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I've now upgraded my EeePC netbook to the latest version of Ubuntu Linux. Previously I was using Eeebuntu which has a very modern look with a bit of a Mac feel to it. The version I had installed was essentially a standard desktop operating system (which is also the approach that is used by Microsoft Windows XP running on netbooks). The Ubuntu Netbook Remix (UNR) takes a different approach. Instead of trying to force an operating system designed for a large screen onto a netbook with a tiny screen it instead provides a interface designed specifically for the mini laptop screen which makes best use of available space and makes the menus easy to use. It also looks great!
Unlike the old MS WinCE / Pocket PC operating system - this is not a cut down version. Ubuntu netbook remix is running exactly the same underlying operating system as the desktop version. As it's based on Linux it will also run on a much wider range of computers, unlike the Windows world where Windows Vista was not installed on netbooks due to performance issues instead running the out-of-date Windows XP. The Ubuntu Netbook Remix will even run on the cheaper low-spec netbooks that are not capable of running Windows 7.
In my case I have a fairly recent good spec EeePC 1000H with 10" screen.
The operating system is very fast and responsive. There is no need to run anti-virus and there is little bloat to slow the computer down.
The task bar is at the top. The task bar provides access to the menu, shows the running applications and includes status icons and the time and date, just like Windows / normal Linux task bars. The clever thing about the task bar on netbook remix is that when running an application fullscreen (which is default for most applications) then the top strip from the application is moved onto the status bar to maximise the amount of screen space available for the application. On the smaller screens of the netbooks this is a real plus and makes the netbook easier to use. This looks a little unusual at first, but is easy to use and works brilliantly.
Rather than having to click on tiny menu buttons or scroll through a n ever expanding application menu list UNR provides a easy to use menu system using the desktop background. This provides large easy to navigate menu buttons (similar to a mobile phone, but with the applications split into user friendly categories). This makes the operating system easy to use and very user friendly.
UNR comes with lots of applications installed. It includes
Ubuntu Netbook Remix can be downloaded and run from either an external CD drive or a USB disk. It can then be installed to the hard disk or a memory card if you like it. Installation was very straight forward with a few simple questions. The only complicated part is disk partitioning and even then it offers two simple choices (automatic or use entire disk), and a more advanced option for those that want a little more control and flexibility.
I've only found one tiny little issue since installing. The MP3 codecs are not installed by default due to patent / licensing issues. Fortunately we don't have software patents in Europe so it's just a case of downloading the package to add this. If you run Rhythmbox then you are prompted to install these codecs as required which works great. If however you try to use Amarok instead then it doesn't prompt to add the codecs. The solution is simple click on Rhythmbox and follow the recommendations from that instead.
Other than that the operating system is very stable and all the applications work as required. Whatever operating system your netbook came pre-installed with you should have a look at Ubuntu Netbook Remix. It's free to download (or even to get original CDs, although download recommended) you can try in Live mode without any risk and then choose whether to install it replacing or alongside your existing operating system.
Ubuntu Netbook Remix is without doubt the best netbook operating system I've ever used!