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*nix Thread, RM miniBook / Asus eeePC ideas? in Technical; I'm Matt Treavis & I work in the engineering group at RM that has just released the miniBook / eeePC. ...
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    RM miniBook / Asus eeePC ideas?

    I'm Matt Treavis & I work in the engineering group at RM that has just released the miniBook / eeePC. I've spoken to Russell & he's ok'd me posting - as long as I don't advertise... :?

    miniBook has opened us to new concept (well new for RM) in that we're selling a mainstream linux device.
    Our linux expertise is growing, but we have very experience of it in a desktop education environment.
    So I'm interested to get some feedback from you on how we can better support the miniBook? I'd like to hear about about any bright ideas, but as a starter for 10 what are your thoughts on wireless capability?
    Currently the miniBook supports WEP & WPA out of the box, but using wpa_supplicant stronger security should be possible - has anyone tried this in their network?
    also, how important is enterprise level security for a product like this?

    any thoughts?
    Cheers,
    Matt

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    Re: RM miniBook / Asus eeePC ideas?

    We use WPA-PSK security here and wpa_supplicant on my linux laptop has always worked like a champ. I know several sites use radius security though, so yes, it's important to have that as an option.

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    Re: RM miniBook / Asus eeePC ideas?

    I think one question that has cropped up a few times is logging into a network (CC3 in particular) and gaining access to home directories (essentially a linux fat-client).

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    Re: RM miniBook / Asus eeePC ideas?

    my account manager showed be one today, and i have to say they are so cool!!! I have put my order through today!

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    Re: RM miniBook / Asus eeePC ideas?

    We are starting to re-assess how we use mobile devices and the wireless network in my school, with a view to making more use of the WLAN as a hotspot giving access to specific services only.

    This means that we will be looking for devices to take a step up into enterprise level security. This will be a combined project between a Cisco partner, a Sun partner and a few suppliers of laptops.

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    Re: RM miniBook / Asus eeePC ideas?

    Thanks for the replies so far, keep them coming!
    Webman, our softwere dev & test teams have been doing loads of work around RM's software products to make sure that there is out of the box - check TEC article TEC1050864 on rm.com/support - I think it covers what you're looking for.

    Grumbledook, from reading your post am I right in thinking that you're looking to the infrastructure to provide an insecure low service hotspot environment next to a secured enterprise environment?
    If I've got that right, what support would you need built into the minibook to work in the secured environment?

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    Re: RM miniBook / Asus eeePC ideas?

    At the moment I have just been getting use to the eeepc, but my next job will be contenting it to our network. My only worry is the lack of software in the asus repositories. Maybe RM could setup their own repositories that would give access to greater educational software etc without having to use a third party one that could break the system.

    Jo

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    Re: RM miniBook / Asus eeePC ideas?

    Hmm. That's half what I had in mind but it's food for thought. For shared Minibooks - perhaps a "Connect to CC3" app that just prompts for username/password and mounts work area and perhaps the shared area; and a Disconnect icon that does the reverse. This would be very helpful for accessing network resources, but I suppose some Xdialog commands in a bash script would suffice.

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    Re: RM miniBook / Asus eeePC ideas?

    My only worry is the lack of software in the asus repositories
    I also worried about this, but apparently Ubuntu runs quite nicely on these. I'll try it but our delivery is delayed Anyone know if its running a custom kernel or just stock xandros?

    For shared Minibooks - perhaps a "Connect to CC3" app that just prompts for username/password and mounts work area and perhaps the shared area
    what about putting the shared area accessible through the browser

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    Re: RM miniBook / Asus eeePC ideas?

    Hi, some answers to some of your questions..
    Re: RM Repositories - interesting idea, in the short term it is possible to install downloaded .deb packages with dpkg, otherwise I have connected one to the debian repositories and installed apps from there (I don't have the links handy atm, a quick Google should dig them out.) - I did this through synaptic ('sudo synaptic' from a console)

    Re: CC3 connectivity - as mentioned, our software guys are looking at this sort of thing, more detail as soon as we can.
    In the meantime, has anyone tried a scripted method for connecting to cc3 user shares / shared areas? - happy to provide any help I can..

    Finally, Ubuntu... I installed Ubuntu on one of our test systems a couple of weeks ago (mostly from instructions here: http://forum.eeeuser.com/viewtopic.php?id=1285)
    Acpi caused the biggest grumbles but as the sources are now available I would imagine those issues are resolvable. I had to use ndiswrapper to get wifi working.
    If you are going to try any hacks it's well worth making a recovery usb stick from the included CD, it takes less than 5 mins to restore, and is great in an emergency..

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    Re: RM miniBook / Asus eeePC ideas?

    quick update, Rich Hall, one of our support guys has put this script together that may help.
    Big caveat: it's definitely not a supported RM product & it's very much beta.. in fact here's Rich's post:
    If you want to try it you'll need to edit so that it matches your own server names (search for and replace sal-dc01 and sal-dc02)

    To make it run copy it onto a mini book and then from a terminal (ctrl-alt-t) enter the command
    sudo chmod a+x cc3\ connection.sh

    This will make it executable. you can then launch it by entering the command :

    ./cc3\ connection.sh

    Things to note:

    1) If you run it twice in one session it tries to unmount any existing shares. If the unmount fails it will delete the contents of the shared folders
    2) It stores usernames and passwords in plain text files. It deletes them as soon as it's used them
    3) Ideally it needs to be encrypted before being left on a station.


    So, I wouldn't be passing it on to end users without some updates (and a safe backup of user data)

    Please feel free to give it a try & let us know what you think, and if you make any changes that are really useful please share them.
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    Re: RM miniBook / Asus eeePC ideas?

    Quote Originally Posted by mtreavis
    I'm Matt Treavis & I work in the engineering group at RM that has just released the miniBook / eeePC. I've spoken to Russell & he's ok'd me posting - as long as I don't advertise... :?

    miniBook has opened us to new concept (well new for RM) in that we're selling a mainstream linux device.
    Our linux expertise is growing, but we have very experience of it in a desktop education environment.
    So I'm interested to get some feedback from you on how we can better support the miniBook? I'd like to hear about about any bright ideas, but as a starter for 10 what are your thoughts on wireless capability?
    Currently the miniBook supports WEP & WPA out of the box, but using wpa_supplicant stronger security should be possible - has anyone tried this in their network?
    also, how important is enterprise level security for a product like this?

    any thoughts?
    Cheers,
    Matt
    WPA 2 is a must for me. Plus It'd help if you did extensive testing on your test systems with Cisco Aironet AP's and associated wireless secuity features (i.e 802.1x enabled switches and radius authentication) as we use exclusively Aironet AP's and they are pretty much the choice of the enteprise.

    Plus how about some sort of remote desktop client. I suppose VNC is an option but there's also access via the thin client protocols ICA and RDP.

    Would agree with the software repositories. Plus you should try and tailor some of the apps for the platform. You wouldn't go wrong taking a cue from apples use of widgers. For instance the youtube icons on the desktop of the miniPC are merely shortcuts to the url which opens in a web browser. Handy but not all that impressice and not as useful or as elegant as the way apples itouch provides access to youtube. A webservice esque widget that fits with how content can be accessed using the itouch.

    That's how RM and Asus should approach application design for the platform. Or provide some tools for creating miniapplications for the platform.

    Also a collegaue of mine has talked about simple podcast creation, photo slideshow and video editing software for the minibook. But I will elaborate on that in a later post.

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    Re: RM miniBook / Asus eeePC ideas?

    another thing that would be useful is a script that locks the machine down a bit - removing the user from sudoers, password protecting grub (and single user mode). I worry that a tech savvy student could just delete the opating system? maybe locking firefox settings (saved passwords etc)

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    Re: RM miniBook / Asus eeePC ideas?

    Has anyone tried using the 'Advanced Mode' rather thyan the very restrictive 'Easy' one, Installing WINE from the Ubuntu repositories allows the installation of many Windows software titles!, so allowing commonality for users. Annoying at the moment the desktop icons created by these insatllations have to be put back after each logon.

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    Re: RM miniBook / Asus eeePC ideas?

    Hi,

    I would like to see the 802.1x supplicant and WPA/WPA2 support. We've orderd one of these but have not recieved yet so can't really comment on what is already there and what is missing.

    Recently Asus annouced that they will sell these with windows pre-loaded say maybe a cut down version of windows so we'll have to see how things go in regards to making services available via linux (which ever type, Xandros, unbuntu etc). However its still worth looking into providing the services via linux just in case the users/institution does not want to have windows on it.

    Has anyone tried putting the bare minimum windows on thes eepc's? Our account manager told us that they had windows and office 2003 running on it and it was working fine.

    I think its also worth RM considering what asus's long term plans are regarding this product, i.e. larger HDD, more memory etc so they can cater applications accordingly, if they are serious about making inroads in getting these devices to be used extensevily by pupils and in education establishments.

    Ash.

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