EEE 901 Ubuntu and Netbook Remix

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I was fortunate enough to pick up an EEE 901 for a work project and have spent some time with this machine. I chose the Linux version with 20G, which comes broken down into 2 different ‘drives’ (they aren’t really SSD drives, just chips that plug into the ePCI sockets, but they emulate real PATA drives). The first drive is 4G, the 2nd is 16G. The 16G is replaceable and some people can even remove it and replace it with 1.8 hard-drives (the type used in iPod and MacAir) if their 901 comes with a ZIF socket. Asus carved out the space to hold a 1.8 drive, so they must have been planning for something like this.

The Xandros distro that comes on it is really boring, so I replaced it with Ubuntu Hard Heron. There is a site with good information an a tweaked distro to adapt to the short screen and limited real-esate. People have hacked together a nice replacement kernel that gets back most of the functionality (multi-threading, networking (need to build drivers), soft-keys etc.).

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AFter I had Ubuntu working I took the extra step and loaded on the Ubuntu Netbook Remix which is just a series of packages that change the UI. Canonical put this out to address the growing netbook market. The UI works much easier with the 901 (which has tiny, tiny keys and bad trackpad) and selecting and launching apps is easier. There is no reason for the traditional menu-bar UI used on traditional desktop computers.

As for the EEE 901 itself, it’s a mixed love on my end. The size and raw speed are nice. The slow SSD disk is bad, the tiny keys are much too small to use for typing anything but URLs or simple commands, even then, you are prone to typos unless you have the hands of a 10 year old. The trackpad is sloppy and the pad’s buttons require to much force. I’m using the device for work that won’t require much input on the keypad, so I’m not so worried. I’m getting the MSI Wind soon and I’ll compare that to the 901 when I’ve had it while.

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One thought on “EEE 901 Ubuntu and Netbook Remix

  1. UPdate: i used a spare apple wireless BT keyboard and I’m loving the 901 now. There was also an update to the netbook remix, and it’s better also.

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