Friday, January 30, 2009

Moblin on the EeePC 901

Moblin is an Intel-sponsored Linux OS aimed at mobile devices including specifically netbooks.
So, I thought I'd give it a try.
I installed the IS to a 4 GB usb key (although a 1 GB would have been fine) using Unetbootin (actually, creation of the LiveUSB took maybe a little longer than I would have anticipated but was all complete without problem in about 4 minutes).
I booted the key and up came Moblin. Looks good and ethernet connected at boot. However, apparently, the OS does not support wifi for the EeePC 901 for some reason. But surely this just means that the rt2860sta driver isn't included in the kernel which should be relatively easy to rectify (although I know it's always to a bit dangerous to assume that anything in this game is relatively easy).
So, then I installed Moblin to a 1.9 GB ext2 logical partition without any difficulty although it took just a little persuasion to prevent the installer from overwriting all of my existing partitions. I chose not to install a bootloader.
To get it to boot,I just added this to /media/sda1/boot/grub/menu.lst

title Moblin Alpha (24-01-2009)
root (0x80,0)
kernel /boot/moblin/vmlinuz-2.6.29.rc2-13.1.moblin2-netbook root=/dev/sdb10

after copying the vmlinuz-2.6.29.rc2-13.1.moblin2-netbook file to /media/sda1/boot/moblin.
Then I booted it and, boy, does it boot fast -- 12 seconds. Yes, that as fast as both Haiku and Senryu and 7 times as fast as Ubuntu on this machine. Very impressive.
But what else does it have of interest?
Well, I honestly didn't spend a lot of time looking it over up to now but it seems at first glance like Ubuntu with a xfce window manager. However, it seems it can't handle debs and uses yum for installs (this remains to be more thoroughly checked).
One of the first things I do on a new OS is to configure the network settings so as to use the OpenDNS servers (, but nowhere could I find a network config tool to allow me to do this so I had to edit /etc/resolv.conf.
I also downloaded a static tar.gz version of Opera 10.0 and this installed without problems.
Two repos seems to be available but only the non-development seemed to work. Didn't really get a good look at what exciting stuff might be available here.
Finally, the install on my /dev/sdb takes up, at present, 932 MB so it's certainly not big.
I may reinstall this and next time create a /home partition as I have the impression this is something that will be actively developed.

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