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Author Topic: Linux question for Eee PC 900A with 4 GB HD  (Read 338 times)
W4KYR
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Posts: 936




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« on: July 17, 2015, 05:57:08 AM »

Linux question for Eee PC 900A with 4 GB HD

I have the compact Asus EEE PC 900A notebook with a 4 GB hard drive and 1 GB of ram. The OS originally came with Xandros Linux. Awhile ago I replaced it with Easy Peasy (formerly known as Ubuntu Eee ).

Why Easy Peasy? Everything worked from the start, wifi, audio, MP3's, YouTube videos...etc. Better repositories than Xandros, better looking than Xandros and the OS was easily installed from a thumb drive and of course it was free. The wifi still works, everything still works. But I have these issues to resolve.

I have the  Prolific Serial to USB Adapter, the OS is supposed to recognize it because the prolific site says that "Linux Kernel 2.4.31 and above already includes built-in drivers for PL-2303" The Linux kernel 2.4.31 was released in 2009 and should have been in Easy Peasy from 2012. Maybe it needs to accessed in a certain way?

So why mess around with a distribution from 2012 and just upgrade "Easy Peasy" to the latest release and be done with it? I can't, Easy Peasy was last updated 2012. 


What Linux terminal program could I use that would be similar to hyper terminal?


Even if was able to use the prolific Serial to USB adapter and find a suitable terminal program. That would not solve the biggest issue.

The Eee PC insists of checking the hard drive every time I power it on. While that would seem to be no big deal, it can't be overridden. It says Pressing C will override the disk checking. It doesn't override it.  It takes 15 to 20 minutes to finish disk checking. This is unacceptable as this would make the Eee PC unfit for using it for portable ecomm setup which is a shame as it is real compact netbook and can run directly on 12 volts.


Now if I could just fix three issues, the 20 minute "check the drive" and bypass that, fix the prolific driver issue and use a decent terminal program. I won't mess with it further and I'll just be happy to relegate the Eee PC for portable packet and be done with it. 

Another thing is the 4 GB hard Drive limitation, I can't put more on that. An 8 GB memory card that I added to the machine did not give the machine an extra 8 GB. Seems you can't use, (I least I can't use) the memory card to give it more HD space. Seems the memory card is good for adding an extra drive for songs or videos. I can't seem to get the memory card to work together with the 4 GB HD to give it a combination 12 GB HD. I tried to format the 8GB memory card the same as teh 4 GB hard drive. I can't get them unified or work together as one big HD...not sure if it is even possible.

I tried to add some ham programs to it from the repositories and it failed. I assumed this happened for one of two reasons, either it is looking to older repositories for the programs or I have run out of disc space.

I know the solution would be to just update Easy Peasy and be done with it. I wish it was that simple. The last update for Easy Peasy was March 15 2012.
http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=easypeasy

Summary: If I could fix the three main issues, that would be great. If I can't, then I could always wipe Easy Peasy and install something else that is similar.

So if I have to, I am looking for recommendations on what to replace Easy Peasy with. I want to run a terminal program like hyper terminal, use the serial to usb adapter. No long disk checking sessions.

While I was content with Easy Peasy with being able to run videos, MP3s and basic internet things.  I now want to use it to run primarily ham radio programs for ecomm use. Maybe use it with the Signalink and/or Rig Blaster in addition to above. Keep in mind I am stuck with a 4 GB Hard drive unless I can somehow make the OS see the 8 GB memory card as a extended hard drive.

Someone suggested getting an XP notebook, yes that would solve the problem as I would have hyper terminal, I should be able to use the prolific serial to usb, and also run Signalink and other devices and programs. I would rather not go that route if I can use the Eee PC 900A instead.

Thanks in Advance
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Still using Windows 98  ------------------ for Packet Radio.
DJ1YFK
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Posts: 207


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« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2015, 09:10:23 AM »

I have the  Prolific Serial to USB Adapter, the OS is supposed to recognize it because the prolific site says that "Linux Kernel 2.4.31 and above already includes built-in drivers for PL-2303" The Linux kernel 2.4.31 was released in 2009 and should have been in Easy Peasy from 2012. Maybe it needs to accessed in a certain way?

If the required drivers and/or modules for this Serial to USB adapter are loaded, it should work right after plugging it into the USB port.

Open a terminal and after plugging in the device enter the command "dmesg". You will see a lot of stuff scrolling along, and at the end you should see how the new USB device is probed and ideally the last line should be something like

Code:
[1234:567] usb 2-1.3: pl2303 converter now attached to ttyUSB0

If this is the case, the device is then available as /dev/ttyUSB0.

Quote
What Linux terminal program could I use that would be similar to hyper terminal?
putty (http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/), or minicom (https://alioth.debian.org/projects/minicom). Both should be available in the package repositories.

Quote
The Eee PC insists of checking the hard drive every time I power it on. While that would seem to be no big deal, it can't be overridden. It says Pressing C will override the disk checking. It doesn't override it.  It takes 15 to 20 minutes to finish disk checking. This is unacceptable as this would make the Eee PC unfit for using it for portable ecomm setup which is a shame as it is real compact netbook and can run directly on 12 volts.

If my memory serves me correctly (and a little googling confirms that there may be something true in it), a file with the name "forcefsck" (fsck = file system check) in the root directory will do exactly this on the next reboot (and then as long as the file is not deleted). So I'd see if there is such a file  (in a terminal enter
Code:
ls /forcefsck
) and if it is there, remove it:
Code:
sudo rm -i /forcefsck
.

Quote
Another thing is the 4 GB hard Drive limitation, I can't put more on that. An 8 GB memory card that I added to the machine did not give the machine an extra 8 GB. Seems you can't use, (I least I can't use) the memory card to give it more HD space. Seems the memory card is good for adding an extra drive for songs or videos. I can't seem to get the memory card to work together with the 4 GB HD to give it a combination 12 GB HD. I tried to format the 8GB memory card the same as teh 4 GB hard drive. I can't get them unified or work together as one big HD...not sure if it is even possible.

You cannot (with reasonable effort) combine the two to have "one" HDD with 12 GB, but you can for example have your home directory (e.g. /home/w4kyr/) on  the memory card and the rest of the system on the 4 GB drive. But before diving into this, I suppose you should first check if you can solve the three points discussed above.

73
Fabian
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W4KYR
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Posts: 936




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« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2015, 11:44:44 AM »

Fabian

Thanks for your help, I think I got it below in Bold is the terminal return for the commands that I put in. If you need to see the longer terminal return for the Prolific adapter, I can post that too.

And here lies in one Linux' greatest strengths, the terminal and command line. Just cut and paste commands into the terminal and stuff is done fast, real fast.

----Partial Return Feed, it was much longer than this---


[  158.794104] ath5k phy0: unsupported jumbo
[  219.004688] ath5k phy0: unsupported jumbo
[  239.745130] usb 4-2: new full speed USB device using uhci_hcd and address 4
[  239.895260] usb 4-2: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice
[  239.925871] usbcore: registered new interface driver usbserial
[  239.926102] USB Serial support registered for generic
[  239.926299] usbcore: registered new interface driver usbserial_generic
[  239.926308] usbserial: USB Serial Driver core
[  239.937646] USB Serial support registered for pl2303
[  239.938486] pl2303 4-2:1.0: pl2303 converter detected
[  239.953528] usb 4-2: pl2303 converter now attached to ttyUSB0
[  239.953608] usbcore: registered new interface driver pl2303
[  239.953616] pl2303: Prolific PL2303 USB to serial adaptor driver


OK it recognized the adaptor..great!

I tried  

ls /forcefsck

Result

user@user-laptopEEEPC:~$ ls /forcefsck
ls: cannot access /forcefsck: No such file or directory


So I tried

user@user-laptopEEEPC:~$ ls /fsck
ls: cannot access /fsck: No such file or directory


Need to look into this further


(Went to the site to download Putty http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/download.html  I didn't see Linux. I saw Windows and Unix so I tried this instead)

sudo apt-get install putty

That didn't work so went to synaptics and was able to install putty that way. And I was able to bring up Putty.


Windows Settings versus Linux settings?
For Windows I would normally click on the Device Manager, look under ports and see which one has the Prolific adapter. Click properties 1200 baud 8-N-1 Hardware.

Then open hyper terminal and make sure the Hyper Terminal Port number matches the number port number listed in the ports list under Device Manager. I set the settings  initially at 300 baud 8-N-1 Hardware in order to talk to the TNC for the first time.

(Some TNC's require an initial low setting to initialize it, then it can be be increased faster later on. Some TNC's won't talk at 9600 baud or higher initially ).

Turn on the MFJ 1278 TNC and click ENTER rapidly to bring up the version information and that gets me to cmd: <mycall>


So for Putty I expect it will be different. Based on the above, is my port ttyUSB0 ?

I'll try to post results later.

I appreciate your help Fabian, thanks.


« Last Edit: July 17, 2015, 11:58:40 AM by W4KYR » Logged

Still using Windows 98  ------------------ for Packet Radio.
DJ1YFK
Member

Posts: 207


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« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2015, 12:24:35 PM »


[  239.938486] pl2303 4-2:1.0: pl2303 converter detected
[  239.953528] usb 4-2: pl2303 converter now attached to ttyUSB0
[  239.953608] usbcore: registered new interface driver pl2303
[  239.953616] pl2303: Prolific PL2303 USB to serial adaptor driver


OK it recognized the adaptor..great!
Yes, looks good. It is now available as /dev/ttyUSB0

Quote
I tried  

ls /forcefsck

Result

user@user-laptopEEEPC:~$ ls /forcefsck
ls: cannot access /forcefsck: No such file or directory

[...]

OK, seems to be another mechanism then... some googling might help. Always difficult to give advice from the distance in such a case...


Quote
That didn't work so went to synaptics and was able to install putty that way. And I was able to bring up Putty.


Windows Settings versus Linux settings?
For Windows I would normally click on the Device Manager, look under ports and see which one has the Prolific adapter. Click properties 1200 baud 8-N-1 Hardware.

Then open hyper terminal and make sure the Hyper Terminal Port number matches the number port number listed in the ports list under Device Manager. I set the settings  initially at 300 baud 8-N-1 Hardware in order to talk to the TNC for the first time.

(Some TNC's require an initial low setting to initialize it, then it can be be increased faster later on. Some TNC's won't talk at 9600 baud or higher initially ).

Turn on the MFJ 1278 TNC and click ENTER rapidly to bring up the version information and that gets me to cmd: <mycall>


So for Putty I expect it will be different. Based on the above, is my port ttyUSB0 ?

Almost: The device is /dev/ttyUSB0

In putty, on the initial screen "PuTTY Configuration", select "Serial", enter "/dev/ttyUSB0" under "Serial line", enter the baud rate in the Speed box. Then in the tree menu on the left, go all the way down and under "Connection" -> Serial you can see the other settings, although by default it should already be 8N1 as desired.

You can save the settings in the "Session" tab so next time you don't need to enter them again.

One more thing: You might not be allowed to access /dev/ttyUSB0 by default. Then there are two ways to do this: Usually, the device is accessible by all members of the user group "dialout". If your user account is not a member of the group, just add yourself:

Code:
sudo usermod -a -G dialout username

This will require a logoff and logon to take effect. For the impatient, it is quicker just to give everyone full permissions on the device:

Code:
sudo chmod a+rwx /dev/ttyUSB0

73
Fabian


 
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KK4GGL
Member

Posts: 665




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« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2015, 02:17:22 PM »

You might consider upgrading the RAM and internal storage. You could run larger distros such as Debian, Ubuntu Opensuse.

When you install the new distro, the automatic forced fsck will almost certainly go away. The command, IIRC, is in one of the files in /etc/init.d
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73,
Rick KK4GGL
G8YMW
Member

Posts: 403




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« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2015, 03:03:40 PM »

Looking at the specs, about the only thing W4KYR do is swap out the ram chip and drop a 2gig chip in.
I'll look a bit further

Try "EEE PC" on YouTube, might be something there
« Last Edit: July 17, 2015, 03:11:27 PM by G8YMW » Logged

73 de Tony
The value of  not being made to feel like putting a fist through the monitor? PRICELESS!!!
W4KYR
Member

Posts: 936




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« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2015, 03:38:34 PM »



Almost: The device is /dev/ttyUSB0

In putty, on the initial screen "PuTTY Configuration", select "Serial", enter "/dev/ttyUSB0" under "Serial line", enter the baud rate in the Speed box. Then in the tree menu on the left, go all the way down and under "Connection" -> Serial you can see the other settings, although by default it should already be 8N1 as desired.

You can save the settings in the "Session" tab so next time you don't need to enter them again.

One more thing: You might not be allowed to access /dev/ttyUSB0 by default. Then there are two ways to do this: Usually, the device is accessible by all members of the user group "dialout". If your user account is not a member of the group, just add yourself:

Code:
sudo usermod -a -G dialout username

This will require a logoff and logon to take effect. For the impatient, it is quicker just to give everyone full permissions on the device:

Code:
sudo chmod a+rwx /dev/ttyUSB0

73
Fabian

Yes thank you, that worked. I was able to bring up the MFJ info and version number and to cmd: <mycall>


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Still using Windows 98  ------------------ for Packet Radio.
W4KYR
Member

Posts: 936




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« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2015, 03:46:09 PM »

You might consider upgrading the RAM and internal storage. You could run larger distros such as Debian, Ubuntu Opensuse.

When you install the new distro, the automatic forced fsck will almost certainly go away. The command, IIRC, is in one of the files in /etc/init.d

I am planning to install Linux Mint 17.2 on the Compaq Presario 762nr with Windows Vista. The Vista laptop is problematic, it gets wifi but can't get the internet, it refuses to install updates and it shuts down and then blue screens when I plug in the Prolific adapter. The thing had issues for years.

I'm not planning to upgrade the Eee PC, I'll just keep it as is for portable packet.
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