Install Lubuntu 12.04 on a Eee PC 701 4G

UPDATE: Install Lubuntu 13.04 works also…

The Asus Eee PC 701 4G is one of the earliest Eee PC. Lubuntu is a lightweight Linux operating system based on Ubuntu but using the LXDE desktop environment (no, it’s not related).

Knowing that Ubuntu 11.04 & above needs some workaround as the installer requires more than 4 GB free space, I was reluctant to upgrade from Ubuntu Netbook Remix 9.04.

None of that! Lubuntu 12.04 works straight from the box. You just need to use the alternate distro, not the desktop or the server flavors (with the alternate , i.e. without graphical installer, you stay well below the 4GB limit). Then install Lubuntu on USB Drive, boot the Eee PC on USB (Shift+F10), choose install, answer the questions, et voila! After rebooting, and for further sessions, just choose the ‘Lubuntu netbook‘ session at startup.

Known issues:

  • Lubuntu uses alternative software to save space and memory. Default browser is Chromium, interesting (learning curve should be smoother than xxxterm…)
  • Mplayer doesn’t work, crashes all the time. Problem solved by installing vlc.
  • As I kept my /home from the previous install (using the standard install settings), but changed my password, the keyring is still using my old pwd, and at startup I am prompted for the keyring password. I haven’t found the settings for the keyring on Lubuntu. Yet. [update 30 May: solved by reinstalling lubuntu with correct password]
  • I had too many kernels left from previous installs. Lubuntu crashed with the first kernel update for lack of space on the 4GB SSD. Solved with a reinstall & messing with grub.

Just in case, help is not far away:

Overall, an excellent resurrection for that inexpensive subnotebook that is very convenient for traveling. Having a keyboard beats a tablet everyday. With XBMC, it rocks (but is heavy on the battery, so it’s more for the hotel room than the plane/train travel)!
For this, prefer a cheap Archos/Anova tablet. You can find a HT 7c for less than € 90. It is nice to use in public transport, has twice the battery life, autosleeps nicely. But

  • its default video viewer is strict on encoding. you better have repaired your videos with Avidemux before starting for a London-Auckland;
  • Android 2.1 does not allows streaming of Youtube videos. And that model is outdated that all attemps to port 2.2 have been stopped in favor of more recent models (who will soon fall under the € 100 mark at retail price). So bad.