"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." (Robert A. Heinlein)

Monday, 23 February 2009

EEEBuntu: Restoring the Java development environment

After installing the operating system the second step in building up my EEEBuntu netbook is preparing a Java development environment by installing Java JDK, Netbeans and Apache Tomcat.
Java JDK installation:
EEEbuntu comes with  OpenJDK already installed, but I prefer having also Sun JDK installed. Java developer kit installation is done by terminal using apt-get command:
sudo apt-get install sun-java6-jdk
then Sun jdk is selected as default jdk by typing the command:
sudo update-java-alternatives --set java-6-sun

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Installed EEEBuntu (Netbook remix)

 I managed, thanks the rainy week-end, to install EEEBuntu (Netbook remix) on my EEEPC.
 My primary target was to have a dual boot system, so I first installed Windows XP (a properly reduced version) on the 4GB internal disk (sda) then I proceeded with EEEBuntu installation on the 16GB internal disc (sdb).
 Usb drive preparation:
 I did choose  the easy way to prepare my USB drive to boot with EEEBuntu. I downloaded and installed Unetbootin, Windows version, and used it to easily prepare the boot drive from the already downloaded ISO file. (this is the fourth boot-from-usb tool I install since I bought the EEEPC)
 EEEBuntu boot and Installation:
 After EEEBuntu boot I launched the installation program. At first I didn't see disk sdb as available for install, after a while I realized that the disk has to be flagged as "bootable" to be visible from install program. I used GParted to set the boot flag on disk sdb then I continued with installation. I did choose default options for installation and everything went fine. After installing I entered in BIOS set-up and selected disk sdb as first boot device in order to boot into EEEBuntu by default.
 First impressions:
  First impression EEBuntu gave me was the feeling of working with a full system, with a graphical interface well suited to the EEEPC small screen. I never felt using a limited interface like the original Xandros "easy mode". I haven't installed any application yet, apart from FBReader, so I haven't appreciated yet EEEBuntu repositories completeness, one the main advantages in passing to Ubuntu.
The main disadvantage of EEEBuntu is loading time: it takes almost two minutes to have the computer ready (Xandros was quite faster in it). One more minute of wait time is not very important if used during a train trip which lasts 30-45 minutes (during lucky days).


Monday, 2 February 2009

Backing-up the EEEPC with Clonezilla

I'm going to install EEEBuntu to but first I decided to back-up my current installation. I decided to use Clonezilla, the 'live' distribution, mainly because it promised to be a clean and fast tool.
I used one 1GB USB pen drive as boot device and an external 250GB USB hard drive as backup device.
I first downloaded Clonezilla, the zip format distribution, (from here) and uncompressed it to my USB pen drive. Then, following instructions from Clonezilla site,  I made my USB drive bootable using Live USB Helper.
I then started my EEEPC from the usb drive, by pressing  ESC key at boot time and choosing the pen drive from the boot menu.
I proceeced with backup operation following Clonezilla site instructions (here). No screenshots, sorry, but there is no real difference between what I did and screenshots published in Clonezilla how to pagesThe only real difference is the disk naming: on the EEEPC internal disks are usually named "sda" and "sdb" while external disk names may change (in this case it was "sdc").
Here are my selections, in the order they appeared:
  • "Clonezilla Live (Default settings, VGA 800x600)" in boot menu options
  • Language: "English" (Italian is also available)
  • Keymap: first 'qwerty' then 'italian' and 'standard'
  • "Start_Clonezilla" option
  • Mode: "device-image" to backup source diskto an image fale in destination disk
  • Mode: "local_dev" to select a local device (the usb external drive) as target device
  • Destination device: "sdc1" this is the name given to my external drive and mounted by Clonezilla as "/home/partimag"
  • Backup directory: "Top_directory_in_the_local_device"
  • Mode: "savedisk" to save the whole EEEPC disk to an image
  • Image name: "2009-02-05-23-img" the default name
  • Source disks: "sda" and "sdb"
  • Clone programs priority: "-q : ntfsclone > partimage > dd
  • Advanced extra parameters: none changed from default
  • Compression: "-z1 Use gzip compression"
  • Split size: "0" EEEPC (disks are small so why to split the image?)
  • Action after cloning: "true do nothing"
In conclusion I think Clonezilla is really a valuable fast and clean tool. It took only 15 minutes to backup my EEEPC disks (not very full indeed) to an image a little bigger than 3GB. Clonezilla interface may seem a little primitive but, while using it, I never felt the need of a more complex one. So I, definitely, have no escuses for not to backup my system at least before any major upgrade.