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.
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.
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.