Our review of the latest Linux laptop, the Asus EeePC 1000, has not begun auspiciously but with an important lesson.
In a Linux laptop, the bundle is all.
Let me explain. Yesterday my 17 year old son's PC gave up the ghost. The motherboard crashed. It had to go away.
When John came home I offered him the Linux laptop.
Where's the Internet, he asked. It took me about 20 minutes to set up the internal WiFi, and he could use the Firefox browser.
Try the word processor, I suggested, and he did. It worked. But (and this is important) it wasn't the Open Office which came with the 900 Model we had in earlier. It was Star Office. An earlier program. It does not support the current ODT standard.
So when John finished entering his homework, he got mad. He first noticed that the word processor did not automatically recognize the thumb drive he had put in the USB port to move it over for printing.
Then he found my own copy of Open Office could not read it.
He was furious. "Why are you giving me a computer you don't know how to use?" he demanded. I fussed and fumed but could not fix things right away.
So he grabbed my own PC and retyped the whole assignment, moving his eyes from screen-to-screen like a good secretary. (Hey, his typing speed has gotten good.) Then he printed it and huffed away, slamming the door behind him.
The solution seemed straightforward. I went online and grabbed the Linux version of Open Office.
But installing Linux software is not like adding a PC program. I'll get through it, in time, but it's vital you look at any Linux laptop, at the software installed with the operating system, and know you can deal with it before signing the credit slip.
You don't want to face the wrath of an angry teenager.