This part of is about installing Linux on special hardware, not always "designed for Linux". However most of these experiences are a little old...

Linux on the EEE PC

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With it's size and weight,the Asus eee pc is a wonderful Linux mobile computer. Plus it's Xandros system runs KDE, which means I can transfer my kmail settings. You get OpenOffice too, and you can install Gimp and Kalzium (in an old version unfortunately).

My first eeePC was model 701 – the one with the 7" screen and a 4 GB SDD. It came with Xandros Linux and I followed the instructions on the Net to remove Unionfs, use the full 4G, and added an 8GB SD card mounted as /home/user/Documents.

Later I decided not to buy the 900 and wait for the 901. So I purchased a 901 from a Ricardo seller, selling an eeepc 901 with Swiss keyboard.
It came with Windows XP, but anyway, retailers had told me Asus would not sell the Linux version in Switzerland.

Well, the seller was either dishonest (possible), or stupid (probable), because the machine I received was a 900, with a German keyboard (the man had certified it was a Swiss keyboard after seeing a picture!). When I complained, he said he agreed to give me my money back... in a few month, because he had used it to pay his debts... Well, anyway I kept the 900.

I did try Windows once, just to see – as expected, it behaved like... Windows, starting pop ups to tell me the anti-virus was to old, I was not connected, I did not have enough virtual memory – so I wiped it and only retained the license for use with some virtual appliance.

Linux on the EEE PC /2

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I then transfered the Swiss keyboard from the 701 to the 900.

The next step was to install Linux. I have tried several distributions (SuSE, Mandriva 2008, eeebuntu, gOS,...) but none was satisfying, either not installing completely or missing drivers.

So in the end I used a copy of the German Xandros (I think it was the one provided with the 900, or perhaps a 900a) – anyway it installs a 1.6 version.

Xandros/eeepc has a rather stupid install, but it's Debian based. So I enabled root, edited sources.lst, enabled the full desktop.


Linux on an Power Book

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Many Apple users won't bother to install anything else than MacOS on their computer, but Apples's laptops make (almost) perfect Linux laptops, the only real drawback being the "one button" touchpad.
To answer the classic question "why would you want to install Linux now that MacOS is based on BSD" the answer is that Linux gives you much more control on your machine, and it's working philosophy is simply more enjoyable.

The first thing I did was to power it up from the install CD, because you need to repartition the hard disk before Linux can be installed.
Then I loaded the hard disk utility and asked for four partitions - the hard disk being 37GB, this resulted in four 9.3GB partitions./font>

The first one I changed to "free space", that's where Linux is to go.
The second partition remains at 9.3GB, hfs+, for MacOS X (it may be too small if you want to burn DVD's as MacOS creates an image od the DVD on the root partition). The third was changed to 15.1GB hfs+ and will be my "data" partition for video and audio files. The last partition, some 3.6GB, becomes an hfs partition that can be shared by both OSes.

Now install MacOS X as usual on the 9.3GB partition, configure it and check it boots OK.

Installing Yellow Dog Linux
I chose Yellow Dog's latest release (3.0.1), downloaded the 3 CDs and started from the first CD by holding the "C" key. The graphical installer came up just fine.

Linux on an Power Book /2

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The next step is to create the Linux partitions.

I decided to use DiskDruid to partition with a GUI. In the "freespace" available (9.3GB), I created a 1MB Apple Bootstrap partition (required for yaboot), one 6GB ext3 partition (for /; On bigger drives I use to create separate partitions for /home or /user, but here a single one is enough). Then a 640MB swap partition and the rest for a /data partition.

Once partitioning is finished, the installation continues with the choice of the packages and their installation - nothing special here.
Installing the bootloader was a snap, the system finds the OS X partition correctly and adds it to the start menu.
Troubles start when you come to the X configuration. The 1GHz PowerBook uses an Nividia GeForce FX Go5200. The YDL site ( says the setup should be "automatic".
The X setup identifies the card as "Generic OF Compatible" and gives no other choice than a resolution of 1400x900 that the PB can't handle (at least on the LCD). I also found that the installer uses "fbdev" but sets no "Modes" values.

After the installation was complete and at the first reboot, this resulted in a non-working X config but I must say YDL deals very well with this: it tries a few times, asks if you'd like to run some config tool that fails, then you get a prompt to log in.

I did an apt-get upgrade and a yum upgrade. I don't think this brings anything but I mention it.

Linux on an Power Book /3

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yum said there was no package to upgrade (from 3.0.1).
Then I went to /etc/X11 and fired pico to modify XF86Config, basing on an Nvidia config from Debian:
Section "Device"
Identifier "GeForce FX Go5200"
Driver "nv"
Option "FlatPanel"
VendorName "Nvidia"
BoardName "GeForce FX Go5200"

Section "Screen"
Identifier "Screen0"
Device "GeForce FX Go5200"
Monitor "Monitor0"
DefaultDepth 16

Subsection "Display"
Depth 16
Modes "1024x768"


Now just run startx and that was it.

With the 1GHz PowerPC processor, Yellow Dog runs very swiftly and installing the rest of the software was simplicity itself.

What works: video (LCD), burner, sound card, USB, Firewire

What does not work: the modem (there may be a way, I did not try yet), external VGA, sleep (that one is Nvidia related).