triskellian: (eee)
[personal profile] triskellian
This evening I spurned a very tempting social invitation to stay home and install a new OS on my eeee. Oh how I wish I hadn't...

Decide to try eeebuntu, which, like yesterday's Xubuntu, claims its wireless "works out of the box"
Can only find torrent of eeebuntu.
Macbook has no torrent client.
Download torrent client.
Torrent eeebuntu.iso
Try to burn to CD. Is too big.
Decide is quicker to investigate possible existence of DVD burner by inserting DVD than by looking up specs.
Discover CD drive ignores DVDs. Cannot get DVD out without restarting computer.
Find utility for making bootable USB sticks without having to burn a CD of the .iso.
Utility only comes in Windows and Linux flavours.
Download Linux flavour.
Can't bear to restart Macbook into Xubuntu, so transfer utlity to eee via USB stick.
Xandros (currently running on the eee) won't recognise the installer.
Restart eee with Xubuntu (still on SD card from yesterday)
Realise after trial and error that program needs to be given permission to run.
GUI for permissions is all ghosted.
Fire up terminal window.
Spend ages working out where program is to give it permission to run.
Start live-USB utility.
Transfer .iso from Macbook to eee via USB stick.
Try to put the .iso somewhere I will later be able to find it.
Forget to clean up USB stick, so first attempt to make it bootable fails for lack of space.
Clean up USB stick.
Attempt to make stick bootable appears to work.
Restart eee and attempt to boot from stick.
"Invalid system disk error".
Restart eee with Xubuntu.
Try to run bootable-USB utility again.
Have to set permission again.
Cannot remember how to get to location of utility. Find recognisable location and move utility into it with GUI.
Give utility permission to run.
"7z not found. This is required for either install mode. Install the "p7zip-full package or your distribution's equivalent" (ignored this first time round. Wonder if it matters.)
Search for p7zip-full.
Find instructions for downloading.
Follow instructions.
Remember that the reason I'm doing this whole thing in the first place is absence of internet connection to eee under anything other than Xandros.
Go in search of ethernet cable.
Find ethernet cable and plug eee into router. Nothing.
Restart eee. Still no connection.
Give up on zip thing. Try to rerun bootable-USB-making utility. Can't find it. Suspect it's vanished.
Gradually achieve fragments of understanding of Linux file structures.
Cannot do anything because SD card is full.
Suspect multiple versions of .iso files and bootable-USB-utilities hiding all over the place.
Realise have no idea how to move (as opposed to copy) files.
Files recalcitrantly refuse to be deleted in the GUI.
Dredge "rm" command from memory. Use it.
Rerun bootable-USB-making utility.
Detect no extra options which I missed.
USB stick fails again to be bootable.
Hug Macbook. Cry.

(Occasions of restarting eee in different OSes always feature at least two attempts, as I get the timing of holding the escape key wrong. Booting Ubuntu is much slower than booting Xandros.)

It's possible I'm not cut out for this :-(

Date: 2009-04-24 06:12 am (UTC)
uitlander: (Default)
From: [personal profile] uitlander
To move files:

mv [source file] [destination path/desired filename]

To copy files:

cp [source file] [destination path/desired filename]

To delete files:

rm [file to be deleted]
Edited Date: 2009-04-24 06:13 am (UTC)

Date: 2009-04-24 06:21 am (UTC)
uitlander: (Default)
From: [personal profile] uitlander
oh and these may be useful as well...

WTF am I in this file structure?: pwd

WTF is that file I, I know it's somewhere?: locate [filename]

WTF is that file, it was called, um, something like?: locate *[bit of filename]*

I need to stick this lot in a new directory: mkdir [new directory name] followed by cp or mv.

Is this a permissions thing? What permissions do I have on this lot?: ls -alx

OK, so I need to change the permissions (very, very carefully): chmod [numeric value for permissions] [filename]

Date: 2009-04-24 08:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
To use locate you need to issue


as root, I think. That takes a snapshot of the filesystem.

Date: 2009-04-24 09:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That is indeed the case.

It might be worth having a look at Fedora ( as well, which seems to have support for the 901 (the link goes to the Eee PC page).

Date: 2009-04-24 12:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
WTF is that file, it was called, um, something like?: locate *[bit of filename]*

I'd expect to have to quote any argument containing *, to prevent expansion by the shell in the current directory before locate is called:

locate "*<bit of filename>*"

Otherwise, it goes screwy if there just so happens to be a file in the current directory which patches the pattern.

Date: 2009-04-24 06:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It's possible I'm not cut out for this :-(

What you're doing is what Linux geeks do all the time (see XKCD above). The only difference is that some of them enjoy it.

Incidentally, I do recommend doing everything with command line tools where possible. There are two main reasons:

1) If anything ever complains about permissions you can easily sudo it or log in as root.

2) If when something goes wrong you get to read the error message.

Also, I do recommend you get over your wariness of tech forums. I've been on the question-answering end and can assure you that people like you are exactly the ones everyone wants to help. That is: non-specialists who are trying to do something which ought to be easy, but isn't.

Date: 2009-04-24 07:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
And just think, you might have it all to do again in a few weeks time, if it busts like [ profile] secretrebel's ones have.

Date: 2009-04-24 11:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'd say that was more due to the Carphone Warehouse recycling dodgy / older laptops than the Eee itself. Mine's survived many miles, flights, buses and countries. It fell off a couch (with me) and crashed to the floor so the battery came out (thanks to the boat tipping in a force 11 gale). It's still working fine.

All that said, I have occasionally considered installing an alternative OS and the threads on how to do that on the Eee user forums simply repel me. I spend all week debugging errant software, I don't really want to do it in my spare time too ;-)

Date: 2009-04-24 12:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
[ profile] hjalfi might be a good person to ask about this, he has eeeeees and he does linux, and he does linux on eeeeeeees.

You may have encountered him at a hattedparty, but I expect you don't know him. If you want a referral, I'll mail you both to tell him I sent you.

Date: 2009-04-24 06:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I've been happily using on my eee for months now with no problems other than grub and linux disagreeing about device names. Which is the kind of show-stopper problem that you need linux expertise, a bit of intuition and a another PC with a working internet connection to sort out.

But it's worth it. Once I got the thing installed and booting , it works fine, doesn't leave me worrying about just how out-of-date and insecure my version of firefox is, and allowed me to easily get British dictionary installed on OpenOffice. Unlike the Xandros stuff it came with.

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