eeeXubuntu on the eeePC

Hmmm...maybe Ubuntu will be better?

Always curious to try new things, I figured I’d try out Ubuntu (gutsy) on my eeePC. The nice thing about Ubuntu (and many versions of Linux these days) is that they are available in ‘live cd’ versions which means you just boot up the cd image that you burn after downloading and then you can take a test drive of that version without actually committing to it, meanwhile whatever operating system is actually on your machine is left in tact.

Knowing that it only takes a few minutes to wipe the eeePC and restore the default Xandros linux back onto it, I took the plunge and installed Ubuntu to see how it would run – a live cd install is slower than a normal install since it’s all running off of the cd and swapping into your system ram. Turned out there was a fair amount of tweaks that would be needed to get it fully operational on the eeePC so I went back to Xandros the same day.

Then I stumbled upon Xubuntu which has a distribution for the eeePC (surprisingly called eeeXubuntu) which you can read about (and download it) here.
xubuntu

Here’s a not-so-brief video (not mine) of the bootup sequence and some basic system usage:

I’ve only had it running on eeeXubuntu for a few days but so far, I’m really impressed. It is much more user friendly and consistent than the default Xandros was. It’s also much easier to add applications, customize settings and generally tweak than the other OS’s I’ve tried on the eeePC so far. Boot up is a little longer than Xandros but the nice thing it seems to remember all the session info correctly so that probably makes up for the extra boot up time. The battery indictor also works much better with a time remaining as well as a percent remaining indicator. With the battery hovering around 4+ hours with wifi on, I’m pretty happy!

I also really like the nicer user interfaces for customizing things – in some ways it feels more like a Mac than I expected it to especially when compared to other flavors of Linux.

eeeXubuntu desktop

The only real issue I’ve encountered so far is the occasional bootup that doesn’t recognize that I’ve got an 8gb SDHC card in the SD slot but that is usually resolved by a simple eject and reinsert.

Now if only Google Reader was more accommodating on the small eeePC screen – even with a compact Firefox theme and the toolbars dialed down, it’s still hard to navigate my feeds. Sure I could use the mobile version but it’s too stripped down for my power-usage.

5 Comments

  1. Mr. Bunny says:

    What was that resource usage monitor you pulled up? That didn’t look like top – it was colored and had usage percentage bars instead of just numbers.

  2. John says:

    It’s not my video so I’m not sure the answer to your question. Sorry…I haven’t stumbled upon it yet.

  3. Ben says:

    The resource monitor was htop – it should be available in most distros through the package manager

  4. Randall Ross says:

    Nice review. There’s been a lot of interesting developments in “Ubuntuland” since you wrote the original article though. Three important ones that come to mind:

    1) Ubuntu Netbook Remix – An official Ubuntu variant designed specifically for these types of devices, optimized for reduced screen real estate and system resources

    2) Lubuntu – An unofficial (for now) Ubuntu variant designed for underpowered systems, making them feel “snappy” again.

    3) Ubuntu Vancouver LoCo – An active and interesting group of Ubuntu enthusiasts in your back yard, the largest group of its kind in Canada, and soon to be the world. (Yes, we have plans). Hope you’ll join us!
    http://meetup.com/ubuntuvancouver

    Cheers,
    Randall
    Ubuntu Vancouver Buzz Generator

    • John says:

      Thanks for the update Randall…I’ve long since sold my eeePC but this post still gets a fair bit of traffic from interested users.

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