My day has basically been about 12 hours behind schedule all day thanks to a surprise gathering that my wife and daughter planned for my 40th birthday. Combine a bit too much in the way of the nectar of the gods and a late night…I decided that it was time to move up and away from the iPad and get back to my roots with mobile computing with my GenII eeePC Netbook. The challenge with using this tiny little piece of computing history is that it has some severe limitations in both processing power and RAM.
Focusing first on usability there is still a fairly active community out there that keeps updating the long list of solid Netbook specific OSes out there. Before rehabbing the eeePC today, I had JoliOS installed which is fine as long as you have an active Internet Connection as it will not even log you in unless you are connected to the Internet. I ran into some issues with this last month when I was building some presentations but had to connect to my phone to get it to boot up (that was a tad frustrating).
I chose to focus on PeppermintOS mainly because from past experience…it just works. It connects to the WiFi without any fishing, the Function Keys all work and it comes with all the main productivity apps that one would need for the diminutive 7inch screen that is on this little workhorse.
Out of the box Peppermint comes loaded with:
- Chromium for Web Browser
- Google Docs and Google Reader for Productivity
- Pixlr for photos
- MPlayer for videos
- Guaydeque Music Player
Peppermint is based on LinuxMint so the availability of .deb applications means that there is a plethora of options but from within the Software Manager there are some good and simple alternatives that can be quickly installed with just a simple click, but the OS give you full access to Synaptic Package Manager so it can draw from both the Ubuntu and LinuxMint Repositories and allow any of the 20,000 packages be quickly installed. Naturally I wanted to add a bit more productivity functionality that would not require an internet connection I installed LibreOffice.
Overall, I really like how Peppermint makes the most of the limited resources (both in real estate with a 7″ screen) and the limited hard drive. Boot up from being off, took less than 1 minute and all apps run seamlessly (albeit with a bit of extra scrolling that comes from being highly portable).
If you are like many others who have a Netbook sitting in the back of a closet with the stock WinXP or Xandros Linux running on it…I highly recommend taking a few minutes, creating a boot USB Thumbdrive with Unetbootin and install PC I will not give my usual donut rating today.
Stay tuned for next week, I plan on doing a openSUSE vs. Fedora vs. Ubuntu Round up so I will be installing all three through out the week and posting from the latest version of each of these Linux Distros.
Chris J Powell