18th June 2010

Installing Meego for dual boot[Samsung NC10]

This entry applies specifically to Meego 1.0; there is already an updated version (1.1) since the 28th October 2010.

This is a very small guide describing the steps I took to install Meego on my netbook (Samsung NC10), preparing it to dual boot with the default XP installation.

This netbook includes a 160 Gb hard disk with 3 partitions: one hidden, the partition with XP and an additional with 85 Gb; I installed Meego on part of this last partition, which contained only some data I was able to get rid of. For the record, I first did a complete system backup, using Acronis True Image. I was then able to proceed with the installation.

  1. I downloaded the Chrome version and created a USB stick, following the instructions in the Meego web site.
  2. I restarted then the netbook, booting from the USB stick [my BIOS was configured already to start from USB, if present].
  3. On the initial menu, I opted directly for the only install option.
  4. Then it comes the language choice, and immediately the partition selection: select here create custom layout. The existing layout is:
    • sda1, 6 Gb: this is the recovery partition
    • sda2, 62 Gb: the XP partition
    • sda3, 85 Gb: the additional partition, where Meego will be installed.
    It is needed to remove this last partition, to create a few new partitions. I decided to let a partition of about 40 Gb that could still be used in Windows. So, remove first the sda3 partition, and the create:
    • Swap partition:
      • mount point: [None]
      • file system: swap
      • size: 4096 Mb
    • Boot partition:
      • mount point: /boot
      • file system: ext3
      • size: 200 Mb
    • Root partition:
      • mount point: /
      • file system: brtfs
      • size: 40600 Mb
    • Remaining size, allocated for a Windows partition:
      • mount point: [None]
      • file system: vfat
      • size: fill to maximum allowable size
    The order on which the partitions are created is not particularly important, as the installation will not create them in the given order. What I was unable to do was to rethink some steps: creating a partition and then removing it to be created with different parameters would usually require rebooting the system to start again. This is not that bad -no changes are commited on the hard disk until later-
  5. The next input requests whether to use a password for the boot loader, and it is now possible to edit the entries in the boot loader: label /dev/sda2 as 'Windows XP'. For some reason (or bug), I was only able to add /dev/sda1, which was rather useless, so I had to edit the boot configuration later (see below).
  6. Reboot, removing first the USB drive. It is now needed to add some settings: -Keyboard, location, date, send or not crashes information, and user / password.

Easy, and fast, these steps build a dual boot Meego / XP configuration. In the Samsung NC-10, all the hardware works fine; not all hotkeys are programmed, in special the brightness keys do not work, although the volume / mute and a few others are correctly setup. To correct the brightness hotkeys, please follow these instructions. The Wifi hardware also works fine, requiring obviously configuring the connection.

The system is now able to dual boot, although it is configured in such a way that no initial menu is displayed, and it really looks as only Meego is available. The boot loader in Meego is not Grub -or Grub2-, but extlinux, a syslinux variant, and is configured using the file /boot/extlinux/extlinux.conf. To have a timeout of 2 seconds, and the OS menu shown, the following entries are required (the second, in fact, requires commenting it out):

timeout 20
#menu hidden
In my installation, Windows XP was associated to /dev/sda1 instead of /dev/sda2, so a further change was needed on this file: under the option menu for Windows XP, which in my case looked like:
label Other
	menu label Windows XP
	kernel chain.c32
	append boot 1
the last line had to change into
append boot 2