Ubuntu 12.04 on my Eee 900

I’ve just installed Ubuntu 12.04 (desktop version) on my aging Asus Eee 900 laptop, and although it’s taking me a while to adjust to the new Unity interface, my greatest concerns after googling a bit (wifi and sdcard drivers not working, or sdcard only accepting up to 1GB) have been unfounded.

I downloaded the 1GB DVD ISO of Ubuntu to my Windows desktop machine, then used the free unetbootin tool to write the ISO to a SD card. For some reason Ubuntu wouldn’t install from my 16GB SD card on the first try. I just saw the five animated dots; pressing F11 showed a screen with lots of errors like

udevd[100]: timeout: killing '/sbin/blkid -o udev -p /dev/sdc' [252]

Strangely, I rebooted and on the second try everything worked perfectly.

A word of warning, don’t install Ubuntu onto the 4GB drive partition on the Eee, as Ubuntu will rapidly run out of space (doh!). I reinstalled Ubuntu, choosing the 16GB drive partition and all has been well since. (After a few days, the installation plus updates appears to take around 4.5GB.) At one point I had to change the boot order in the Eee’s bios (F2 on startup) to pick the 16GB drive, otherwise I was left with a black screen with flashing white cursor.

After a day or two, I have to admit Unity looks nice and with a few extra packages installed really works well. It even seems faster than the old Eeebuntu (based on Ubuntu 9.04). Java, IntelliJ IDEA and the Arduino IDE need very little help to get working, and it’s great having all the latest package updates available again. Well worth the evening it took me to upgrade.