Thursday, May 08, 2008

Asus Eee PC And NX

We always are testing ideas for lowering the costs associated with employees that have to work in the field. In years past, many of the EVDO cards required Microsoft Windows drivers to work. So that meant buying full fat clients so that that people could do thin client work.

My coworkers at the police department did some experimental work with the Asus Eee PC and got it working on Linux. It dials the EVDO card perfectly. The NX client loaded and they were able to log into the City network and access the full suite of City applications. Very cool.

So I got my hands on the device and did some cleanups on the servers to make it work better. The screen is 800x480 so when users log in, their desktop icons were displaying "off screen" because they had been configured for 1024x768 or higher. So, I put in a few lines of code pre gnome-session that detects resolution and lowers the icon scaled size:


TMP1=`/usr/bin/xdpyinfo | grep dimensions`
TMP2=` echo $TMP1 | awk -F " " ' {print $2}'`
SCREEN_WIDTH=` echo $TMP2 | awk -F "x" ' {print $1}'`
SCREEN_HEIGHT=` echo $TMP2 | awk -F "x" ' {print $2}'`

if [[ $SCREEN_HEIGHT = 600 ]]

if [[ $SCREEN_HEIGHT = 480 ]]

/opt/gnome/bin/gconftool-2 --type String --set /apps/nautilus/icon_view/default_zoom_level $THUMBS_NAUTILUS

I'm formulating a plan in my head now to lower the font point size to 8 when they log into this device, but want to make sure I am able to restore their desired fonts when logging into a regular resolution. I'm sure a simple flat file storage of settings will be pretty easy.

Obligatory picture, with regular keyboard for scale size.

Edit: We are testing the 4G model, prices start at $299. 4G On Amazon


John Goerzen said...


We're giving people Sierra Wireless 595U devices. USB because we don't have worry about what sort of expansion slot a given laptop has. Plus they work well in Linux -- just fire up PPP on the appropriate ttyUSB*. I've got a little udev magic to create a symlink to the appropriate ttyUSB* on device insertion.

Sprint recently discontinued the 595U and now sells a Novatel device that we expect to support on our Linux laptops in a few days.

Both support EVDO.

Steve said...

Hi Dave,

Did something like you with the Eee. Put the full Xandros OS on the Asus then loaded the TSclient to access Server 2003. Works great.



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