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Daily usage of linux, raw style

I just had a hell of a week. Dealing with the acer’s linpus lite is not easy, really. If it didn’t have a nice ui and booted in 15s, I’d already change it to ubuntu.
The following is a list, of stuff you can do to make the most out of your aspire one. If you plan to follow it, be warned that some of it is advanced stuff, if you don’t know shit about computers and linux it’s better to only do stuff you’re confortable with! Also, read it before you use it. And don’t held me responsible if something goes bad, nothings perfect and so isn’t this guide and myself. Use at your own risk!

My final result is 5.1 gigs free on the ssd, 200megs of swap partition and an easy way to do a system recovery, using an image of the disk with everything already worked out.

1. Restore the system
Since the aspire one doesn’t have a cd drive, you’ll need a pen disk (or an external dvd drive, but that’s not very common). Since the image written to the pen is 1.922gigs, you’ll need at least a 2gig pen, but I’m not sure if it’s enough, I used a 4gig one.
If you don’t have the cd with you, you can do two things:
-Download the cd iso, burn it, load it on another computer and follow the steps.
-If that fails (it has happened) or you don’t have a blank cd with you, you can download an image of what the recovery cd would have put in the pen disk, and write directly to the pen. (SEE NOTE BELLOW)
– Use VMware to do it as explained here

CD iso here (note: humyo requires registration. also available in torrents from what I’ve heard)
USB image here

If you go with the USB image, you can follow the instructions available for windows on daily cup of tech
It’s very easy. On a linux system I found it to be more difficult, mainly because of the lack of applications with a GUI. At the moment I don’t know where a guide for linux is available. If you find one out, please share

Note: Some people have raised questions about the legitimacy of the usb image available at daily cup of tech. I didn’t really think about that. It is *possible* that the image has malicious software in it. But then again, one could raise the same doubts regarding the iso. Whatever you choose, use at your own risk.
Note2: The author of the usb image has commented this post. I actually believe him.

2. Make it lose some weight

Now that you’ve got a fresh install, you’ll notice that you only have 3.6GB of free disk space, meaning that over 4gigs of bullshit are installed. That’s way too much.

2.1 Uninstall useless crap

The best guide is available on macles.
Side note: On the portuguese aspire one, you delete the same locales as instructed on the blog.

2.2 Reduce the swap partition

The default swap partition on pretty much any linux distro, linpus included, is 1GB. It’s absolutely stupid, but

GParted screenshot

GParted screenshot

in this specific case is double stupid because:
-If you go beyond 50 megs of swap used, your system has the same performance of a 483 from 1991
-You only have 8 gigs of disk space

Since you can’t choose the size of the partition during the recovery procedure, you’ll have to do it now. The program you need to resize partitions is GParted, but the tricky part is that you can only mess with partitions this way if they aren’t mounted, meaning they can’t be in use.
If you plan on doing an image of the disk as described in point 3, you can use GParted in the SystemRescueCD distro. If not, you’ll need to run the GParted live from usb, a minimal linux distro made specifically for this kind of operation.It’s dead easy to do in windows, not so dead easy in linux.
Full instructions here
ISO download here

Just a detail, on the live usb helper windows program the only thing you have to do is run the 3 available options in order, so:
-Format the pen
-Choose the iso
-Make the pen bootable

Gparted screenshot - Notice the free space preceding to shift the actual partition area to the left or to the right

Notice the free space preceding shifts the actual partition area to the left or to the right

Once you run the distro in the Aspire One, you run the gparted program and the rest is quite easy. Unfortunatly I don’t have any screenshots on gparted on the aspire one, but the main thing is

-Resize the swap partition to I’d say minimum 50megs and max 200megs.Make sure that the free space is to the left (towards the other partition, the primary one) by putting free space preceding to the maximum value
-Resize the primary partition to maximum size.
Hit apply and you’re done.

3. Make an image for safe keeping

Now imagine than in two weeks time, you screw something up and need to restore the Aspire One again. You’re back to square one and need to follow the guides all over again. To avoid this, you could make an image of the disk as it is right now, no useless software, no useless swap. When the time comes, you’ll only need to load the image.

SysResCD in graphical mode

SysResCD in graphical mode

To make an image of the disk, you can use partimage. It runs in the terminal but in graphic mode, so it’s not too bad. The problem is the same as with gparted, you can’t make an image of a disk if it’s being used. You can use the SystemRescueCD, a live distro with a number of tools for disc recovery, among them are gparted and partimage.
To make SystemRescueCD run from usb, again it’s easier on windows.

Full guide here
Download here

A note on the windows instructions, instead of downloading syslinux to make the pen bootable, you could download Live USB helper (here ) and just select make pen bootable. Easier than using the command line 😉

Once running the SysResCD, you select partimage from the menu. But here’s the tricky part, you’ll need to save the image to somewhere else than the disk. The image file will turn out less then 1GIG, to you can use a pen, an external usb disk, anything. To do this, you’ll have to manually mount the device. Hit this in the command line
mkdir /mnt/whatever
mount -t vfat /dev/sda /mnt/whatever

NOTE: To see if the device is in /dev/sda or somewhere else, run GParted. It has a list of all the devices and you can easily identify it by the amount of space it has available.
NOTE2: The vfat argument is for device using the FAT system. Again, use gparted to see what kind of filesystem your disk has. If it’s in NTFS, the command will be different. Google it…

Now, in partimage, you can select the destination file as

Partimage screenshot. Hey, it's better than just plain command line.

Partimage screenshot. Hey, it's better than just plain command line

/mnt/whatever/myaspireimage
By default it will separate the full image in smaller files, choose the first option in that section (can’t remember exactly what it says, but it’s pretty self explanatory).

And that’s all. To load the image file, you use exactly the same procedure, but in partimage you choose restore partion instead of saving partition to an image.

That’s all folks!

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