Installing Debian Lenny on an Asus EeePC 900, part two

I have had my EeePC for a while now, and I have set it up how I want it, for the most part. When I wrote the first part, about installing Debian on an Asus EeePC 900, I wasn’t very detailed about what I had, or were going to do, to make it run as I liked. Hopefully that will be remedied now.

I have done a couple of things mentioned in the DebianEeePC wiki to reduce the disk writes to the SSD disk a bit.

In /etc/sysctl.conf, at the bottom:

# Write ext3 metadata every 15th second instead of 5th as the
# default is
vm.dirty_writeback_centisecs = 1500

Added/edited in /etc/fstab (relatime and tmpfs):

/dev/sda1       /               ext3    errors=remount-ro relatime 0       1
tmpfs           /tmp            tmpfs   defaults        0       0

Changed the following in /etc/default/rcS:


That’s what I have done regarding the disk usage. The next thing is just a personal preference.

In /etc/rsyslogd.conf:

# I like to have everything logged to tty12
*.*        /dev/tty12

You Need to restart rsyslogd for that to be used.
To restart rsyslogd, run (as root):

/etc/init.d/rsyslog restart

(Yes, it really isn’t rsyslogd, with a d, I wonder why too.)

Installation of X (like I want it on this machine)

After that I installed X, I installed the following packages:

aptitude install --without-recommends xinit xserver-xorg-video-intel
xserver-xorg-input-synaptics xserver-xorg-input-kbd
xserver-xorg-input-mouse xfonts-base

And then:

aptitude install xorg wmaker wmanager menu

I run Window Maker as my window manager. “wmanager” is a nice program that is run at X startup and lets you choose which window manager you wish to run, if you have several installed. And when shutting the window manager down, asks which one to start instead. “menu” was not installed with these packages, so I installed that too, since I want the Debian menu system my window manager. You install the window manager(s) or desktop environment(s) you prefer. Try out Window Maker though, it’s lightweight, powerful, and has keyboard shortcuts for everything. I have 10 virtual desktops set up, one program in each, switching between them with Alt-1 to Alt-0. Two xterms, one running a local screen session, the other a remote screen session (with another one nested, on the machine that served you this text). And of course I use my six virtual consoles.
This little machine is well worth the money I bought it for, I’m writing this on it by the way.

 05:18:39 up 21 days, 20:41, 10 users,  load average: 0.00, 0.00, 0.00
  ______  ___      _    _              ___ _  _ _   _  ___    _
 / /__ / |   \ ___| |__(_)__ _ _ _    / __| \| | | | |/ / |  (_)_ _ _  ___ __
< < |_ \ | |) / -_) '_ \ / _` | ' \  | (_ | .` | |_| / /| |__| | ' \ || \ \ /
 \_\___/ |___/\___|_.__/_\__,_|_||_|  \___|_|\_|\___/_/ |____|_|_||_\_,_/_\_\

I then purged the package nfs-common. I don’t recall exactly why now, but I don’t need it, it might have been mentioned as causing many  interrupts, or to do with the use of the disk, but if you need nfs, you leave the package of course.

Suspend to disk

I do not have a swap-partition, so I created a swapfile, to only be used when suspending to disk. Here is how you set up suspend to disk, using a swapfile:

First, I created a swapfile (~1GB):

radar:/# dd if=/dev/zero of=/swapfile bs=1024k count=1024
radar:/# mkswap /swapfile

Then I added the newly created swapfile in /etc/fstab:
/swapfile swap swap defaults 0 0

In /etc/sysctl.conf I added:
# Don’t use the swapfile for swapping, it’s for hibernation/suspending only
vm.swappiness = 1

When that is all done, you need the package “uswsusp”, which among other things contains “s2disk”, the program handling suspending to disk. I suspend to disk, when I want to have the machine completely turned off, manually, as root, by running ‘s2disk’.

Wifi problem

I had some trouble with my wifi card, it didn’t get enabled after disabling is properly. I did the following to solve that. (I don’t know if the problem hs now been solved or not by the Debian EeePC
people. But if you have the same problem, here it goes.)

In /etc/modules:

# Commented out to solve wifi issues, as described on

Those are the things I thought were worth mentioning regarding my Debian installation on my Asus EeePC 900. Feel free to comment, or tell me how Debian works on your EeePC, for what you do. Thanks for reading.



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3 responses to “Installing Debian Lenny on an Asus EeePC 900, part two”

  1. Chase Avatar

    That was intriguing . I admire your style that you put into your writing . Please do continue with more similar to this.

  2. Malik Duropan Avatar

    This article was a great read! I couldn’t have explained the topic better myself.

  3. Ohcl Avatar

    Nicley written! 🙂 Keep up all the good work..and where do I subscribe ?

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