Install Kubuntu 8.10 on a Samsung NC10 (and other cd-rom less devices)

Install Kubuntu 8.10 on a Samsung NC10 (and other cd-rom less devices)

As posted here I recently bought a Samsung NC10. It comes with Windows XP preinstalled, but I liked to have Kubuntu 8.10 installed as well. The Samsung NC10 is equipped with a 160GB harddisk so there is plenty of space (at least for me). So I started to figure out how I could install Kubuntu 8.10 on a netbook with no cd- nor dvd-drive. In this post I describe how I managed to solve these problems.

Samsung NC10 running Kubuntu
My Samsung NC10 running Kubuntu

Two months ago, I bought a Asus EEE Box as my home server (running Apache, MySql, SVN etc.). The EEE Box has also the problem of not having a cd-rom drive available. I solved this by using a cd-rom drive from my pc and a IDE-to-USB device. The EEE Box detected this as his own cd-rom drive and I was able to boot the live cd.

For the Samsung NC10 I tried the same trick but weird enough it failed. The bios did not detect the cd-rom drive, so I was unable to boot the live cd. I tried plan B; create a bootable USB stick. This plan worked perfectly and I was able to install Kubuntu.

First I needed to format the USB drive (I used a 1GB Sandisk Cruzer) in FAT16 (read somewhere that it does not work if it is FAT32).  Then I needed a nifty tool called UNetBootIn (Univeral Netboot Installer). You run this tool, select your ISO file and target drive, and the tool extracts the ISO to the drive and installs a bootloader. NOTE: A few times I thought the whole process hung, but after waiting a few minutes the tool continued copying.

The next step was to boot from USB. The Samsung NC10 has the harddisk over the USB drive in the boot priority list, so that needed to be changed. In order to do this, press F2 during startup to enter the bios. After this I was able to boot the live cd from the USB stick.

Because the 160GB harddisk is fully used by the Windows partitions, I first needed to shrink these with a partition tool. Unfortunately I could not find any on the live cd. Therefore I started a terminal and executed:

$ sudo apt-get install gparted

This installed GParted in the live environment. The next step was to execute:

$ sudo gparted

in order to start GParted, which could shrink the disk.

When the shrinking was done I started the installation procedure. After the first reboot everything worked out-of-the-box except the Wireless Network. After some Googleing I found a website which shows the command to install the correct driver.

$ sudo apt-get install linux-backports-modules-intrepid

After a reboot, the Wireless Network was indeed operational and Kubuntu was ready to use. Happy me 😀

Update – January 13th,  2009
After working with the NC10 for a while it turned out that some functions are not working yet:

  • Brightness control with the fn keys. Using the $ xbacklight -set … command can set the bightness though (… needs to be the brightness value between 0 and 100).
  • Separated volume mixers for speakers and headphone (fixed since 2009, January 29th).
  • Speaker mute when head phone is plugged in (fixed since 2009, January 29th).
  • Other fn function keys do not seem to work correctly. Volume keys work but are the displayed screen message keeps showing 0%.

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