UNR - Ubuntu netbook remix.
June 2009,I haven't used my aspire one very much at all. This is in part because I never managed to install mono-develop on it. Both Arjan and I tried and failed due to a dependency issue and a bad repository.
I knew I could install MD under ubuntu because I'd already done so on my desktop PC.
When I read there was a ubuntu remix tuned for netbooks I decided to give it a try.
Creating a bootable USB install disk is fairly easy if you have access to a machine already running ubuntu. It would have been nice to be able to do it all on the aspire but I don't know how.
Firstly I updated my PC to ubuntu 9.4. I don't use linux much so everything was way out of date. I didn't manage to completely update 8.4 but close enough to do a net update to the new version.
Creating the UNR install disk is fairly easy if you follow the instructions on the ubuntu site.
This involved downloading the image file, downloading and installing imagewriter and then using it to make the disk. I bought a cheap 2-gig usb drive for the purpose but a one gig drive might be enough.
I'm no linux guru and I had no trouble.
Inserting the drive into the aspire and booting it did nothing useful. You have to setup the bios (F2 key at boot) to set the USB drive to a higher boot priority than the main drive.
After that it booted nicely and it gave options for running a live distro, installing etc.
I ran live first.
Everything seemed to work. I like it.
It connected to my wifi ok and I had internet.
Monodevelop installed without any dramas.
It didn't take long for me to decide to install UNR.
This didn't go well. It may have gotten upset because I changed my mind part way and tried to change. You see there was the option of installing UNR along side of linpus. This sounds good but there isn't really enough space for both. I went back a step and told it to use the whole drive. It seemed to be happy and I left it alone and did other things. When I came back it seemed to be finished. I rebooted and got a boot error 2 - whatever that is.
Booting from USB still worked and after confirming UNR still worked I rebooted again and selected "install".
The first time I installed while running ubuntu - this time I installed from the boot options.
More time passed but this time I ended up with a bootable system.
So far so good. I haven't done exhaustive testing but everything I've tried so far works.
The next goal is the write code while on the train without getting motion sick.
A week later.Mostly I'm quite happy with the new OS. Things that were hard to do under linpus are trivial under UNR.
Monodevelop works and the FTDI USB to serial chip used by arduino was recognized without needing any driver installation. The DTKterm serial terminal was in the repository and trivial to install.
The down side is UNR seems to stretch the acer's resources at times. It is a little slow and seems to thrash the flash drive at times. I think a memory upgrade may be in order.
I still think acer should sell the bigger apsire without windows.
Also GTKterm seems to be throwing in the odd extra linefeed.
A problem..I switched to the classic desktop and was unable to switch back to the netbook mode. This doesn't bother we too much because I prefer the classic anyway.
4'th July - A big problem.NRC worked fine in classic mode for a month or so. I noted a big update a few days ago including a kernel update. Yesterday after boot all the menus were gone just leaving the desktop.
It was still possible to setup a launcher and also I could get a small web-browser window up via the help system (ie use help then click a web link to launch a browser session).
I found others had the same issue and you can launch gnome-panel via the launcher to get the menus back.
This didn't stick after a reboot even after switching between classic and netbook desktop a few times and recommended.
In netbook mode I still have a lack off panels and in classic mode no menus.
There is also a problem in that apps seem to get the screen size wrong and firefox can only use a bit over half the width of the already small screen. The issue seemed to relate to this bug.
It still seems unresolved and ongoing. The basic problem has been around a while and I'm surprised it has taken so long to patch.
Hopefully they can fix it via an update but presently even a reinstall is unlikely to fix it.
Right now I couldn't recommend anyone, particularly beginners using UNR. I hope this changes before too long.
14-July,The fix may be here - https://code.launchpad.net/desktop-switcher/+download
I haven't tried it yet.
Later. I tried to install the new version but the configuration tool spat the dummy.
I had to updated a package or two but it still couldn't locate gtk# and I decided to sleep instead of continuing.
It looks like the latest version may still have problem because the bug status has gone from fixed back to confirmed.
I will wait and see.
20'th,A new launcher is available in the update manager - installing now...
Still broken. There is a problem with the configuration manager. Even if I track it down and fix it I can't really recommend UNR to my novice friends. UNR is only at version 1 and next the next release will probably have this bugs exterminated.
I can get by by switching desktops when I boot it up - this clears the problems for the session. I think I will just do that till karmic koala comes out in a few months.