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How to: Installing and running Ubuntu on the Eee PC

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When the Asus Eee PC came out last year, we found that the eeextremely eeenticing subnotebook had the potential to be a real game-changer. Indeed, the diminutive wonder has spawned countless imitation products from a wide range of other vendors.

Although the Eee is my favorite laptop for traveling, its Xandros-based Linux distribution is getting crufty and beginning to show its age. I was unable to install Firefox 3 on it, for instance, because it lacks a current version of the GTK+ toolkit. In preparation for OSCON, I decided to infuse my Eee with new life by installing Ubuntu 8.04. I used a community-driven derivative called Ubuntu Eee that is designed specifically for Eee laptops. It has nearly full hardware compatibility right out of the box, including support for suspend/resume, sound, and the built-in webcam.

No CD? Try SD

The Eee lacks an optical drive, so I had to use the SD slot in order to perform the installation. This is the trickiest part of process, but it is significantly simplified by UNetbootin, a user-friendly tool for putting ISO images onto flash media. I started by downloading the latest Ubuntu Eee installation image from the project's web site and also their custom build of UNetbootin.

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