lordwud

Eee PC

37 posts in this topic

I stumbled across the Eee PC this morning, and I really want one. Just wondering if anyone around here has used one, or has any useful info about it. Mostly reasons why i shouldn't get one.

If you don't know what it is, its a really small form factor laptop with solid state disks that comes xandros pre-installed. heres the manufacturers site and a newegg page.

http://eeepc.asus.com/en/

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...4&Tpk=eeepc

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I'd perhaps buy one for OpenBSD testing, but I suspect it's full of blobs.. especially for the Wireless/WinModem.

Who knows though.. did ASUS release technical specifications and documentation? (Or use documented chipsets?)

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I'll be getting the 8G soon, but I may wait because someone said to me they're bringing out the 11" screens in the new year??

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I was considering this, as the prices being bounced around before release were very low. It's kind of crept up and up since then. It's still a good price, but not the slam dunk it once was for me.

The specifications are just fine for the sort of thing I do most of the time. My current laptop's a PIII 1.2 ghz, so I wouldn't likely feel much of a difference moving to this. I would want the model that's been proposed that has 1 gig of RAM and 8 gigs of storage, however there hasn't been a firm date or price announced on that. I imagine it'll be about $500, which is still great for someone who really needs a UMPC, but starting to make less sense for me personally.

I'm very concerned about the quality of the solid state storage, and how long it's likely to last before being worn out. I believe that the install of Xandros that comes with it has its filesystems chosen and tuned specifically to reduce the number of writes and level out wear. I would want to replace this Ubuntu, so that would take a bit of work and care on my part to ensure that it doesn't reduce the lifespan of the disk. I'd also have to refrain from doing things that entail a lot of writes, such as packet logging. I have a feeling that my usage patterns would mean an early death for that storage. The wireless card and other various hardware features currently aren't well supported under anything but the default install of Xandros, so that's annoying too.

I had some money earmarked for the Eee, however I've done some thinking and research, and I believe I'd rather put the money towards a laptop to really blow the doors off of what I have now, while remaining fairly portable.

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I was interested in this when I first heard about it but the price was jacked up and it lost its appeal as I don’t need a UMPC, the only reason I would buy one in the first place was it was going to be cheap. I will be picking up a Nokia N810 as it has a hardware keyboard, wifi and GPS and is a ideal device to go along with my laptop where the eeepc is more of a low end laptop.

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I'd perhaps buy one for OpenBSD testing, but I suspect it's full of blobs.. especially for the Wireless/WinModem.

Who knows though.. did ASUS release technical specifications and documentation? (Or use documented chipsets?)

I don't know anything really about this laptop. but why would they put a WinModem in a linux laptop?

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I don't know anything really about this laptop. but why would they put a WinModem in a linux laptop?

err... because its cheaper than a 'real' modem. Winmodems are basically a sound card and some are supported under linux, see http://www.linmodems.org

There were 5 (WTF!!) at the LUG meeting ths evening, they look pretty sweet and seem to be quite well loaded. Still a little bit big for my taste (had Psion 3a many years ago) and a bit pricy for what they are, although I'm sure the prices will drop in a few weeks/months.

Munge.

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I plan on getting one and a 8 gig SD card. McGrewSecurity, it has an SD card reader built in, what I plan on doing to ensure the drive survives (I've worried about the SSD as well) is to write everything I do to the 8 gig SD card.

I plan on getting one and a 8 gig SD card. McGrewSecurity, it has an SD card reader built in, what I plan on doing to ensure the drive survives (I've worried about the SSD as well) is to write everything I do to the 8 gig SD card.

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Its been a few days and Im still drooling over this thing. Ive been reading reviews and it seems the major gripe is the keyboard. Has anyone tried using it yet? more importantly does anyone know of a store in the Philadelphia area that has them on display?

McGrewSecurity, before your reply I never considered the SSD to be a problem. Based on the numbers I'm seeing, it seems like the lifespan will be comparable to that of a modern hard drive. Could you explain your worries a bit more? My Zaurus has flash memory built in to run the operating system, and that still runs fine after almost 4 years now. I have used many different types of flash memory cards, which obviously gets less use then an OS, but I have never had flash memory fail on me. I have had multiple hard drives fail though. This could just be because i used the hard drives more. Has anyone had problems with SSDs?

I should probably go lurk about the eeepc user forum, but does anyone know the chipset of the wifi card it comes with?

Edited by Lord Wud
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Walmart should eb selling these at least according to Linux Journal I've read about them for months before this post was actually made.

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McGrewSecurity, before your reply I never considered the SSD to be a problem. Based on the numbers I'm seeing, it seems like the lifespan will be comparable to that of a modern hard drive. Could you explain your worries a bit more? My Zaurus has flash memory built in to run the operating system, and that still runs fine after almost 4 years now. I have used many different types of flash memory cards, which obviously gets less use then an OS, but I have never had flash memory fail on me. I have had multiple hard drives fail though. This could just be because i used the hard drives more. Has anyone had problems with SSDs?

The eeeuser.com forums are alright, although I'm not sure that anyone really has a handle on what the best practices for putting another linux distribution on the thing should be.

With a non-journaling filesystem, message/error logging turned off, no swap, and other sources of frequent writes tuned down, I believe you're right, the lifespan should be comparable (maybe even favorably) to a modern hard drive. Note that it's no coincidence that these are all things that aren't as much of a concern on something like a Zaurus. I think it's a great idea for folks who use it for what it's designed: office app tasks, web browsing, instant messaging, and such

My concern is solely with how I would use the thing. I was more interested in it as an ultra-mobile platform for various security/pen-testing tasks. There would be a lot of writes collecting and processing various data (packet logs, access logs, etc etc etc). I feel like I'd probably be a lot more abusive of the SSD than the average user, and it's not replaceable. I don't really think I'd be happy going down the SD card route with it, and to be honest I don't feel like tuning an installation (and my own work habits) to ration out writes.

But yeah, I think for most people it'll be fine. It's just not as well suited for myself as I was hoping.

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Why not just plug a usb hard drive into it and save your log files there? I know that makes it somewhat less portable, but it's just a thought.

Edited by Uncue
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Why not just plug a usb hard drive into it and save your log files there? I know that makes it somewhat less portable, but it's just a thought.

Yeah, I had considered that, but it'd just be more cost (on top of something that's already going to approach $500 in the configuration I wanted), setup, weight, and complication. A 2.5" enclosure with drive, like I would want for that solution, would be a power hog too. I've seen many that hook up to two USB ports to power it, and while the Eee PC has two USB ports, I'm not sure it's really designed to provide enough juice. I could get an enclosure that had its own power supply, but that'd also be another thing to throw in the bag, find a plugin for, and that can go wrong.

Edit: I'm sounding very negative here about it, but I do really like the idea of the Eee PC, and I think that a lot of folks would really enjoy it. If you're on the fence about it, I recommend taking a good look at what you're planning on doing/usage patterns.

Edited by McGrewSecurity
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All are very good points. I have a Western Digital (yeah I know) that I use on a mac mini that I have setup as a server. I didn't want to have to provide extra power for it. It uses one usb port for both power and data. The Seagates use 2 plugs. I did look at the specs before I posted. It has three usb ports on it, but I didn't think about the battery life issue. I personally use a Lenovo x61t as my primary box and I love it. It's way more expensive, but it's also small, light, and fast.

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You know, I had never seen anything about this before. Looks kind of interesting. Had a quick question, and figured maybe someone here would be able to provide some insight. Since this thread seems to be about portable options for network pen testing, I was wondering if anyone has seen this.

http://www.samsung.com/uk/products/mobilec...=Specifications

I have had the opportunity to play with this a bit, and it seems like a really clean, really quick system. I do realize that with anything extra the battery power could be an issue, but as a standalone unit, I think it may have potential. I know that getting linux on my ipaq wasn't as straight forward as I thought, and I kind of cringe at the thought of voiding the warranty on a $1286.55 machine, and definitely a bit pricey, but I was wondering if anyone has had experience trying to get drivers to load with a touch screen. I do like the ease of use even though I am normally against tablets as they don't provide functionality equal to the price hike.

Thanks for any responses, and please advise if you think this would be worthy of it's own topic.

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I've read about people use nokia n770 and n800 for pentesting. However, I don't know anything about the samsung. :(

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That Samsung definitely has some potential, and since it's basically a PC, you're already several steps ahead (compared with getting Linux going on some other random architecture).

All I can say is, when it comes to stuff like this: Do some searching around to see if anyone else is already doing what you want to do with the device. For me, the home-run is if someone over on Ubuntu's forums has what I'm planning to buy, has it up and running, with support for all the hardware. From there, I know I can just apt-get in the tools I need, and I won't have to spend a lot of time messing with it.

If you do this searching around, and don't find anyone who's far enough down the path to what you want, then only buy it if you're willing to take it on as a major project. There's nothing wrong with it, if you're confident that you can get it sorted out, and don't mind putting a lot of time into it. You'll likely be a hero to some folks if you do. Somebody has to do it, but you have to be willing and able to do it.

Most of the time though, I'm not this person. I have other things that I need to do, and would prefer to have something that "just works", especially if I'm spending a large amount of money on it and plan on relying on it for a good chunk of my productivity. The Eee PC for example, will make a fine portable pentesting computer for a lot of situations, but I'd have to put more time and effort into changing the way I'd naturally go about other tasks. Not the sort of thing I really want to get into right now.

Edit: another supporting point to what I'm talking about is the mention of the Nokia n770 and n800 above. Those are devices where people have already put some work into getting a good set of tools up and going, saving you some serious time (if the things you want to do match up with what they wanted to do). Very handy to look stuff like that up.

Edited by McGrewSecurity
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McGrewSecurity, before your reply I never considered the

There would be a lot of writes collecting and processing various data (packet logs, access logs, etc etc etc). I feel like I'd probably be a lot more abusive of the SSD than the average user, and it's not replaceable.

dose anyone know where I can find internal shots of this laptop?

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It should be supported very soon, however it's a new revision or modification, so the madwifi folks haven't caught up fully quite yet.

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what do you mean by soon, it's an ath 5212 chipset, which openbsd 4.2 supports already, unless you know something special about this chipset.

http://forums.bsdnexus.com/viewtopic.php?pid=16361

people have it running on openbsd already

Oh cool! The folks on the eeeuser.com forums have been using ndiswrapper (yuck).

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I've been watching and waiting for the EEEpc to come out. Now that it has, i am very eager to purchase one when I get the money for it.

One of the things that I was uncertain about was the wireless chipset. All the things that I had read just said everything was intel so I assumed to it was. But I am very glad to hear that it is an Atheros chipset as it can probally be used with the Aircrack suite.

I have an n770 and I love it. Kismet runs beautifully on it as well as nmap and many other security applications. The receive range on the N770 is phenomenal. It out powers all of my stock wifi devices.

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Hi,

I watch these forums quite a lot but don't post, but its time to get active i think.

I done some research on these earlier and they do seem alright i guess, well for the money, i mean what do you expect. They do have an atheros based wireless card but it uses the AR5BXB63 chipset which i've read on mutliple sites. I heard its quite good range and stabilty wise.

Having done some quick googling on madwifi according to the compatibilty list it seems its unsupported. So unless theres another driver i don't think it will work with the aircrack suite, which is a shame as it could of been quite promissing if it had compatible device.

Compatibilty Page

Although i guess you could just get a usb adapter which is supported and use that for testing your wireless security issues. Pretty neat bit of kit for the price but i think the 8gb version will be more viable, apparently having the OS installed on the 4gb version leaves you with 1.4gb space free, which will get filled up quite quickly if your pulling stuff off of the internet. On the other hand you could pull off the xandros distibution they have installed and install a slimmer distribution of linux on it or use a bootable usb drive.

Theres quite a lot you could do with it and because it was built with linux in mind and the standard distibution of linux uses kde so theoretically you shouldn't have to many driver headaches if you do choose to change it.

I don't know whether its true about the solid state drive being used having a smaller lifespan so it burns out quicker, but that was a really weak statment i have only read about once.

Thanks for reading,

Syk0

P.S sorry if my information is incorrect i haven't researched them in much depth and i don't own one so sorry if it is wrong.

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