Since I wrote a post asking for “Asus Eee-PC 901 OS recommendations” a while ago, I’ve actually tried three of the five options I mentioned in that post. OSX isn’t a serious option for me, mostly because I don’t want my netbook to run illegal software. An ‘nLited’ version of XP would probably boot faster and run a bit smoother, but it would still need regularly updated firewall and anti-virus software. The three options I did try each have their own merits and flaws.
Here are my experiences so far, completely biased and laid out as a table similar to the kind you’ll find in real, professional reviews…
|OS||Windows XP||XEPC Xandros||Ubuntu|
|Version I tried||SP3||xepc-recovery-901 – 20080719||Ubuntu EEE (8.04) + Array.org kernel|
|Ease of install||Ultra-easy (recovery DVD)||Really easy (downloadable recovery DVD)||Completely doable (see my post here)|
|Boot time (estimated)||1 minute +||30 seconds||45 seconds|
|User interface / usability||Familiar||Easy to use, but severely limited||Extremely slick, especially with Compiz Fusion (*)|
|Hardware support||Complete||Complete||Nearly complete|
|Suitability for the Eee-PC||Mediocre||Pretty good for using it as a MID||Perfect for using it as a mini-notebook (**)|
Please keep in mind that my 901 is completely ‘stock’. No extra RAM, no ZIF socket hard drive mod, just the XP version as it came out of the box. Another thing to note is that, although I’d installed Linux a few times before, I am a complete Linux noob, and have no desire to spend my evenings typing command into a terminal just to get things working properly. I consider all three operating systems to be viable options for ‘regular users’ like me.
* = I actually think that Compiz Fusion adds more than eye-candy alone, especially on the Eee. The rotating cube add a visual metaphor to working with multiple desktops, and I find I use them more often and more efficiently as a result. Using multiple workspaces helps me reduce clutter, especially on the Eee’s small screen.
** = I haven’t gotten around to installing the Netbook Remix packages yet, but I’m confident they’ll transform Ubuntu’s interface into something that’s “Perfect for using it as an MID” as well…