How to customize Ubuntu for your Eee PC

by Ross McKillop on July 31, 2008

Now that you’ve installed Ubuntu on your Asus Eee PC, you’ll want to customize it a bit. Though the following instructions apply to any new installation of Ubuntu, they’re particularly helpful if you’re using an Eee PC.

  1. Slow down the cursor
  2. Change the appearance
  3. Uninstall programs you’re not going to use
  4. Install Webcam software
  5. Clean up the menus
  6. Install Netbook Remix



Slow down the cursor

  1. One of the things you probably noticed first after install Ubuntu on your Eee PC, is that the cursor flies. Drag your finger half an inch across the trackpad, and your cursor goes all the way across the screen at the speed of light. To slow down the cursor speed, select System -> Preferences -> Mouse
  2. mouse preferences menu in ubuntu

  3. The main preference you’ll want to change is the Acceleration:. Feel free to test other changes as well. When you’re done, click Close.

    mouse preferences in ubuntu


Change the appearance

  1. The default theme for Ubuntu Eee is a “custom” one. If it doesn’t appeal to you, it’s quite easy to change. Select System -> Preferences -> Appearance. On the Theme tab, choose a theme to use. As soon as you select it, it will be applied. Give a few of them a try until you find one you like.
  2. ubuntu theme preferences

  3. Select the Visual Effects tab. If you’d like to use some of the fancy effects, select Extra.
  4. visual effects preferences in ubuntu


Uninstall programs you’re not going to use

  1. Though Ubuntu Eee comes with a much smaller footprint than “regular” Ubuntu (fewer programs installed by default) – there may be several you don’t need or want. To free up some valuable disk space, uninstall them. Open the Synaptic Package Manager by selecting System -> Administration -> Synaptic Package Manager. Use the Search feature to find the program you’re not going to use. Since I use the web based Gmail for my email, I don’t need to have Thunderbird installed. After locating it, click it once and select Mark for Complete Removal.
  2. uninstall thunderbird using the synaptic package manager in ubuntu

  3. You can also locate programs to uninstall by clicking the Status button in the Synaptic Package Manager, then Installed from the panel on the left. Be careful what you uninstall – most of the items listed will be required system files.
  4. list of all programs installed in Ubuntu


Install Webcam software

  1. Ubuntu Eee comes with the drivers required to use the built-in webcam. To test it out, launch Skype and open it’s Options. Select the Video Devices tab, and click the Test button.
  2. skype video device options

  3. You should see yourself in the small video window
  4. skype video device successful test

  5. To install a video capture and display program for recording video, visit the Ubuntu Package Repository setup page for UCView. It provides very easy to follow installation instructions to install UCView in Ubuntu.
  6. Once installed, select Applications -> Sound & Video -> UCView
  7. UCView menu item in Ubuntu

  8. Your device will be listed. Choose a resolution (I left mine w/ the default 320×240). Click OK
  9. ucview device settings

  10. And now give it a test. Record a video, make video adjustments etc.
  11. ucview in action


Clean up the menus

  1. Because the screen size on the Asus Eee PC is fairly small, you’ll want to remove items from the drop-down menus that you don’t use, to avoid having to scroll. For example, in the Administration menu, you don’t need the Install item – since Ubuntu has already been installed.
  2. install in the administration menu

  3. To remove items from the various menus, select System -> Preferences -> Main Menu. From here, remove the check box next to each item you don’t want listed. Note: that won’t actually uninstall the program, it’ll just remove that item from its respective menu.
  4. main menu editor


Install Netbook Remix


The final thing you may want to do, is install Netbook Remix. Netbook Remix is an alternate interface of the standard Ubuntu 8.04 desktop. It’s an interface that allows you to work more easily on a smaller screen devices (such as the Asus Eee PC).

netbook remix desktop with a black background
click to enlarge

  • Artur Canabarro

    Não consigo remover o efeito que deixa o cursor do mouse se auto preenchendo e selecionando itens sem que eu os arraste, não encontrei solução em “preferências” “mouse” e em nem um outro local.
    Serei grato se poder me auxíliar.