BOOT CAMP 534 (22/07/08)
Tweaking the Eee PC part 4
We've reached the final instalment of this short series on
tweaking the Asus Eee PC and this is the big one, installing the Windows-like
KDE desktop. Whilst there is nothing intrinsically wrong with the default Easy
Mode interface I suspect many users will prefer something that's a little more
The upgrade process is very straightforward, no changes are made
to your settings or configuration, you won't lose any data and you can switch
between Easy Mode and Full Desktop at any time.
If you've been following the series you should be familiar with
the procedure for installing software under this version of Linux, which
involves downloading software from an online library or 'Repository', so you
need to have a live Internet connection before you begin.
When you are ready step 1 is to download and register the
Authentication Key for the upgrade so open a Terminal window by pressing Ctrl +
Alt + T. At the command prompt after '/home/user>' type:
wget http://download.tuxfamily.org/eeepcrepos/key.asc and press Enter. A few lines of text
appears, ending with the message 'key.asc.5 saved'. Next, at the command prompt
sudo apt-key add key.asc
press Enter again and you should see 'OK' and the command prompt again.
(Sudo or 'Super User Do' is an administrator command, telling the computer to
do something). Now type the following:
sudo synaptic press Enter and a second or two later the Synaptic Package Manager
utility opens. Now go to Settings > Repositories and click the New button.
In the URL box type:
In the Distribution box enter: p701 and in the Sections box enter:
main then click OK and the Reload icon on the Toolbar.
In the left hand pane make sure 'All' is highlighted at the top
and go to the 'Package' list on the right and scroll down until you see
'advanced-desktop-eeepc', right-click on it and select 'Mark for Installation',
click 'Apply on the toolbar and the upgrade will be automatically downloaded
and installed. Depending on the speed of your Internet connection this could
take anywhere from a few seconds to a minute or so. When it has finished exit
all open dialogue boxes, shut down the PC and reboot.
The Eee PC opens in Easy Mode once again but we're now ready to
fire up the KDE desktop, so press the main On/Off switch beneath the screen and
if everything has gone according to plan you should see a 'Full Desktop' button
on the far left. Click on it, OK the warning about closing running applications
and the PC reboots and this time launches the KDE desktop.
There's no much to see at this stage but in a few clicks you'll
feel right at home as it's all pretty much the same as Windows with a Taskbar
running along the bottom of the screen and a Launch/Start button. Let's make it
feel a bit more like home by putting a few shortcuts on the desktop. I suggest
that you start with the ones you use most frequently, such as Firefox,
Thunderbird, Open Office Writer, File Manager and so on. The procedure is
pretty much the same as Windows, click the Launch button then Applications >
Internet, right click on Firefox Web Browser and select Add to Desktop. Repeat
for Thunderbird Mail Client and OpenOffice.org Writer, which you will find in
Office under Applications, and File Manager, which is in Applications >
System > Administrator Tools. To line up the icons just right-click on the
desktop and select Arrange Icons > Line up Horizontally (or vertically).
Now let's change the wallpaper or background image, right-click on
the desktop again and select Properties, select Desktop in the left-hand task
pane and under Background select Picture and use the Browse button (blue open
folder icon), to select one for the default images, or, if you have any images
of your own on the PC or on a SD card, select that, check the Preview and if
you are happy with it click OK. At this point you may run up against one of the
Eee PC's few niggles because you may not see the OK button on the screen - if
so see this week's Top Tip.
The KDE desktop is so similar to Windows that I don't think I need
say much more, except that the best way to get to know it is to click around
the Launch menu and explore. If for any reason you don't get on with it you can
revert to the Easy Mode at any time by selecting it on the logout screen and it
reboots in that mode until you tell it to do otherwise.
Next Week - Networking XP and Vista
Similar to Windows 'certificates', which verifies software comes
from a secure, trusted source
On-line library of software dedicated to a particular Linux
DOS-like Command line interface for Linux
Occasionally dialogue boxes like Display Properties are a little
too large for the Eee PC display and they drop off the bottom of the screen,
hiding additional options and the all important OK, Apply, Cancel and Close
buttons. Here's a trick that's definitely worth committing to memory. Place the
mouse point mid screen and with your left hand, hold down the Alt key and left
touch pad button. The mouse pointer turns into a small arrow-tipped cross and
whilst continuing to hold down both keys, use the touch pad to slide the window
up the screen, until the options or buttons you want come into view. On a very
small number of dialogue boxes these options may still be hidden, or obscured
by boxes, in which case you will have to 'stretch' the box by clicking on the
lower edge and 'pull' it down.
Don't forget, there's a full archive of previous Boot Camp Top
Tips at www.pctoptips.co.uk
(c) R. Maybury 2008, 0207