Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 1st Mar 2009 17:26 UTC, submitted by kaiwai
Hardware, Embedded Systems Long-time OSNews reader Kaiwai has written down his experiences with his Acer Aspire One, Linux, and Windows. He concludes: "After a hectic few weeks trying to get Linux to work, I am back to square one again - a netbook running Windows XP SP3 as it was provided by Acer when I purchased it. I gave three different distributions a chance to prove themselves. I expected all three distributions to wipe the floor with Windows XP - after all, these are the latest and greatest distributions the Linux world have to offer. There has been at least 7 years since the release of Windows XP for Linux to catch up to Windows XP and from my experience with Linux on this said device - it has failed to step up to the plate when it was needed."
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Mandriva 2009.0 and the Acer Aspire One
by ReeBop on Sun 1st Mar 2009 21:11 UTC
ReeBop
Member since:
2009-03-01

I bought a 6 cell battery Acer Aspire One with a 160 gig hard drive late last year. I wanted a sizable hard drive and I also was planning a dual boot system of XP and Mandriva 2009.0. I used an external DVD burner to do the install with and used the partiioning tool (DiskDrake) that Mandriva provided with no problems. I found the Mandriva setup simple with only minor caveats that I found answers for in Mandriva centric forums. I have not found Windows to be any faster or slower than Mandriva on casual observation. It is the same with battery life. I enjoy my system and boot about 75 percent of the time into Mandriva as I am more familiar with a Linux system than a Windows system.

With that being said, I wonder what his experience would be if his Acer had no operating system installed, given an "off the shelf" Windows XP cd with no manufacture supplied drivers. Do you think that an install like that would be easier than doing a Mandriva 2009.0 install? I don't think so. Keep in mind that Acer's Windows XP netbooks are preloaded with a tailored XP Home SP3 with all the drivers needed. Good luck finding and installing drivers as you are trying to bring up your generic XP system the first time. With my home network settings, I had Mandriva using my wireless router at first boot. The point is that I didn't need another system nearby to load my Mandriva from scratch. Everything I needed for a usable system was on the DVD and I was left to set my own personal preferences and download any software (i. e. Google Earth or Firefox plugins) at my leisure.

As for crapware, I had no need of the MS Office trial edition nor the default DVD player software that was loaded. Yes, a "kitchen sink" distribution is going to load a lot of software you may never use. It is apples to oranges whether you like a distribution that loads a lot of software or a bare minimum. You might as well argue about vi vs. emacs.

I'm not writing to either praise or bash the Acer, Windows XP or Mandriva 2009. My point is that if you cannot fairly compare a custom preloaded XP operating system with a DVD or CD Linux distribution downloaded from the Internet. The comparison should be between using a generic "off the shelf" XP Home CD with no drivers included and a distribution such as Mandriva 2009.0. The user experience of locating specific manufacturer drivers, installing them and configuring your system for the Internet will not be sa easy for the XP user than for the Mandriva user.

Reply Score: 4

kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Ah, sugar buns, I am not using an acer oem cd - the oem cd provided was one bought through retail channels with SP2 pre-merged. In other words, what YOU saw was ME using a retail copy of Windows XP to install onto that device.

Again, this is not a Windows XP OEM from Acer, it has NONE of the drivers merged into the cd as the cd was bought via retail. For arguments sake, it is a retail copy of Windows XP. Yes, I did require downloading the drivers - but unlike the Linux world, they could be all easily obtainable through the Acer support FTP.

Reply Parent Score: 2

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Ah, sugar buns, I am not using an acer oem cd - the oem cd provided was one bought through retail channels with SP2 pre-merged. In other words, what YOU saw was ME using a retail copy of Windows XP to install onto that device.

Again, this is not a Windows XP OEM from Acer, it has NONE of the drivers merged into the cd as the cd was bought via retail. For arguments sake, it is a retail copy of Windows XP. Yes, I did require downloading the drivers - but unlike the Linux world, they could be all easily obtainable through the Acer support FTP.


This is a complaint about Acer, not as you seem to imagine a complaint about "the Linux world".

Here is what "the Linux world" has tried to do for you:
http://www.linux4one.it/
"What's linu4one

Linux4one is an Italian distribution studied to work out of the box on Acer's Aspire One Netbook. Very well configured, the distribution is perfect also for those who are less experts.
Light version Characteristics

* Lxde desktop manager;
* Space occupied on disk: 1.5 gb;
* 40 Seconds boot time;
* Active Osd (meaning that if you press fn plus f7 or the wifi button the action icon appears, also present in the current 1.1 private beta testing);
* the wif led now turns off if the relative button is pressed (same as above);
* Functioning bluetooth (as above);
* eeepc 701 support;
* other improvements.....

Full version Characteristics

* Personalized kernel
* Reduced Boot times (even with SSD)
* Functioning hardware from the start, including SD readers (the left doesn't act as Storage Expansion but as regular Card reader) and wireless led
* Minimum disk writing (log. etc.) to preserve duration
* Various optimizations to enhance the system's reaction times
* OSD for special keys
* Netbook Remix Interface
* Italian and English language (other languages will be added as well)
* Based on ubuntu 8.04.2 LTS ( 3 year support) resulting in repository access
* Kernel 2.6.28, Openoffice 3, Netbok manager 0.7 and VLC with codec
* Prelminary support for Asus eeepc 710"



Downloadable from the one spot. All drivers included. Free access to over 20,000 additional packages, browseable and installable via the one common secure interface. Guaranteed malware-free.

Enjoy.

Edited 2009-03-02 11:08 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

ReeBop Member since:
2009-03-01

"Sugar buns"? Since I'm 20 years your senior, that is not worthy of me commenting further. Did I mention any "OEM" CDROM? No. I said "off the shelf" as in from your computer store or even Wal-Mart. I do not consider an OEM CDROM an "off the shelf" boxed product. I certainly know you didn't use an Acer CDROM as I purchased mine from Amazon.com fully aware that they did not offer a CDROM for restoration purposes. Actual Acer CDROMs are $40 extra. With that being said, I saw nothing in your article stating that you used your OEM cdrom to do a Windows XP install from scratch. You did mention that you went through the initial booting steps such as I did when I unpacked my unit so I made the assumption you had the exact same experience I did. I can see that this will become a "vi vs. emacs" debate here so I'll leave this point for my next.

I want to revisit your comment about:

Yes, I did require downloading the drivers - but unlike the Linux world, they could be all easily obtainable through the Acer support FTP.


So everyday people will naturally and easily research and locate their needed drivers from the Acer FTP support site. I think not. At no time did I have to download source to any Linux kernel module driver and compile it. The Mandriva DVD contained everything I needed from the start and installed properly. My only issue was getting the unit's webcam to operate in Skype, for which I found a solution.

I am not going to say that all is perfect in the Linux world with installers and especially, documentation. I am going to say however that Linux has made great strides since I loaded SLS in the early 90's and (at least from the point of view of my Mandriva and Fedora experience) fares well against a company that was found in violation of the US Sherman Antitrust Act in the year 2000.

I do agree with several other posters in this comment thread that netbook (forgive me Psion) manufacturers make unfortunate choices in Linux distributions. I chose Mandriva for a specific reason that if I had any trouble, I would know how to solve the issue (a Mandriva / Mandrake user since version 5.2). I had only the single problem with the webcam setup, however. One thing that should be made clear though is that Linux is a kernel, the software you loaded were distributions. Your blog states "Linux review" when in fact you chose three different distributions. I chose Mandriva, read a little on user's feedback and did my install. You chose three others and did no research at all yet you did take the time to research Acer's FTP site.

Is changing the default installed operating system for the typical enduser? No. I do think the Acer would shine under Mandriva preinstalled. Mandriva Linux does exactly what I want in my Acer Aspire One.

Reply Parent Score: 1