Friday, April 12, 2013

Some Other Linux Distros for Netbooks [April 2013]

Following my post on netbook suitable Linux distributions, I was given several recommendations...
These are a few of the follow up tests I did on distro's I had never used before.

Each was installed and tested using the following hardware:
  • ASUS 1000HE Netbook
  • 2GB RAM
  • 32GB SSD
So before I begin, this post will feel somewhat more critical than the last. This is NOT because I am responding to reader suggestions. Please be assured that I am being critical of the flaws I feel are important. It is possible that you might love every second of use you got from these operating systems. I am not attacking anyone's opinions personally, and I hope you all have long happy lives. If after that warning you still  feel the need to angry comment, then I hope you die under a bridge, troll!!! ;)

Pinguy OS 12.04

Remember, on a netbook you have ~30% less screen space!
The screen will feel much more crowded than this...

  • Install time: 30min
  • Initial idle requirements
    • CPU1: 6% (+/-1%)
    • CPU2: 5% (+/-1%)
    • RAM: 294MiB
  • Initial Impressions
    • Complex feel to the desktop. The desktop feels crowded on a netbook screen and the user is almost overwhelmed with buttons, docks, menus, sensor data, and notification icons. To any experienced Debian user most of these items will be very familiar. The main desktop enhancements are courtesy of Docky and Conky.
    • Too overwhelming for average non-linux users.
      • Would not recommend for my Grandma...
    • Feels cobbled together...
      • Debian based, Ubuntu LTS layered on top of that, Pinguy layered over that, Unity stripped away and Gnome 3 added in its place, Gnome menus essentially suppressed and replaced by docky launchers, Linux Mint Updater used for update management... etc.
      • Boot Splash, login screen, and mouse activity icons are made to resemble OSX?
        • The spinning beach ball really? Why?
        • I understand wanting the OSX look, but it feels out of place and a little tacky amongst the other environmental elements.
    • Gnome search is very slow to respond.
      • Hitting the super key in Gnome 3 brings up a global search menu. This menu is supposed to be used for most of your daily navigation through the OS.
      • Due to the heavy impact this feature has on performance, I imagine the ag time becoming very tedious, very quickly.
After playing around in the environment for a little while I decided that my very first alteration would be to remove Docky. There is absolutely no need for it. Gnome-shell has excellent menu functionality built in and an easily accessed global search for applications launchers as well as files.

The included software is a bit bulky for a netbook in my opinion. XBMC is included by default, but it seems odd to use on a Netbook. For a desktop this is a marvelous inclusion, not so much here imho. Beides this most of the software is popular and functional, however I don't see the need for so much to be included by default. My meaning is that many of the programs already installed will never be used by the average user, and some of these take up a significant amount of space. 

Interestingly, Webuilder wallpaper switcher is automatically setup to swap the wallpaper from the internet every 5 min. These are set to pull from Flickr and I was surprised to be greeted by several NSFW images on my desktop. Nothing overtly pornographic, but certainly not the type of image I'd feel comfortable having pop up while trying to show my Grandma how to use her new computer. This is of course a random experienced based on the popularity of an image on Flickr, but it is still something to consider.

Without having tried to live with Pinguy for any significant amount of time, I feel that I can still make a reasonable decision. I will submit that this OS is functional on netbook hardware. I will also submit that it has a certain allure in its aesthetics. Not an allure that tickles my fancy, but still it may appeal to some. I am overwhelmed by a sense of discontinuity in this OS. As I said before, it feels very much like it has been cobbled together somewhat haphazardly. I believe that this option will appeal to you if you are the type of person who wants to get the most popular visual candy on your netbook with the least amount of trouble. This is not the method I prefer, but it is the method prefered by some.

  • Intuitive Interface: 5 out of 10
  • Features included: 9 out of 10
  • System Requirements: Low to Medium
    • You will be able to use this on a netbook in its default configuration with minimal lag, however with: several browser tabs open, dropbox running, and java or flash running inside a browser window you should expect significant system loads and stuttering.
  • Sexyness: "Soda Suicide"
    • The visual design elements cannibalized from a plethora of sources (OSX, Ubuntu, Gnome 3, Mint, Docky, Conky, etc.) are on their own quite stunning. When they are all taken together it is jarring at best.
    • Pinguy OS is the equivalent to adding every type of soda into your cup at once...
  • Verdict: 7 out of 10
    • Remove Docky and you have a pretty slick interface. Watch out for system bloat causing major lag. If you have 5 chrome extensions, don't expect them to work on your netbook as well as your desktop. Pinguy gets major points for including all the popular eyecandy you can imagine, even if I find it a bit cloying.
    • Points are lost when it comes to the initial state of the interface and its overwhelming nature. Points are also lost for the lag when using the global search function, this is a MAJOR feature in Gnome 3. Ignoring this is like ignoring the crappy suspension in a new car just because the paint and the leather seats look cool. 

Jolicloud OS

VERY nice integration with Google Drive

  • Install time: 15min
  • Initial idle requirements
    • CPU1: 2% (+/-5%)
    • CPU2: 8% (+/-10%)
    • RAM: 818MiB
  • Initial Impressions: 
    • The boot time is impressive! Less than 60 seconds from totally powered off to a completed google search in chromium. Very quick indeed.
    • Extraordinarily simple user interface. Wizards guide you through the setup process after creating a Jolicloud account. Could easily be used by a person who has never used a computer before.
    • Sadly, the performance is not great...
      • JoliOS is built on top of ubuntu. So what you are really looking at is ubuntu with a sexy launcher covering the entire screen. I found the responsiveness to be less than smooth on my netbook. On an ultrabook the speeds would probably be great, but netbooks seem to lack the oomph to make this a really slick experience.
    • Like many Ubuntu "Cloud" derivatives, the whole experience feels wrong...
      • If you have ever used a computer before then you know that what you are seeing is a lie. Every time an application is "launched", a new chromium browser window is opened to the corresponding web page. When you click the Gmail application, it just opens a browser window to "". This means that you are basically just running a paired down Ubuntu installation with a fancy application launcher.
      • This means that the entire system does not feel right. Some applications still exist on the computer like VLC and Transmission, but when these are opened they are skinned in the normal Ubuntu GTK theme. They feel completely out of place.
      • JoliOS falls short where all cloud OS's falter... they are not actual operating systems! They are just launchers over the top of an actual operating system that offer some shiny looking launcher buttons and end up hampering actual use.
    • I really wanted to like JoliOS. I went in with very high hopes for a ChromeOS competitor, but instead I found it a bit too young and not quite ready to be a reliable option.
I took a few hours to actually set up my accounts and services on JoliOS since it is expressly a cloud OS. The potential is great for this type of operating system but in order to actualize that potential a native codebase needs to be written from the ground up. A browser that covers up your operating system is no true Cloud OS. Instead what users really need is a custom built linux distribution that uses natively installed apps to interface with various cloud services. This is well realized by mobile operating systems. Your phone uses a Facebook app to make API calls and pull down data from facebook, it does not try to crudely paste a browser over your screen.

I have high hopes that someday more options will become available for this type of operating system, but I do not yet recommend JoliOS.

  • Intuitive Interface: 8 out of 10
  • Features included: 4 out of 10
  • System Requirements: Medium to High
    • The graphics load on your system will be a tad high for a netbook. This will cause some lag and stuttering.
  • Sexyness: "A part-time model..."
    • The features that you can see on Jolicloud as a Chrome webapp are stunning. They work perfectly and make you want so much more from the "Applications" portion of the OS.
    • Sadly the imperfections in the mask show through once you start to poke at it. Someday this may be improved.
  • Verdict: 5 out of 10
    • It feels halfway there...
    • When Chrome OS was in its alpha stages some years ago, it felt much as JoliOS feels today. Chrome OS on chromebooks today has improved greatly and now feels somewhere between a mobile/tablet OS and a true OS. This is probably the future of computing, but it is still "the future" of computing...
    • The biggest thing they need to fix is the cracks in the interface. I am fine with being tricked into believing that I am really seeing magic, but you need to be a good magician to make it look real.


Oh, hello Ubuntu Netbook Remix... EasyPeasy...

  • Install time: 60min
  • Initial idle requirements
    • CPU1: 2% (+/-5%)
    • CPU2: 10% (+/-5%)
    • RAM: 650MiB
  • Initial Impressions: 
    • This is the Ubuntu Netbook Remix rebranded with a new logo.
    • I loved the Ubuntu Netbook Remix and I am happy to see someone picking up the project where Canonical left it to die.
    • This is the Linux I would install for my Grandma.
      • It has big friendly buttons, clearly defined borders, and a seamless interface experience. Nothing ever pops up and makes you say, "Oh! Thats not the same look as everything else..." It all fits together tightly and neatly.
    • The latest alpha is built on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, but the download page for this image has to be accessed through their blog. The regular download image is for the 10.04 LTS based image.
    • The only reason I ever stopped using this version of Ubuntu on my netbook is because Canonical dropped support.
  • Intuitive Interface: 9 out of 10
  • Features included: 9 out of 10
  • System Requirements: Medium to low
    • There are several desktop managers available. I think that the Netbook remix or Gnome are the smoothest. I have not tried the 2d netbook remix in this version yet, but it was always a bit more buggy in the old Canonical iteration due to less programming support.
  • Sexyness: Hot
    • The desktop may not be oozing with sex appeal and eyecandy, but everything works together! There are no out of place elements, there are no portions where the small screen size feels wrong, and there are no changes that need to be made.
  • Verdict: 8.5 out of 10
    • It is the classic...
    • This is one of the best Linux distributions for beginners and power users alike, and it is designed for a netbook sized screen.
    • It is slightly heavier than options like Crunchbang 11, and it is on par with Linux Mint 14.
    • This OS comes as #1 beginner Linux distribution on a Netbook

You can check out the original post here:


  1. I like pinguy os because as a new user to linux.Ive been having trouble finding a os without problems.Tried luduntu and had problems updating.tried linux mint and the menu was to big for the screen couldnt get to the top items.would have loved either of these but for the problems.with pinguy I just remove the things I dont like.To me it seems easier than trying to add or doing sudo to update

    1. Those are valid concerns. Linux mint cinnamon is useless on a netbook, however the MATE desktop works very well and resembles windows. I think that it is the best option for linux beginners, and nothing will change that opinion. I have installed it on hundreds of different hardware configurations and never experienced a problem with the interface or driver support. Linux mint also offers the nice GUI update manager that Pinguy OS steals. For a beginner this is all great, but for anyone who plans to use linux on a laptop I will say that updates should be done on the CLI. Many things should be done on CLI. The cli is not so resource intensive that you will be out of work while the updates are downloaded and installed. The commands are unbelievably simple: sudo apt-get update && upgrade. Thats is. Anyone should be able to remember that. I mean to inflict no slights or insults, but Pinguy os feels a bit juvenile as I mentioned in my review above. I am certain that a more grounded OS will help a new user learn linux. That is what must eventually happen if a person is ever going to remain a linux convert. Its a shitty truth, but it is a truth.

    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. So I just ordered a new netbook and would love to start experimenting with linux. I read your posts on linux distros for netbooks and aging hardware. The 2 distros that seem to have what I'm looking for according to you are EasyPeasy and Linux Mint. Out of those 2 options which would you pick over the other and why? This is coming from someone who has no experience with linux at all. Thanks for the post and any info.

    1. Hey Greg,

      Both would be excellent choices! Linux mint will give you a more traditional desktop feel if you are transitioning from Windows. Easypeasy on the other hand will be very different. It will make your device feel a bit like a mix between a laptop and a mobile device. If I am forced to choose, and you truly have absolutely no linux experience, I would suggest Linux Mint 14 with MATE desktop.

      It will feel the most natural to you and it will give you easy access to updates. Plus, Linux Mint had a stronger development base than Easypeasy (a relatively new and under the radar project).

      If you ever have any questions or issues with Linux, please feel free to post questions to me here, on Google+, or Facebook!

  3. Hey Matt,

    Thanks for the advice. I actually downloaded both Linux Mint and EasyPeasy on flashdrives. Currently typing this comment on my pc running EasyPeasy off a micro sd card. I am just amazed how you can run a full os off a 4gb sd card. I am looking forward to getting this new netbook and diving a little deeper into Linux. I have bookmarked your site and will definitely be coming on here periodically. Thanks again!!!

    1. Cool deal, you might want to check out YUMI Multiboot USB creator. I use it as part of my daily tech kit. I have a 32gb USB with ~12 different operating systems and boot tools on it at any given time.

      If you are going to carry any sort of boot media with multiple images, I totally recommend it!

    2. I actually have downloaded it and used it. Does work pretty well. The only thing I don't like or didn't notice is if it has persistence. I know that the UUI (Universal USB Installer) does have persistence. I was hoping to use Linux on a regular but I was having a difficult time understanding how to set it up on my pc.

    3. Cool deal, well if you ever have any questions feel free to ask!

  4. what about distros like linux lite and zorin os and pepperment? i have an acer aspire one that i think is now 6 years old and I've used all 3 of these and found that they work amazing on a net book I don't know if you have already looked into them and if you haven't give them a shoot! i would recommend zorin os for beginners tho

    1. I have used Peppermint OS but have not tried linux lite of zorin os. I am not a fan of Peppermint, IMO it fails the same way that many web centric operating systems do. The user experience simply left me feeling like I was being hindered rather than helped.

      Linux Lite uses an XFCE based desktop. I have not had much luck with xfce personally. XFCE, LXDE, and occasionally KDE are all recommended to me as "Lite" or as using less resources.

      I wrote this post and several others because these desktop environments simply did not live up to their the hype. None of them perform as well as MATE or Openbox based distros. They are fine on notebooks with a graphics chipset, but are a bit heavier than I like for a netbook with no graphics chips and a dinky atom processor.

      At the moment Crunchbang! is far and away my favorite distro. Every time I install/test something new, it is judged against the performance and appearance of crunchbang. That methodology is flawed yes, but it is a reasonable enough system to help me find better options than the mainstream XFCE/LXDE/KDE recommendations.

      In summary, Peppermint is LXDE based, Linux Lite is XFCE based, and Zorin is Gnome based. If these environments had ever been light enough for my netbook, I wouldn't have written these posts.

      Thank you for the tips though! You are right that these are all good options for low end laptops with cheap graphics chips, and that some of them offer some neat features. I am not a big fan of Zorin's paid "premium version", but that is purely because I don't approve of monetizing o open source code.

      Ps. For the record, when I call XFCE/LXDE/KDE heavy, I mean that the software uses massive resources while running a standard set of software. I generally test each OS with Dropbox, Chromium, Skype, and a terminal running. MATE/Openbox allow me to continue operating smoothly with these running, XFCE/LXDE/KDE tend to max out the CPU and greatly hinder use of the computer.

  5. The Netbook I use is a bit older than yours, sadly no specs in front of me as I type. I like EasyPeasy but it seemed to slow down after 2yrs of updates. Tried straight old Ubuntu and it did configure itself out of the box for the Netbook. Ubuntu's problem, however, is that they insist on having their Firefox plugin installed in your browser, which slows the browser experience way down. This is a problem w/ any distro that is based off of Ubuntu. (A problem I corrected but I don't expect grandpa to do anything but get frustrated.) Working w/ Bodhi on it but have reached the point where I'm ready to try a new Distro. Are you planning to test anymore light weight distros on your netbook soon?

    1. I strongly recommend trying Crunchbang. You appear to have plenty of linux experience and I think you will be very pleased by its performance. You may hate the interface (personally I love the minimalism), but I think you will appreciate the performance.

      You can read the previous post which was linked at the bottom of the article, but I haven't gathered up enough new distros to try yet. There have been many suggestions, but most are just GNU/Debian Gnome/XFCE/LXDE/KDE clones in different packages. All of them look a little different, but at heart they are all the same and as such they will have similar performance. That is the very reason why this topic is so popular.

      As soon as I find a few to test, rest assured that I will. Please feel free to "like" the hobo-geek facebook page to get updates as they slowly roll out.

  6. I have got an old Dell Inspiron Mini 10 netbook which had XP on it. As it became too slow (finished breakfast while it was starting). To speed it up I have started to dabble with Linux. My first port of call was Mint 14 (heard good things about it and that it was a “full” package) I had no clue what all the different options were about either and could not work out how to get the wireless working. I then tried Puppy but trying to work that out was even more difficult for me as a beginner of Linux (the new version is worse than the old one). I now have come across this and was impressed with the detailed info. Thank you. Have now tried most of your suggestions and even worked out how to get the wireless working. However when going onto YouTube to watch a music video, only EasyPeasy did not have a lag time on the audio.
    My new quest is to find a distro so my son can ply minecraft and voltz on it. So far all distros tried are shockingly slow. It will take five minutes to do just a movement. Could you help? The inspiron specifics are:
    Manufacturer Dell
    Model name Inspiron Mini 10
    CPU type -Intel Atom (Silverthorne)
    CPU speed -1330 Mhz
    Graphics -Intel GMA 500
    OS -something that works :)-was Windows XP Home
    Display Size -10.1" 1024 X 576
    RAM -1024 MB
    Hard Disk -160 GB

    1. I recommend crunchbang since it is both lightweight and still runs all of the debian packages.

      Crunchbang runs very smoothly on my atom n280

      Perhaps the best discussion is the oldest hardware i've tested on...

      I have an old Sony tower with: 1.3ghz intel celeron single core, 256mb RAM, PATA hdd, USB 1.0, VGA graphics only.
      Very old hardware. Win XP SP3 is useless on this rig. Crunchbang runs very smoothly.

      I hate to be that guy, but if you have speed issues with Crunchbang it's probably either a driver issue (as in Dell wont opensource their drivers and linux users aren't interested in paying the many many thousands of dollars to lease them), or you have configured something incorrectly.

      You should have no problem with Linux Mint MATE desktop either. That should run smoothly if you have installed the correct version.

      If you are having trouble, you might try installing Linux Mint 13 MATE. This version is the long term support release, meaning that it will get updates for years to come while 14 (now 15) is the current rolling release.

      I'm starting to ramble a little here, but long story short your specs are plenty strong enough to run Crunchbang or Linux Mint 13 MATE without hiccups.

      If you are having a specific problem I might be able to help you, but remember that your hardware is not meant for any sort of heavy lifting. You will immediately experience lag when running multiple programs or a browser with multiple tabs. So long as you don't expect more than what is reasonable, then you won't be disappointed.

      If nothing is running smoothly, try reverting to XP SP1. If you installed Win'98 the thing would be really quick. DOS 3.1 would be like lightning. Try to keep in mind that this post and the others in the series are meant to offer patchwork solutions to keep old or underpowered hardware in the realm of usefulness as long as possible. There is no way to continue adding modern features to old hardware without speed and compatibility issues.

      Post questions and I'll try to answer them as best I can, but I'm not a miracle worker. I'm just a poor dude who can't afford to buy a new computer, so I have to keep my old junk alive on life support.

    2. Thank you for the reply. A have tried to install Crunchbang for the last couple of nights with two different installers but it will not install. It runs the live session from the usb ok but will not install at the front end after booting to the usb. And I can’t see how/where to install it from the live session. Will give Mint 13 MATE a try as well, as I only tried 14 MATE and 15 MATE.
      I just need the basics and play the odd game of minecraft and voltz or two.
      As for running minecraft and voltz and the llllaaaagggg issue, is it because of the specs or should it be able to handle the games?
      Cheers, much appreciated.

    3. Hmm... What part of the installer is failing?
      You shouldn't need to start a live session to install, as far as I know there is not a shortcut to install from the live session like there is on Ubuntu.

      Try linux mint 13 MATE...

      As for the games, I'll say upfront that I don't play minecraft.
      A quick look at the minecraft wiki shows us not only minimum system requirements, but also varying levels of performance desired and the hardware required to achieve it.

      Apparently, even the bare minimum hardware specs require a GPU that supports OpenGL 2.0... which your Intel GMA 500 does support...

      BUT while intel has released linux drivers for this chipset which enable 2D support, they still maintain proprietary rights to the 3D drivers. This means that your computer will not be able to play minecraft on any linux distribution at this time.

      This issue is not the fault of Linux. Intel knows about it, but does not want to release the driver for linux. There have been many rumors that a reverse engineered driver for intel chipsets without current 3d support is "in the works" and will be added to the newest distributions this year. JoliOS, Ubuntu, and others are rumored to be getting support, but as far as I can tell it is just hints and hype at this point.

      As a consumer you are well within your rights to write a letter to Intel informing them that they are overlooking a valuable demographic.

      Sadly, it is in the best interest of Intel and other manufacturers to keep their drivers proprietary. In this way they can ensure that you will buy new hardware every few years to replace the older stuff that cant keep up with the code bloat. If you are really interested in playing minecraft you may not be able to utilize the free availability of Linux.

      As much as I hate to plug for microsoft, you might be able to run Windows 8. They made some pretty bold claims about the low cutoffs for minimum system requirements.

      So the big question is what is that netbook worth to you?
      Do you want to spend money to install Win8 and continue using the old hardware?
      Do you want to install linux and use is for basic internet browsing and document editing?
      Do you want to spend even more money to buy a new laptop and forget the whole issue?

    4. Matt, I really have to say this... NONONONONONONO. not windows 8 on a netbook, seriously.. bad idea.

      Apart from the fact that you need to make a minor registry edit to even get it to fully work on net-book sized screens. it is still fairly resource hungry.
      If you only want to perform basic functions, document writing etc then well and good, want to listen to your music whilst writing? forget it.
      I currently have it installed on my Aspire One(happy2) version. it's really not worth paying the money for; well not for a netbook anyway.

      I'm currently looking for a Linux replacement, which is why I'm here, after reading both of your posts, I've decided I'm going to try CrunchBang.

      Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to browse the rest of your blog as you seem like an interesting fella.


    5. Ok, so crunchbang is a nogo. FN keys don't work out of the box, and I have no idea how to fix that. without the FN keys I can't toggle the wifi on.

      Oh well, back to searching.

    6. Yeah, I try to manage people's expectations realistically. I am not going to promise that Linux is the best option for everyone, nor did I say that Windows 8 was his best option. I simply offered insights as to how he might approach his problem.

      Crunchbang's fn keys might not work out of the box, but in fairness I haven't ever installed a linux distro that does this. Windows doesn't even recognize my ASUS 1000HE function keys without first installing the driver package from ASUS... My point is that no developer can possibly make everything work out of the box on every computer. If you find something that works better than my suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment for the other readers.

      Thank you for the patronage on my blog!

    7. Holy cow! Why have I not tried Linux Mint before now. "nearly" everything works right out of the box!

  7. I have a 1000HE and I've been thinking of getting a ssd, since doing light tasks like browsing the web can be aggravating due to how long it takes for pages to load up.

    Did getting a ssd in your netbook make enough of a difference in your hdd to make the switch to it worth it?

    Also, did you have to install a modified BIOs, since AHCI isn't visible?

    1. Q1) Did getting a ssd in your netbook make enough of a difference in your hdd to make the switch to it worth it?
      A1) My ssd is a bit old timey at this point, but yes I did notice a difference. To me, it was worth every penny. As a metaphor... running shoes are faster than boots, but it probably isn't worth it to spend $500 on running shoes if you are just going to jog around the block. My point is that you dont need a 500gb ssd with the highest i/o rates on the market. That wont really be worth your time or money. I use a 32gb ssd in my 1000HE and have never had a need to add more space. I carry a 16gb SD card in the slot just in case, but ive never needed it.

      Q2) did you have to install a modified BIOs, since AHCI isn't visible?
      A2) Nope. As far as I can recall... I have never done the bios update for the 1000HE. I dont have the device in front of me or i'd check the version for you, but I have never had an issue with the SSD that I bought (some ocz drive from a few years back). It just installed and worked.

      Remember that web page load times are not hdd dependent. You will see no speed boost when loading pages by upgrading the hdd>ssd. Those render times are based on connection speed up to send the request, connection speed down to get the data, and rendering speed of your graphics chipset to make the page visible. You will notice a boost in the time it takes to open a program or multiple programs as when the computer is booting. Not much else will be affected on a netbook by ssd besides battery life.

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  9. Excellent work...
    Hello, I speak Spanish.
    I have an ASUS 1000HE. I want to download CrunchBang but do not know which version is better. In page there are two options: the Waldorf modern PC (i686) and Waldorf older PC (i486). What do you recommend to download?. Please post torrent link

  10. You want the modern (i686) version.

    The files can be found here: (32bit or 64bit)

    Because the torrent link bypasses their main page I will not post it here. I don't know what type of revenue is created on their page, but I refuse to direct people to their files without first landing on their page. That is just good manners.

  11. Hi matt, I have a Dell mini 10v 1.6GHz Atom with 1G of ram..
    What is a very lightweight fast and very user friendly OS you prefer?

    (Not UBUNTU)


    1. Check out this link to another of my posts on the subject...

  12. I have a 1005ha. do you think mint-15mate be good to run on it? Do your function keys work on your eeepc with the distros you recommend?

    Thank you for mentioning easypeasy. I stopped using netbook remix for the same reason you did. my netbook just went from a glorified paperweight to a functional pc again

    1. Hey JM,

      I haven't had a chance to try Mint 15 on my ASUS 1000HE, but Mint 13 MATE worked very nicely.

      I've said this to many people before. The function keys on most laptops do not work on a clean windows install, nor a clean linux install, nor any other type of installable operating system. If you are lucky, the volume and brightness fn keys will work without any problems on linux. HOWEVER, you will have to work to get drivers working for fn keys on ANY operating system.

  13. Hi, I am relatively new to Linux.and planing to up/down?Grade an Atom N270 1.6Ghz 2Gb ram From Vista Starter (original) to XP? Or better LinuxMint as you suggest here. My only concern is that it will be used for someone who does not understand what an OS is... she's used to MS office 2007, Chrome, and needs printing functionality, from Chrome and From MS Word. I don't see learning a new interface for Libre Office as an easy task in this particular case. So my questions are about installing MS Office via "run in Linux " or wine/winetriks. Will this work? As suposed?
    Your blog is being really helpfully in this an in another project involving a NASty at home.. thank you!

    1. Hey Dienteloco,
      I'll try to break down your questions as clearly as I can. Be prepared for me to step all over your opinions and stipulations. I mean no offense, I am just answering your question in the most roundabout way possible.

      Q1) I am... planing to up/downgrade an Atom N270 1.6Ghz 2Gb ram From Vista Starter (original) to XP?
      A1) This is a software downgrade, as well as a generally depressing prospect. XP was released twelve years ago tomorrow. You are downgrading a computer to a twelve year old operating system. It will absolutely work better than Vista.

      Q2) I don't see learning a new interface for Libre Office as an easy task in this particular case.
      A2) False. Libre is basically an office clone. If this person is as tech challenged as you say, then the most likely scenario is that they will not notice a difference. If they notice the minor stylistic changes and become confused, then they will certainly have the same difficulty moving from the Vista version of office to the XP version. If this person is in fact using advanced MS Office features, then they will have plenty enough experience to make the small requisite changes in their understanding of more complex tasks such as using Libre spreadsheets to do statistical data analysis. This is my opinion, you may disagree, that is fine.

      Q3) My questions are about installing MS Office via "run in Linux " or wine/winetriks. Will this work? As suposed?
      A3) Nope. Aint gonna' work.

      I can guarantee you that running MS Office in an emulated windows environment will be far more problematic and confusing to your technophobe than simply telling them that their new word processor works just like the old one. If they complain that they can't do something, just tell them they forgot how and show them again.

      If they don't know what an OS is, then they won't ask why everything looks different.
      Just show them that they still have chrome, show them how to use the software center to install programs just like an app store, and tell them that office is called Libre office on this computer.

      That's the best advice I have for you. Linux Mint 13 MATE with chrome installed. Forget your crazy MS Office wine pipedreams, they will only frustrate you.

      Also, good work on building a NAS!

    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  14. Hi Matt,
    No. I will not take offense from any of your comments.
    I think I just have to Let her try mint (I've downloaded 15 mate, the live version runs like a charm).
    It seems contradictory but is not that needs advanced MS office features..Libre office (Wich I use in a mac) have most of them, I agree. Is just I had to uninstall (at her netbook) MS office 2007 to install 2003 and compatibility patch just for the interface changes...

    And NAS is giving me some problems... keeps me working.


    1. Just as a rule I tend to suggest that people install Mint 13 rather than 14 or 15. 13 is the long term support version and will develop less problems over time. The others usually include alpha features or planned developments that are not yet solid enough for daily use.

      As a normal release, mint 15 has an 18 month support window. This means that 18 months after release, they will stop pushing out updates.

      Mint 13 is LTS, so rather than an 18 month support cycle, it will continue to receive updates for 5 years.

      Just a heads up...

  15. Another good option for netbooks is Peppermint Linux. I have been using it since version 2, on various netbooks. If you need any further info please send me an email or check out the Peppermint forum. my Linux blog where you can check out what I think about Peppermint.

  16. Dear Matt..

    I have a Packard Bell Dot S that comes equipped with a 1.66GHz dual-core Intel Atom N570 processor and 1GB of RAM. There is Win 7 on it and its REAL slow!. Takes ages to start up and slow on browsing and loading the pages.. So its basically still brand new as its been a pain to use.
    I was thinking EasyPeasy for this netbook. What u think? I use Ubuntu Raring on my other PC's but hell i dont care if the OS is mega simple. As long as i can use the Netbook to brows store photos and Write emails etc..
    Screen.: 10.1-inch screen with a resolution of 1,024x600 so not very snappy.. It comes pre-installed with a copy of Adobe Photoshop Elements, which is a nice touch, if a little ambitious. The machine is powerful enough to cope with resizing holiday snaps but if you ask it to do anything more intense -- such as dealing with raw files -- it's not going to be happy.. Simply put it takes minutes..
    Pls advise

    Thanks again..

  17. Couple of frameworks are set up to run just Linux, however, and even less have it boot consequently when the force is turned on. Albeit programmed startup is advantageous, numerous Linux clients want to have the capacity to pick which working framework to boot into (if other working frameworks are stacked on the framework) or to change the . level of access to Linux. Conkey Themes


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