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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The points raised in the original article, and other criticisms raised by other posters in the thread are all valid criticisms of thing that did not work properly using Linux on a netbook.

However the posters seem to be very confused over where to lay the balme for it, seemingly directing their angst at some vague notion of "Linux" in general, or the various distributions tried in particular.

When an OEM releases a new machine on to the market with Windows ... it is actually the responsibility of the OEM to make sure it all works properly, that it has all required and correct drivers, and that the chosen version of Windows runs well on the machine, and that the chosen version of Windows is appropriate to the market they are targetting for that machine.

If the same expectations were applied to getting a machine with Linux pre-installed, and the same responsibility accepted by the OEMs, then none of the issues raised to date would have even occurred, let alone be issues. The OEM would have colaborated with a chosen Linux distribution, requisite drivers would have been included (or alternative chips chosen), the BIOS and ACPI functions would have been checked and integrated nicely, and it all would have "just worked" out of the box with the expected level of polish.

As far as I can see, there are some OEMs who have chosen to go with a very limited Linux version (Linpus or Xandros), some who have gone with a distribution with a solid name but a poor implementation on netbooks (HP and MSI Wind ship SuSe, and at least MSI are apparently getting a high return rate), and only one of the bigger names has gone to the trouble to get it right ... Dell with Ubuntu. In my country, however, although I can buy a Dell Mini, I can't get it with Ubuntu.

Frustration plus.

Having said that, just now, a year or so after the netbooks started appearing in big numbers on the market, finally some of the Linux distributions have done the work that the OEMs (who should have done it) failed to do.

We are finally starting to see Linux distribution release announcements such as this one:

"The default edition is Xfce with a GNOME edition also available. This release concentrates on portability, with special attention paid to out-of-the-box wireless drivers, netbook and laptop installs, and USB pen drive installs. Dreamlinux builds on the now stable Debian 'Lenny' base, with a host of custom scripts and applications to make everything from installation to getting on the Internet a breeze."

... wherein specific attention has apparently been paid to make sure it works, that it is stable, and that it can be easily installed, on netbooks.

I'd also note that I have tried Kubuntu Jaunty Alpha 5 (which is to become Kubuntu 9.04 on its release), and that it works properly on netbooks. Not to say that it works (as this is still Alpha software) ... just saying that it works as well on netbooks (with all drivers out of the box) as it does anywhere else. If Kubuntu works, then so should Xubuntu (although I haven't tried it).

So (some of) the Linux distributions have finally started to catch up with the integration work that the OEMs failed to do.

Edited 2009-03-01 22:28 UTC

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