Netbook experiment ends

I have had my Asus Eee (701 – 4G – Linux) for exactly 12 months (give or take).

Yesterday I completely hosed it.

I have kept my dev machine off t’intarweb for years so I don’t have to run a ton of resource sapping security crapware. I’d always used a disposable pc (Mrs Smurfs ;-)) for on-line stuff, as its not completely intertwined with the main dev work I do.

I have toyed with Linux for years too, but not at any great depth. And although I have a few successful installs under my belt, I have also had a few significant fails. Like my Sony where Fedora was crammed into a 100×75 mm (4 by 3 inch) box in the middle of the screen and no amount of faffing and swearing would make it usable.

The big draw of netbooks for me then was to get a properly working Linux to try to do my web stuff. In that it has proved stunningly successful, I have also done plenty of work in OpenOffice, which has also worked out very well.

Overall the netbook experiment has been a resounding success, 200 quid for a fit and forget web box I would rate as good value. I have mainly had it pugged into a big screen, keyboard and mouse, but it has proved useful on the road too, although really that 7 inch screen is too small, especially for spreadsheeting.

The other downer is the Linux distro it comes with, a custom version of Xandros. The Eee on-line repositories just did not have the additional software I wanted (OOo3, Ff3, Gimp, Gnumeric for example). And getting a more mainstream Linux on it looks like a pile of pain.

The final downer and the cause of the end of the experiment is that 4Gb drive. About half of that is reserved by the system, another 1Gig odd is used by some other thing, and the spare user chunk is about 400 Mb. In trying to update my Eee last night it ran out of disc space, massively, and terminally. Well, it probably would have recovered if I hadn’t turned it off because I got bored of waiting.

Poor version of Linux + small screen + inadequate hard drive = game over. I recovered it back to factory settings today. One of the smurflings will be getting a well cewl laptop from Santa – I just hope I can get all those biscuit crumbs out of the keyboard!

My netbook future? I’m going to wait around for the next few release cycles. The Acer Aspire One fixes 2 out of three of those problems. The HP mini note fixes all of them but is 100 quid (200 150 USD) too much. I think the next few months will see more adoption of mainstream disties (probably Ubuntu from what I have read) by netbook manufacturers.

My on-line future? I have just installed Ubuntu on my old dev box and will be using that:

Top Linux + big sreeen + big drive + zero cost = winner.

I mentioned a while ago that return rates for Linux netbooks were aledgedly 4 times the Windows rate. That was a quote from an MSI margeteer. The boss of Asus says for them, the return rates are identical. In related news MSI’s Linux distro got widely panned, so it sounds like it was their crappy implementation that is backfiring on them.

I could of course persevere with the Eee, use a big SD card to fix the disc size issue, and use Eeebuntu etc, and I would happily do that if I didn’t have a spare box floating around.

Of course if Asus bring out a kitty Eee I’ll be straight in there.

cheers

Simon

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3 Responses to “Netbook experiment ends”

  1. Ross Says:

    Ubuntu! you cofin dogger! All the kids are running kubuntu these days! I just set up a dual boot with Kubuntu, I dont think I will be using windows much, Kubuntu is amazing! I might even try KDE 4.1 at some point!

    I was think about this last night (as I was sorting out my screen res issue!) there are more and more Linux distro that at are getting really easy to use, and are “better” than windows… thats got to be good for users right! Happy days indeed!

    Your still rating a netbook over a ultra portable then?

  2. Simon Says:

    Oh purrrlease
    I had that KDE _LAST_ year, Don’t you have telly where you live? Gnomes the future. Next you’ll be telling us bell bottoms are back in!

    Yep totally agree, modern Linux is a doddle, and improving all the time. I’m going to have a mess with that netbook remix as that seems like a great idea.

    Netbook v ultra portable? Are you thinking of those Vye things, or big smart phones? Or proper laptops?

    Its the 200 quid, no brainer, disposable, usable keyboard, full office suite, full browser, full email that I love about netbooks. Over 300 quid though and I’d rather pay 6/700+ and get a tip top dual core big ram ultra portable laptop. Or maybe even 1500 of whatever a macbook is.

    Oh and did you really mean coffin *dogger*? thats normally a carpark activity isn’t it?

  3. Ross Says:

    LOL!!!! yeah must be on my mind or somthing!!:)))) Nippy!

    ultra port, yeah I ment a 700 quid 10″er, I think there the best bet if you need a small lappy but are into PC’s. These netbook thingys seem a bit light weight, I know your saying that it’s a black box, use it only for net and a bit of light work, it’s just that I cant ever see you actually doing that – well, I cant ever see me doing that, is really what i mean!

    I’ll give the macbook a miss if thats ok?

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