Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ubuntu 9.10 on an eee 901 (or Karmic Koala killed my netbook part 2)

Okay, so perhaps I was overreacting a little when I claimed that Ubuntu 9.10 had "killed my netbook". After trying for another day or so my Asus eee 901 now has Ubuntu 9.10 installed on the 16gb drive and Windows XP installed on the 4gb drive. It turned out all my problems were grub related.

The process I went through was:
  • Install Windows XP on the 4gb drive
  • Swap boot order to look at the slave 16gb drive first in the BIOS
  • Install Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty) on the 16gb drive. Grub1 menu should work with Ubuntu and Windows
  • Upgrade Ubuntu 9.10 by logging in and using the Update Manager. When asked about the menu.lst tell it to keep the current one.
  • Wait 5 hours... :-)
  • Log into the now upgraded Ubuntu and become "concerned" that my mousepad had stopped working and there were multiple console errors.
  • Find a USB mouse and plug it in!
  • Realise it has written the grub1 menu wrong - its using an old version of the kernal, hence the mousepad errors.
  • Run sudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst to edit the grub1 menu. Copy and paste the main Ubuntu option near the bottom to make a new selection. Enter the correct kernal version. New option looks something like this (note the long uuid is specific to my pc):

title Ubuntu 9.10, kernel 2.6.31
uuid 008cd7d1-d763-429f-a540-dbxxxbe3f76
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.31-14-generic root=UUID=008cd7d1-d763-429f-a540-dbxxxbe3f76 ro
initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.31-14-generic
quiet
  • Reboot again using this option - confirm the mousepad can now be enabled and works. Comment out older Ubuntu options in menu.lst
  • Ponder upgrading ugly grub text menu to grub2...
So it was all Grub's fault after all. Happily running the Koala on my eee 901 now, and liking the new desktop backgrounds. It only took 2 days!

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