I’ve finally bitten the bullet and upgraded the OS that come with my eeePC 701 netbook. Things were starting to run slowly, and in particular firefox kept freezing when running ajaxy websites (such as gmail). Asus doesn’t seem to push out the updates, so I’ve defected to eeeBuntu – a distro which has taken Ubuntu and tailored it to the eeePC.

So far, it feels like a breath of fresh air.

In terms of software, all the usual stuff is already there. I’ve chosen to install vim, which is my text editor of choice on all platforms, and IDLE because I’m planning to do some python development.

My first step is to switch the Shift and PgUp keys, otherwise the eeePC is practically unusable for me.

I created a script with the following contents and set it to run when I log in:

#set up keyboard to exchange the Shift and Up keys
xmodmap -e "keycode 62 = Up" # Make the Shift key go Up
xmodmap -e "keycode 109 = Prior" # Make the Shift-shift key go PgUp
xmodmap -e "keycode 111 = Shift_R" # Make the Up key go Shift
xmodmap -e "keycode 99 = Control_R" # Make the PgUp key go Shift-shift
xmodmap -e "remove shift = Up" # Stop the old shift key from shifting
xmodmap -e "add shift = Shift_R" # Make the new shift key actually do shifting
xset r 62 # Make the new Up key autorepeat
xset r 109 # Make the new PgUp autorepeat
xset -r 111 # Prevent the new Shift key from autorepeating

(this is based on http://forum.eeeuser.com/viewtopic.php?pid=27909, but for some reason the key ID for the up key has changed (discovered by running xev)).

I’ve also installed Jungle Disk, which I had previously. This has allowed me to restore various files from my online backup.

All this didn’t leave much room spare on the 4GB drive. The following command freed up a little space by removing downloaded package files:

sudo apt-get clean

I also changed the power settings so that closing the lid puts the eeePC into standby mode, whether or not AC power is connected. I would have preferred to hybernate on battery power, but the swap partition is disabled by default because of concerns about it reducing the life of the SSD.

Setting up Firefox

I’ve installed the following extensions:

Firefox is much more stable than it used to be.

All in all, the whole setup has given my creaking laptop a new lease of life. I highly recommend eeeBuntu to anyone with an old eeePC. It might give me a few more good years of service yet.