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Asus Eee PC

How I’ve made myself at home with the Eee

I like the Eee’s default simplified GUI (graphical user interface). I think it’s cute but professional-looking, and it has a kiosk feel to it that would make it easy to use for Windows, Mac, and Linux users alike.

Still… as a Linux user of three years, I do like to customize, so after only three days with the Eee, I have it set up very much like I did my Ubuntu computer before this.

Even though the interface itself doesn’t advertise the fact, the Eee actually runs the IceWM window manager and then has the simplified GUI run on top of that. Since I like keyboard shortcuts, at first I used the IceWM configuration files to use the Windows key (on the Eee, it looks more like a house than a window) in combination with other keys to launch applications. Then, I got annoyed that pressing the Windows key would show the simplified GUI before I hit the second key in the key combination. So I changed my key combinations to Control-Alt-key, but that was annoying, before I don’t like having to press three keys at a time to launch frequently used applications. Then, I tried to move the toolbar to the top of the screen instead of the bottom of the screen, but that covered up the tabs of the simplified GUI. So the bottom line is that the simplified GUI was annoying me, so I following a tutorial to get rid of it and get back to a regular IceWM configuration.

The Eee has some good prepackaged software, but I wanted to add a few things. The tutorial on adding extra Xandros repositories didn’t really work out for me. I kept getting error messages, and then there weren’t that many software packages available afterwards. So I just added the Debian Etch repositories (temporarily—only to add packages, afterwards disabling the additional repositories again). That was nice. I was able to replace Konqueror with Thunar and Kolourpaint with GIMP.

I haven’t tested this out myself, but the general consensus seems to be that the sleep mode (when you close the lid) sucks the life out of the battery quite quickly and won’t last the night, so I followed a tutorial to get the Eee to shut down if the lid is closed when unplugged and sleep if the lid is closed when plugged in. That’s been nice. I don’t mind shutting down this thing, since it takes anywhere between only 24 and 30 seconds to go from a cold boot to a usable desktop.

I also uninstalled the Asus mouse theme package, as the default mouse pointer is huge! So now I have nice, small, unobtrusive mouse pointer.

Now I feel at home with the Eee and less inclined to put Ubuntu on it. Maybe in a few months I’ll get restless and install eeeXubuntu anyway. We’ll see!

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