OpenBSD on the eeePC

software #eeepc #openbsd #linux
Estimated time to read: 3 min.
Mo 02 Mai 2016

Last week in preperation for the Linux Presentation Day at LinuxWorks! LUG I started my good old eeePC (some 5 years old, but don’t nail me down to an exact age) after some time. Doing so, I discovered that the Antergos Linux installed did not boot :-/ My guess is I did an update last time I used it and did not check the working state afterwards, but I’m not too sure about that. Anyway, as my time was limited over the weekend after the LPD on Saturday I opted for installing a new Linux instead of trying to repair the current one.

I’m a distro-hopper anyway and have some itches underneath my fingernails with the Manjaro installation on my Thinkpad as well. So I figured this might even take some of that itching away…

In the end I picked OpenBSD 5.9, for no particular reason really except that I was looking for a system for an old hardware. I played before a bit with a BSD on a RaspberryPi of mine and it worked well on the limited ressources of the Pi. So why not ;-)

Basically I followed two tutorials by Gabriel Hautclocq for Installing OpenBSD 4.8 and then Install XFCE4 on OpenBSD.

my OpenBSD desktop running XFCE 4.12

The only change I did from these tutorials was to use OpenBSD 5.9 instead of the 5.8 and omid the exact version number when installing software, so pkg_add would pick the current version. With this change, installation worked fine :-) Within the afternoon the old eeePC was alive again, running XFCE 4.12 and was very responsive for requests by the user, and had all important software installed.

What Works?

The X-Server, Mouse and keyboard worked out of the box, as did the wired and wireless network. I’ve not yet found any of my day-to-day software missing (Firefox, GIMP, LibreOffice, LaTeX, Python, R, gnuplot, zsh, geany, spacemacs [emacs] everything there).

Suspending the running system to RAM is working, either by pressing the associated Fn-key or by closing the lid. Wireless networking awakes without a problem from standby.

edit: Sound and video is working as well, as is controlling the volume over the Fn-hotkeys. Also I’ve figured out how to scan for wireless networks sourrounding you.

ifconfig <interface> scan

Afterwards, with knowing eventual WPA-keys and such stuff, one can change the config for the wireless connection and surf along.

What does not Work?

There art two things I’ve found which are not working at the moment. One is the brightness control of the display witht he associated keys. The other one is suspending the system to the disk and not only into RAM. I’ve not spend any time looking for a solution to the problem but I would prefer the system being able to dim the display to save some battery time.

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