For the past couple of weeks we’ve been piloting a laptop surgery at work. We’ve had several EeePCs bought in, and the general consensus of opinion was that they loved the hardware, but that Xandros looked ugly and wasn’t very functional. So what we’ve been doing is offering either Mandriva 2008.1 or the netbook respin of Ubuntu as an alternative (either on the internal SD card or on an external device). Feedback has been good, and I’ve had a few very productive chats with new Linux users over the past few days which have made me realise how vitally important user interface is. Users don’t want their computer to look like a dumbed down version of their last computer, but they do want something that is instinctive, stylish, and doesn’t get in their way.

Something for Asus and Xandros to think about perhaps.