Have Asus dropped the ball by choosing Xandros for the EeePC?

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.

New keyboard

My much loved Belkin keyboard croaked it yesterday (or at least several of the keys now refuse to work). Today I bought an Advent ADE-KBW100, largely because it is slimline, quiet to type on, and didn’t break the bank. It claims to only be compatible with various versions of Windows, but not only does it work perfectly with Ubuntu, I can also use all 18 of the hotkeys without any further installation of drivers (which actually makes it more compatible with Ubuntu than with Windows XP).

Once again, another win for Ubuntu.

Defining what I actually NEED

After taking my Eeepc away on a trip to Italy, I’m now starting to work out what applications I need and don’t need. The following is what I’m actually using (or am keeping because I think I might need them):

  • Gedit and Terminal (with which I can do most things)
  • Firefox
  • Evolution (yes, I use Evolution on a tiny laptop and it works for me)
  • Emapthy (for IM – it’s the future so I thought I’d start using it now)
  • OpenOffice.org (for presentations and reading documents sent to me)
  • VLC & Rhythmbox (for the growing collection of media on my spare SD card)

Apart from that, I don’t use anything graphical, and I’ve also got rid of anything that requires a CD drive, or bluetooth, or anything that the Eeepc doesn’t actually have.

Now to think about streamlining my other computers and also investigating why my external keyboard died half way through this post.

EeePC

I’ve finally got round to getting an EeePC, and so far I’m really impressed. I’ve installed the latest version of Mandriva on it, and have a very functional Gnome desktop, which does everything I need it to do.

Installing Mandriva was a breeze – it was just a case of changing the BIOS to boot from my external CD drive, and also to enable wireless at boot so that the right modules were loaded. I’ve uninstalled a load of stuff I don’t need, added a couple of things, and at present I’ve still got 1.2gb free on the 4gb internal flash card.

I plan on getting another 4gb card and installing the original EeePC OS onto it for testing purposes.