My Linux Netbook Misadventure

Over on the eponymously named Mike Cane 2008 blog, my Twitter buddy Mike has beautifully captured my Twitter misadventures with my Acer Aspire One netbook. I love the netbook and started off thinking that the Linux Linpus OS on it would be fine. Until I actually tried to do something, anything, that wasn’t already baked into the box. Install Audacity (managed but with two fails first), GIMP, yes, but hate it. Then I tried to get a couple of other simple apps installed, but to no avail thanks to arcane packages that were missing, patches that weren’t around or just plain no-goes. Plus, installing anything that wasn’t in the list of apps that this distro of Linux provides meant that I had to guess at the dialect of Linux I was using and which it was closest to. Even then dependent files were missing or broken or something.

Then I tried installing the new office suite from ThinkFree. Error. Fail. The last straw was my attempt to use the netbook’s built-in webcam with any Flash-based video app. Seesmic. Nope. Mogulus. Nope. uStream. Nope. I took the little guy back to Canada Computers and replaced it with a unit that runs XP Home. I am not an XP fan, but I have to say, I got my new netbook, which I’m writing this on, up and running and far more functional in 1/10 the time the Linux version took. See my first Seesmic video from the XP netbook here.

This is not my first run at Linux. Like Mike I’ve had it running on a Nokia 770, then 800 tablet computer and I’ve installed Ubuntu on a desktop system and a laptop, but each time I found that doing anything useful, like hooking up to a wireless network or installing a printer driver was a royal pain in the ass.

This time took the cake, though. How open source folks think Linux dialects like Linux Linpus are ready for prime time I’ll never understand. It is an OS for nerdboys, full stop. Look, I’ve been programming and using computers since I was using punchcards and this experience had me ripping out what’s left of my hair. God knows how an average user would cope. Well, just like I did, they’d march the computer back to the store. That can’t be good for the open source movement, and certainly wasn’t good for my nerves today.

One Response

  1. I was a Linux user once. I believe everything they said, how superior it was, how good, how reliable. Tried everything, every distro under the sun, and there’s always something broken, and not simple annoyances, but essential things broken.

    My god, if only I had understood that simple truth: Linux is for nerds and Microsoft-haters. It’s crap useless to the rest of the sane world.

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