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I get mail: especially about Linux

I get mail. Usually I don't answer it in public, but I figure this one might contain useful information, so (with slight editing) here it is:

Hello, I am a member of SFWA. One of my fans pointed me this way and said you had been talking about Linux and EeePCs and what version of Linux you loaded on your machine.

I have a 900A with Linux (as well as a 701 and a 1000HD with XtraPrissy) that I am slowly conquering (yes, I am one of those slaves to Windows OS who has worked her way up from DOS 3.5 to Vista and will admit to loving CE, even thought I understand it really stands for "crippled edition," and gotten very disheartened along the way, and upon learning that Windows was planning to rule the world with Cloud Computing) and starting to fall in love with. So I have decided that Linux might be the way to go — assuming I can learn its ins and outs.

At any rate, I would be interested in learning about which Linux you chose to install (I am finding Xandros for Eee PC unchallenging, and it's advance mode has sent the wordprocessor into crashing regularly), so if you could point me to something on the web that would enlighten me, I would most appreciated it.

I'm going to start by heartily seconding the comment about Xandros on the Eee. Xandros is a commercial derivative of the main "purist" free software distribution, Debian. Debian isn't very newbie friendly — its userbase consists mostly of engineer/sysadmin/CS student folks who tend to roll their sleeves up and take the engine apart. Xandros didn't so much tame the beast as lobotomize it and give it a Mickey Mouse hat to conceal the bandages. While they've planted a brightly coloured user interface on top, and cunningly contrived to make it very difficult for meddling idiots to render their machine non-bootable, they've also stuck it with a number of obsolete versions of key programs that you need to get real work done.

To cut a long story short: for an Eee, I'd recommend a version of Ubuntu, tailored to support the Eee hardware. Ubuntu is another Debian derivative, but this time vastly smoother and more polished than Xandros — and developing rapidly, with a huge user base and active updates to the latest applications. I'd also recommend the Ubuntu Netbook Remix user interface — an application launcher and desktop that does much the same as the Xandros desktop, but is actually useful. This isn't part of the standard Ubuntu distribution, and for full hardware support on the Eee (for example, to ensure wifi, ethernet, and sound work properly) you'd normally need to install some extra drivers. However, the Eee is so popular that there are a couple of sub-distributions out there especially tailored for it.

These are (in no particular order): EeeBuntu, and Easy Peasy (formerly Ubuntu-Eee)

Both of these distros do much the same: they take Ubuntu (typically trailing the current release by a minor version number), add Eee support, and package it for installation on an Eee. EeeBuntu also provides two variants — one with the Netbook interface, and one with the regular Ubuntu desktop. (Note: I can't get to www.eeebuntu.org right now, probably due to a blocked interwebtube thingy.)

To install them: well, you'll either need an external USB CDROM drive, or a 1Gb or larger USB memory stick. You follow the standard Ubuntu installation instructions — but use one of the Eee-specific distributions rather than the standard Ubuntu disk image. Note that before doing this, I'd double-check that I knew where my Xandros emergency restore DVD disk is! Installing Ubuntu will nuke the pre-existing Xandros installation completely, and if you want it back you'll need to reinstall it from the DVD. (For this reason I recommend that Eee owners get themselves a cheap USB CD or DVD drive. Mine, a slimline USB-powered DVD-RW with no external power brick and a colour scheme matching my Eee 1000, cost about £35 from Hong Kong via eBay, but you can find cheaper ones if you're less fussy.)

Note that Ubuntu tends to assume that you want to use a standard set of applications: OpenOffice for office documents, Firefox as a web browser, and Evolution as an email client.

I don't use Evolution (I use Thunderbird, because I can haul my profile between Linux and Mac, or even Windows), so the first thing I did on installing Ubuntu was to yank in Thunderbird (and a few other useful odds and ends). The tool you use to install and remove software on Ubuntu is called Synaptic, and that link leads to a basic user guide. Don't be surprised if, when you request it to install one program, it warns you that it's going to install a bunch of other stuff — Synaptic's back end, apt, is designed to keep track of what's on your system and make sure that if you install something, all the prerequisites it needs to work are also installed at the same time.

One gotcha relates to OpenOffice: Ubuntu 8.10 (the official current release) provides OpenOffice 2.4. The current OOo release is 3.01; this should show up in Ubuntu 9.04, due out in April 2009. However, the Easy Peasy distribution (which is based on Ubuntu 8.10) adds in OpenOffice 3.0 and Firefox 3. This is slightly unexpected (these tailored distributions usually lag behind the mainstream), and if you're planning to schlep documents between an Easy Peasy based Eee and an Eee running Xandros — which is still stuck on OOo 2.0 — you'll need to keep an eye on the file format you're saving documents in.

Final caveat: I'm not using either of these distributions on my Eee 1000. I'm using stock Ubuntu 8.10 with a patched kernel and a set of packages that provided the Netbook remix interface separately. On the other hand, Easy Peasy and EeeBuntu weren't available when I set this machine up. I think they'll do what it says on the tin, but I haven't verified this.

Anyone got anything to add on this topic? (Suggestions that my correspondent should upgrade to (Vista | OS/X | FreeBSD) or buy a real computer will be mocked, mercilessly.)




Your correspondent should upgrade to Minix with Emacs and Lynx.


As a writer and editor for Linux Journal -- your post gets my official stamp of approval.

Sadly, even Linux can't fix the keyboard size on my Eee 701. ;)


Charlie, I must have missed a thread somewhere. I thought that you were not going to buy an EeePC because you thought the screen was too small for your aging eyes. Did that only apply to the older machines with the smaller screens and lower resolution?

What parts of OpenOffice do you use, and if mainly the WP, why not a more lightweight text editor suitable to the power of the machine?


Alex: yup, the early Eees were painful. The Eee I've got, a 1000, has a 10" screen with 1024x600 pixels, which is okayish.

(I'll be replacing it with an HP mini 2140 just as soon as the 1366x768 high-res display is available -- the HP mini 2140 is really nice. But that may take a while.)

I use OOo's spreadsheet for accounts, and WP for writing. Not because I enjoy it -- I've got vi keystrokes wired into my fingertips -- but because the business I'm in involves feeding files to publishers who expect Word documents. And to add to the fun, they're moving to all-electronic workflow over the next year or so, and notes and change tracking will almost certainly become part of the copy editing process. I've already jumped through those hoops with a couple of books for which a Micro$oft Turd compatible WP was essential, and OOo is adequate for the task. AbiWord, in contrast, is buggy, sluggish rubbish. (Demonstration: just feed AbiWord a 100,000 word novel and try editing text in the middle of it. Go on, I dare you ...)


re Charlie @4: wait, you mean your Oo-Writer manages to use the Office change-tracking-feature? I've just grudgingly installed MS Office (via the Crossover wine thingy) on my wife's laptop because her boss wants to use that Word-feature (change-tracking and comments) for the papers they write ..

(me, I'm a physicist, so I can use vi/LaTeX (plus subversion) to my hearts content)


Charlie@4 The HP Mini 2140 seems to be an XP/Vista machine(even those Suse Linux is an OS in the spec overview). It also seems to be quite expensive compared to the current slate of competitors. If you do get it, or something similar, it will be interesting to read your comments on your selection.

Regarding OO vs MS Word. If your publishers have standardized on Word documents, I would have thought that the incompatibilities would be quite annoying. I have to wonder if at some point you might "throw in the towel" and just use a Windows machine with MS Word to avoid the inevitable productivity decreasing pain points. If you are honest with yourself, how much is your desire for a open OS (with the power Linux gives you) trumping ease of interoperability with your publishers? Microsoft's grip on the desktop and office productivity applications is one reason why it is so hard to choose alternative OSs and even SaaS apps.


Michael @5: Yes, OOo is compatible with word change-tracking.

Alex @6: the HP Mini 2140 is currently shipping with XP/Vista but was announced as eventually shipping with XP, Vista, FreeDOS, or SuSE Linux. It's expensive, sure: it's also much higher quality. For a while I had a Mininote 2133, but it had problems: dim, small screen, poor performance, poor battery life. The 2140 is a successor model that explicitly fixes everything I had problems with.

The only drawback of the HP mini 2140 right now is the 1024x576 pixel screen. I'll wait for the 1366x768 high-res model they've pre-announced for April, thanks.

On OOo versus Word, the incompatabilities are negligible given the type of documents I provide, namely novels (with no graphical or tabular or macro content). About the only reason for not going back to Vi and some hand-rolled POD macros (with output into RTF for final delivery) is the threat of that round-trip change-tracking document workflow.

As for Windows, every time I've tried it -- and I havetried it -- I've suffered huge productivity losses from arse-fardling nonsense like virus and malware scanning and filesystem fragmentation (real filesystems don't fragment themselves -- period). It makes me itch. Windows is designed to be easy for idiots to use and ridiculously difficult for people who know how computers are supposed to work to use. I've been a UNIX gearhead since around 1989, and I don't feel like switching (and paying money to Microsoft is just adding insult to injury).


I've been running UbuntuEee (now Easy Peasy) on my 1000h since the day I bought it and I've never had any problems. I haven't found anything that didn't work right off the bat with it. It goes to sleep without any problems (not one of linux's strong points), the wireless works great and I can connect to my work VPN.

In terms of more advanced things I've had pretty good luck too. I've tethered it to my cell phone using bluetooth and connected to the internet. And just this last week I hooked it to my brand new high def TV and had it switching screens without any problems at all. In short this is probably the most trouble free Ubuntu experience I've ever had and I've been using it since the very first release. I haven't actually had a chance to upgrade to the latest version of UbuntuEee/Easy Peasy but I would expect it's not much different.

As for the netbook remix interface, I recommend giving it a shot. It's different that what you're probably used to but it works very well for the smaller screens of the netbooks. Give it at least a week and you should start getting used to it.

Windows is designed to be easy for idiots to use and ridiculously difficult for people who know how computers are supposed to work to use.

Seconded! I very much feel the same, and sometimes it's not only itching...


My thanks. I am going back and forth between eeebuntu and Easy Peasy as the take over install. I have played with Easy Peasy (have it loaded on a stick) and Ubuntu (on my regular laptop) and like the way it looks. And while I won't give up my Windows yet (have to use it at work), I like the idea of having choice. And Windows is becoming a major frustration (dare I say, it acts more like the old Mac...? Yeah, I dare...) ;-)

Will report as soon as I see what mischief I end up getting into with the install.


This is what I use and would recommend to anyone with technical background:


From the site:
What is sidux? - Debian Hot & Spicy!
sidux is an operating system based on the Linux kernel, Debian's most modern branch (called "Sid") and many free and open source applications.


I run both the 701 and 900A w/ easy peasy very nice. I have the install down to an art.

Medibuntu is a must have to handle media formats I use the command lines within the link above to install the repository and set the GPG. But then I use the command line under "Ubuntu 64 bit users" in this link to install pertinent packages.

Then finally I fire up synaptic and strip out Ubiquity and add VLC GIMP NTP, WINE and FBREADER then "Mark all updates" and let it churn.

The one final trick is to go into the keys configuration of FBReader and set the space bar to advance the page, so I can hold the EEE like a book (hinge vertical) and "thumb" through pages (Great for CBR and PDF files in Evince as well in presentation mode)


I've been a Unix gearhead since 1981, and there have been years in there where I was forced to use Windows, not just for office types of tasks, but for software development as well. I will never do that again. There's nothing quite like getting a message over the PA (because email was stone dead) that all 5,000 of us should go home while sysadmin figures out how to unzombify our entire internal network of Windows machines, something like a third of which were unbootable. I had managed to save 2 of my 3 computers with the security upgrade before the worm hit the 3rd one, but I figured without network, web, and mail support I might as well go home too.

Back on the original topic: I second Charlie's support of Ubuntu in general. I've used it on both office-oriented and software development computers; keeping all my machines on the same distro where possible saves admin work, and Ubuntu works fairly well on most tasks. It's not as secure as some (Scientific Linux, for instance), but it tracks Debian changes closely enough for most things, and it's not actively hostile to having later versions of things installed where necessary.


I've been playing with Ubuntu Eee (or whatever their new name is) for a while, without any luck. I had problems with Unetbootin. Maybe it's time to give it another go. I think I'll buy a USB DVD drive and do it like that. I have the early 701.

My efforts so far:

If anyone feels like emailing me at mjp@petty.me.uk or twittering muteboy to offer extensive and prolonged tech support for free, I won't stop them.


The timesink factor of installing Ubuntu on my eee hasn't yet overcome the annoyance factor of using the lobotomized Xandros. For writing and email it's been... acceptable... as is, though decidedly imperfect.

I more wanted to comment on this: "I've got vi keystrokes wired into my fingertips" from #4. And it sucks when a) they don't do what I want in OpenOffice, firefox, anywhere else, and b) I have to go back thru my document and check for vi commands that just slipped out.


Aha as a Debian user, now i know why i don't like cars. Thanks Charlie, now i know that somewhere i have a cache of engines from cars that park in the road and why they dont seem to move.

May i remind anybody you thinks Suse (Novell) is a good choice that Microsoft tried to fud Linux via suse. Suse (Novell) is bad chioce you might as well be installing Vista.


Sheridan: you're overstating your case against SuSE by quite a wide margin. SuSE these days is simply Novell's exit strategy from Netware, after Microsoft ate their lunch. Novell being who they are, of course they did a patent cross-licensing deal with Microsoft; it's in the nature of the large corporate software behemoth to put the bottom line (not being sued into a smoking hole in the ground by MSFT) ahead of ideology. Plus, what you lose on the swings you gain on the roundabout: we have Novell to thank in large part for standing up to the brain-eating zombie reincarnation of SCO (a respectable UNIX software house back when I worked for them in the early 90s). (Which reminds me: according to a legal friend of mine, here in the UK it's actually a civil offense for a corporation to bring its name into such disrepute that it damages former employees' prospects. This harks back to the BCCI collapse in the early 90s, but suggests that if I was still in the software biz I might actually have a case in law against post-takeover SCO for shitting all over my resumé. But I digress ...)

The real problem with SuSE Linux is that it's just plain unpleasant. This is an aesthetic judgement, of course. But if you go back six or seven years (before Novell acquired them, when they were still an independent German Linux startup) SuSE made a fairly neat RPM-based distro with a proprietary but efficient administration front end. Unfortunately, Novell bought them. And looking pretty is not Novell's strong point. These days, SuSE has been chewing on the ugly stick -- long after even Microsoft wised up and switched to sugar-free eye candy. Their interface is full of proprietary odds and ends, but what really rankles is that it's noxiously incoherent and unintuitive! It's as if they took KDE and tried to make it as confusing as possible.

About the only reason I can think of for running SuSE is that it might make your corporate hive-masters think you're running something incredibly complicated and boring — to be fair, in these days of panic-driven corporate brightsizing that might not be a bad move. On the other hand, if a laptop ships with SuSE installed, it's a fair bet that you can shoe-horn Ubuntu onto it with full functionality.

NOTE: this is my opinion of SLED, the corporate drone mix. OpenSuSE is a somewhat different beast. But why bother, when you could try Ubuntu instead? Or if you really enjoy nailgunning yourself in the head, NetBSD.


As another commenter has said, Sidux is very good. Although it doesn't support the Eee's wireless out of the box, you can just run fw-detect and it will actually tell you what command to run to install support for wireless. So you just need to connect it via Ethernet to install that, then reboot and you're ready to go. It's also very well-documented.
Also OpenGEU (which is based on Ubuntu but uses the E17 window manager) has a version for the Eee. E17 is probably a very good fit for netbooks as it's very lightweight but looks very pleasant.


Matthew: reading for context, did it occur to you that my questioner might not be comfortable with a command-line interface?


One thing the original questioner might consider is the size and activity (and maybe even the composition) of the project's/distro's community. For vanilla hardware, I go with Ubuntu. I don't have an eee pc so I can't guess at what's the best choice there. This isn't always the BEST way to pick of course (you may have a very active community that is secretly notorious for getting linux running on every piece of hardware that they can find at a yard sale but, too bad for you, they are always finding new crap at the next yard sale). Still, this may help you assess where you'll be best able to go for help, patches, or upgrades going forward...

You could also randomly pick one, try it, and if you're able to get everything to work without too much head scratching then you've got a winner!

Tangential -- my kingdom (both boxes and the bicycle) for open office vi-keybindings!


james: openoffice vi keybindings? Yeah, I'd kill for those, too.

(For some reason I don't get RSI in my hands when typing endless screeds in vi. I can't use emacs -- six hours and I'm in agony. Openoffice falls halfway between ... if I use it too much I know about it the next day, but not anything like as badly as emacs. There is, I think, a reason why the FSF's coders allegedly all wear wrist splints.)


I think both Matthew and Ventsislav haven't actually used an Eee as it's intended. A machine small enough and light enough to use one-handed on knee needs to have the option of running things by some means that isn't the command line. This is coming from someone whose desktop desktop (if you know what I mean) mostly consists of a blank space in which to launch terminals. Laptops also need perfect hardware integration. Random hangs on suspend/reboot are not cool. And anything based on Sid WILL give you random faults. It's not bleeding edge unless someone is bleeding...

Thanks for the write-up on the options, Charlie. My 901 is currently on a slightly worrying blend of Xandros and proper Etch packages. It's probably not viable long-term. I kind of admire the madness of their mess of custom start-up scripts, but that FuseFS nonsense makes my brain hurt. And I know for a fact that Xandros aren't fixing security holes.


Charlie: interested about your choice of spreadsheet: not Gnumeric? What are the advantages of OO?


Jorg: ability to send an XLS spreadsheet to my accountant. Cross-platform (runs on OS/X, Linux, and Windows). Next?


Ach, so. Living in the Unix world I tend to forget about cross-platform issues. But I haven't had problems with getting an XLS out of it, tho.


Charlie @21: ctrl:nocaps (or whatever the full invocation is) makes a HUGE difference to emacs useability. Presumably it was orginally developed on keyboards that had modifier keys in more logical places.

Personally Ctrl-A and Ctrl-E always catch me out on Office clones. I don't even know what Ctrl-E does in them, but I'm forever hitting it.


On a brighter note, although it does add to the unemployment roles, Microsoft announced they are going to layoff 5,000 people. (Perhaps the team that brought the world Vista?)

However, the ever-increasing number of Linux distros needs to end. (Too much choice is not necessarily a good thing)

@21: Charlie, have you ever tried nedit? I found that during a lot of my file editing I needed a column cut and paste feature, and this one worked for me far better than so many of the others I have used in my lifetime.


I have an Eee 701SD

For what I do, Xandros for Eee should be fine.

The default media player can't handle current common video files.

The file manager program can't be relied on for some basic jobs that the Windows equivalent does without hassle.

The Open Office version doesn't come with a UK dictionary.

And, after an Asus-supplied firefox upgrade killed various other software, with no apparent way of backing out (not like Windows), I'm left with the feeling that neither Xandros nor Asus can be relied on for supporting linux.

And I am doubtful about keyboard life. Though it is far from the worst machine out there.

I'd trust Charlie on Linux, and, while hardware choices can be more personal, I'd hesitate to recommend the Eee hardware for the heavy keyboard use of a writer.


I've been useing a plugin for firefox for vi-like keybindings for years now, it's called vimperator.


Chris L:Actually I have used an Eee as intended. I own a 2GB Surf and have relied on it for mobile computing . Unfortunately the 2GB is really too small for anything much other than the default Xandros. I tried Sidux and creating my own customised Ubuntu-based lightweight distro, but wound up sticking with Xandros, which I have customised with vim-full and irssi. Sidux performed reasonably well and would be fine on the 4GB version, but there just wasn't enough space on mine. If Damn Small Linux worked well enough with the Eee, now that would be worthwhile.
Charlie: It did cross my mind, which is why I recommended the Eee version of OpenGEU as well. As noted above, Sidux worked the best of the ones I've tried personally, although there is definitely a steeper learning curve than Ubuntu, and more need to use the CLI. But some people grow to like the CLI quickly and others never want to touch it. Ultimately I feel Sidux is worth trying if you have the patience to read the documentation. Otherwise I'd point people towards Ubuntu or a derivative such as Linux Mint or OpenGEU. I've successfully used Kubuntu since I made the switch from Windows XP nearly two years ago so I have a lot of regard for Ubuntu, but so far Sidux has seemed to work better for me with the Eee's hardware, and it packs an awful lot into quite a small package when compared with Ubuntu.


I've been very pleased with what was Ubuntu-Eee on my 901 -- everything mostly worked out of the box, and what didn't was an easy (for me) fix. I installed it very soon after the first 901s shipped in the US -- I assume the hardware support has gotten even better since. Phiala, if you're willing to take the leap of faith and wipe Xandros, it's not a timesink to install at all -- I was up and running within about a half hour, no fiddling necessary. (Now I think I might be more likely to go with the one that provides the Netbook Remix interface by default, but the point remains.)

Ubuntu remains neck-and-neck with Mac OS X for "most pleasant OS experience ever" in my book, and a number of my less-technical friends have happily converted as well. It's an excellent choice in general, both for power users and not-power users, and the Eee-specific Ubuntus are excellent choices in particular.


@ Optimal EEE software:
After trying Xandros, Debian and Ubuntu on my 701 I stuck on Gentoo and since then recommend my choice to everybody capable of installing it. Here's why:
1) The ability to enable/disable features of each packet makes the software very small, reduces the burden of the otherwise big dependency trail while still allowing rare software combinations.
2) Portage and the overlay system allows it to make those tiny changes to your common application UIs that make them usable on the small screen while at the same time allowing to always use the latest version of the software (without any manual intervention beyond the first patch).
3) The FInit wich is capable of running init tasks in parallel without some hardcoded priority hassle.
4) Many packets are maintained well-suited for intensive console users. Not only is a terminal one of the few apps runnable on a 7" display without getting eye cancer (or spine deformation) but also in contrast to X apps most terminal apps are written with small screens in mind.
5) I can't bring the machine closer to consciousness than letting it compile itself on itself using it's previous self :-)

@Suse: see the benefit. I know no other distro wich requires so few knowledge to administrate an entire company network. It is a burden for the user, but my feeling is that it's tailored towards (former) windows administrators.

> However, the ever-increasing number of Linux distros needs to end. (Too much choice is not necessarily a good thing)

I totally agree. But also the web is too big and thus confusing. Let's cut it down to ten pages and even more people will switch from TV to IP.

As long as those famous distros a newbie would stumble upon are well-suited for that newbie let there be diversity. In the end those eee-distros exactly fitted the purpose of a rapid adaptation of their ancestor distro towards the eee specifics at a speed the ancestor distros development model didn't offer. In the long run they'll propably cease to exist with their changes upstreamed into the original distros. And that seems to me like a natural way of large scale software development.


A sci-fi writer friend of mine recently got an Acer Aspire with a mobile contract, and I installed Arch on it with the software he needs for his writery stuff and software useful to pass the time for the train trips to the city (he lives with his wonderful girlfriend in a beautiful place close enough to the city but still out in the mountains). All he needs todo is a "pacman -Syu" once in a while. I recommend Arch if you ahve a friend who is willing to set it up for you. It works perfectly for my elder relatives also, once I have set it up well. And sshing in is always an option.


Aaah, timely as ever Charlie. I actually just snagged an Asus medium size (14.1" screen) laptop, and decided I would risk flying in the face of those who had posted about Linux compatibility issues with it. I don't think it was deliberate FUD, but they posted with the full model number I bought with a totally different set of specs. Maybe its a different ASUS that refused to play nicely with Linux for them.

My problems have been limited - some issues installing MySQL, one shutdown issue where a leftover from my mySql server 5.0 install last night clogged something, and issues coming out of hiberanate - standby is loving, hibernate's hateful. Ubuntu's even got an edge over Vista on the key recognition speed and touchpad sensitivity problems people whinged about in forums on the Vista version.
Ubuntu's definitely come fast since my playing around with at versions 5, 6, and 7.
Between the Linux encouraging eye candy of Compiz Fusion (making co-workers consider making the switch) and the speed of boot compared to Vista I'm definitely glad to be back on Linux.

I like OpenOffice.org quite a lot as well. And considering the price MS is running for even the Student or Home versions of the Office suite, the little extra effort to use 'save as' when communicating with the Windows world isn't an extreme inconvenience.


As for the honored correspondent, though my experience with netbooks is limited, you can always try one of the other lightweight Ubuntu derivatives such as Xubuntu, which has a very lightweight interface as compared to Ubuntu(Gnome) or Kubuntu(KDE). Might be worth a shot, barring hardware problems or any functionality you find you can't live without - Xubuntu goes with Abiword by default, which might be a dealbreaker.


Actually, now I've mentioned E17 I'm starting to think that it's the ideal desktop/window manager for netbooks, and I'm surprised there aren't more E17-based distros aimed at netbooks. It looks great and it's pretty lightweight too so it's potentially a great fit for netbooks. Just wish that a stable release would come along soon so it'll appear in the Ubuntu repositories rather than E16.


Matthew, E17 has been pending for about five years now. Don't hold your breath.


Excellent timing, Charlie! I'm about ready to put Eeebuntu on mine and I appreciate the directions, although having read the comments here, maybe I'll go with EasyPeasy. The Xandros restore DVD is on top of the yellow pages behind where the Eee is at the moment, and the only DVD player I have is with the TV stuff. I don't think that's going to work.

:::marking Shawn Powers down as Linux help:::

My 1000H was a gift from friends (I accidentally told them I wanted this particular netbook when they were trying to figure out what to buy me) and it's several generations faster/bigger/etc. than my 10-year-old desktop. My peripherals are in great shape, though, many much newer, so my plan is to use the Eee as my primary computer and a USB 2.0 hub to link the peripherals in. I keep googling and can't find a hub that says it works on Linux. Any ideas?


@38: Marilee:

USB uses a standard over-the-wire protocol which is completely independent of the operating system you're using.

Assuming that Linux can drive your Eee's USB ports -- which it can -- any standard-compliant USB hub will work.

(Whether or not the USB peripherals in question will be usable from Linux is another question -- nowadays, the answer is almost always "yes".)


The one trouble I've encountered with my Eee 900 (not 900A) is that the standard for-Eee packages don't support my wireless driver. After some research, I fixed this for the Xubuntu 8.04 setup I had, but when I upgraded to 8.10, wireless went away for good. Then I reverted to the Xandros emergency disk, which turns out not to support wireless on the 900, either. Time for more research!

In short, a word of warning: sometimes one does still need to grapple with Linux the way we did in the mid-1990s.


Thank you Charlie and the other posters here. A lot of good info for me to digest. It seems that Linux is on the verge of a major breakthrough and will be the os of choice for netbooks.


This thread is getting pretty UNIXey, innit.

Sharon: if your Eee 900 is the same as my better half's, the wireless is an Atheros chipset and the madwifi driver package should work just fine. As in, I installed vanilla Debian madwifi onto hers to make it work properly with encrypted networks.


Has the wireless got better with eeebuntu? When I last tried it (with my eee 900), the wireless was distinctly worse than the Xandros that shipped with it. After a few weeks of futzing both with Eeebuntu and Xandros, I ended up getting Xandros to do pretty much everything I wanted to anyway.

Also, at the time, the eeebuntu installers had a horrid tendency to screw up grub if you tried to install to a USB stick. A bit irritating if, like me, you want to try before you buy.

A coworker is trying to talk me into putting a hacked version of OS/X on it. He was able to do this with one of the Dell netbooks and is very happy with it.


For the longest time we were forbidden to even bring any system running any variation of Linux into our office, let alone try to connect it to the network. So I had little choice but to use Windoze. At least I didn't have to pay for my software myself but it still rankled. Things are slowly improving now and interesting concepts are slipping in through the cracks. The next couple of years are going to be interesting. Of course, the big decision driver was the fact that we were also always a Novell shop and that conntiues to drive us deeper into Linux territory... Plus ca change . . .


I don't have a fear of digging deeper and making line changes. After all, when I moved the 900A to Advanced Mode, I had to get into the terminal and do a bit of sudo ap getting. ;-)

Being that I am a writer, and the wordprocessing is the important part for me more than anything (wireless and portable running close seconds), my major issue is that StarOffice Writer (which came on the 900A) started crashing once I got into Advanced Mode.

I have looked at a number of fixes recommended by folks on the Eee PC forums, tried a few without success, and it looks like short of my removing the aufs to take total control of the thing, my only other alternative is to change distros. And since the Xandros is not winning my favor and I have played with Ubuntu on my laptop using a live cd, I am seriously leaning in that direction so I can get a wordprocessing program that actually works without crashing the system. And let me add that nothing else crashes it. I can play games, surf the web, etc, and nary a problem--but let me open SO in Advance Mode, and it's frustrating as hades to watch it crash over and over when I try to save or open a file.

Oddly, SO works in Easy Mode, and I despise Easy Mode (which I have over and over termed as "stupid user mode.").

Since I am still a Linux noob, removing the aufs is still a scary idea (though I am the woman who changed out modulators and thermostats in various cars over the years, even when people said I was better off paying a mechanic, and as a result, I can fix most anything that goes wrong in my vehicles.) It's a matter of practice, I realize (and retraining the Windows part of my brain) but I'm just not ready to edit That Much Code.

And since I am a bit older than I was when I started playing with DOS 3.5, the learning curve needs a larger turning space to work in... ;-)


The most hilarious aspect of the Xandros thing is that they didn't even manage to get the PCIe hotplug or hotkeys right, so there's a layer of small shell scripts that break random functionality instead.

Well. I say "most hilarious", but I suspect I actually mean "Pass the suicide".


Chris L. @42: madwifi is what I've been using, too. It didn't play nicely with 8.10 right when 8.10 appeared, but I'm about to try again (probably with Easy Peasy as an aid).


There's a nasty bug in Ubuntu Netbook Remix that means it's unable to connect to a password protected Samba share through Nautilus. It's going to be a while before it's fixed too, as it's a really low level Gnome regression that came in in Hardy Heron...

Even so, it's my favourite Netbook distro by a long way. I've just had a whole pile of the beasties on my desk, and there really wasn't anything else to match it out there.


Aagh! I've been a VB developer since 93 and I just want to weigh in with an alternative view before this becomes too geeky.

Mostly what people work with is what they're used to because the switch over from meme to meme is so difficult.

Having sat next to an 'ix contractor who charged £600 a day (in the days before the first internet bubble burst), spent half the time on the phone to agents, and when asked to grep some files didn't know how to do it, I have a fairly poor opinion of 'ix people.

Personal experience lends a lot of weight to opinion.

I don't like Macs either.

I'll fetch me coat...


Thanks so much for that post, I'm not the most OS-literate guy in the world but I know I like Linux and I've been finding Xandros a bit of a pain in the arse since I got my Eee 1000 last month. Will be installing one of those Ubuntu builds as soon as I get home tonight...


Based on experience with my old desktop, I would judge Windows XP on an Eee PC to be usable, but a bit slow, because of both CPU speed and RAM shortages. And caching could have bad effects. If you want Windows, get it factory-installed.

Get a big SDHC card, and a USB adaptor for it. You need 4GB for the Xandros restore option, since it's just too big for a 2GB flash drive. It will restore from the SDHC slot, which connects via internal USB. I picked up a couple of 8GB cards back in November.

Cheap USB game controllers work--the instructions are just as useless as for Windows users--so it's Ski Sunday with penguins.


I would also like to recommend EasyPeasy. I have been using it on my 701 (4G) for a couple of months, and although I am not doing word processing (except for a little LaTeX), it has held up very well in other tasks, such as encoding movies. The wireless worked out of the box, as did most of the hot-keys. It is easy to connect to a projector, if you are giving presentations on the road. If you would like more of the hot-keys to work, they recommend installing the "eee-control" package, which gives better control over wifi, bluetooth, camera, processor etc. Also, if you are planning to use the microphone to record things, there is a line you have to add to a file, which makes it all work. Anyway, this is all described rather better on the EasyPeasy forums, which seem to be very friendly.


Back in 2007 I helped organise the annual Debian developer's conference (DebConf) which was hosted in your fine city of Edinburgh. In fact, it was a developer at this conference who's rabid fandom of you convinced me to pick up a copy of The Atrocity Archives at transreal. I spent two weeks in the backpacker's hostel opposite that shop. I still get a kick whenever I come across a reference to the Cowgate in your work.


Thorne @27: is nedit still going? (I must say that column cut and paste is as much use to a novelist as a jet-propelled unicycle is to a tapeworm ...)

Robin @49: I remember those days. You don't get to charge £600 a day because you're an expert, you get to charge it because you can convince someone with signing authority who isn't an expert that you know more than their own people. (Which means that you might luck out and get a real expert, but it's at least as likely you'll get a sharp-suited idiot.) What you say about paradigms is true: but take it from me, I was very disappointed with what Microsoft's interface designers did with Windows 95 (throwing away decades of consistent user interface engineering that IBM had pieced together into CUI, and replacing it with disjointed and inconsistent baubles). Windows 3.11 -- or NT 3.5 -- was the last OS Microsoft invented that actually had a consistent user interface. (When it worked.)


Simon @48: okay, your starter for $10: HP mini 2140 or Acer Aspire AA1?

(Ignoring the software. I'm just interested in the hardware as a road warrior's writing machine.)


Charlie @ #21:

Obviously, I am just a single person, but I've been using Emacs as my primary editor since 1988 (I used vi for 2-3 weeks before emacs and ed for about 3 months before vi; I still use vi at least monthly) and I don't have RSI in my wrists.

I attribute this to using a buckle-spring keyboard at home (where I spend A Lot Of Time in emacs) and using the mouse as infrequently as I can get away with.


Incidentally, there is one thing about the Eee PCs that drives me mad ...

The location of the right shift key.

No kidding. What clown thought that was in any way a usable layout for a keyboard? No, don't answer that: someone for whom the roman alphabet is not their native tongue.

Teeny right-shift key, jammed next to the 'up' arrow: it's a recipe for typing screw-ups, especially if you're a touch-typist.

The Eee 1000 series keyboard at 90% of full size already requires slightly more precise typing than a desktop or full-size laptop; the brain-dead arrow/shift/return block at the right of the keyboard makes it a whole lot harder to use than comparable netbooks.

(Which is why to anyone who's seriously considering some heavy typing I'd recommend an HP mini 1000 or 2140 -- preferably the 2140 for the extra ports and the shiny metal carapace, but the cheaper model also has the HP keyboard layout, which is clearly best-in-class.)


POssibly late to chime in but ...

Firstly I use eeeXubuntu on my 701 (basically xubuntu 7.10) - installed last year with relative ease and now pretty much trouble free once I hacked at the worst quirks. I suspect if I were doing it now I'd go for one of the newer eee specific distros.

More importantly I'd like to caution writers against using OO 3 and hence to avoid using an eee distro that contains it. Sharon Lee (coauthor of the Liaden series) discovered that OO 3 has a problem remembering the style information in RTF files. This resulted in her wasting much time reformatting her current work in progress multiple times. There are work arounds but the easiest seems to be to stick with OO 2.4.


As a low rent, bottom-feeding, knuckle-dragging .NET developer I am in complete agreement with the Ubuntu recommendation. LINUX for people who have to get up in the morning. Nice one, Mr. Stross.


Charlie @54: now I really want to see an Ursula Vernon painting of a tapeworm on a jet-propelled unicycle.


Yeah, I just wanted to say, come ON, jet-propelled unicycle? How COOL is THAT? WOW! (and: want to see videos of wipe-outs on youtube, obviously)


re the very-small-portable-computer thing: So far, I am still very happy with the Thinkpad X31 I bought used (for approx the price of a new netbook). Call me again when there is something that fits into my pocket (army-pants style side-pocket), has ubiquituous networking and gives me ssh-access to my console from wherever I am. Maybe add a graphical webbrowser, but not so important. But with a somehow workeable keyboard. Not sure how that's going to work, but some designer will think of something, I'm sure. In short, I guess I want what Cory Doctorow called a "comm" in his Eastern Standard Tribe.
Maybe the Pandora might work for it, even though it's being developed as a games-console.


I love the whole teenycomp trend.

The discussion above reminds me of all of the 1960s-1970s car nuts who discovered you could modify the hell out of a VW Beetle for not much money.

I'm going to wait a bit to buy one, but for $300 to $500, it's an easy hack/mod choice...


Michael @62: what you're asking for is a Sony Vaio P. Shipping this week. Alas, being Sony, they inflicted Vista on it.


I haven't seen a netbook yet that didn't have a trackpad, which for me is the kiss of death. I have some hopes for the Raon Evernote, should that actually make it to Canada. (More hopes for the next model, rumored to have the SIM slot connected to something...)

I use Fedora at home, and until recently (I fled!) at work. For XML content wrangling, the free tool set is almost arbitrarily better than the Microsoft one. I'm probably better than twice as productive on a Unix than I am on Windows. Fedora is a development distro, widely used, but if you want end-user just works it looks like the Ubuntu family is doing a much better job of that at present.

Oh, and for all the writers out there -- the iron law of XML content management (and this is what you are doing the instant you start using any Open Document format) is that you get the content into XML and you leave it there until the very final output step. If you don't do that, there will be suffering.

Having tried it with 2.2, 2.3, and 2.4, I do hope they've greatly improved the "track changes" emulation in 3.0, because the third commenter pretty much inevitably mangled the 2.* versions.

(It would make *far* more sense to standardize on an ASCII markup scheme, like ReStructuredText, and use proper version control; cheaper, faster, more consistent, you name it. But I doubt any publisher is going to do it that way.)


David @39, thanks! I think the biggest problem will be my trackball, but I found a patch someone wrote for it to work on Linux. It's been a while since I worked with command lines, but I suppose it will all come back.


There have been reports of nasty politics on document standards.

The Microsoft formats are horribly documented, compared to Open Office, yet somehow they have ISO approval too.

The Open Office format ought to be able to do the job, but will the software get the necessary functions, and will publishers bother?

The only way I can see Microsoft doing as well as they do is that they own a farm breeding black goats.


Thanks, Charlie! This is very helpful, particularly the mention of that "Ubuntu Netbook Remix" UI.

I got my wife an Eee 1000 (the 8+32GB model) for a surprise Solstice present, and I've been trying to figure out which distro to put on it. The Xandros on there is very friendly in some ways, and we gave it a try, but it's kind of flaky, and the package system is visibly broken. At a bare minimum ASUS really should invest in at least one good Linux admin/coder to fix their package manager and then keep their package repository current.


Ubuntu 8.10 is certainly THE distro to grab right now. It's super-slick and as Charlie mentions it comes in a ton 'o different flavors, some optimized for netbooks, others for larger or smaller machines. One warning about Xandros: did you know it uses LILO plus GRUB? It's really weird. I put Xandros on one of my machines and didn't like it and figured I could just go in and mess with the GRUB loader to get it to behave, but no such luck. For whatever reason, they decided to invoke GRUB from LILO, which I've never heard of, and I just had to nuke the whole disk to get Fecora Core 9 to dual-boot with Ubuntu 8.10.

Also -- even relatively old Ubuntu versions do a great job of hardware detection. I originally installed 6.10 on my laptop and it detected my wifi card and installed screen drivers right off. The Ubuntu install was actually easier than a Windows XP install would've been! Of course, Ubuntu detected but couldn't use the built-in Winmodem, but seriously...does anyone use dialup on a laptop anymore?


does anyone use dialup on a laptop anymore?

Emergencies only. And even so ...

Last December I bought a 3 USB 3G modem stick on a pay-as-you-go tariff while on a business trip, when I got sick and tired of being stiffed for £15 a day for wifi in London. Shoved it into an Eee running Ubuntu 8.10. A dialog pops up: new hardware detected. What country am I in and what telco am I using, it wants to know? I tell it -- and I'm online immediately.

In contrast, Windows requires you to install device drivers and reboot before it'll talk to you. (The drivers are handily packaged on a USB mass storage device built into the modem stick, but even so.)

So: no more modem ports, even for emergencies. Except possibly in the USA. I can't even imagine what 3 would charge for international roaming data over there ...


I got an Eee 901 to learn linux - I'm a windows SQL bod who got sucked over to the dark side when I went to work for a bank from Unix/Sybase.

I'll second the "too many flavours of linux" complaint expressed earlier. I'm concentrating on getting my head round Debian for the moment (because it's there) - and may start experimenting with other flavours if I can't get it to do what I want.

And your comment about the shift key @57 is bang on. It doesn't give me any problems, but I'm being forced to buy my wife a laptop PC rather than just getting another Eee because of this (she keeps stealing my Eee - today she referred to it as "her" Eee).

I'll also second the comments about windows being easier for non-techie users and harder for gear-heads. Conversely I've found linux to be more difficult to set up for non-techies, but gear-heads can do anythig on it without being locked down by M$ "protection".

As an ex-unix/wndows slave I've found there is a pretty steep learning curve - but maybe I'm just getting old.


Charlie@70: Even before Network Manager 0.7 setting up a 3G modem wasn't all that hard. I bought a Vodafone HSDPA PCMCIA card early last year and managed to get it running on Kubuntu Gutsy. I downloaded Vodafone Mobile Connect Card driver for Linux (which I'm told works fine with most other provider's 3G devices as well), and installed that (unfortunately it has LOADS of dependencies so you really need another way to get online to grab these), used Google to search for the settings I needed to use, and got online quickly. While it might have been a struggle for someone with little Linux experience, I'd been using Kubuntu for just under a year at the time and I found it perfectly doable.
Of course it turned out that the coverage in Norfolk where I live is crap, so I wound up taking it back.
If I was buying a new netbook now I'd think about one of those Dell Mini's from Vodafone with integrated mobile broadband. Sadly these are only offered with Windows, and the Dell website doesn't seem to offer the option of adding this to the version preloaded with Ubuntu.


Imho recommending anything but Ubuntu (or one of its derivatives) to Linux newbies is bound to lead to much (albeit educating) frustration. Ubuntu surely is the distribution that enables Windows users the most frictionless switch to the linux world.

According to my experience, given a) the switchers inclination b) (my) reasonable advice and c) Ubuntu's shortcomings, he/she will in most cases turn to the more "sophisticated" distributions like Arch/Sidux/Gentoo/whatever in his/her own time.


Both my 701 (4 gig) and my 1000HD (120 gig) have XP and nary a problem with speed or anything else. And both are Celeron instead of Atom like the 900A.

I am given to understand that the 900s have several quirks.

Yeah, I don't care much for the shift key position, but I wrote my first published novel on a Velo 500, so the small format of the keyboards is almost moot for me.

AbiWord is my WP of choice at this point in time. Yeah, it makes big files, but at least it doesn't screw up my rtf formatting. :-)

Laura J. Underwood


Problem is, I also use my computer to play games. So, theoretically I could install two (or more) operational systems, but since I need only internet and office, why bother?

And this is why Microsoft rules the world...


Laura: do you edit novels as a single file, or separate chapter-sized files?

(I tend to edit the whole damn thing in one lump, and my attempts to get Abiword to chow down on a 100Kword novel were ... not happy.)

Incidentally: Eee 900: Celeron-based. Eee 901: Atom-based. The difference in battery life is supposed to be outrageous (in the Atom's favour). Don't know for sure, though, because I avoided the 900 series -- tried a 701, didn't get on with the keyboard, tried a 1000.


On a separate issue, Crooked Timber says the Stross seminar is imminent.


Another question. I'm going to need something to replace Quicken -- actually just simple banking software that will talk to my credit union in CSV. Any recommendations?

Oh, and I only have 48M free on my 3G drive -- any reason I can't download Easy Peasy to the 8G thumbdrive?


Marilee @78: using the 8 GB drive will work; you can repurpose the drive after you've installed the OS, after all.


Making a bootable image on a USB flash drive will lose any data on it. Small USB drives are dirt cheap these days.

Running Quicken on Linux systems is quite possible. I don't know for sure if the free WINE Windows environment works, but there's a commercially distributed derivative which has been able to run Quicken for years.

Netbooks can be a bit tight on memory or storage for such things, but with the right model it should all work out.


Thanks, guys. Yes, I load stuff on thumbdrives from XP all the time, but the phrasing of the Easy Peasy directions made me wonder if Linux had a problem with that.

Dave, the Eee has lots more space & memory than this computer does and I run Quicken on it. But I'd really rather not have Quicken, the ad-driven crap is very annoying. I was originally told that I could only download from the credit union to Quicken or MS Money, so I got Quicken. Now that I have a friend who is an officer at the CU, it turns out all I needed was something that handled CSV downloads. Argh.


Charlie @76: We've got a 900 and a 901, and the 901's battery life is much much better. In moderate use you could probably see 5-6 hours out of it. But the battery is actually larger, architecture aside. Speaking of which, Atom processors are apparently a genuine old-fashioned i386 CISC system. How retro is that?


Charlie @64: (about the new small Vaio thing) weeell .. sortof, but not completely there yet. Just read a test about it in a german computer-magazine (one of the better ones), and from what I read it has a few annoying bits (such as a not completely non-reflective display, the display not being quite bright enough for outdoor-daytime-work, the battery-runtime being on the short side and of course the price (I know, I know, I want capable, small and cheap .. not gonna happen so soon). What I do really like about it is that they didn't use a stupid touchpad (hate those things) and instead went for the greatest invention, the trackpoint.

Well, maybe when used ones start hitting the market. Or somebody else starts making something similar that doesn't come with a Sony-badge and where I don't have to pay Microsoft-tax.


Sorry, Marilee, I wasn't sure of the overhead of running WINE, and I'm used to running Windows with a lot of RAM.

It sounds as if the CU can support Quicken/MSMoney, if anyone has a problem, and doesn't want hassles from customers who don't use the particular software they mention.


(Smirks quietly at mention of FreeBSD)

I don't have much direct to offer, except in the realm of General Notebook Rules.

1) The physical human interface part is everything. Unless it's really cheap, do not buy one without trying the keyboard and staring at the screen.** If you can't read and type on it, it fails.

2) Road notebooks live hard lives, and because of power issues, they tend to favor power consumption over duty cycles. You *MUST* be religious with data protection, the hard drives most likely to die are notebook drives. SSDs may help with this, but we don't have real world data on main SSD storage in a notebook yet -- we're starting to get it, but.

If you have a history of destroying the things, this is one of the few times the extended warranty makes sense.

3) The Human Interface Factor nobody talks about is the bag you carry it in. Bags are hard, the *only* bit of advice I can give that I know is true is that you should reject anything that doesn't have a removable shoulder strap for one big reason -- the easiest way to fix an otherwise ideal bag is to replace the should strap with one that doesn't suck. For those of you carrying 17" Notebooks with all the trimmings, the right place to go for your shoulder strap is a golfing store -- they have to carry a larger, heavier bag and walk a few miles with it.

4) Budget extra power supplies. It makes it easier to leave the power brick in the bag and use the one that never leaves your desk.

** My choice of a MacBook Air over the mini-notes and netbooks was driven by this -- the MbA has a full sized keyboard and a wide aspect 13.1" screen, but weighs in the mini-note/netbook class. I gladly traded space for weight, because the ones that give me both aren't compatible with my fingers.


Apropos Erik's point #3, on bags:

* I can't carry any laptop heavier than a netbook in a shoulder-slung bag. (Unless I want to feel it in my neck for the next three days -- ouch!)

* Backpacks work better, but even then, the bag has to be lightweight and I can't cope with anything over 2Kg laptop-wise. (Especially on long-haul flights, because I also need to find room for 1-2 litres of drinking water -- I get dehydrated really easily.)

* My choice of luggage vendor is Tumi. They're expensive, but (a) I never pay list price -- I haunt the sales racks -- and (b) their ballistic nylon gear is very lightweight and rugged, not to mention well-designed (and far cheaper than their luxury leather goods).

* What I currently use as a laptop carry-on for long-haul trips (laptop plus clothes, medicines, water bottles) is this (which appears to be discontinued and is therefore reduced for clearance: I bought mine in a sale) -- and what I use when I want to walk around with a laptop on my back is this amazing little thing (I picked mine up for 25% of list price; again, it has just been discontinued, so you can find it reduced if you hunt around). Empty, it weighs under 1Kg. Full, it'll hold a Macbook, power adapter, iGo adapter and tips for gizmos, phone, ipod, ebook reader, a couple of magazines, folding umbrella, meds and toiletries, and a spare change of underwear.

If you wonder why I'm willing to buy expensive luggage, it's because I'm on the road for about six weeks between now and June 1st, and typically for 10-12 weeks in any year. Bags that disintegrate en route or need replacing after every third trip get old fast.



Yes, nedit is still alive...

Brief employment history at SUN ;)
Product Engineer - microSPARC-II, UltraSPARC-I, UltraSPARC-III
Sustaining Engineer - pretty much every SPARC processor SUN produced.
Verification Engineer - UltraSPARC-T1, T2, T2+, T3

Yes, I did a lot of editing during my time, especially for diagnostics creation. Sed, Xemacs, and nedit were the editors of personal choice. (Personally, I don't see how the computing world ever got anywhere without Unix)
Chances are if you have ever used a SUN system, my fingerprint is on it somewhere.


I write in one lump now. In the days of the Velo 500 (Win CE 2.1, 8 meg clamshell that fit in a pocket almost--a bit one), I did smaller bites, and then ran it all into one file in Works 4.0 (before it turned into a horrible wordprocessor). OTOH, I have actually opened whole novel files on the Velo (yes, I still have one in working condition *with* the PCMCIA Card Reader--no longer fits in a pocket, unless it is a Really Big Pocket) and never had it choke.

I haven't run into a ceiling with AbiWord yet. But the last full length novel I opened up and edited in it was just under 90,000 words.

So now I am thinking I should try opening my 100,000+ word novel in it and see if I can choke it.

Laura J. Underwood


Well, well. I loaded in the original ms for my novel DRAGON'S TONGUE to AbiWord, and it choked. The manuscript file was 1.01 meg in size (a 154,000+ monster).

So I tried the edited prepub version (1.24 meg--a few 1000 more words) in Open Office, and it opened without even blinking an eye (and it's actually an older version of OO 1.1.4, I think).

Thanks for the warning. Guess AbiWord is not my friend. :-)

Of course, since that particular publisher went in the sinkhole, I have tried not to write such monsters (Book one came out in 2006--book 2 is still looking for a home, alas), and in fact do more novella to short novel lengths these days.

Oh, well, live and learn. Back to using Open Office.

Laura J. Underwood


Conversion Is Complete...

The White One is now running Ubuntu eee (8.4.1). So far, it sees all its componants, recognizes that it has a wireless card, sees everything I plug into the USB ports and obeys me...

Of course, it does nothing to improve the keyboard, but I do notice the touch pad is much more responsive.

The distro I have came with netbook remix already in place. Now I just have to figure out the disabling of the password because I hate having to log in as user and give a password every time I turn it on.

Also notice that shutdown is rather slow. But boot time is definitely improved.

Many thanks to all those who made suggestions.

Laura J. Underwood