This is the first blog post I’m writing from my Asus Eee-PC 901 netbook PC. In terms of hardware, I think it’s a marvel. It looks slick, is small enough to retain that true gadget factor and seems exceptionally sturdy. The Atom processor feels snappy enough and runs XP with ease. But I don’t. After more that a year of Vista it’s amazing how many things about XP bug me. It’s really one of the worst Windows versions when it comes to usability. And besides, all the security updates and stuff make my netbook less fun than I think it could be. This is why I find myself looking for a better OS for my tiny new friend.
The linux equivalent of my machine runs a purpose-built version of Xandros Linux. The restore DVD that comes with that machine is easy to find online, but since Xandros is a commercial distribution, the legality of installing it is questionable. It will have all the appropriate drivers, and should work out of the box. For someone like me who’s almost completely new to Linux, that should be ideal. On the other hand, The default distribution frustrates some power users, and I like feeling in control of my system.
There’s an open source project called XEPC that offers an improved version of the original Xandros restore disk. Definitely legal and made made for the Eee-PC. A 901 version is also available (the innards for the 901 are almost completely different from earlier Eee-PC models). Sounds like a great option, but I wonder if this open source project will last in the longer run. The last thing you want is to be exiled.
I’ve played around with Ubuntu in the past, and liked the interface, the easy installation and the huge support community. Unfortunately, setting it up on the 901 appears to be troublesome, with crucial things like network adapters not working until you enter long complicated commands into the console. Not my cup of tea I’m afraid. I hope there will be an easy to install Eee version soon, but for now I think I’ll pass… Shame, because the ´Netbook Remix`sure does look interesting.
This will not rid me of the malware trouble that comes with running Windows, but it will make it start faster and leave more room on the tiny little system ‘disc’. There’s a great tutorial on how to go about it here: http://www.i64x.com/eeexp.php.
I´m not seriously considering this, but it´s fun that it can be done. OSX is a heavy OS, and the fact that this tiny little machine that costs less than half of what a MacBook wiill set you back can successfully run it is nothing short of amazing.
So, what do you recommend? Has anyone tried the original Xandros disc or XEPC on the 901XP? Is Ubuntu doable for a long/time Windows user? Or should I stick with XP until other options arise?