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Friday, May 29, 2009

Eeebuntu or Ubuntu for the EeePC

Even before I had decided to purchase a netbook, I was intrigued by a modified version of Ubuntu Linux floating around on the Web, called very appropriately Eeebuntu. I downloaded the ISO and continued reading forums and viewing videos of Eeebuntu in operation on YouTube. Being an Apple user at home and a console-only gamer, I have lost interest in Windows and its numerous issues. And the geek part of my personality was looking for a new fix!

When I got my Asus 1000HA home, I plugged it in, connected my external DVD drive to it and ran the Eeebuntu disc I had previously made. The installation proceeded without any difficulties, and within about 35 minutes, I had installed Eeebuntu in a separate partition; I chose to keep Windows in case I ran into any issues running Linux (I was specifically concerned about some of my external hardware, such as the DVD burner mentioned earlier, would not function).

The installation process is very smooth, and clearly explained. Several options are possible, including running Eeebuntu from the Live CD, which leaves the hard drive untouched, and is an excellent way of trying out Linux without having to install it to the hard drive. Nonetheless, I chose to install Eeebuntu in its own partition, and leave the existing Windows installation in a separate partition in the meantime. The process was over quickly and after rebooting, I selected Eeebuntu from the boot menu at launch.

The boot time for Eeebuntu on the 1000HA was quite quick, and that was my first surprise. By my count, the initial boot up process was around 1:00 minute, which is almost 15 seconds quicker than launching Windows XP on the same platform. Subsequent boot up times reduced to about 55 seconds, which I found quite acceptable. The launcher provided by Eeebuntu, which overlays the desktop portion, is a fantastic addition makes a fantastic addition to my netbook, and not only provide a user-friendly environment, but takes advantage of the specific size of the monitor.

Within the next couple of days, a new release of Eeebuntu was made available online, version 9.04 which I upgraded to one evening. This version has corrected small flaws that I had discovered (unsuccessful wireless reconnection after waking from suspension, not keeping screen brightness settings after waking from suspension, etc...) and improved boot up time simultaneously. A cold boot up now requires 48 seconds, an improvement over the previous version, and something that I will continue to experiment with so as to improve.

I will continue this post next week, with further comparison testing and feedback on my experience.

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