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Although there is a website that claims “It’s better with Windows”, we all know that it is not better with it. The open source world came into the scene and released a perfect distribution for the netbooks that have small screens. The Ubuntu people have released Eeebuntu, which is an out of the box experience for Asus Eee series netbooks. But the system runs on many other netbooks; it is not restricted only to Eee PCs.
Eeebuntu comes in three releases: Standard, Netbook Remix (NBR) and Base.
- Standard is the “standard” Ubuntu installation. It delivers almost the same desktop experience that you got used to, including the Compiz effects.
- Netbook Remix is tailored for the small screens and the desktop is arranged in a tabbed environment so as to provide easy and fast access to your documents and programs.
- Base is a stripped down version of the Standard and NBR releases. Many of the programs such as Compiz, additional language packs, office and media applications are not present with the installation to save space. You have the option to install them later depending on your needs and hard disk size.
Having looked them all, I recommend the NBR for the netbook users. The tabbed interface is easy and uncluttered and you can access all of your applications easily. I am seriously considering it to use with my desktop computer.
You may ask what are the differences between Eeebuntu and Ubuntu. Eeebuntu uses a different Linux kernel (called array kernel) and it is tweaked to have all the special keys, functions and features to work In other words, you save time by avoiding searching for information on the Internet, configuring your kernel modules, running into configuration problems and trying to fix the stuff that doesn’t work.
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Ubuntu installation is more or less standardized. You expect the same boot menu and the same installation steps. It does not matter if you select Standard, NBR or Base release to install, the installation will exactly be the same as installing Ubuntu on your desktop.
Considering that the netbooks are not equipped with an optical drive, we will have to install Eeebuntu from a USB Stick. We have covered the issue in detail in “Getting Started with Linux: USB Stick/CD Installation” article. To create a bootable ISO on your USB stick, you will either use with UNetBootin (if you’re using Windows) or USB Startup Disk Creator (Ubuntu). The former case is explained in our USB Stick/CD Installation article. For the latter, Insert the empty USB stick to an empty USB slot, go to System -> Administration -> USB Startup Disk Creator and select the ISO file you have downloaded from the Eeebuntu website. At the end you will have a USB stick that you can boot your netbook from. Restart your computer, go to the BIOS options and select removable drive as the primary boot device. Save changes and exit and plug your USB stick when the computer boots. The Eeebuntu boot menu will show up and we will either select “Try Eeebuntu without any change to your computer” or “Install Eeebuntu.” If you will go for the latter, following are the installation steps that you will go through during your Eeebuntu installation.
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Images courtesy of Eeebuntu website.
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Eeebuntu is a perfect choice for a netbook operating system. It is fast, both in startup/shutdown times and have no problems with running the programs. Plus, the Netbook Remix presents an excellent desktop which puts every pixel of the screen into use. Once you have set it up and got used to it (it takes a couple of minutes if you are an Ubuntu user), it is highly unlikely, if not impossible, to go back to using any other operating system on your netbook.