Debian Linux on the Asus EEEPC 1001P

Last modified on 2010-06-10

I recently acquired an Asus EEEPC 1001P-MU17 netbook and replaced the marginal crippled operating system it included with Debian GNU/Linux.

Let’s go!

There were a few hiccups during the install… but with the replacement of Debian’s default 2.6.32 kernel with a more recent release (currently running kernel 2.6.37) most of the 1001P’s hardware is supported by default. Adding a few configuration tweaks makes this one nifty little device!

0. Start

Asus 1001P-MU17 Hardware specifications

Device status

Function keys

1. Install

My Debian install notes. Specific details concerning the Asus 1001P are noted below.

Configure BIOS and boot Debian installer

Power up and enter the Asus BIOS by pressing the F2 key. Configure for a USB install:

Prepare the Debian installer on a USB stick, attach, and reboot. At the BIOS screen hit Esc and select USB as boot device.

2. Configuration

Ethernet

Auto-detection probing of the ethernet interface during the install can result in device disappearing from the system and network configuration to fail (Update: Appears problem has been resolved with the stable release of Debian squeeze). If the ethernet device was knocked out during installation:

Wireless

Works “out-of-box”. Interface is identified as wlan0.

EEEPC

Install the eeepc-acpi-scripts to enable the function keys and the ability to suspend-to-RAM (sleep) …

$ sudo apt-get install eeepc-acpi-scripts

Power management

$ sudo apt-get install acpid acpi cpufrequtils pm-utils

Verify acpi-cpufreq module is loaded… otherwise sudo modprobe acpi-cpufreq.

Output detailed information about the CPU(s) by running cpufreq-info.

Settings are in /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq. CPU speed can be monitored in real-time by running …

$ watch grep \"cpu MHz\" /proc/cpuinfo

Default scaling governor is ondemand.

Screen brightness

Post-install the display brightness is extremely low and the assigned function keys for adjusting the brightness level cause the setting to jump all over the place. This can be fixed by editing /etc/default/grub and modifying GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet acpi_osi=Linux acpi_backlight=vendor"

Save your changes and run sudo update-grub2. Reboot… login… and run …

$ sudo `echo 15 > /sys/class/backlight/eeepc/brightness`

Touchpad

By default the touchpad is limited to finger-tap=left-mouse-click. HAL and fdi files were previously used to enable more mouse-click and scrolling functions but their use is now deprecated… udev is the way to go now.

Determine type of touchpad used in the 1001P …

$ egrep -i 'synap|alps|etps' /proc/bus/input/devices
N: Name="SynPS/2 Synaptics TouchPad"

Use xinput to determine the properties of the touchpad and add new functions …

$ sudo apt-get install xinput
$ xinput --list | grep Synaptic     # determine *DEVICE_ID* of the touchpad ... on the 1001P its *id=13*)
$ xinput --list-props 13

Create a shell script using xinput to configure the touchpad for left-middle-right mouse clicks with finger taps and two-finger scrolling, save it in ~/bin and source it to run at login. On my 1001P running Fluxbox window manager I add the line touchpad_config & to ~/.fluxbox/startup.

Suspend-to-RAM

Using the eeepc-acpi-scripts and key combo Fn + F1 to put the netbook to sleep “just works”.

Microphone

Muted by default. Need to enable capture in alsamixer.

Hard drive management

I noticed a frequent clicking noise from the drive heads on my netbook. Digging online reveals discussion about over-aggressive power management settings on hard drives that rapidly mount/unmount/remount and gradually wear out the drive. Feedback suggests that laptop drives are good for roughly ~600000 load_cycles.

To check the drive and alter management settings …

$ sudo apt-get install smartmontools hdparm
$ sudo smartctl -a /dev/sda | egrep -i 'Power_On_Hours|Load_Cycle_Count'

In my situation I felt Load_Cycle_Count was increasing too rapidly and I found the click-click-click of the drive every few seconds a nuisance. I use hdparm to set powersaving mode to less aggressive tactics… which eliminated the clicking hdparm -B 254 /dev/sda.

To make the change permanent edit /etc/hdparm.conf by adding to the end of the file …

command_line {
    hdparm -q -B 254 /dev/sda