26 January 2015

EEE PC 701 - Still useful for something if you can update them?

We have a few of the original Asus EEE's kicking around here even after all this time. They haven't had a great deal of use but we have discovered they make a nice little compact SSH terminal for our Raspberry Pi projects. Set the Pi up with a local 192.168 ip address, set the EEE in the same range and throw in a cross-over cable and you have a nice little system for controlling a headerless Pi. We're using these to connect to our PiLite and hopefully soon our PiGlow as well.

They have now reached an age where the original package repositories seem to have moved so it's not as easy as it once was to set up things like the advanced desktop mode. With a little effort though, it's still possible, assuming you have a live internet connection.

Start by opening a terminal using CTRL+ALT+T

Now enter the following so you can grab files from the tuxfamily repository:
wget http://download.tuxfamily.org/eeepcrepos/key.asc -O - | sudo apt-key add -

Don't miss out the minus after the -O or the one at the end of that line or it won't work.

If all goes to plan it should download & install the keyfile and go back to the command prompt. From here, type in "sudo synaptic" which will start up the repository manager. From there, head to settings on the menu and select repositories. Untick any listed repositories then click new at the bottom left. In the URI box, enter "http://download.tuxfamily.org/eeepcrepos/". In the Distribution box, enter "p701". In the Sections box, enter "main". Make sure the enabled tickbox is ticked and then use the up arrow button on the right to move this repository to the top of the list. Click ok and after the window closes, click on the reload button on the package manager menu. If all goes well, it should update the package list from the new repository.

To add the files needed for the extended desktop, close the package manager and type in:
sudo apt-get install ksmserver kicker

Now exit the terminal, go to settings and click on personalization. It should open a new window at the bottom of which is the "Login mode" which you should now be able to select between the regular easy mode and full desktop mode. At this point you will probably want to pick full desktop mode and click ok. The restart button should also now have the option of rebooting into full desktop mode.

This procedure is based on the following articles
Instructables article by Gavabc123
EeePC Community Repository