A blog for the enterprise open source community
Frustration and flight for my Linux netbookJay Lyman, February 3, 2009 @ 2:37 am ET
I’m grateful to be writing a post about Linux netbooks that continues my rather bullish stance on the open source OS and the opportunity in this new form factor. You see, for a couple of recent days, it seemd I might have to retract some of my enthusiasm based on a disappointing experience.
I wrote recently about my hunt for a Linux-powered netbook, which was somewhat difficult to locate with several outlets sold out of Linux models while still offering Windows XP-based netbooks. I’m happy to report I was able to find a solid netbook running Linux and when it arrived at my home, it occurred to me that this was the first pre-installed Linux machine I had ever purchased (never mind the five other computers in the house converted from Windows to Linux or dual-boot).
I ended up going with the Acer Aspire One, and while I was somewhat reluctant about the pre-installed Linpus Lite after hearing that it was somewhat underpowered and somewhat limited, particularly for Linux, my wife and I figured we should at least try it out. While we found the Linpus useable out of the box, we went through some of the commands to broaden the options and applications available. Still, it was not on par with the experience I have had with the main distribution I use on my notebook computers: Ubuntu Linux in terms of look and feel, available applications and package management.
So before too long, I had created a USB key with Ubuntu Netbook Remix on it. I’m usually not one to get into beta software, but I figured it would be worth a try. After booting from the USB stick, the UNR looked nice from the get-go. The wireless connection was relatively easy to configure and before long, we were playing with this netbook version of Ubuntu. However, it, too, was somewhat limited in functionality and applications available. The next move was to switch to regular Ubuntu desktop (8.04 Hardy Heron, which is the basis for the UNR).
Since then, we’ve been enjoying our Linux netbook very much. We’ve tuned the desktop to the look and feel we each like using different user profiles, downloaded some of our favorite open source games and given the new computer a comprehensive test drive. I’m happy to report I still have confidence that Linux is a great fit for netbooks. I wonder if folks getting Windows XP-based netbooks will also be wanting to upgrade to a more modern OS? Time will tell.
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