Samsung N150 Plus Netbook - Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.04

The obvious first choice in loading Linux on my new Samsung netbook is the Ubuntu Netbook Edition. This should be particularly well-suited, because UNE was originally developed specifically for Intel Atom based netbook, and although it has been improved over the past couple of releases so that it works on others (such as my HP 2133 Mini-Note), I believe that it still works "best" on Atom-based systems.

The obvious first choice in loading Linux on my new Samsung netbook is the Ubuntu Netbook Edition. This should be particularly well-suited, because UNE was originally developed specifically for Intel Atom based netbook, and although it has been improved over the past couple of releases so that it works on others (such as my HP 2133 Mini-Note), I believe that it still works "best" on Atom-based systems.

Rather than drag through the complete installation procedure, I will give a summary of the results first. However, as there have been some comments recently about "everyone says installing Linux is easy, but then it sounds difficult", I will include the installation procedure at the end. It really is very, very easy.

Installing UNE on the N150 took about 30 minutes, from start to finish, including downloading the ISO image, converting it to a bootable USB drive, and installing it into a dual-boot configuration with the existing Win7. Everything went very smoothly, there were absolutely no surprises or problems, and it runs extremely well. The first indication of the difference in performance comes when you reboot after installation. UNE boots in less than 30 seconds, from power-on to a ready-to-use desktop. Windows 7 takes over 90 seconds. This kind of differential is evident everywhere you look, as well. Programs start faster and run faster. Shutdown is faster. Suspend/Resume is faster. All of the N150 Plus hardware works just fine - graphics, wired and wireless netwrking, Bluetooth, USB ports, and so on. The driver for the WiFi adapter has to be installed separately, the procedure for that is given below. Battery life seems amazingly good to me - I can't say exactly what it is yet, because I haven't yet run the battery all the way down and had to recharge! It looks like it is going to be somewhere in the range of 4-5 hours. It is very quickly becomes clear that Ubuntu Netbook Edition is an operating system that is well-suited to this netbook, while Windows 7 is an overbearing, resource-eating pig that has been shoehorned onto it.

This is not, however, the end of the journey, it is only the beginning. Over the next few days I will load various other Linux distributions on the Samsung N150 Plus, and see how they perform. I'm planning at least openSuSE 11.3, Fedora 13, Mandriva 2010.1 and SimplyMEPIS 8.5. Also, the Beta release of Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10 is due out this week, and it has a completely redesigned desktop, so I'll give that a run as well. It should be interesting.

jw 31/8/2010

Installation Procedure:

The ISO can be downloaded from the Ubuntu Netbook Edition Download Page, and there are also instructions on that page for creating a bootable USB drive from the ISO image. If you have another system running a recent Ubuntu version, you can simply use the "Startup Disk Creator" utility.

Plug the USB drive into the Samsung, turn on power and press when the initial boot/diagnostic screen is displayed. Select the USB drive from the boot menu, and follow the prompts and instructions in the UNE installation procedure. The only slightly tricky part of the installation is what to do about disk partitioning. One very good option would be to just tell Ubuntu to wipe Windows and install UNE to the entire disk drive. If you want to preserve Windows and have a multi-boot configuration, there are a couple more easy options. If you accepted the default disk configuration while installing Windows 7 Sstarter on the first boot of the Samsung, and thus you have a D: drive, you can simply delete that drive and let Ubuntu install into the resulting free space. If you installed with only a C: drive, or you want to preserve both C: and D: drives, the Ubuntu installer offers you the option of reducing the size of Windows to make room for Ubuntu. Whatever method you choose, you only need to allocate a minimum of 8 GB to install UNE; of course, you are likely to want a lot more if you are going to be working a lot with it, or using it as your default operating system, but to install for testing you can give it 8 GB and you'll still have a couple Gig free to work with.

Once the installation procedure finishes, reboot the netbook and you'll see the multi-boot selection menu. If you don't select anything, it will automatically boot UNE after a few seconds. It will then come up to the UNE desktop.

Because the N150 Plus has a Broadcom bcm4727 WiFi adapter, which uses a proprietary driver under Linux, the driver is not installed by default with UNE. To get it installed, simply connect a wired network cable, and then go to System / Hardware Drivers. After searching for a short time, UNE will tell you that a driver is available, and you simply select "Activate". it takes less than 5 minutes to download and install the driver, and your wireless networking will then be working.

Good Luck!

jw

Newsletters

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
See All
See All