I was running the original XP for a bit, it does work well and the boot times were reasonable. But it’s still Windows, which means its still pretty lame and it will never cease to frustrate me with it’s tendency to inefficiency. Since this is a netbook I don’t need it to be able to run my heavy-hitter Windows only programs, and it couldn’t anyway. So i believe Windows is a pointless OS for this situation.
The first on my quest to alternate operating systems was Linux Mint 7.
I can’t remember why I chose this as my first option. But the important thing is that I did, and now I can tell you about it in a half-assed review/how-to. I torrented the .iso file (if you don’t know what an .iso is, use google) and used the the beautifully simple CD2USB to make the USB act like a boot CD. When the computer is starting up, press F2 to get into the BIOS, change the boot sequence to read from the USB drive before the hard drive, save changes and exit.
Restart the computer with the USB stick in a port, you will see a number of options when Mint boots, you can even run the OS off the USB drive if you like but I went straight for the install. I also didn’t bother making a partition – I really wanted to get rid of Windows – so I let Mint take over the whole hard drive.
It took less than 30 minutes and was very simple to do. The only user input for the installation was for simple things like usernames, passwords, language, keyboard, etc.
The above shows the login screen, which takes about 40-45 seconds to get to after pressing the ‘on’ button (longer than I expected). After login there is still another 10 seconds of loading and waiting until everything is ready. The user interface looks quite nice and operation is quite logical. The programs took longer than I thought to load, and it seemed quite laggy when too much stuff was open. Even with the correct native resolution selected I still felt that it didn’t quite looks right on a small screen. Mostly all the hardware worked though, which was a surprise. The wireless internet worked great and remembered my network password and signed in automatically. Screen brightness control is another issue, I didn’t take much time to try and mess with this, but you can’t control it. Most of the other hotkeys worked, but there is an editor in the control settings if you wish to change them. Another surprise was the the bluetooth worked out of the box, I managed to connect my phone with ease in the wizard.
When i tried to make skype call i realized that my internal microphone wasn’t working, which sucked.
I’m not convinced that this is the OS of my choice, but i will continue to tweak and work with it. Any new discoveries will be updated in this post.
*update: I used the VGA out and it worked well
*update: I was getting some strange feedback from the mic when a headphone jack was plugged in, I haven’t bothered to get mic control working as I’m not fully sold on this OS, great package though.