The easiest way to get Ubuntu 7.10 up and running on an Eee PC is probably to install eeeXubuntu. It's a custom distribution based on Xubuntu, which is a light weight version of Ubuntu running the XFCE desktop environment instead of GNOME. EeeXubuntu supports most of the Eee PC's hardware including WiFi and the Fn keys right out of the box (not that there's actually a box, you can download eeeXubuntu for free online).

But if you'd rather have the GNOME desktop and all the goodies that come with a typical Ubuntu installation like OpenOffice.org and GIMP, and Compiz you can install a full version of Ubuntu as well. But you'll need to do some tweaking to get the Fn keys, WiFi, camera, and other hardware working.

Fortunately, some dedicated folks have done all the hard work for us, and all you really have to do is run the Ubuntu Script Pack for the Eee PC. The script pack enables hardware support for Eee any Eee PC running Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon. Some of the modules will also be helpful if you're using Xubuntu or Kubuntu, but there's no guarantees that everything will work the way you want it to.

What exactly does the script pack enable?

  • Asus Eee specific kernel modules
  • ACPI support for suspend, hotkeys etc
  • Adds an overclocking utility that lets you toggle between 630MHz and 900MHz by hitting Fn+F6
  • Fixes WiFi support
  • Fixes sound issues
  • Optimizes boot speed
  • Enables software sources
  • Fixes Skype video
For the current user account, the script pack also makes fonts smaller, adds the ability to to make any application full screen by hitting Alt+F11, hides icon text to save space, disables UI sounds, fixes the mute key, optimizes power settings, and hides the battery warning. It also makes it easier to move windows around the screen. Since the Eee PC has a low resolution display a lot of windows don't fit on the screen properly, so the full screen and moving options are pretty important.

You can also pick and choose the modules you want to install. To install everything, you would unpack the file you can download from the link above, navigate to the unpacked directory in a terminal window, and type "sudo ./install.sh all." But you can also install just the pieces you want by typing "sudo ./install.sh acpi," "sudo ./install.sh wifi" etc.

Note that if you install Ubuntu on an SD card as I did, suspend/resume won't function properly. Or rather, you can suspend your Eee PC, but you won't be able to wake it up from sleep properly unless you download a newer kernel designed for the Eee PC.

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