My Asus Eee PC 900 turned 2 last week!
All things considered, it has served me well these past two years, and for the price I got it (€350-ish I think), it was money well spent.
Considering my previous laptop, a massive Dell Inspiron 9100 that weighed a ton and had a broken fan that sounded like a jet engine, a portable netbook was a godsend.
It shipped with a crappy linux distro designed for it called Xandros, and it really left a lot to be desired. The menu consisted of a top bar divided into categories of different applications: Office, Internet etc.
Outside of that, the file management was a nightmare, and even opening a shell took far more work than necessary, so I switched to Windows XP.
The hard drive is 20GB consisting of 4GB and 16GB SSDs, so sensibly I installed Windows XP to the smaller drive and used the 16GB for documents etc, and after a bit of playing around with XP’s settings (disabling pagefile, moving Program Files and Documents to the larger drive), Windows XP has stood strong to this day.
Occasionally trying alternative operating systems along the (including a failed attempt at OSX, and a reasonable go at Windows 7 RC), 95% of the time, XP has been perfect.
But when I recently heard of new ‘netbook specific’ operating systems being launched all over the place, I was intrigued. So I decided to try a few as an alternative to XP.
I tried Jolicloud, and it worked ok, but the install to my 8GB SD card meant that the bootloader only worked with a usb plugged in, and it wasn’t as good as I’d hoped. It was a bit too cloud based for my liking and lacked a desktop feel.
Secondly, I tried meego, and it wouldn’t even install correctly. I did play around with the live usb and it looked lovely, but again seemed very cloud based, and quite similar to the original Xandros distro.
So as a last resort, I looked up Ubuntu 10.04 Netbook Remix. I had tried eeebuntu previously about a year ago, and it seemed promising but it had felt very beta, and wasn’t what I’d call a complete OS.
So I threw it on a usb, and installed it to the SD card, leaving my hard-drives intact with my trusty XP.
It works swimmingly, no issues getting it to work with any of the hardware, and with the help of this wonderful post by The Silent Number, I now have all the software I need working perfectly.
I did find that Firefox was a little slow, so I exported my bookmarks over to Chromium, and bar the fact that I can’t re-organise the icons in the launcher, it seems great.
I’m going to leave Windows XP on the hard-drive for now, but if a fresh OS means I manage to get a few more months (or even a year, touch wood) out of an old netbook, then I’m as happy as Larry.