I deemed it time for a full wipe and Linux re-install on my 7″ toss-around laptop. These are notes to myself for future reference. Machine details: Asus Eee PC 701 with 4 GB SSD and 512 MB RAM. It was running Xubuntu 8.04 and 7.10 previously. I considered installing the latest Ubuntu Netbook Remix but reviews say that it is optimized for screens with higher resolution than the 800×480 of my 701.

  • in BIOS, set “OS Installation” to “Started” and ensure boot priority will see the external boot/install media
  • download 9.04 ISO, burn, and boot from USB CD/DVD drive
  • partition disk into single (4 GB) partition, no swap (avoiding excessive writes to SSD), but I do use ext3
  • boot from wired connection for first time (in case wireless drivers don’t work immediately)
  • set “OS Installation” to “Finished” in BIOS
  • remove or comment out the CD-ROM entry in /etc/fstab
  • to save some wear and space on the SSD, add these lines to /etc/fstab:
    tmpfs /tmp tmpfs defaults,noatime,mode=0777 0 0
    tmpfs /var/tmp tmpfs defaults,noatime,mode=0777 0 0
    tmpfs /var/log tmpfs defaults,noatime,mode=0777 0 0
  • add “noatime” option to the / entry in /etc/fstab (or replace whatever atime option is placed there by default)
  • under System -> Software Sources, enable all the interesting repositories. For me, that’s most except those marked “source code”. I enable notification of critical and recommended updates only.
  • run Update Manager to apply updates released since 9.04
  • under Settings -> Window Manager -> Style: reduce Title font to 8 pt. and choose the Smallscreen style
  • under Settings -> Session and Startup -> Application Autostart: turn off what you don’t need (e.g. Print Queue Applet and Bluetooth Manager)
  • right-click the top and bottom panels and set them to auto-hide to free up more screen real estate.
  • within Firefox, the del.icio.us and LittleFox add-ons are useful

From the moment I press the power button, I’m able to log in at the desktop login less than 40 seconds later. This is much faster than previous releases.