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Linux - Laptop and Netbook Having a problem installing or configuring Linux on your laptop? Need help running Linux on your netbook? This forum is for you. This forum is for any topics relating to Linux and either traditional laptops or netbooks (such as the Asus EEE PC, Everex CloudBook or MSI Wind).

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Old 03-12-2009, 10:21 AM   #1
DJOtaku
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Why change the distro on the EEE PC?


My wife has one of the earlier EEE PC netbooks (no webcam). I've noticed in LXF, Linux Outlaws, and on the tubes in general a lot of mention of alternative distros for use on the little guy. What advantage do I gain over their hobbled little Xandros install? Sure, for me, there's the fun in trying out different distros, but there has to be a concrete advantage for my wife to let me change up the distro/interface out from under her. She likes things to stay the same unless there's a tangible benefit from changing. (For example, she hasn't changed her desktop wallpaper in 2+ years whilst I tend to change them weekly or monthly)

Right now Easy Peasy is looking pretty slick, but does it do anything better?

Thanks,
 
Old 03-12-2009, 12:09 PM   #2
farslayer
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The reason I changed the Distro on my Netbook is simple. .

1. I did not Like Linpus Lite - to me it felt like the OS was too restricting, for the causal non-Linux aware user it would probably be OK
2. I prefer Debian and wanted to run the Distro I am most familiar with, so I installed it.
3. With Debian installed I now have access to the HUGE Debian software repository.

Not really any more complicated than that for me.
Everything worked and was functional in Linpus Lite, and now everything is working and functional in Debian.
 
Old 03-12-2009, 12:12 PM   #3
fair_is_fair
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My wife sounds like your wife.

The best solution is to leave her machine alone if she is happy. It is not worth the grief.

Buy your own netbook to play around with.
 
Old 03-12-2009, 12:29 PM   #4
b0uncer
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Don't fix a working thing; if there are no problems or irritating nuisances, don't bother switching the Xandros---you don't get nothing more (if you don't have problems, you can't solve them), but chances are you do get new problems or have to spend a lot of time tweaking. Also if it has a solid state disk (instead of a usual hard drive), you have to take care that the new system you install uses the ssd as little as possible to prevent it from wearing out prematurely---again, it's not a problem you can't overcome, but takes time to be sure. The most used "alternatives" I've checked out, Easy Peasy, Eeebuntu and such have all had some minor problems reported: a button doesn't work like in the original, startup time is considerably slower (this is where the shipped Xandros is really good at), you have to run scripts or utilies to make the system function correctly, ...not something I'd like to spend time with, if the machine was not for me. It's ok to play around with your own hardware, because you know if you have time for that, but if it's not yours...time could end up, meaning that your wife might get really bored in you tweaking those two last buttons and whatnot

If she doesn't change her wallpaper even once a year, she probably won't gain anything if you switch the Xandros.
 
Old 03-12-2009, 12:31 PM   #5
DJOtaku
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Thanks for all the responses. As of now it looks like I'll leave it the same since there doesn't seem to be any reason to change other than exploration.
 
Old 03-12-2009, 01:44 PM   #6
farslayer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fair_is_fair View Post
My wife sounds like your wife.

The best solution is to leave her machine alone if she is happy. It is not worth the grief.
When you put it that way, I get the same thing (must be almost universal). My wife used to complain that the computer was different every time she used it, while I didn't think I made THAT many changes to it on a regular basis.

I ended up getting her her own PC so she wouldn't have to use mine anymore. Problem solved. I picked up a nice Compaq Laptop for her on Black Friday for $300.00 and she couldn't be happier, even if it did come with Vista on it. At least I don't have to use it..
 
Old 03-12-2009, 01:46 PM   #7
DJOtaku
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Quote:
Originally Posted by farslayer View Post
When you put it that way, I get the same thing (must be almost universal). My wife used to complain that the computer was different every time she used it, while I didn't think I made THAT many changes to it on a regular basis.
that's a constant complaint of my mother towards my father. she ways claims that he "changes everything" which I find unlikely given that he's a very methodical guy.
 
Old 03-13-2009, 02:48 PM   #8
tredegar
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Many people like things to stay exactly "the same", unless there is some annoyance for them.
Unless, of course, they have changed something, for whatever reason.
I completely understand this attitude.
 
Old 03-23-2009, 10:22 PM   #9
maxque
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I got my eee pc last fall, started using it immediatley but rapidly came to dislike the distro of Linux installed on it.

It was quite easy to get to the REAL OS interface, but then I started to make it the way I wanted to have it look and had problems. It was just to far removed from what I was used to as a Linux distribution.

Just within the last week or so I decided I needed to use this computer and so started looking for distributions. One thing I have said in the past, is that Linux on the desktop would only work well when (perhaps) hardware vendors like Dell went ahead and produced a distribution of Linux expressly made for their hardware. Essentially that's the secret of Mac OS X's success .. they have good programmers but they also program for a small subset of hardware. This makes it easier for them to make mchaines that just work out of the box.

I decided to install easy peasy, I hate the name but it is really Ubuntu under the hood so I knew I could deal wtih ti and configure it the way I wanted.

I can honestly say, with only a few exceptiond that this is the first Linux distribution with which I have come anywhere near being productive at anything but trouble shooting Linux. Easy Peasy just works well on eee pc ... problably becuase it was designed to do so.

cheers

max
 
Old 03-24-2009, 06:29 AM   #10
DJOtaku
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxque View Post
I can honestly say, with only a few exceptiond that this is the first Linux distribution with which I have come anywhere near being productive at anything but trouble shooting Linux.
Not to get this thread too far off topic, but I've pretty much been extremely productive with Linux on a variety of machines and hardware. Some have been computers I built and some have been computers I bought at the store. Perhaps you have some strange hardware, but both my brother and I are very productive with Linux. Heck, I produce a webcomic (http://www.notmadcomic.com) and animation (http://www.dropthebombproductions.com) with Linux. I also use it for all of my everyday tasks.
 
Old 03-25-2009, 10:00 PM   #11
maxque
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJOtaku View Post
. Perhaps you have some strange hardware, but both my brother and I are very productive with Linux. Heck, I produce a webcomic (http://www.notmadcomic.com) and animation (http://www.dropthebombproductions.com) with Linux. I also use it for all of my everyday tasks.
None of my computers were off the shelf models like Dell, several were Macs (when Linux PPC was very new -- this doesn't really count because it was development only and experimental at that time), however, I always had major problems with X.org and my monitors. As well, NVidia driverss or the lack there of caused many problems.

The biggest problem was that I needed to use a number of audio and music applications. These never worked, the problems weren't with the programs themselves but with how they were glued into the operating system. I was always having to tinker with some odd part of the OS to make things work. Then there was (and still is) the problem with apt-secure. If you add an alien repository to your sources file you may not revieve the key for that repository. You will get nasty notices from apt about PUB_KEY not available. This problem drove me up the wall for about three months untill I finally got to the bottom of it.

After that I decided I'd not run another linux 'til there was one which had a distribution created for the hardware I purchased. eee pc was that computer and low and behold, things mostly work. I installed and got everything I needed up and running in about the same time It would take me to install Mac OS X. So right now I'm a happy camper (mostly) using Linux on this machine.

Satsfaction is dependent on what you want to do with Linux. If you want to run Office applications and do web browsing, graphics with Gimp and Inkscape, you'll do just fine.

cheers,
Max

PS I switched from the pre-installed Xandros because I felt that Ubuntu was really building inertia with its regular releases and with the cash infusion it is getting from its founder. That would make it more dependable. Still, if it ain't broke, don't try to fix it is still good advice!
 
Old 03-28-2009, 04:00 PM   #12
Robhogg
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I have an Eee, and fairly quickly became dissatisfied with the default distro. The reasons, in ascending order of seriousness:
  • Although I didn't mind the default simple interface, I wanted my own choice of apps on the default tab. Updates from Asus kept on over-writing my customised layout (without asking permission)
  • In the 901, they seemed to have removed any easy way of getting to a full desktop
  • The system was single-user
  • The kernel had no iptables support
  • sudo was configured so that the default user could execute any command, without needing a password (so effectively you were running as root constantly). Simply removing the NOPASSWD directive left you with a brick.
I tried tweaking it, but eventually ended up with a system that was so far from the original setup that I decided I may as well install a better distro. I am now running Debian and quite happy with it (though it would have been easier to install one of the specially tweaked distros).

I couldn't recommend the default distro, particularly not to a noob. It seems like it has been developed by people who don't understand the Linux security model, and is pretty dodgy (may have changed since - I did contact Asus to make some recommendations). The one concession to security it came with (Eset anti-virus) was configured to scan only the home directory by default! On the other hand, it did help me to learn more about sudoers, and gave me experience of compiling my first custom kernel, so it wasn't all bad.
 
  


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