Sunday, August 3, 2008

My openSUSE 11 Journal - 5 (ASUS EeePC 701)

Yes, I finally did it. Installed openSUSE 11 (KDE 4) on my ASUS Eee PC 701 last weekend. peace

As an aside, the ASUS Eee PC 701 is a nice little laptop that has single-handedly opened a whole new sub-segment in the mobile computing space. Now, almost every major manufacturer is entering this market. This new sub-segment goes by many names like subnotebook, netbook, ultra-mobile PC (UMPC), low-cost PC (LCPC) etc.

I got my Eee PC 701 earlier this year and I just loved it. For me, its the (almost) perfect combination of form factor, price and the fact that its a x86 PC. I know I'm gonna have some fun customizing it for my needs.

Anyway, I've been using the default Linux (Xandros variant) since I mainly use it to surf the web, check my emails, read PDF and MS Office documents. Due to its small keyboard and screen, I will never use it as a 9-to-5 office PC. Lately though, I have been a little frustrated at the patches that ASUS rolls out... big downloads, seeing little improvements and some patches breaks the GUI. Sigh... I guess I shouldn't expect a hardware equipment manufacturer to be good at software... even software giants don't get it right from time to time. garupale

Being more familiar with the SUSE flavour of Linux, I decided to try out openSUSE 11 (KDE 4). I've had some success in the past with openSUSE 10.3 but I found it too much work to get it to a level where I am productive.

This time around, with openSUSE 11 (KDE 4), I am very pleased. First, the installer worked very well with the small screen estate (800x480) and the installation was very smooth. The only extra bit of work is the LAN & Wifi drivers. None of the drivers in the default openSUSE package works with the hardware. Thankfully, these drivers have been packaged by a very kind soul and I just have to download them onto a USB memory stick prior to the installation. [ appleonkel, whoever you are, Thank you! sembah ]

The default openSUSE 11 (KDE 4) UI looks great with its nice Big icons. Turned on 3D desktop effects with a click of a checkbox. Sweeet! encem

Here are some details of my installation and configurations:

1) Prior to installation, I downloaded a bunch of LAN/Wifi RPMs (atl2*.rpm and madwifi*.rpm) from

2) I used an external USB DVD drive and the standard openSUSE 11 DVD. At boot time, hit the Esc key to choose the boot device (ie DVD drive). If you do not have an external USB DVD drive, you can use USB memory sticks too. Please refer to this openSUSE article at .

I removed the 2GB SD card. There were reports that the installation did not go well with some SD cards plugged in.

4) After initial installation, noted the kernel (2.6.25...-pae) and applied the relevant atl2 and madwifi (pae) rpms from (1). Reboot and the system can now access the WWW.

Other bits of additional work I did are to enable some of the Hotkeys, the embedded camera for use with Skype and the CPUFreq support. All very well documented at

Nice to have an all SUSE setup at home and at work. peluk


  1. Hi :) Have you try to install opensuse 11.1 on your eeePC?

  2. I did. Wifi works out of the box now.

  3. Hi Makc,

    Yes, I've just installed openSUSE 11.1 on my eee PC 701 over the weekend. As commented by mattie, the wifi worked out of the box.

    This time around, I opted to do as minimal an install as practical. Hence, I chose to install with only xfce, YaST modules, firefox with Java and Flash plugins. I find that I usually use my EeePC for web browsing only.

    All up, it took only 1.5GB of hdd space. :)

  4. Download is slightly more than 4G - I have the Eeepc 701 4G model. Any tips on how to perhaps customize OpenSuse to fit with some hard drive space left over to load a video or two??

    Anyone with anwers or suggestion, my email is


  5. Hi Dov,

    openSUSE 11.1 DVD is more than 4Gb but it will not install all of it. I believe the default install left around 500+Mb of free space on the EeePC 701.

    If you want to shrink it further, you could remove unwanted packages. Since I hardly do any document editing on my EeePC, I uninstalled openoffice, lots of graphics tools (ie GIMP, Dia, Inkscape etc) and audio tools (Banshee etc) got about 1Gb left over.