Friday, April 2, 2010

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netbook is not listed (the compatibility databases are often by far not completed) and the sites are a little bit outdated anyway.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.



Anonymous said...

While I agree that this is a hassle, and should be improved, let me play the devil's advocate for a minute and say that having that barrier/threshold that people have to cross, makes it so that the most competent people make it through.

Should someone who doesn't really care about their OS be made to make a choice about it?

It has been several years since I tried opensuse, but opensuse used to have default profiles for different types of tablet computers like my x41t, I think something like that for netbooks would be great.

JW said...

I am using KDE 4.4.2 on an Acer Aspire AOD 250 and am enjoying it immensely.

Yes, I agree it is a hassle to install and to find any recent information about compatibility. I should update my experience with this somewhere as it appears to be more recent than anything I found when I was looking.

Bad me for being only a consumer and not a contributor!

Thomas Thym said...

@sealv: Yes you may be right that the barrier to enter open source software has positive aspects for the communitry (min. level of knowledge about it). However, if we want to gain momentum, if we want to be part of the global software world IMHO this it the wrong way. We have to spread your software and attitudes. As you see no resell is offering netbooks (or rather any other pc) with Linux anymore. More users = more influence

@JW: When I tested my AOD250 I try to update as many pages I can. But feel free to be there first!

KenP said...

I have this touchbook from always innovating and if I can get KDE SC 4.4 netbook interface running on it, that would be a dream come true!

Not sure if there is any distro shipping KDE SC 4.4 that has a port for the touchbook ...

Henrique Marks said...

You can have your money back from the windows license. It is written there: "if you choose not to accept, you can ask the license money back".

So, if you are not using the other operating system, you can contact the seller (acer, not the shop you bought, and request your money).

Incredibly, here in Brazil a huge amount of people are doing this, for whatever reasons (linux, pirated copies, using another microsoft os, etc.)

I think you MUST try this

Anonymous said...

i have a samsung NC10 which runs perfictly under linux with opensource-only drivers... my BF has a samsung N510 which is a bit larger but has a nvidia graphics card... so if you want decent graphics and a resolution larger then 1024*800 px and don't mind closed source graphics drivers i would use the 510 else the NC10 :) both work perfectly under linux and have atheros wifi chips. the NC10 also runs mac os btw :D

Anonymous said...

Another resource: the Arch Linux wiki.

At least for my Aspire One A110, that wiki page was frequently updated until there was no need to update it any more (and in August of '08 when I got it, oh boy was there a need to keep that updated!).

If you see a netbook that piques your interest, check the Arch wiki and see what they have to say about it. If you plan on running something else, it might be difficult comparing a rolling distro to what your choice might have "under the hood", but it should at least give you an idea what would be in store.