Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ubuntu on MSI Wind U100

Got myself an MSI U100 at the end of August. It came in with Windows XP home. It has a built-in recovery partition to allow one to restore the system in case anything happens to the installed software.

Not content with just having Windows XP and just the Home edition at that, I tried to reconfigure the default setup. The system originally comes with 2 partitions. The first containing the recovery system and the remaining for the installation of windows.

Previous to getting this, I was reading an article by James A. Eshelman, about setting up different partitions for different uses and data. I was already doing this with all my installs. A default windows installation and a second partition to contain the data. The purpose of this is that in case drive C was corrupted, I just easily format it and install my softwares from the original installers and not worry about the data.
James A. Eshelman took this further by specifying a separate swap partition, a separate temp directory, tweaking the system to make the default documents directory outside of the default c:\documents and settings\user... to make it easier to backup any data.

After putting in the different partitions, I ended up with 5 partitions for Windows and 1 for linux. Setting up the partitions was the easy part. Installing linux is the hard part primarily because the unit does not come with a cdrom drive.

I started with a number of articles and the basic instruction is to copy linux into a usb drive and install from it. After several attempts, I found the MSI wiki sitewhich mentioned a problem with the version of Ubuntu that I was using. A newer version 8.04-1 fixed the problem and I was finally able to get Ubuntu Linux installed on the unit.

The next problem now is how to get the wifi to work on Ubuntu. Apparently the mini wifi card that came with the unit is a realtively newer Realtek 1817.