Saturday, 21 August 2010

Xandros - an OS too far?

So, finally i got myself a netbook. In the shape of a second hand Asus EeePC 701, i hit the road running. Well, to be more accurate, i get to sit on the sofa and try to get to grips with not only the smaller than usual keyboard but also a new operating system in the shape of Xandros Linux.

Two days in, how am i fairing? Well, not too badly to be honest. I have managed to get my Vodafone 3G dongle working with it, so i now am able to get online. I am still finding my way around Linux, and especially the limitations of the “easy” version of the OS that it boots into by default. I have tried to get the “advanced” desktop working, but so far have failed. I gather that this would give more the look and usability of a Windows XP type system.

In all fairness, it isn't a major issue. This version of Linux has virtually everything that you could wish for – after all, there's not much point being able to install Photoshop on a computer with a screen this small – you are not really going to do much photo editing on a 7” screen!

It has Firefox built in, so web browsing is sorted, there is a full blown email program, but as i always use webmail these days, that is of no real interest to me. Open Office is also installed from the off, and while this isn't anywhere nearly as nice as MS Office, it is almost as powerful, and does everything i need from it, and more besides.

The big question (as already asked by Sally!) is what will i use it for? It can't do anything that i cannot already do either with my PC or Mac, and it especially isn't a patch on the latter – once you have used a Mac and fallen in love with them, there really isn't anything on this planet to touch them.

The Asus is amazingly small, yet still very usable. Even the smaller than usual keyboard is actually surprisingly easy to type on, and as long as you use a sensibly sized font, the word processing aspect of the machine is actually pretty good. This is a major advantage, as that is exactly what i plan to mainly use this machine for. Having a computer that is small enough to have no excuse to not have with me could possibly be a bit of a turning point to my writing ambitions. How many times do i think of something when i haven't got the ability to bash it out? Or am i just looking for an excuse?

I will be able to take it away on holiday with me now, smaller, lighter and less precious to me than the Mac, this could end up being my holiday blogging device of choice. It will also prove useful to look at the holiday photos on a better screen than the camera itself offers. Indeed, this will probably accompany me to Vicki's wedding in three weeks time so that i can check the photos i will be taking on my first “assignment” as a wedding photographer!

There is part of me that wants to learn more about the insides of Linux, but i really should just use this for what it is – a small simple device that does virtually everything that i need it to, and be happy at that. After all, just how many operating systems does one really NEED to know????

Mind you, i gather from YouTube that it is actually possible to install Mac OS-X on one of these........yummy – now that is what i call a handy portable computer!!!

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