Ubuntu netbook remix 'acid test' wrap-up

It's time to test Ubuntu installation on a netbook again - this time on a current model, the HP Mini 2140.
Written by J.A. Watson, Contributor
Time to wrap up one more open item - my informal "Acid Test" of UNR. The size of my test group has doubled (from one to two), and the results have been consistent. The conclusion is, it's good, it works, and it will be the distribution of choice when I prepare netbooks for friends. I doubt that it will ever be my own first choice, even for my netbooks, but I am able to use it comfortably when I need to.

The original test case was an ASUS Eee PC 4G (701), which I think was a particularly difficult case. It's an older netbook (one of the originals), it has an exceptionally small screen (7 inches), a touchpad with no buttons (so you have to "tap" to simulate buttons), and only 4GB of disk (SSD). UNR installed and worked flawlessly, and my neighbor has been using it happily ever since.

The second test case was an HP Mini 2140, which I would consider a "current" netbook, although no longer "leading edge". It has an Atom CPU, a nice big screen (10.1 inches), a touchpad with two buttons, and a 160 GB disk drive. There was a minor problem that required changing one BIOS setting, but once that was done UNR installed and worked flawlessly again. After the first few days of use, my friend is quite happy with it.

I consider the owners of both of these netbooks to be average non-professional computer users. They have had no problems with the netbooks running Ubuntu rather than Windows - in fact, neither of them noticed or cared about that. Neither has had any questions or complaints about the UNR desktop. They both use the netbook for internet access (web browsing and email), via WiFi connection, and one has been using the built-in webcam, and downloading digital pictures from an SD flash card.

In both cases, UNR was a significant improvement over the operating system that was previously installed on the netbook. The Eee PC had a two year old Linux of some sort, so UNR was a big step forward. The Mini 2140 came with SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10, which while not quite as bad, is also rather dated.

This article was originally posted on ZDNet UK.

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