Friday, April 2, 2010

A first glance at the Plasma Netbook Reference

As promised my first impression about the Plasma Netbook Reference.

First boot took "very long" but at least I had an amazing netbook interface with great effects running really smooth on the N270 1,6 GHz processor with 1GB ram. All in all really promising!

Downside: WLAN was not working and it was not possible to start an application that required root priviliges (like software management).

So I changed the root password (I don't know if that was the best idea). Now I was asked for the password but the app didn't start anyway. After the reboot WLAN worked. So I updated via konsole with yast2. The Netbook Reference is KDE SC 4.3.5. After the update everything worked great (WLAN, amazing desktop effects, start of every app, ...) Only one minor: Maybe it would be helpful for new users to have the logout/shutdown button in the panel. But this isn't software for new endusers anyway so it doesn't matter.

In the next step I tried to update to 4.4.70 but then KDE didn't start anymore (nothing happend after the login screen). As this should be the device for my wife (and she prefers a rock stable system) I decided to install OpenSUSE 11.2 with KDE 4.3.5. As the netbook reference is a on-stick-version I will try it some day again without any effects on the hard disk to give useful feedback to the developers.

All in all it was a good experience and very promissing.

BTW: Where can I get the beautiful grub menu and splash screen?

Finding the KNetbook (part II)

As I wrote a view weeks ago I am searching a notebook for my wife to run KDE SC 4.4 on Linux on it. Now we decided that it would be a netbook.

Why am I telling you that. I am still unhappy with the small market share Linux has and want to point to some points I recognized during my way to find my product.

Steps if I wanted a netbook without preference for an operating system:
  1. Check some netbooks at a netbook test or discussion site of your choice.
  2. Check the hardware in a store of your choice.
  3. Buy the netbook and have fun try to use it.
Steps if I want a KDE netbook:
  1. Check some netbooks at a netbook test or discussion site of your choice.
  2. Spend hours to search the web if there are known issues with hardware compatibility.
  3. Oh yes, there are known problems. But the sites were last updated one year ago. Perhaps the problem is solved by now? Keep on searching!
  4. Check one or many of the hardware compatibility sites of major distros.
  5. Find out, that your favoured netbook is not listed (the compatibility databases are often by far not completed) and the sites are a little bit outdated anyway. [1]
  6. Go to bed and spend your next free evening, too.
  7. After several hours of searching for other nice and affordable peaces of hardware finally write about your martyrdom on (Thanks to anyone who answered!)
  8. Get really useful information from your fantastic KDE community within a couple of minutes / over night and decide.
  9. Search the web for a reseller shipping your favoured netbook to your country WITHOUT operating system.
  10. Renege your promise never to pay again for an operating system you don't use and order a Acer Aspire One D250 with XP/Android. (It is not possible to buy state of the art hardware without OS. Something goes definitely wrong here.)
  11. Before wiping the hard disk have a look at android. Find out that you have to end the windows install (incl. licence agreement) before you can use android. Forget about android and pass to the next step.
  12. Download your linux distro of choice and copy it onto an usb-stick. (Excellent descriptions for OpenSUSE and the KDE netbook reference are here and there.)
  13. See your netbook come to life and HAVE FUN!
You might assume that it is much easier to find a windows netbook than one with linux. And you are totally right.

My resume:

  • Simplicity rules: If we want to increase the market share of Linux/KDE it should be really easy and fast to find proper hardware and software.
  • Our strength is the community: I spent hours searching the web without usefully results. The community helped me within minutes.
What can we do to improve these two major points? Is it only a personal issue or is this important for anybody else? Where can I steel the time to contribute? ...

P.S.: About my experiences with the KDE netbook reference I will blog another time.