Government // Enterprise Architecture
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4/7/2008
11:30 AM
Serdar Yegulalp
Serdar Yegulalp
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ASUS's Eee, Virtually Free

How'd you like to try out the ASUS Eee without paying a dime, sort of?  ASUS just posted the software development kit for its groundbreaking Linux-powered notebook on SourceForge, along with a fully functional system image of the Eee's Xandros OS.  It's not quite the same experience as the machine itself, but for those itching to develop for it, this is a way to get a jump-start on that without

How'd you like to try out the ASUS Eee without paying a dime, sort of?  ASUS just posted the software development kit for its groundbreaking Linux-powered notebook on SourceForge, along with a fully functional system image of the Eee's Xandros OS.  It's not quite the same experience as the machine itself, but for those itching to develop for it, this is a way to get a jump-start on that without needing the hardware itself.

The package on SourceForge consists of two .ISO images and a slew of other files; one .ISO contains the development environment and the other is an image of the Eee PC 701's recovery disk.  The development environment is just an install of Xandros with the dev tools, which can be installed on a full PC or in a virtual machine.

The SDK includes the Eclipse IDE, and the included instructions give you the basics of how to build an application for the Eee.  Obviously, it's assumed that you know how to write apps for Linux in the first place, so the instructions focus on things that are specific to the Eee -- like packaging and integrating your app with the system and adding it to the program launcher (which is done with fairly straightforward XML).  Also included in the dev environment is a demo version of CodeWeavers CrossOver Linux, which allows native Windows applications and app plugins to run in Linux.

If you install the dev environment on a full machine, you can then use a built-in copy of the VMWare Player to launch the recovery disk and emulate the Eee within.  Another approach is to take the recovery disk image and convert that to a VMWare virtual disk image using an included conversion script.  A third approach is to boot the recovery image and use that to build an Eee system within a virtual machine; I'll post more about my experiences with that in the future.

Bugs and other project notes are being filed directly through SourceForge, as with any other open source project hosted there.  I'll be keeping an eye on this to see what future editions of the SDK will hold.

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