ASUS UL30A -- © 2009 David Mentré, license CC-BY-SA I recently installed an Ubuntu Karmic Koala (9.10) Linux distribution on an ASUS UL30A-QX090V laptop. The installation went rather smoothly. You'll find below the useful details.

Despite being in favour of reimbursement of software bundled with hardware, I decided to keep the pre-installed proprietary Windows 7 64 bits. It will allow me to test Windows 7, compare it with my Ubuntu system and test Free Software on Windows.

Under Windows 7: make room for Linux

One needs to make room for the Linux system on the 320 Gb hard disk. Fortunately, Windows is installed in a 74 GB partition and there is one 208 GB empty partition.

So, go to Windows icon -> Computer -> Right-click -> Manage -> Storage -> Disk Management. Three partitions are available:

  • 14,65 GB: no name and not mounted, probably for system re-installation;
  • 74,52 GB (C:) : Windows 7;
  • 208,92 GB (D:) : DATA, empty partition.

One needs to remove DATA partition. Right-click on this partition and choose Remove volume.

If you have a different laptop with no free partition, it might be useful to know that Windows Vista and Windows 7 can resize partitions using the same pre-installed program.

Under my current Ubuntu computer: prepare the USB installation key

I download the ISO image of the latest Ubuntu Karmic Koala 9.10 in 64 bits version: the machine has 4 GB of RAM and you can only access 3 GB with a 32 bits system.

After download, I checked that the MD5 checksum is correct. In a terminal, do "md5sum ubuntu-9.10-desktop-amd64.iso" and search for the result in the UbuntuHashes web page.

I then use usb-creator to setup an USB key with this dowloaded image. Plug in your USB key. Start usb-creator from System -> Administration -> USB Boot Disk Creator. Select the ISO image you have just downloaded and chose the USB key you have just plugged in. Then press Create button. I chose to not use an area where data can be saved on the USB key.

By the way, usb-creator installs what is needed on the USB key and makes it bootable, but it keeps the FAT32 file system so the key can still be used as a regular USB key to share documents.

On the ASUS UL30A-QX090V Laptop: install Ubuntu

Plug in the USB key and power on the laptop.

By pressing F2 when the ASUS logo is displayed, go to the BIOS and configure it to boot on the USB key. The magic trick: the USB key is seen as a hard drive! So you must go to the hard drive boot order sub-menu to put the USB key in first position, before the real hard drive. Save and exit from the BIOS through F10.

The machine then reboots and should boot on the USB key (or do a cold start by powering off then powering on the laptop).

Install Ubuntu as usual. I used the biggest free space, letting Ubuntu chose the partitioning. As this is a laptop, I also chose to encrypt the user's home folder.

After a reboot, you now have a shiny new Linux system on your laptop! Enjoy! :-)

What's working

I haven't tested everything yet. Right now:

  • Working: wired and wireless network (WiFi tested using WPA2), sound output, display at native screen resolution, extended touchpad (emulation of mouse scroll wheel and right-click), processor frequency scaling according to actual use, SDHC card reader;
  • Not tested: sound input, webcam, battery autonomy, 3D acceleration[1], hibernation, external display output (VGA and HDMI);
  • Not woking: nothing yet! ;-)

Notes

[1] But special effects are available on the desktop, so I assume 3D acceleration can be used