Monday, July 6, 2009

Asus Eee Pc 901 with Xandros - first impression


I recently purchased two refurbished netbooks. The first one is the Acer Aspire One (160gig drive and Windows XP). The second one is the Asus Eee Pc 901 (4gig ssd and Xandros Linux). I read (along with everyone else) about the failure of Linux with Netbooks and that now Netbooks are dominated by Windows XP. I was very interested to note my own impression of using a Netbook with a supplied Linux distribution.

Within one hour of using Xandros on the Asus, I was using a level of profanity only found on sea going vessels. If this was my first experience with Linux I would run for the hills. I was going to write down a whole list of things that did not work correctly on Asus/Xandros, but I realized it that would be waste of time. If you are in the market for a refurbished netbook with Xandros, realize that it is unusable and that you will have to install your own OS.

Luckily in the Linux world you have a choice and you have two great choices (and more arriving every day):

1.) Ubuntu Netbook Remix: http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu/download-netbook




2.) Moblin: http://moblin.org/



I really liked Moblin. It has a very different interface that takes a bit of time to get used to. Boot times are really fast - a few seconds. The only thing I don't like about it is that it comes with the Chrome browser instead of Firefox or Opera. Granted the Chrome browser's interface fit in well with the rest of the Moblin interface, but Chrome on Linux at the present moment is a disaster (crash-r-us).

Ubuntu Netbook Remix runs like a champ on both my netbooks (the Asus and the Acer). Everything works: webcam, sound and all the special function keys like adjusting the contrast, etc. I was also able to connect my HTC Touch Pro phone and connect to the internet via the phone's internet connect sharing software (ICS). The only fly in the ointment might be if you are a Skype user, but this might be something to do with sound server in Jaunty (9.04). Things worked fine in 8.04 - but with time that will be fixed.

If you are interested in trying Ubuntu Netbook Remix on your Netbook the best online resource for getting a bootable USB key is via PendriveLinux: http://www.pendrivelinux.com/usb-ubuntu-netbook-remix-install/

Note of caution: If you want to install Ubuntu UNR (netbook remix) on a netbook that comes with Windows and you want to dual-boot, the best practice is to resize your hard disk with GParted first. The UNR installer only offered a co-exist option that creates a silly 4 gig partition.
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