Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 17th Jun 2008 19:35 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems As we all know by now, the Asus Eee PC has been a massive success for Asus. While that's really nice for the men and women working at Asus, us operating system enthusiasts like the device for another reason: it came pre-loaded with something else than Windows, which creates awareness of alternatives among the public, which in turn helps to diversify the operating system marketplace - something we all want. While the new Eee PC can be pre-loaded with Windows, the Linux version is still there. El Reg takes a look at the Linux version of the new Eee PC 901.
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The *Liniche*
by robinh on Tue 17th Jun 2008 19:59 UTC
robinh
Member since:
2006-12-19

I'm waiting on the specs for the acer-one before deciding which of this new kind of device to purchase. The acer could be cheaper, with longer battery and built-in hsdpa. Sub £200 pc with mobile broadband for £15 month extra - that's pretty killer.

Looks like any kind of mass Linux use is going to occur on very cheap or commodity hardware (phones, "free" hardware etc), which I think is a good thing for Linux.

Reply Score: 1

RE: The *Liniche*
by Doc Pain on Tue 17th Jun 2008 22:00 UTC in reply to "The *Liniche*"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

Looks like any kind of mass Linux use is going to occur on very cheap or commodity hardware (phones, "free" hardware etc), which I think is a good thing for Linux.


Maybe tha's why the keyboard does not feature a visible "Windows" key The key is present, but not decorated with an advertising logo. :-)

http://regmedia.co.uk/2008/05/21/eee_901_b_3.jpg

Ah well, and a "Menu" key seems to be present, too. Two keys, nearly useless, wasting space on the keyboard (and making the space bar smaller).

For Linux use, please add Meta keys and a middle mouse button. :-)

Okay, don't take this comment to serious. After all, the device seems to be good for Linux and relatively cheap, too, but after all, a bit expensive (as commented before). But still interesting if you don't mind the money, nice system for diagnostics and demonstration, and maybe for coding if you don't mind the small keyboard.

I understand "free hardware" as a term where driver support is good among Linux and UNIX, and I really welcome any device that does not force you to install a certain OS just to be able to use the hardware. This little computer is a step into the right direction, I think.

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: The *Liniche*
by MamiyaOtaru on Wed 18th Jun 2008 00:08 UTC in reply to "RE: The *Liniche*"
MamiyaOtaru Member since:
2005-11-11

Ah well, and a "Menu" key seems to be present, too. Two keys, nearly useless, wasting space on the keyboard (and making the space bar smaller).

For Linux use, please add Meta keys and a middle mouse button. :-)


The home (windows) button hides all apps and shows the (tabbed) desktop, from where all programs are launched in the easy UI. Useful enough. The menu button, sure that's less useful. But there's no reason one couldn't define that as a Meta key. This is in fact what I have done, so the "menu" key is what I use to create accented characters now.

A middle mouse button would be nice for sure. But at least one can emulate it by clicking both mouse buttons a once. This should be easier now since the 901 actually has two regular buttons instead of what seems to be a rocker button on my sister's 900 (though middle click by clicking both is still somehow possible, just difficult. Bit that's what a nice small wireless mouse is for ;) ).

So... can one operate one of these devices without any crapblobs in ones kernel?

Yes. People have been loading other flavors of Linux on it with comparatively little difficulty. The wireless is a sticking point, requiring a patched madwifi (and acceptance of Atheros' binary HAL) so it may not be as pure as some would like. Hopefully ath5k will get there soon.

Xandros as it appears on the Eee also boots very fast with a proprietary init replacement: fastinit. It's been reverse engineered and a drop in open source replacement, finit, is available. I'm using it so I can have /var/log (and run and lock) mounted as tmpfs.

There are still some proprietary bits shipping with the system if it bothers one. Skype for one, Adobe Acrobat Reader for another. Evince replaces the latter nicely. Xandros File Manager is another. Konqueror is there too though if one prefers.

Reply Score: 3

RE: The *Liniche*
by HeLfReZ on Wed 18th Jun 2008 12:52 UTC in reply to "The *Liniche*"
HeLfReZ Member since:
2005-08-12

Specs for Acer One, Dell E, and MSI Wind are already available. They all pretty much trump the ASUS EeePC at this point. ASUS is pricing themselves out of this market and will need to find a way to get the prices down if they plan to sell.

I am personally leaning towards a Dell E or MSI Wind. The ACER One is kewl, but they only offer lower specd machines with linux.

Reply Score: 2

Kidding me ...
by dindin on Tue 17th Jun 2008 20:02 UTC
dindin
Member since:
2006-03-29

I am sorry but $550 is too much for this. I just picked up a 14 in Sony Vaio with Core2Duo (1.8GHZ) and 200GB-HDD/2GB-RAM for $450 USD. These new Netbooks have to be $299 or less for them to sell.

Reply Score: 8

RE: Kidding me ...
by kmare on Tue 17th Jun 2008 20:58 UTC in reply to "Kidding me ..."
kmare Member since:
2006-02-05

while i totally agree with you about the price being too high, keep in mind that UMPCs fall into a totally different category than "normal" notebooks..

Reply Score: 9

My Question
by wigginz on Tue 17th Jun 2008 20:14 UTC
wigginz
Member since:
2006-03-03

What is the release date and where do I buy one? Anyone know? Tried scanning the article, but didn't see it.

Reply Score: 1

RE: My Question
by broken_symlink on Tue 17th Jun 2008 22:18 UTC in reply to "My Question"
broken_symlink Member since:
2005-07-06

From what i've heard the ship date is sometime in October. I hope its not true though.

Reply Score: 2

RE: My Question
by Michael on Tue 17th Jun 2008 23:11 UTC in reply to "My Question"
Michael Member since:
2005-07-01

July 1st in the UK. Don't know about elsewhere.

http://www.itpro.co.uk/603675/asus-announces-eee-pc-901-and-1000

Reply Score: 2

Palm
by StephenBeDoper on Tue 17th Jun 2008 20:20 UTC
StephenBeDoper
Member since:
2005-07-06

I would imagine that Palm is kicking themselves for having canceled the Foleo these days...

Reply Score: 3

RE: Palm
by _txf_ on Tue 17th Jun 2008 20:42 UTC in reply to "Palm"
_txf_ Member since:
2008-03-17

I wouldn't say so. The foleo in general was far less capable than even the first eeepc. Plus it was targeted at business users whereas the low cost subnotebooks seem to be marketed as more home consumer devices.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Palm
by StephenBeDoper on Thu 19th Jun 2008 02:41 UTC in reply to "RE: Palm"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

I wouldn't say so. The foleo in general was far less capable than even the first eeepc.


It had a slower processor and less RAM / storage, but I don't think people buy EeePCs because they want raw computing power.

Plus it was targeted at business users whereas the low cost subnotebooks seem to be marketed as more home consumer devices.


True - but that's more an issue of marketing focus. There aren't any fundamental, technological reasons that the Foleo would have been unsuitable for non-business users.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Palm
by bousozoku on Tue 17th Jun 2008 22:38 UTC in reply to "Palm"
bousozoku Member since:
2006-01-23

I would imagine that Palm is kicking themselves for having canceled the Foleo these days...


No, Palm are kicking themselves for designing such a device that was only an assistant to other devices. Even if they had created a fully functional, stand alone device, it would likely suffer from patched and broken software.

I'd like to see more of these smaller machines but until they're more usable or interesting, they won't catch the eyes of the majority of buyers. Asus is making some good attempts. I hope they gain some interest to drive interesting applications.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Palm
by StephenBeDoper on Tue 17th Jun 2008 23:18 UTC in reply to "RE: Palm"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

No, Palm are kicking themselves for designing such a device that was only an assistant to other devices.


That was the marketing angle - there's no law stating that you can *only* use a device for the purpose(s) mentioned in its sales literature.

Even if they had created a fully functional, stand alone device, it would likely suffer from patched and broken software.


Because...?

Reply Score: 3

RE: Palm
by jabbotts on Wed 18th Jun 2008 14:50 UTC in reply to "Palm"
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

I think Palm is just kicking themselves in general with the number of times they've chewed the dog in the market they created. I didn't think I'd ever buy from another vendor until they stalled the evolutino of the Tungsten line and never produced an upgrade too the T5 (lifedrive was on part if not a downgrade as was the TE). The foleo was a neat idea until I got to the limited feature set ment to bind it too there Treo line only.

Palm, your new benchmark is Nokia's N line; best of luck.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Palm
by StephenBeDoper on Wed 18th Jun 2008 22:49 UTC in reply to "RE: Palm"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

I think Palm is just kicking themselves in general with the number of times they've chewed the dog in the market they created.


They certainly should be, with the huge number of advantages they've squandered. In many ways, they're in the same position as Apple on the desktop, circa the late 1990s - the Palm OS still sets the gold standard for usability (in terms of attention-to-small-detail, at least), but they're hampered by a software foundation that was outdated 10 years ago.

The foleo was a neat idea until I got to the limited feature set ment to bind it too there Treo line only.


AFAIK, it was (or would have been) possible to pair it with *any* bluetooth-capable phone - or use it on its own, for that matter. But much of the coverage by tech news sources did make it sound like the Foleo would only work in combination with a Treo.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Palm
by jabbotts on Thu 19th Jun 2008 01:49 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Palm"
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

I did like the form factor and was waiting to see it in person until they cancelled it. It would have been interesting to see what the hardware could do with alternate firmware. They'd have to do some updating if they decided to bring it back in against the exploding UMPC market.

Reply Score: 2

Typo
by ptman on Tue 17th Jun 2008 20:36 UTC
ptman
Member since:
2005-08-08

"it came pre-loaded with something else than Linux"

Reply Score: 4

Norman, coordinate...
by sbergman27 on Tue 17th Jun 2008 20:38 UTC
sbergman27
Member since:
2005-07-24

us operating system enthusiasts like the device for another reason: it came pre-loaded with something else than Linux, which creates awareness of alternatives among the public, which in turn helps to diversify the operating system marketplace

A laptop preloaded with Windows "creates awareness of alternatives among the public, which in turn helps to diversify the operating system marketplace"?

At least one of "us operating system enthusiasts" is puzzled by that surreal assertion.

Edited 2008-06-17 20:39 UTC

Reply Score: 8

Waiting for more manufacturers...
by gan17 on Tue 17th Jun 2008 21:41 UTC
gan17
Member since:
2008-06-03

Wonder if anyone is capable of releasing a dual-Atom version with maybe double the RAM and better battery, but with same size and weight (or less)..... That would really be my cup-o-tea.... but if it cost the same as a Macbook Airhole, forget it.

Getting back to reality, I'm still waiting for more manufacturers to jump on the bandwagon. Hopefully the Japanese companies like Fujitsu and NEC.

Reply Score: 0

Ophidian Member since:
2007-01-17

I would love such a beast! I have been reluctant to enter the eeepc market the majority of what I would use it for I can do from my Nokia N800. Having the option of more ram and multicore right out of the gate might be the excuse I need to give myself for why I need to join eee ownership.


Wonder if anyone is capable of releasing a dual-Atom version with maybe double the RAM and better battery, but with same size and weight (or less)..... That would really be my cup-o-tea.... but if it cost the same as a Macbook Airhole, forget it.

Getting back to reality, I'm still waiting for more manufacturers to jump on the bandwagon. Hopefully the Japanese companies like Fujitsu and NEC.

Reply Score: 1

crapblobs?
by Redeeman on Tue 17th Jun 2008 21:57 UTC
Redeeman
Member since:
2006-03-23

So... can one operate one of these devices without any crapblobs in ones kernel?

Reply Score: 3

Comment by kokuyoen
by kokuyoen on Wed 18th Jun 2008 05:32 UTC
kokuyoen
Member since:
2008-06-13

Hm. Thanks but not thanks. I'm waiting for the Dell E.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by kokuyoen
by lemur2 on Wed 18th Jun 2008 07:20 UTC in reply to "Comment by kokuyoen"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Hm. Thanks but not thanks. I'm waiting for the Dell E.


... either that or the Acer Aspire One. For me, it will depend on price and on the Linux distribution.

If the Dell Mini Inspiron is a similar price to the Aspire One, and the Dell includes a full "freedom" Linux such as Ubuntu, XUbuntu or even Ubuntu Remix, then that will get the nod.

The Aspire One is already ahead of the EEEPC because of the Linux option available and the price, but also because of Acer's postition.

Asus teamed with Xandros (who have signed a deal with Microsoft), the EEEPC 901 is the most expensive so far of the new set of mini-notebooks with the Atom processor, and Aus marketing of the EEEPC 901 flat-out lies to consumers by claiming "It is better with Windows". So that one is at the very end of my list of possible purchases in this arena.

Reply Score: 2

Meh
by kaiwai on Wed 18th Jun 2008 06:33 UTC
kaiwai
Member since:
2005-07-06

What I think people ignore with these sorts of devices is this; westerners on here may be whining about the lack of xyz, but I can really see this device doing well in the developing countries around the world. Now before you claim, "oh, what use could a computer have in the developing countries".

On television there was an article about a New Zealand company setting up a mobile phone network in an African country (can't remember which one though); cattle hurders, for example, would take their product to market, but rather than exchanging money physically, they were exchanging their money via mobile phones. Complete electronic transactions occurring within seconds. As one of the farmers said, "I now no longer feel unsafe walking around with large sums of money in my pocket". A situation of where technology is actually improving the lives of people.

This small device may appear to be restrictive to the average person in the west but for someone in that position; coupled with a connection to his mobile phone - the ability to interact with the government on a faster basis rather than having do go through the notoriously slow and corrupt channels. The ability for small business in those countries to keep track of their cash flow and improve the efficiencies of their business.

The benefits are huge, its too bad that people here are more concerned with the lack of a given widget than realising the potential it has to improve lives.

Reply Score: 3

a lot of netbook
by collinm on Wed 18th Jun 2008 07:58 UTC
collinm
Member since:
2005-07-15

see here all the netbook available

http://www.aful.org/metamorphose/ultra-portables-umpc

Reply Score: 2

Still too few pixels
by unoengborg on Wed 18th Jun 2008 08:42 UTC
unoengborg
Member since:
2005-07-06

I haven't seen the GUI that comes with EEPC, but unless they haven't done some exceptional work, 600x1024 is too small. At least if you want to run some normal kind of full Linux desktop such as Gnome or KDE. I would say 1024x768 is absolute minimum to run such environments well.

The problem is not the 1024 figure, but the 600 figure. Most document I handle are taller than they are wide, and I guess this is the case to most people, unless they are extreme film buffs.

If they can't keep the price down, using a 768x1024 screen, perhaps they could make the screen detachable, and let the users decide if they should use it in landscape or portrait mode. That way, they would also keep the size down.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Still too few pixels
by Pfeifer on Wed 18th Jun 2008 09:48 UTC in reply to "Still too few pixels"
Pfeifer Member since:
2006-02-20

It's enough, believe me.

All the UMPCs use customized GUIs, modified to acommodate for the reduced screen estate; all applications run in full screen mode per default. Applications are started through a special GUI, panels and sidebars are reduced to the possible minimum. It works surprisingly well.

After seeing how well that works on UMPCs I switched to a full screen workspace/desktop for my home computer as well. I got used to it so much that I really don't konw why we need complex window managers at all.

What about you all?

#Edit:
Ubuntu's Netbook Redux Repos provide a "maximus" package, which keeps your applications full screen all the time. Try it!

Edited 2008-06-18 09:53 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Still too few pixels
by lemur2 on Wed 18th Jun 2008 09:55 UTC in reply to "Still too few pixels"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

I haven't seen the GUI that comes with EEPC, but unless they haven't done some exceptional work, 600x1024 is too small. At least if you want to run some normal kind of full Linux desktop such as Gnome or KDE. I would say 1024x768 is absolute minimum to run such environments well.

The problem is not the 1024 figure, but the 600 figure. Most document I handle are taller than they are wide, and I guess this is the case to most people, unless they are extreme film buffs.

If they can't keep the price down, using a 768x1024 screen, perhaps they could make the screen detachable, and let the users decide if they should use it in landscape or portrait mode. That way, they would also keep the size down.


The device is not a desktop ... it is a "notebook" or a "mini note" or an "internet tablet" or a "UMPC".

As long as you don't try to use it for desktop tasks (document creation) the screen size is fine ... and better than the 800 x 600 screens that was the standard resolution for most desktops for many a year less than a decade ago.

http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_display.asp

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Still too few pixels - N810
by jabbotts on Wed 18th Jun 2008 15:00 UTC in reply to "RE: Still too few pixels"
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

The N810's little screen displays PDF or MSF and my other auditing tools very nicely. ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE: Still too few pixels
by gavin.mccord on Wed 18th Jun 2008 10:22 UTC in reply to "Still too few pixels"
gavin.mccord Member since:
2005-09-07

You could use a scrolling virtual desktop, a feature of X that's been around as long as I can remember. It was pretty much a necessity when I used my crappy 14" CRT monitor at 640x480 (it could do 800x600 provided you didn't mind the nausea and headaches that came with low refresh rates).

Reply Score: 2

599???
by gnemmi on Wed 18th Jun 2008 13:12 UTC
gnemmi
Member since:
2006-08-17

For a PDA on steroids?
Do they plan on actually sell it?

I really hope DELL has a reasonable price for their upcoming E Slim and .. again .. FreeBSD out of the box... (meaning: hardware that _already_ has fully functional BSD licensed drivers)

Otherwise .. sorry, but no .. I rather pay the extra buck and get a full blown 13.1 or 12.1 notebook and build it to suit my best needs.

Reply Score: 2

RE: 599???
by HeLfReZ on Wed 18th Jun 2008 14:49 UTC in reply to "599???"
HeLfReZ Member since:
2005-08-12

Dell E will start at $299. The prices and specs for most of these machines is already available. Check out engadget. I can't view the site from work, but I know they had a hands-on vid of Acer One, and detailed specs/timeline from Dell on the E. IMHO the Dell is going to be the way to go, should be available next month. The MSI Wind looks nice, but leave it to big box OEMs to price them right.

The smaller companies need to price them higher to make a decent profit, whereas someone like Dell can stack'em deep and sell'em cheap.

Reply Score: 2