The vacation laptop: ASUS EEE PC 901

So I went and picked up a 0day piece of hardware. The ASUS EEE PC 901.

Since it’s so new, it’s not very well supported. Even the new chipset ethernet drivers (as of the beginning of August ’08) are not yet in the linux kernel, so a simple install is problematic.

If I wanted to hack something all day long, I would likely go with ricer-linux. That’s not what I want to on a daily basis with a little mobile hackbox.

The default install is a debian variant, and I really distain Debian. Let me not take you to lame distro war forum, so I’ll just leave it at that. I’d be happier with a fedora 9 release, but they look like they’re never going to get it done right.

This leaves me with surprisingly few viable install options, but lots of promising hackability:

There’s an unused PCI-e slot which could be used for a 3G HSDPA card

There’s a space for a SIM card

There’s room for a 1.8 inch hard drive or SS

First is a Ubuntu EEE variant that supports the idiosyncrasies of the platform. Here’s the one specifically for the EEE PC 901.

Most of the other linux distributions are broken, poorly supported, or on the slow road to viability. Examples are the Suse variant, the fedora variant, and 901 specific hackint0sh builds.

I think a good example of the average user, one who shouldn’t bother with bleeding edge software, is here. Here’s another blog posting detailing some available options. Another user experience can be found here.

This should prove to be a good example of what options are available if someone isn’t served by Windows or the newbie linux distribution that comes installed on the platform when it ships.

So currently, the tweaks to Ubuntu look to be the most usable project available. If you run into me roaming around Seattle, I’ll be likely to have it with me. By the way, ignore their USB install instructions and use the Fedora Project LiveCD Creator to make your USB installation media instead of having the dependancy of another linux system.

2 responses to “The vacation laptop: ASUS EEE PC 901

  1. You linked to my blog post ( about getting Ubuntu running on the Eee PC 901.

    I don’t know if I qualify as an average computer user, but I am a Linux newbie. My reason for getting the Eee PC 901 and installing a new Linux on it was to learn more about Linux, and I have learned a load. It’s a hobby machine – if I needed a reliable productivity computer, I made a poor choice 🙂

    I didn’t know about the downloads – thanks for the link.

  2. Pingback: EEE PC Redux « Bad Penny·

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