And therein lay the problem. The default Xandros installation provided a good frontend, but to be honest, the update mechanism wasn’t great, and the updates I had managed to install on getting the netbook had pretty much pushed the storage capacity to straining point.
That was fine at the time, but 2 years on, not having been able to install updates was a bit concerning. Not to mention some websites were starting to complain about the outdated version of Firefox.
So being the good little Ubuntu fanboy I am, I thought “sod it, lets give this Netbook remix a whirl”.
Wow. Was I impressed. Now, when it comes to installing on a netbook, you’re thrown an immediate problem. No CD drive. However, Ubuntu’s download page came with great, simple instructions. Download the iso image, insert a USB stick of sufficient size, then download and run a neat little utility that sets up the USB stick with the equivalent of a liveCD. From there, just use the USB stick on the netbook like you would a normal Ubuntu LiveCD to test and install the new OS.
I was really impressed by how painless the whole process was. Granted, I knew from my laptop what installing Ubuntu was like, but I’d been braced for the netbook install to be more complicated.
Once it was installed, the good experience continued. Canonical really have done a brilliant job of converting Ubuntu to work within the confines of a netbook. The launcher interface is clean and easy-to-use, and apps make the most of the available screen space, running maximised with the OS’s application menu bar doubling as the usual title bar for applications (and so containing things like the close button). Software updates and installation are handled just the same as on the main version of Ubuntu, and getting Chromium installed was simple.
Given the tight confines of my netbook (the previously mentioned 7inch screen and 4Gb hard disc) it would’ve been easy for me to run into problems, given how quickly the netbook market evolved to use higher specced machines, but nope, Ubuntu Netbook Remix runs as easily as it installed. All the hardware worked straight out of the box (so to speak) and I’ve now got the reassurance of knowing all my software is being kept up-to-date.