HD Playback in Ubuntu: VDPAU on an ION Netbook

GPU Video enhanced playback is becoming more and more important with the availability of low cost Netbook and Nettop CPUs.

If your device features an ION gpu (such as my Lenovo S12 netbook) you will be able to playback even 1080p HD Videos using VDPAU in Linux. These implementations are also available for Windows as DXVA (Direct X  Video Accelleration) or NVIDIAs CUDA interface (which is not limited to enhancing video performance).

To use VDPAU simply follow these steps:

  1. make sure you are using the restricted NVIDIA drivers
  2. grab a trailer from http://www.h264info.com/clips.html – I used the 1080p Simpsons movie trailer
  3. download mplayer-nogui: apt-get install mplayer-nogui
  4. playback using vdpau: mplayer -vo vdpau -vc ffh264vdpau The\ Simpsons\ Movie\ -\ 1080p\ Trailer.mp4 vdpau
  5. For comparison: mplayer The\ Simpsons\ Movie\ -\ 1080p\ Trailer.mp4   novdpau
  6. When using a mplayer GUI such as smplayer or gnome-mplayer, make sure to select vdpau in the video playback options
  7. Enjoy Full HD video playback

Ubuntu 9.04 released

Jaunty Jackalope is IMHO. so far the best choice for any Netbook users out there.
I have been running the beta on my 1000HE for about 2 weeks now and its running great with very few minor issues. Finally, every bit of hardware was detected and installed with no further interaction necessary.

If you are running on an EEE PC, i can recommend getting the Eeeasy scripts for improved APCI and fan control.

Bootchart clocks the bootup time with a nice 29 seconds and i will also be installing and testing it on the AspireOne A110L and the good old EEE701.

The official release comes in 3 Tracks:

  • Desktop: ok we dont need to discuss this one 😉
  • Server: Built for Servers, no graphical foo (now features encrypted /home directories)
  • Netbook-Remix: Designed for small screens with good “Out of the Box” hardware support for netbooks

Update: The Aspire One 110L with a SSD drive clocks at 17 Seconds bootup time

Asus epc and 3G internet via USB phone connection

Last week i took some time to add mobile 3G internet connectivity to my Epc using my Nokia e61 as a 3G modem.

My phone supports modem support using the USB data cable, bluetooth or the integrated WI-FI.

I plan to go for the cable first since i always carry one around and being mobile often means draining as less power as possible from both my Epc and my mobile phone.

First of all you need to make sure you have the Debian repositories in your /etc/apt/sources.lst and theninstall wvdial by using the install command apt-get install wvdial

After the installation you will need to modify your /etc/wvdial.conf in order to build up the internet connection.

This is just a basic example but it should work with the current Nokia phones:

[Dialer Defaults]
Init1 = ATZ
Init2 = ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0
Modem Type = USB Modem
Baud = 460800·
New PPPD = yes
Modem = /dev/ttyACM0
ISDN = 0
Phone = *99#
Password = blank
Username =blank

Select the Suite connection type on your phone when you connect it via the USB cable and then fire up wvdial.

Gnome SSH Tunnel Manager

If you use encrypted ssh tunnels a lot you may find this tool pretty interesting.

Gstm is a fully functional gui for managing all your ssh tunnels and redirects.I really like this on the EEE PC because it saves a lot of keyboard interaction.

A simple apt-get install gstm will immediately install the software package, providing you have the correct repositories.

bildschirmfoto-ssh-tunnel-manager.png bildschirmfoto-tunnel-properties.png


eeeXubuntu – USB version

Before installing any operating system on your SSD i recommend testing it. Id rather keep a set of SD cards with me than overriting the original xandros os.

You can download the ISO version and create a USB version from the live cd or just download a customized USB-ready version. The file is 560 Megs and available through bt.

eeeXubuntu_USB Version on Pirate Bay

Still downloading, test reports will follow 🙂

Backtrack 3 on the Eee PC

Just gave the Eee PC a few testing runs with backtrack booting from a usb pen drive. Just download the full usb version and follow the installation instructions to create a bootable distro.

The backtrack distro scales pretty fine to the Eee PC resolution but requires a manual interface reset so the monitoring works correctly.

Simply associate the wireless devices by using the following commands:

airmon-ng stop ath0
airmon-ng start wifi0

Note that i will not post any instructions on how to crack encrypted wireless networks or such. If network administration is your profession then take the time to learn and explore with bt3 on your own equiptment and use your knowledge to block off script kiddie pranksters or use up-to-date encryption.

My next goal is to boot bt3 from a 1GB sd card and store it with my Eee PC in case i need it. The current bootable version should fit but regarding prices for flash memory, a 2 GB SD card surely wont hurt your wallet.

Btw. the Eee PC boot menu can be accessed by pressing Escape during the POST screen.


Backtrack 3 will boot from an SD card as well, installation procedure is the same .

Eee PC: Custom Repositories & compatibility list

Once you get used to the Eee you will soon want to use additional software that is not in the official repositories. To add a new repository simply edit your /etc/apt/sources.lst and add a repository, e.g.

deb http://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/ stable main contrib non-free

Caution: Additional repositories may screw up your system so do this at your own risk. I recommend to disable the repository when not needed once you have installed the desired software.

Xandros recommends not to install any KDE related software from third party repositories because this may lead to an inconsistency in your libraries. Before installing software, always check if the package manager will try to update an previously installed software. For stability reasons, i hardly recommend not doing this.

After adding repositories a simple apt-get update will fetch the new packet list and you can browse the mirror using apt-cache search *packetname*

Some Packages i added safely:

Network: xchat, nmap, aircrack, aircrack-ng, airsnort, kismet, tcpdump, iperf, etherape

Misc Tools: htop

First conclusion on the Asus Eee PC

Well after the Eee finally hit Germany i got my unit yesterday and it seem the device went out of stock pretty fast 🙂

After some hours with the device i would like to post my first experience.


The display quality is very good regarding the resolution. You are able to see the screen from every angle with practically no blind spots with some minor drop in contrast.

The device comes with a VGA port to hook up an external display which will let you give presentation without any problems. Dont let the 800×400 fool you because you can run up to 1024×768 on an external device depending on whether you’re using dual screen or the crop on the device. Anyhow, the quality on a monitor is very outstanding.


Unboxing the device and hooking it up to the net took me just about 5 Minutes. Network setup is pretty easy and the wizard offers a large variety from WLAN, DSL Dial-Up, VPN connections and many more.

The link quality is actually better than my Linksys pci card, my sitecom usb wifi-adapter and the broadcom in my 2 year old Acer Aspire laptop. It probably owns my N800 tablet regarding link quality.


The interface is very user friendly, actually even easier to use than windows. The application categories are divided by tabs and are split up into Internet, Work, Learning, Playing, Settings and Favorites…

Advanced Desktop mode is also available which will take you to a typical KDE desktop but IMO requires a higher resolution unless you like scrolling around a lot. If you are using an external display – you will not notice any difference to a workstation or a laptop.


For a portable device, the volume on the Eee PC is pretty loud and quality is about laptop standard. The built-in camera is only 0,3 MP but is fine for video calls like skype. The built-in microphone is suited for wireless conversations on the device and works fine here. You will probably have a hard time in a busy street but even for extreme situations you can always use the integrated speaker and microphone jack.