Feeds

The best netbook-friendly Linux distros

Android on your Eee, anyone?

Boost IT visibility and business value

We loved the Xandros based OS the Asus put on the original Eee PC for its simplicity and direct access to applications. Likewise Acer's version of Linpus, installed on the Linux versions of its Aspire One netbook. For 90 per cent of the tasks anyone's likely to perform on a netbook, they're spot on and allow the machines to boot up in under 20 seconds.

But what about that other ten per cent of tasks? Try to do anything the UI wasn't designed for and you had to delve deep into the terminal - often to find that key code, like driver software, wasn't included. Trying to connect to the internet using a 3G dongle is a case in point.

Ubuntu

Android on your Eee, anyone?

Then there are the folk who want a full desktop operating system on their mini machines. For them, for anyone who's out-grown the original UI, for enthusiasts who want to see what a full Linux distro can do and for anyone who's had enough of Windows, we've downloaded and tried a heap of netbook Linux variants to see how they well they perform on a trio of typical netbooks: the Asus Eee PC 1000, the Acer Aspire One and MSI's Wind.

We looked at many more distributions than those featured here. Most were good, but either offered nothing more than the ones below do, or lacked drivers or software necessary to run smoothly on a netbook. What we've listed below are those that we feel are most worthy of your attention, the ones you should try first.

We've also included some more leftfield options which, while not ready for everyday netbook use, are generating a lot of interest in the netbook world. How well do they justify the hype?

We'd certainly encourage you to try others too. Linux distros can evolve rapidly, and new releases are coming out all the time. Almost all Linux distros now come as "live” CDs, meaning they boot up off the disc to give you the entire OS without actually installing anything. Just download the distro's .ISO file and burn it to a CD or DVD on your main machine.

Ubuntu

Let go of Linpus and upgrade to Ubuntu

If you have an external optical drive, this is the best way to go, and you can quickly install the OS you like best after trying the various live discs. It's also possible to convert the .ISO images into a bootable USB stick. Unetbootin is a utility that attempts to do this all for you - you can download it and get full instructions here.

Did we miss out your favourite netbook distro? Use the Comments section to tell other netbook users why they should give it a try.

Application security programs and practises

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?
Nokia and marketing types first to get the bullet, says report
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.