What To Do With A VIA EPIA ML.

For quite some time, I have been the proud owner (sic) of a VIA EPIA ML, mini ITX motherboard. I bought it almost in a whim, when a colleague of mine wanted to get one for himself and at the time when the purchase took place, it seemed like a fantastic idea. The theory was, that I would build me a machine that would stay up 24/7. Of course, it had to be as quiet as possible and as low consuming as possible, even if it meant sacrificing features and performance. “What was the intended use?” I hear you ask. Well, since I am out of the house many hours a day, which means that no one is using the internet at that time, it would make a very nice “Download Server”. I was also thinking I could set up a Web Server and/or and FTP Server on it too, mainly to experiment. There were some thoughts in the back of my head, about turning it into a file server, but that would be an added bonus to what I was planning. Let’s say that my main concern was to be able to download noise free.

The model I got was the EPIA-ML6000EAG. With a 667MHz cpu and 1GB maximum RAM, it seems as a poor choice, but hey, I was on a tight budget! At about 60$ it was almost the only choice for a fanless system I intended to build. Since I could spare no extra expenses, I used a memory chip I had laying around, an old 200W ATX power supply and put the whole bunch inside a cardboard box! No, that’s not a typo, I really had a PC inside a cardboard box! Oh, come on! Give me some slack! I am not the first one to do that, you know… Style was not my main concern, plus, it would be hidden away below my router.

Supposedly, it was designed to work well with Windows, so I installed WinXP, uTorrent, FileZilla, Apache and a couple of other little programs and then took some time to marvel at what I had achieved. Not much that is… No doubt it would run, but that would be slow as hell. It didn’t bother me though. Remember, I was planning to leave it running all day, so slow or not, it would do what it was supposed to do. And it served me well, for more than a year. But recently, it had become a pain to work with and since I’ve been mistreating netbooks by installing all kinds of Linux on them, I thought about getting my hands on the EPIA as well.

The first distro I tried, was Mint. Having installed Mint on the eeePC, made me think that it would somehow be ideal for what I wanted. The installation was brief and problem free, but the results were far worse than I anticipated. Gnome was terribly slow and no matter how much I tried to tweak the settings, it would still be uncomfortably slow. I know, I know… With only 667 Mhz what could one expect? Anyway, after many installations and dare I say much frustration, I ended up installing Peppermint, which seems to be a lighter version of Mint. I cannot say much about the GUI, because apart from the initial boot, I have not seen it :). I chose to boot it straight to console, so I would not waste any resources. This can easily be done by editing the /etc/default/grub configuration file:

sudo nano /etc/default/grub.

Locate the line that says GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=”quiet splash”
and change it to                  GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=”quiet splash text”

When you are finished, don’t forget to update GRUB

sudo update-grub

Reboot and you’re seeing a nice console!

Next thing I wanted to do, is set up an SSH server, so I could connect to EPIA remotely and perform whatever tasks I wanted. If you are planning to follow any directions I post here, keep in mind that I am talking console only! Forget Gnome, KDE, or any other window manager. I don’t like it very much myself, I admit, but trust me, that was the only way I could achieve satisfactory results. Moreover it is a very good chance to learn a thing or two about the command line, right? With Windows, all you have to do, is enable remote desktop on your computer, forward port 3389 on your router and you’re done. In Linux however, remote desktop is not so simple, especially when you don’t have another Linux box to connect to your PC… SSH on the other hand is simple as it can be, minus the lack of pretty graphics. In order to install the OpenSSH Server you need to type:

sudo apt-get install ssh

You now have an SSH server up and running and you can test it right away by typing:

ssh localhost

If it asks for your confirmation to allow the connection, you’ve installed it correctly and technically you can start connecting to your PC from anywhere you want. There are plenty of settings for you to mess with, but I have not yet gotten down to that. As soon as I make any progress on the subject I will post right away.

The basic set up is completed, the box is working finer than fine and I am able to access it from anywhere in the world. In Windows, I use Putty as my SSH client and I highly recommend it, since it is light, quick and delivers. What I need to do now, is set up an FTP Server, maybe a web server as well and of course find a torrent client that runs from the command line. Stay tuned for more…


10 Responses to “What To Do With A VIA EPIA ML.”

  1. February 12, 2011 at 5:23 am

    you can use freenas as well, my friend…
    you can accsees it anywhere, you can use torrent from accessing anywhere, you can have a itunes library and raid for home sharing….
    besides it has a nice web interface…

    sadly i have the same box and it became a pain in the ass….

    i planned to use jolicloud or meego with my epia, but unfortunately they both don’t support via epia ml series….


    by installing jolicloud…..my plan was making a media player by using boxee for my lcd and an easy and fast internet access by using chromium…..


    anyways i also tried good os 3.1 and ubuntu,
    the resutls was not good….
    i also planned to try mint but you said it was not estonishing,

    so i will try peppermint too anytime soon….
    thanks for the idea……

    i will also try windows embedded…
    i downloaded 2009 and will download 2011

    maybe i get results

    ıhhhhhhhhhh, i really don’t think i’ll get good resultssssss

  2. February 12, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    The more I look at it the more I think I should have gone for an Intel or Asus mini ITX. For the time being, I am satisfied with PepperMint and I work almost exclusively on the command line.

    I don’t think you have much chance in making epia into a media player, sorry. No cpu for that. But you gave me a very nice idea with FreeNas. I think I will give it a shot and make it into a NAS for my home network.

  3. February 13, 2011 at 1:08 am

    I have tried peppermint today, and it looks nice…..
    and it sure is faster than mint itself
    thank you for the advice….

    and since i am a newbie about linux
    can you tell me if you are having problems in youtube and other online media streaming like me… i can’t get continious streaming…
    it can be a graphic card insufficiency or is it??????

    and the fonts ofthe sub menus(and firefox) are really really small, how can i increase?

    thanks anyway…

  4. February 13, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    I am afraid epia does not have enough cpu power for youtube. I know it sounds strange, but streaming video relies on cpu. I have the same problem with my eeePC (that also runs on 900MHz). Firefox uses a lot of RAM too, so it could be that also. Try installing Chrome and check if playback is smoother. I saw great improvement on the eeePC when I switched to Chrome.

    Not sure about the fonts… Try the solution they propose here: http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=76&t=37038

    I wish I helped 🙂

  5. February 18, 2011 at 6:51 am

    Hi there again…..

    3 days ago i also asked Via support team about youtube and online streaming:

    “i cannot watch youtube properly with my EPIA ML 6000,
    peppermint one linux is installed and i can watch
    offline videos pretty well…
    but when it comes to youtube, it is not properly showing the videos

    can i do anything about it?
    buying a graphic card etc????
    if so which one should i choose??? ”

    and the answer they gave to me:

    “Youtube use a special format to play the video files over the internet. The EPIA-ML is on odler board and the cpu and chipset are not able to handle this well.
    With an extra graphic card over pci slot you can try to improve this function. But I can not give you a reference here, there are to many cards on the market. But you have to use pci and not pcie one.

    Please see also user manual about the board.

    The funny thing is i have downloaded a lot of flv video files and Mint installed VIA-epia ml
    is streaming the flowlessly,but when it comes to online flv it over 240p it fails…

    so i guess, i will buy a second hand graphic card for my via ml…..
    do you have a suggestion for graphic card, that can support online streaming?

    by the way i installed Mint Julia and it is pretty well…..
    But Just like you mentioned, it is a bit slower than peppermint. But all the other feathers are much more better than peppermint…

    My only problem about Mint is “workgroup”
    I opended the files under home file for sharing and windows 7 can easily see and play what is in them, but when it comes to Mint…UHHHHHHHH !!!!
    It drives me crazy…

    It sees the windows 7 machines under workgroup folder, but cannot see the files i share in windows 7 machines….

    I typed my home group password but it cannot get into the workgroup….
    Am i missing something here?????

    By the way i guess BOXEE player can not be properly openning in via epia ml, is it???


    I saw your Via box :))

    Once i have seen a via box made with LEGOs :=))

  6. February 18, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Mind you, that when you play a video over the internet, it is slightly different than playing it from a downloaded file. Your browser downloads piece by piece the flv and plays it at the same time. This buffering, slows down the cpu and memory even more.

    What they told you about the PCI card *could* work but don’t get your hopes too high. You see older video cards did not have special instructions for video playback (as newer ones do). Maybe if you could get an ATI Rage or similar, since they were the first to support such a thing.

    About the Windows share… Are you trying to use the new Win7 shares? I am not sure it works. You could try to enable the old shares and it should work. See this link here: http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows-7/share-files-and-printers-between-windows-7-and-xp/

    Then it should be easy to see the shared files from Linux.

    Unfortunately I don’t think I can help you with BOXEE. I’ve never used it. From what I saw on their website though, they are targeting newer hardware, so you might have a problem with VIA. You can always try though 😉

  7. January 27, 2015 at 11:21 pm

    It was confusing at first, because years of using Internet search has taught us to press Enter instantly right after typing in text to get a outcomes

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