Feeds

The best netbook-friendly Linux distros

Android on your Eee, anyone?

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Why has the web gone to hell? Market chaos and HUMAN NATURE
Tim Berners-Lee isn't happy, but we should be
Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! Naughty, misleading developers!
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.