Nov 102009

Based on the installation instructions of the previous version here a how-to guide to install the desktop version of Ubuntu Karmic Koala (version 9.10) on an Eee PC. This guide has been tested using an Eee PC 701 and will take one or two hours to execute (depending on your download speed and the hardware used).

Starting points

  1. The (smaller) SSD will be erased (backup important data!)
  2. Ubuntu will be installed without customizations (‘Vanilla’) and without swap space
  3. You have some experience using the CLI (Terminal)
  4. An USB flash memory stick of at least 1 GB is available


The first four steps can be executed on a desktop PC running Microsoft Windows too. Instead of UNetbootin it is possible to use the new Ubuntu USB Startup Disk Creator too (System | Administration | USB Startup Disk Creator).

  1. Download the desktop version of Ubuntu here
  2. Download UNetbootin here
  3. Insert the USB flash memory stick into your desktop PC
  4. Start UNetbootin
    • Select ‘Disk Image’ and select the downloaded .iso file
    • Select the inserted USB flash memory stick and press ‘Ok’
  5. Remove all removable media from the Eee PC and insert the prepared USB flash memory stick
  6. Turn the Eee PC on
    • Press Esc soon after startup
    • Select USB Flash Memory or Disk and press enter
    • Select ‘Default’ (or wait a moment)
    • Ubuntu Live should startup
  7. Check if everything works (wireless, sound, etc)
  8. Select System | Preferences | Appearance, Visual Effects -> None
    • Press the ‘Close’ button below
    • By pressing Alt + left mouse you can drag larger windows using the mouse pad now
  9. Start the installation wizard by double clicking the install icon and follow its steps
    • I choose my own keyboard layout: ‘USA – International (AltGr dead keys)’
  10. At the step ‘Prepare disk space’:
    • Select ‘Specify partitions manually (advanced)’ and press ‘Forward’
    • Take a good look at what drive you want to install Ubuntu (all data will be erased!)
      • You probably want to install on the smaller SSD, because it is the fastest
    • Delete all partitions from the chosen drive (click on each partition and press ‘Delete’)
    • Select ‘free space’ and press ‘Add…’
    • Choose ‘Ext3 journaling file system’ as ‘Use as:’ (I don’t recommend using Ext4)
    • Choose ‘/’ as ‘Mount Point’
    • Check ‘Format?’
    • Press ‘Forward’
    • Confirm the message that no swap has been selected by pressing ‘Continue’
  11. Continue the wizard, the installation will take about 25 minutes
  12. Press ‘Reboot Now’ and remove the USB flash memory stick when asked

Karmic Koala is installed and should work now.


The following steps are to improve some things and to setup others. Skip what you don’t need/want.

  1. Open the terminal and run this command:
    • gconftool-2 –set /apps/compiz/plugins/move/allscreens/options/constrain_y –type bool false
    • By pressing Alt + left mouse you can drag larger windows using the mouse pad now
  2. Setup wireless internet:
    • Click the signal indicator in the upper task bar
    • Select your network of preference
    • Enter the network password if required
  3. Limit the number of writes to the SSD this way (sudo gedit /etc/fstab)
  4. Disable login sound:
    • Open the terminal and run this command:
    • gconftool-2 –set /desktop/gnome/sound/event_sounds –type bool false
  5. Select System | Administration | Synaptic Package Manager, then Settings | Preferences | Files
    • Select ‘Delete downloaded packages after installation’
    • Set ‘Delete History files older than 0 days’
    • Press ‘Ok’
  6. Select System | Administration | Time and Date
    • Press the keys symbol and enter your password if asked
    • Set ‘Configuration’ to ‘Keep Synchronized’
    • Press ‘Install NTP support’
    • Select one or more servers near your location
  7. Right click on the date/time in the upper task bar and select ‘Preferences’
    • General | 24 hour format
    • Location | Add, enter a location name near to you
    • Weather | C & km/h
  8. I installed the following applications:
  9. Localized spell-checker: sudo apt-get install aspell-<language> (thanks Satyamo)
  10. Localize OpenOffice (thanks Satyamo):
    • Go here
    • Search for your language
    • Press ‘Get it!’ and save the file
    • Right click on the saved file
    • Select ‘Open with Other Application’
    • Select ‘ Word Processor’
    • Follow the dialog
  11. I changed the following Firefox settings:
    • View | Toolbars | Bookmarks Toolbar -> Uncheck
    • View | Status Bar -> Uncheck
    • Edit | Preferences | Advanced | Network | Offline Storage ->Use up to 0 MB
    • Type ‘about:config’ in the addres bar
      • Press ‘I’ll will be carefull, I promise!’
      • Set ‘browser.urlbar.clickSelectsAll’ to ‘true’ by double clicking
    • Tool | Add-ons, search ‘Firebug’, click ‘Add to Firefox…’, etc
  12. Start Pidgin automatically (or Empathy)
  13. Default detailed file lists: Open a file browser, Edit | Preferences, View new folders using -> List View
  14. Default subtitles: Move Player | Edit | Preferences, Text Subtitles | Automatically Load … -> Check


Startup until login prompt: about 35 seconds (Intrepid: 65 sec; Jaunty: 45 sec)
Login until desktop: about 25 seconds (Intrepid: 30 sec; Jaunty: 25 sec)
Shutdown: about 7 seconds (Intrepid: 15 sec; Jaunty: 15 sec)
Used space after all updates: about 2.2 GiB (df -h) (Intrepid: 2.6 GiB; Jaunty: 2.2 GiB)


After some shuffling around, my desktop looks like this:
Asus Eee PC Ubuntu Karmic Koala desktop
Basically the bottom panel has been removed and most of its items have been moved to the top panel.

Function keys

F1 Zzz Works
F2 Wireless Works
F3 Contrast- Works
F4 Contrast+ Works
F5 Externe monitor ?
F6 Task manager ?
F7 Mute Works
F8 Volume- Works
F9 Volume+ Works

Other functions

Suspend on lid close Works
Video/sound Works
Microphone Works
Webcam Works
Bluetooth (Sitecom CN-516) Works

Comments, corrections and additions are as always very welcome!

 Posted by at 12:27  Tagged with:

  3 Responses to “Installing Ubuntu Karmic Koala on an Asus Eee PC”

  1. Hey i’m useless at these computers. I think I have saved the image correctly on my USB stick. But my EEE PC 900 won’t boot off it? So when I click enter on the USB: Removable Disk it says.. “Invalid system disk. Replace the disk, and then press any key”

    Please help

  2. Nice overview – many thanks for publishing. But I have one request – if you can find the time can you please add an entry about installing Karmic Koala on an SD or SDHC card (or USB thumbdrive)? In this way you can leave the Xandros or Windows OS on the SSD intact and have a Ubuntu/Xandros multiboot.

    The reason for my question is that a full install of Ubuntu on a SD / SDHC card or USB drive or USB disk can be problematic. GRUB does not always like it (refuses to boot from external devices) and especially USB drives are not automatically flagged as bootable.

    thanks in advance…