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The ubermix image will work on almost any netbook (as well as most laptops and desktops) although there are issues with some models. Be sure to read this entire page before you install for important notes and details. If you have not yet selected a netbook model, we are presently recommending the Dell Mini 1012, HP Mini 210 or 2102, Asus EeePC 1001/1005, and Acer AspireOne models. Other models are known to work as well - these we have found to be the best performing/most compatible.

Please also note that this image does work on most desktop and full-size laptops as well.


Download and Install for Netbooks/Laptops/Desktops w/ 512M+ RAM

This custom UNR install requires a USB key that is at least 2Gb in size. First, download the latest image file:

Current stable release (0.707) based on Ubuntu Lucid Lynx 10.04: http://drop.io/ubermix

Note: For model specific issues and configuration instructions, see the section at the bottom of this page.

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Prior Stable Releases:
Ubuntu Karmic 9.10 Based (Version 0.67): http://drop.io/ubermix
Ubuntu Jaunty 9.04 Based: http://do7.saugus.k12.ca.us/ubermix-key0.42.img


Creating the USB Key


  1. Determine where the image file was saved when you downoaded it from the web site. It should be in the root of your Home folder. If not, move it there.
  2. Insert your 2Gb+ USB key in any available USB port on your machine. Most Linux systems will automatically mount the key.
  3. We need to find out what disk the system assigned to the key. To do so, open up a terminal (usually under "Accessories") and type "mount" followed by the enter key. In the list of disks that appear, you should see your USB key at the bottom, listed as "/dev/sd*1" where * is probably a,b,c,or d. 
  4. Next, unmount the USB key by typing "umount /dev/sdX1" (replacing "X" with the letter you saw in the list on step 3)
  5. Finally, type in "sudo dd if=ubermix-key0.707.img of=/dev/sdX" followed by the enter key, where "X" is the letter you determined in step 3. When the command completes, you will have a USB key that is ready to boot and install the custom build of UNR on your netbook.


  1. These instructions assume you are using Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. If you are using another version of OS X, details may differ slightly. 
  2. Determine where the image file was saved when you downoaded it from the web site. Macs usually store downloaded files in the "Downloads" folder, which is in your home folder. Firefox often saves downloads in the Desktop. Move the downloaded image to your home folder.
  3. Insert your 2Gb+ USB key in one of the USB ports on your Mac.
  4. Switch to the Finder and open the "Utilities" folder (Go -> Utilities)
  5. Open "Disk Utility"
  6. When Disk Utility opens, locate your USB key in the panel on the left of the window. You will see two items in the list: the key itself ("Lexar" in the example below - yours will probably be different), and the volume that exists on the key ("usb_disk" in the example below - yours will probably be different). Ctrl-click on the volume ("usb_disk on the example - yours will be different) and select "Unmount"
  7. Close the Disk Utility, and Open "Terminal" in the "Utilities" window
  8. Type "diskutil list" in the terminal window, and look for your USB key in the list. The detail we are looking for is which device it is ("/dev/disk2" in the example below)
  9. Once you have determined which device it is, type in the following: "sudo dd if=ubermix-key0.707.img of=/dev/diskX" replacing the "X" with the disk number from step 8. When the command completes, you will have a USB key that is ready to boot and install the custom build of UNR on your netbook. Note that my experience has been that Macs do this rather slowly, for some reason. If you plan to make multiple keys, create one on the Mac, install on a netbook, and then use the netbook to make additional keys.


  1. Download win32disk imager from https://launchpad.net/win32-image-writer/+download
  2. Locate the zip file you just downloaded, right-click on it, and choose "Extract" to extract the application from the zip file.
  3. Locate the W32DiskImager.exe file you extracted, and double-click to run the application
  4. Select the ubermix-key0.707.img file you downloaded above.
  5. Insert your 2Gb+ USB key in a USB port on your PC
  6. Click on the refresh button on the right under "Device", and then select the drive letter of your USB key
  7. Click on the "Write" button and wait until the operation completes.


Installing on your System

Instructions for booting a system from a USB key will vary from system to system, so you will want to consult the manual that came with your system if the following instructions do not work for some reason.

Warning: If your netbook has never had the ubermix installed on it, this process will erase everything on your netbook. If there is anything on it that you want to keep, you will want to back it up prior to performing the following steps. As of version .65, netbooks that already have ubermix .65 or later on them can simply be upgraded, with no loss of user files.

  1. If your netbook is turned on, shut it down first.
  2. Insert the USB key you created in the prior steps, and press the power button on your netbook.
  3. When you see a splash screen press whatever key is appropriate for your machine to show the boot menu. For Asus EeePCs and HP Mini it is usually escape, for Dell it's usually F12.
  4. Select the USB key from the menu and press the Enter key on your keyboard

In a few seconds, you will see a menu containing installation options, as follows:

  1. Install Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.04
  2. Apply simple updates
  3. Do both 1 & 2
  4. Fast image (both 1 & 2, format user home, no prompts)
  5. Expert Options

Note: If the system hangs on a flashing cursor while booting from the key, please see Model Specific Issues section below for instructions.

Understanding the options:

When designing this setup, the concept behind the installation process has been to create a general base installation, represented by option 1, and then add on a mechanism for customizing the base installation easily, which is represented by option 2. Option 1 is therefore required, as it is the entire operating systemThe modifications in option 2 represent only changes to the base install, and therefore require that the base install be completed first. Options 3 and 4 were added to speed the installation process, and option 5 is there for experts wishing to customize the image to match their environment.

By default, option 1 contains everything described in part 1 - Overview. Option 2 applies simple updates as described under section 4 - Customization, and should only be run on a system that has already been installed per option 1. On a default key, the pre-built simple updates are those that we use for student netbooks here at Saugus. They remove a number of preferences and settings icons from the interface (but not the underlying programs, so they still can be run), add on iTalc client for workstation management, and set up an automatic update mechanism that makes it possible to make mass changes to all systems at once. For details, see section 4 - Customization.


Model Specific Issues and Instructions

Booting off of the install key hangs with a flashing cursor on Acer AspireOne D250, HP Mini 311, and perhaps other models

The Acer AspireOne D250 and HP Mini 311 (and perhaps others) with Broadcom B/G wireless adapters have a faulty BIOS configuration that can cause them to hang intermittently on boot when attempting to install the ubermix system using the ubermix-key. To resolve this issue, follow steps 1-4 above under Installing on your System, except this time press the "esc" key on your keyboard when you see "Press ESC to enter the menu" immediately after pressing Enter on step 4. Next, do the following:

  1. Press "e" to edit the Ubermix menu option
  2. Press the down arrow to select the line that begins with "kernel"
  3. Press "e" again to edit that line
  4. Press the space bar to add a space, then type in "noapic nolapic" at the end of the line (do not type the quotation marks)
  5. Press "Enter" on your keyboard to save the change. Note that this change is temporary - these procedures must be repeated for each subsequent use of the key.
  6. Press "b" on your keyboard to boot the machine

EeePC 1001P (and possibly other untested Asus "P" models)

The brightness controls don't work correctly out of the box and the wireless will require a new driver. Fixes for these issues will be included in ubermix-key versions 0.703 and above, but in the mean time, see EeePC 1001P Updates for instructions on how to resolve these issues.

EeePC 1005HA and Acer AspireOne D250 Models

The Microphones on these models are a bit different from others, in that they are digital, rather than analog mics. This makes the input volume controls non-functional in the volume applet at the top-right corner of the screen. To control the input volume on these models, go to "Sound and Video", open the "GNOME ALSA Mixer" application, and adjust the "Digital" slider.

Toshiba Netbooks

Toshiba netbooks exhibit a variety of problems, with the most prevalent being identifying the state of the headphone jack, which causes the internal speakers to turn themselves off. It is possible to get a customized kernel that works around the problem (see this bug report for details), however such a model specific customization might hamper functionality on other netbooks, and will therefore not be included in this build. Users have reported other problems with newer models, which leads us to the conclusion that these are simply not worth the trouble.

Netbooks with Broadcom Wireless Adapters (Dell Mini 1011(10v) & 1012, Acer AspireOne D150, HP Mini 110, Lenovo S10, etc.)

Unfortunately, the Broadcom driver requires custom configuration that interferes with the operation of other wireless adapters, so we don't install it on the ubermix-key by default. We do, however, include the driver with an easy script to activate it. To do so, follow the instructions on the Broadcom Wireless page.

Samsung Netbooks

Samsung netbooks have generally goofy hardware configurations. An independent developer has a number of packages that make them mostly work at http://is.gd/aJgsl . To install these, follow the instructions in 4 - Customization to boot with aufs=off first, then follow the instructions at http://is.gd/aJgsl to install the repository and get the packages. Your mileage may vary, depending on the model. I have tested on the N130 and N140, and the wireless does work after install, but some of the hotkeys don't. My recommendation - avoid Samsung netbooks.

Netbooks with Z520/530 processors and/or GMA500 graphics cards

Very few netbooks come in this configuration - I've only seen these chips in the original circa 2008 Dell Mini 10, some older Dell Latitude 2100s and the Asus EeePC T91. Do not install on these models, or any other as the GMA500 graphics card is not supported.


jklein, 09/21/10 11:38 (GMT)