I Gave Up My Notebook For An Eee PC: Day 4

eeepcnewdesktopYesterday, I was in total geek-out mode after discovering that a USB keyboard and mouse combo made the already sweet Eee PC computing experience that much better. It was so smooth that I wanted to add an external monitor to the mix, but then I realized I was getting ahead of myself just a bit. As much as I like and appreciate Asus’ easy-to-use Xandros operating system, I’ll be the first to admit that the large icons are a bit “in your face.” Do I really want them blown up on a monitor? No. No, I do not. I recalled someone telling me (or perhaps I had read it online) that there was a way for Eee PC users to quickly and easily change the desktop layout, so I did a quick Google, which once again brought me to the Mecca of all things Eee PC, the aptly named Eee User. As someone who hasn’t inputted any code since the heyday of BASIC and the almighty Commodore 64, I was a wee bit intimidated as I didn’t want to brick the lappie. Nervously, I took a sip of my Coke and Redbull (aka geek nectar), and went to work. And it was far easier than I had imagined.

  • I pressed Ctrl+Alt+T to open the terminal.
  • I keyed in “sudo-i”, and hit Enter.
  • I keyed in “apt-get update” and hit Enter.
  • I keyed in “apt-get install ksmserver kicker” and hit Enter. I then restarted the Eee PC.

The original desktop booted up. I clicked the Settings tab, and then Personalization. I changed the Login Mode to Full Desktop. I once again restarted the Eee PC. The Eee Pc took about 10 seconds longer than usual to boot up, but I was presented with a spanking new windowed interface that I immediately tricked out with a sweet Linux wallpaper. Pimp!


My girlfriend labeled me “the biggest geek in the universe” when I e-mailed her a screen of the new desktop in a bout of bliss. Maybe she’s right! As I deleve deeper into the Eee PC and learn of of its flexibility, I realize it’s going to be hard to give this beaut back when Asus comes a-knockin’. Until then, I’m going to see if there are any hacks available that will give the Eee PC a Mac-like dock.

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  1. aperson Says:

    I’d recommend trying out the normal os without the easy-mode gui (it’s in the eeeuser wiki). No hit to the start-up time and does just as much as the ‘advanced mode’.

  2. Jim Says:

    I’d say the cairo dock bar might be just what you want.

  3. me Says:

    Google Calendar was tough to use on the EEE so I modified a GreaseMonkey script to fully maximize it with an F12 Toggle:
    Makes it SO much easier to edit events.

  4. jenja7 Says:

    Here it is.
    Some Information to the Dock.
    The packet ist avalibe under
    but this one is in german. Perhaps you can change it to english.
    to install tip this:
    sudo dpkg -i kooldock-0.4.7-1X4_i386.deb

    after the installation you enter following command in console “kooldock”
    If you want that it start automatically you must add it in the startup folder (But I didn’t know where)

    I hope you understand my poor english.
    Kind reagards,

  5. David Hughes Says:

    Really enjoying your series of articles on the Eee PC especially as mine should arrive in the next day or so.

    I’m collecting Eee PC friendly wallpaper – don’t suppose you’d share your rather fetching wallpaper with us readers would you?



  6. Devil Says:

    Yeh linux make you a advanced pc user. But this is a good thing, and you stop following the one way street to stupidness.

    Stay free

  7. Baz Says:

    ksmoothdock 4.5 or kooldock 0.4.7 seem popular choices for wannabee Mac Dock’ites.

    Meanwhile, Jeffrey’s battle with the size of the keyboard seems to be a popular bone of contention from users who have moved from a full-sized desktop or 3/4-sized notebook keyboard. To be fair, while I appreciate the problem, what precisely were they expecting in a device a fraction the size of the stuff they are used to? Sure dragging out a full-size keyboard (as Jeffrey has done) or adding a roll-up keyboard works, but both add bulk and additional dongles that defeat the value of a subnotebook.

    Just because your mighty paws mean that you may never be comfortable attempting to compose your version of ‘War and Peace’ on the eeePC, there are certainly reports (on eeeuser.com) of those who are writers, screenwriters and playwrights giving it the old college try – and succeeding.

    It could be far worse, Jeffrey – you could be trying to type on a Fujitsu U810 (at $600 more), OQO (starting at $900 more) or an iPhone (who cares?)…

    Taking an intentionally small device and then complaining its not got the same physical size capabilities as its bigger, heavier, more awkward brethren (be that keyboard, screen size or ‘hard drive’ size) might help fill your article’ s daily required output, but may be a tad disingenuous.

  8. Jeffrey Wilson Says:

    Thank you for all of your suggestions – much appreciated.

    David, I found that rather sweet wallpaper by simply searching for “Linux wallpaper” in Google Images. It was one of the first results.

    Baz, I have no intention of hauling a keyboard and mouse with me in my day to day activities; I use a keyboard/mouse set up while working at home or at the office. This puppy is way to convenient and travel-friendly to soil with extra bulk.

  9. zyberwoof Says:

    Jeffrey, might I suggest purchasing a small wireless notebook mouse? I have one similar to this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16826105072

    It is a BIG help for my Eee. It is easy to carry around and the USB dongle attaches to the bottom of the mouse for transportation. It won’t help as much with typing articles, but it makes browsing the OS or the web much, much nicer.

  10. Manu Sharma Says:

    Pairing EEE with an external monitor doesn’t necessarily mean blowing up the icons because you can use a much higher resolution on the monitor than the laptop display.

  11. Charliebrownau Says:

    I understand people really like using the EEE and express that but
    This 4 day part blog post seems very simular to so MANY already on the internet
    Easy to use internet , un locking full desktop mode , it works well with wireless
    (Doesn’t work with WPA2) , can connect USB Keyboard/mouse/screen so its like
    using a docking station , etc . Its all done to death already .

  12. Phenoum Says:

    Yeah, i had suggested the advanced mode in an earlier day’s blog :) glad you like it!
    Kooldock did the trick for me(Mac-ish dock), but to each is own. I’ve subsequently moved to eeeXubuntu and am loving the more refined OS, but it’s a bit of work to get it running, and for your purposes might be a bit much.
    In terms of a good UI experience, look up either Beryl or Compiz / Compiz-fusion to be blown away by mac/Vista – ish 3D userinterface. Again, wiki.eeeuser.com has all the info for getting these running, but they will require a bit more command line entry (step-by-step info though)

    shoot, just for kicks go check youtube’s videos on compiz and beryl working on peoples eee’s

    oh, and even on my 22″ at 1680×1050 those 3D effects run great!

  13. wowbagger Says:

    Aw, man! Compiz? Nice eye candy no doubt, but srsly, there’s not a lot of real estate on the eee… Or a lot of computing punch. Make use of it wisely :)

    There’s a lot to be said for using the stock distro for daily work and firing up a terminal (or 2 or 3) to do the nitty gritty.

    I recommend keeping the stock xandross on the internal SSD and having whatever else you want to mess with on the MMC or on a bootable memory stick. Just my 2 cents.

  14. Phenoum Says:

    yeah, my eeexubuntu is booting straight off the SD card, so im saving the stock install and everything on the default xandros…. again how-tos available at…… eeeuser

  15. James Says:

    Awesome article thanks! Contributions from other users here very useful too.

    Regarding zyberwoof’s small wireless notebook mouse suggestion – how could you use a Microsoft one with a Linux laptop?? :P Go Logitech, better quality and far better battery life. I use a Logitech Cordless Mini Optical Mouse and it’s perfect in every way, including price – only US$30…


    Recently they made it available in more than one colour too – now in red, blue, black and I think white as well. So you could match it to the colour of your Eee PC. ;)

  16. keli Says:

    i dont know if im doing it wrong when i tried your instructions it kept on saying command not found, what do i do with that?

  17. Jon Says:

    Congratulations on your bravery at giving up a mac with a bearable if not RSI-proof keyboard for the eee that requires an external USB keyboard. For my smallish adult male hands (glove size Medium) the eee keyboard was unbearable.

    For me the choice equation is then a basic Macbook with cover (5.5 lbs) vs EEE + microsoft Comfort Curve keyboard (around 2.2 + 1.6 lbs = 3.8 lbs and bulky as hell with horrible screen) (as in FUGGEDABADIT for carrying either of them.

    Blast the weight of one and blast the bulk of the other. BLAST them both!

    I’m hoping the HP 2133 Mini Note keyboard is more bearable but given the processor will STILL be waiting until that is upgraded too.

    One day someone will get the complete recipe right. But not yet.

  18. Asus Eee PC Says:

    Great example of how easy it is to customize the Eee PC!

  19. Dan Says:

    The second bullet point instruction is wrong. It should be “sudo -i” (notice the space between sudo and -i and don’t use the quotes).

  20. Anonymous Says:

    Go Linux! Hooray for FOSS

  21. dom Says:

    i tried your directions and it didnt work can you send eisier ones please. and do you have to have a internet conection for it to work??

  22. Joe Says:

    I tried these commands to enable full desktop mode but it said that ksmserver was not available. I have an eeepc 2g

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