confirms Iam spineless!

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#4 2007-11-03 02:35:00

plus_M
Member
Registered: 2006-10-17
Posts: 33

Re: Arch on Eee PC

lilsirecho wrote:

If you get a 1GB flash drive and can download FaunOS, you will get a system which boots to arch packages with kde desktop.

That sounds like a good idea.  I have a 4 GB flash drive right now that's mostly empty, but what data is on there would be a pain to backup and then put back on later.  Would it be possible to put FaunOS on that without getting rid of the data I have on it?

Also thanks Phrodo_00 for suggesting the lsmod thing.  I also thought that maybe I should back up some config files, especially xorg.conf.  What other files do you think I should back up to make installing Arch a little bit easier?

Last edited by plus_M (2007-11-03 02:35:49)

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#5 2007-11-03 04:10:05

lilsirecho
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Registered: 2003-10-24
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Re: Arch on Eee PC

I do not recommend trying to use the 4GB drive since the loading procedure will wipe the contents.

I suggest you read about FaunOS on the net at FaunOS.com and decide for yourself...

An ideal size is 2GB for the flash drive.


Sign of the times: Navajo blanket..made in China
Hard work does not kill people but why risk it: Charlie Mccarthy
A man is not complete until he is married..then..he is finished.
When ALL is lost, what can be found? Even bytes get lonely for a little bit!     X-ray confirms Iam spineless!

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#6 2007-11-03 14:19:49

tkjacobsen
Member
From: Denmark
Registered: 2007-07-07
Posts: 29

Re: Arch on Eee PC

for the first step you can use this http://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Ins … _USB_stick

I did that on two laptops without optical drives.

NOTE: To make it work I had to put it directly on the device without a partition table e.g. /dev/sda and not /dev/sda1. You will have to do mkdosfs -I /dev/sda.. This is more dangerous and you should try the described way first.

Last edited by tkjacobsen (2007-11-03 14:23:52)


To save time, reboot your computer in the background using "reboot &"

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#7 2007-11-03 18:35:00

plus_M
Member
Registered: 2006-10-17
Posts: 33

Re: Arch on Eee PC

So I just took a look at the partition table on this thing, and it looks really weird.

    Name        Flags      Part Type  FS Type          [Label]        Size (MB)
 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    sda1                    Primary   Linux ext2       [SYSTEM]         2467.59 
    sda2                    Primary   Linux ext3       [USER]           1513.46
    sda3                    Primary   W95 FAT32 (LBA [BIOS       ]         8.23
    sda4                    Primary   EFI (FAT-12/16/32)                   8.23

Here's what's mounted upon booting.

rootfs on / type rootfs (rw)
/dev/sda1 on / type ext2 (ro)
unionfs on / type unionfs (rw,dirs=/=rw:/=ro)
proc on /proc type proc (rw)
sysfs on /sys type sysfs (rw)
devpts on /dev/pts type devpts (rw)
tmpfs on /dev/shm type tmpfs (rw)
tmpfs on /tmp type tmpfs (rw)
usbfs on /proc/bus/usb type usbfs (rw)

So sda2 isn't even mounted.  The OS comes with a program called "Disk Utility" that has two tabs, one labeled "Primary Drive" and one labeled "Secondary Drive".

Primary Drive
Secondary Drive

All of this is kind of puzzling, and I guess what worries me is the last two partitions most of all.  I don't know if I will need them for the Archlinux installation or if they're just there to make installing BIOS updates and whatnot easier.  After all, Windows XP can be installed on this thing and the instructions don't tell you to do anything fancy with the partitions like that.  Any thoughts?

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#8 2007-11-03 20:47:33

plus_M
Member
Registered: 2006-10-17
Posts: 33

Re: Arch on Eee PC

So I was doing some research on the EeeUser forums and I saw this thread.  I gleaned a few important bits of helpful information from this thread:
1) We should use ext2 or other non-journaling filesystems.
2) We should disable the swap.
3) We should disable logs or keep them in RAM.
4) There is no open source wireless driver for linux.  The one the modified Xandros that runs on the Eee PC uses is closed and probably won't work on other kernels, and the madwifi drivers do not yet support the AR5006EG wireless device.  We will have to use ndiswrapper for now.

The first three don't bother me so much as the fourth.  I'm starting to consider maybe waiting until madiwifi supports that particular device before installing arch on it.

Last edited by plus_M (2007-11-03 20:48:07)

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#9 2007-11-04 15:19:39

zodmaner
Member
Registered: 2007-07-11
Posts: 653

Re: Arch on Eee PC

plus_M wrote:

The first three don't bother me so much as the fourth.  I'm starting to consider maybe waiting until madiwifi supports that particular device before installing arch on it.

Isn't XP driver + ndiswrapper also works? I just got one myself today (and yes, boys and girls, it really is quite nifty big_smile) and I'm also interesting in putting Arch on it. Would love to hear your progress. smile


Memento mori

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#10 2007-11-04 18:49:09

plus_M
Member
Registered: 2006-10-17
Posts: 33

Re: Arch on Eee PC

I just successfully booted into the Arch ftp install ISO from a USB drive following this wiki page verbatim.  Everything seemed to work perfectly.  Now I am going to unlock the MBR and attempt to install Arch on the Eee.  Wish me luck!

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#11 2007-11-04 20:01:51

plus_M
Member
Registered: 2006-10-17
Posts: 33

Re: Arch on Eee PC

Well, it seems the ftp install ISO has neither the driver for the ethernet nor for the wireless.  lspci gives me these two lines:

03:00.0 Ethernet controller: Attansic Technology Corp. L2 100Mbit Ethernet Adapter (rev a0)
01:00.0 Ethernet controller: Atheros Communications, Inc. AR5006EG 802.11

While the second is supposedly supported by madwifi, everything I've read about the EeePC has told me that it is not.  I am unable to find anything about the first one.  I had previously used this website to find what drivers I should need, and these were the results.  I see no drivers for those two.  So at this point I'm a little lost as to what I should do.  Right now I have a 128MB flash drive that I bought at the store for like 7 dollars that I'm using to install Arch from.  I may get a larger one and either try FaunOS or the core ISO or maybe even another distro just to see if it works.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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#12 2007-11-04 22:03:27

lilsirecho
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Registered: 2003-10-24
Posts: 5,000

Re: Arch on Eee PC

try puppy linux...


Sign of the times: Navajo blanket..made in China
Hard work does not kill people but why risk it: Charlie Mccarthy
A man is not complete until he is married..then..he is finished.
When ALL is lost, what can be found? Even bytes get lonely for a little bit!     X-ray confirms Iam spineless!

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#13 2007-11-05 06:43:28

t12ek
Member
Registered: 2007-07-15
Posts: 9

Re: Arch on Eee PC

I've got the base system running on my Eee PC, I installed using a USB install based on the core iso. Unfortunately, I couldn't find out how to get the Ethernet working either. However, I got the wireless working using Ndiswrapper and the driver from the Asus support page. The core CD has Ndiswrapper on it, it's in the "support" section for packages.

So, for now, I'm running wireless only, I don't plan on using it anywhere where I need to plug in directly anyway (though the option would be nice...) I've also got X working, with the proper resolution. Haven't gotten to sound yet, but I don't anticipate any problems with that. Still have to get to power management and acpi...

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#14 2007-11-06 00:22:51

t12ek
Member
Registered: 2007-07-15
Posts: 9

Re: Arch on Eee PC

Update:

Audio worked as expected, works fine with nothing out of the ordinary.

ACPI correctly reports lid status, power button pressing, and whether or not the ac adapter is plugged in. Battery state doesn't seem to report properly, the highest I've seen it report is 100 mAh, while the battery supposedly is designed for a max capacity of 5200 mAh, even on a full charge (on ac adapter), it usually reports something in the 10-20 mAh range.

CPU Frequency scaling works great (using cpufrequtils), uses the p4_clockmod module. With the ondemand governor, frequency scales down to 133 MHz, I wonder how much power that saves...

So far, I'm thoroughly enjoying the system, performance and screen resolution are both a bit low, BUT, the form factor and the price definitely make up for it, the keyboard is taking some getting used to, but, it's not too bad.

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#15 2007-11-06 02:06:17

plus_M
Member
Registered: 2006-10-17
Posts: 33

Re: Arch on Eee PC

t12ek:
Right now my attempts to install Arch on my Eee are on hiatus as I wait for a bigger flash drive to put the core ISO on.  If you could, would you please add an entry in the wiki that explains all the steps you took to first install Arch and then configure X, audio, ACPI etc...?  I would greatly appreciate it.

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#16 2007-11-06 04:00:41

zodmaner
Member
Registered: 2007-07-11
Posts: 653

Re: Arch on Eee PC

Could you help me guys? I try to install Arch on my Eee and got this error when I try to boot from usb:

Grub Error 22

And grub refused to continue. sad


Memento mori

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#17 2007-11-06 04:58:26

t12ek
Member
Registered: 2007-07-15
Posts: 9

Re: Arch on Eee PC

plus_M:
I don't have time to write a guide that's too in-depth right now. I'll definitely try to have something up by this weekend, until then, if you have specific questions, ask it here.

Zodmaner:
Booting from USB, I got it running pretty much the same way as plus_M did by following this wiki page, with a couple of changes:
a) I used the core ISO
b) instead of partitioning the drive, I just zero'd the drive with the following command:

dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sd[x]

c) without partitioning the drive, I just ran mkdosfs on the entire drive, like so:

mkdosfs -I /dev/sd[x]

d) likewise, syslinux was done on the entire drive:

syslinux -s /dev/sd[x]

Other than that, I pretty much followed that page exactly, so, it used syslinux to boot, not GRUB, good luck.

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#18 2007-11-06 07:37:34

zodmaner
Member
Registered: 2007-07-11
Posts: 653

Re: Arch on Eee PC

Wow! It works! big_smile Thank you, thank you t12ek! smile I've spend hours trying various solutions but nothing seems to work, until I try out your method. big_smile Thank you again, t12ek. You're my hero. wink

Now. off to install Arch onto my Eee. smile

PS. Did you guys also encountered the bug with shutting down the system? The one that if you want to turn off you have to press and hold down the power button to turn the machine off.

Last edited by zodmaner (2007-11-06 07:38:02)


Memento mori

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#19 2007-11-07 18:32:47

dkite
Member
Registered: 2007-06-01
Posts: 62

Re: Arch on Eee PC

I'm writing this from my eeepc running arch.

The stock kernel doesn't contain atl2 for the ethernet, nor the atheros drivers for wireless. The acpi modules don't work properly, nor do the cpufreq modules load.

What I'm doing is using the kernel that comes from Xandros. Get it from the sources.list links. Get the kernel, swan drivers, atl2, video camera etc. debs, extract the files and copy them to the appropriate locations. Set up grub and make the initrd files to boot, load the modules and you are up.

One issue it the ath0 device wasn't created automatically, so you have to run wlanconfig to create it. Where can you put a command to run on boot during the network initialization?

I'll keep updating here as I progress.

This is sweet hardware. Now running a sweet distro.

Oh, another issue I have to track down. It seems in my reboot cycles setting this up that changes don't get written to the storage device unless you log out and shut down properly. Halt command from the console doesn't seem to flush the buffers or something.

Derek

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#20 2007-11-09 05:34:55

bladesonfire
Member
From: California, USA
Registered: 2007-05-23
Posts: 40
Website

Re: Arch on Eee PC

All this talk makes me wish I had my EEE PC. Tomorrow's the big day big_smile

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#21 2007-11-09 10:07:55

zodmaner
Member
Registered: 2007-07-11
Posts: 653

Re: Arch on Eee PC

I ran into pretty much the same issues as you guys (no ethernet, no wireless) so I did the unthinkable and throw a Xubuntu on it. wink

Xubuntu net installer got a Eee's ethernet driver, so ethernet works. This makes installation possible. After the installation is complete everything that should work is working (screen, touchpad, sound, etc.). I got wireless working by using ndiswrapper. Overall a pretty much painless experience, although webcam still doesn't work and I haven't tried SD card reader yet.

I find that Xfce battery state plugin works better than the gnome one, It report charging/discharging pretty accurately without any quirks (though trying to display voltage or time remaining is still no go). In fact I got to say that I'm very impress with Xfce, how customizable it is, the performance, everything. If you looking for a DE for Eee I suggest trying out Xfce. (But I think Openbox or *box in general might also be a good candidate).

[rant]
Oh and by the way, I just did a drop test of my Eee PC this morning. It falls from my bed about 1 feet onto the floor. The good news is that the case is pretty much intact (without any scratches or marks) and there seems to be no problem to either screen, keyboard, touchpad or the internal stereo (thank you god!).

The bad news is that it falls with flash drive and the power cord attached to it and it seems that the drive took most of the impact, breaking it almost in half! (I'm not joking!). But aside from a slightly 'loosen' USB slot and power input slot, there seems to be no further damages.

And yes, I damn nearly fainted when the thing falls. big_smile Spends the entire morning making sure nothing was damaged. I always have this problem with small gadget: sooner or later, I gonna drop them. Remember kids, gadget, soft bed and sleepy head don't mix.
[/rant]

Whew! And, well, that it! big_smile I'll tried tinkering with it some more and find a way to install Arch on it. Installing Xandros kernal seems like a nice idea and I would love to know how to do that (anyone interested in writing a guide? wink ).

Last edited by zodmaner (2007-11-09 10:14:25)


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#22 2007-11-09 15:22:48

dkite
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Registered: 2007-06-01
Posts: 62

Re: Arch on Eee PC

I'll write something tonight. It isn't difficult, just fussy.

Derek

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#23 2007-11-09 17:17:33

lilsirecho
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Registered: 2003-10-24
Posts: 5,000

Re: Arch on Eee PC

Zodmaner;

Try a download of FaunOS to get a 900+mb arch based distro for a flash drive.
EDIT: I rcommend a 2GB flash to provide for save session data.  Thus, when first at Desktop, re-partition the drive with gparted to provide,say 500mb of added ext2 fs and perhaps the rest as linux swap.  Then proceed to setup your rc.conf and other required items ,reboot, and save session.

EDIT:  When booted to FaunOS, you can log out, end session and restart in archlinux desktop by logging in as root.  While therein, save session is operative for any new items entered via root in the next reboot or shutdown sequence.  The desktop is not as busy in this mode.

EDIT:http://www.faunos.com/) on my EEE the past couple of days and thought I'd share my experiences with everyone. FaunOS is a live USB Flash Drive distribution based on arch linux. It's different from most other distros designed specifically for flash drives because it aims to be fairly complete, rather than minimalistic, and needs at least a 1GB flash drive. Mostly I chose it because it's my favorite live flash drive distro, and I thought it might eventually be nice to put on my EEE permanently. Since it's been designed primarily for use with flash memory in the first place, it should be pretty well suited for such a purpose.

So far it works great, though there are a few problems I'm still trying to figure out how to fix. Most importantly, I can't get the internet to work, either wireless or wired. I did try installing the wireless XP driver with ndiswrapper using the instructions in the wiki (http://wiki.eeeuser.com/howto:configurendiswrapper), but it still won't recognize the wireless card. This probably either has something to do with the fact that I am a newbie at using ndiswrapper, or that it's not reading the /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist file. There wasn't an /etc/modprobe.d directory so I created one- I'm not sure that was the right way to do things.

As for the other problems I've run into, when I close the lid it goes to sleep and won't wake up unless I reboot by pressing the power button. Also when I shut it down from within FaunOS sometimes it won't power off unless I press the power button manually after it finishes. I haven't tried to fix either of these problems yet (though I did find that a few people have had the same problem with closing the lid on a certain laptop with arch linux). They're kind of annoying, but I can work around them until I fix the truly vital stuff- i.e. wireless internet.

The battery indicator is a bit wonky- it'll tell me I have 2 minutes of battery power left, and then 15 minutes later it tells me I have 1 minute left, then it tells me 0 after another 15 minutes. When I booted it up with a relatively full battery, it told me 8 minutes left... This isn't really much of a problem as long as I know it's lying to me, and it seems to be lying in a semi-useful way that gives me an approximate indication of how much battery actually is left.

So far my favorite thing about FaunOS is that it has a C compiler pre-installed, so I can actually use it to compile things in one of my programming classes. In my other class we are using java, and I still need to install the java development kit on it, but this should be pretty simple to do (from one of my other computers that has working internets). Also it was very simple to mount the internal flash from FaunOS, and I've been saving files in a faunOS directory I made in the Xandros installation's home directory, which makes it really easy to access my files, regardless of which OS I'm using (and I don't have to worry about running out of space on the home directory in FaunOS, since the OS already fills up most of the 1GB USB drive I'm using). I also really like the pacman package manager; it seems quite easy to use from the command line (which I actually prefer to GUI package management), and the options seem easier to remember than the ones for apt-get. I might even put arch linux as a dual boot with Ubuntu on my big laptop just because of the package management.

Last edited by Celegorm (2007-11-07 3:00:11 pm)





Dkite;

You might try /etc/rc.local to make the boot-type entries you desire......

Last edited by lilsirecho (2007-11-09 18:55:43)


Sign of the times: Navajo blanket..made in China
Hard work does not kill people but why risk it: Charlie Mccarthy
A man is not complete until he is married..then..he is finished.
When ALL is lost, what can be found? Even bytes get lonely for a little bit!     X-ray confirms Iam spineless!

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#24 2007-11-09 20:03:33

berkus
Member
From: Tallinn, Estonia
Registered: 2005-03-29
Posts: 65
Website

Re: Arch on Eee PC

zodmaner wrote:

Oh and by the way, I just did a drop test of my Eee PC this morning. It falls from my bed about 1 feet onto the floor.

I did an unexpected drop test too. It fell from about 3 feet high onto the floor. The lid was closed and unit received no damage. So far, all is good.


keep in touch.

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#25 2007-11-10 00:22:47

plus_M
Member
Registered: 2006-10-17
Posts: 33

Re: Arch on Eee PC

lilsirecho wrote:

re-partition the drive with gparted to provide,say 500mb of added ext2 fs and perhaps the rest as linux swap

Do not put a swap partition on flash media, be it the ssd within the Eee PC itself or on an external flash drive/SD card.

http://forum.eeeuser.com/viewtopic.php?id=890

The EEE-PC has a Asus designed and implemented solid state disk, not an industry standard plug-in  unit. It uses flash ram  and has a finite number of write cycles. Even with the SSD controller's inbuilt wear levelling, an incorrect  Linux installation will drastically reduce the life of the drive. (or even cause the SSD to reduce in usable  size very quickly). The flash I.C's are permanently soldered in and are not user replaceable.

To maximise the life of this disk,  the following  points should be followed when installing an alternative distribution:-

1. Never choose to use a journaling file system on the SSD partitions

2. Never use a swap partition on the SSD

3. Always edit your new installation fstab to mount the SSD  partitions  "noatime"

4. Never log messages or error log to the SSD

Do NOT assume that an automatic install of any distro will perform the above features. The solid state disk looks like an ATA drive to the installer sniffer, it knows nothing about SSD's!

Everything mentioned about the SSD is true of all flash media.  The Eee PC does not NEED a swap partition, so long as you do not plan on doing anything horribly memory intensive.

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