Jay Maynard (jmaynard) wrote,
Jay Maynard

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Netbook adventures

I went ahead and got the EeePC 900A recommended by strredwolf. It got upgraded to 32 GB of solid state disk and 2 GB of RAM for about another $100.

The original Xandros distribution on the box didn't last long at all. I wanted something i could use as a real computer. First, I grabbed Eeebuntu Base, because I didn't want all of the office and other applications on it, and installed that. That worked well enough, but the GNOME desktop really irritated me pretty badly after a while by being pretty rigid about showing the contents of my home directory on the desktop. I keep a very clean desktop, preferring to launch things from the Start menu or its equivalent on whatever OS I run. I tried installing KDE on it, by putting on 4.1 and intending to upgrade to 4.2 - but I couldn't get the wireless to run under 4.1 at all, because I couldn't find the configuration applet. KDE was also quite slow, even on the 900A's 1.6 GHz dual-core Atom CPU.

Frustrated, I went looking a lot harder, with a particular emphasis on finding something that wasn't Debian-based. I have philosophical objections to Debian, because they kowtow too much to Richard Stallman's utopian view of how the world of software development should be run - a view I find profoundly evil, because it denies the right of a software developer to profit from his labors.

I stumbled upon fluxflux-eee. I'd originally passed it by because its home page is in German, and because I saw that it used the Synaptic package manager front end and thought it was just another Debian fork - but a bit more digging showed that it's actually a repackaging of PCLinuxOS, itself an offshoot of Mandriva. This is a good thing, because it's RPM-based, a package management system I know well. PCLinuxOS is also the system vakkotaur runs on his desktop.

I got it installed. Wow. It's even smaller then Eeebuntu Base, and yet includes more stuff. It's also faster, since instead of the heavyweight GNOME desktop, it uses Openbox, which is much more streamlined. I think we've got a winner here.

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