I’m off to FOSDEM next weekend, so I’ve got my aged EeePC 901 out of the cupboard. It’s the only laptop I have that can stand up to really long days without a power socket. I’m trying out a selection of the ‘state of the art’ in netbook distributions.
I’ve tried the easypeasy netbook distribution a few times over the last few years, starting back when it was Ubuntu Eee. I like the idea of a cut-down distribution that has a kernel tuned to your device, but leveraging the benefits of bigger platforms like Debian and Ubuntu.
The reality has been a bit mixed, though.
On the one hand, we have a boot splash screen, reasonable boot speed, the heavily customised user interface with big bold icons optimised for a netbook device, split into sensible categories with some great design. A friendly, colourful desktop that pays attention to the limitations of the device – so reasonably-sized scrollbars for example.
On the other hand, we again have the grub bootloader waiting for 10 seconds and boot speed wasn’t brilliant. See the boot video. The wifi connection keeps getting forgotten on every reboot, and it took an eternity updating the system after installation and first boot (it seemed like a good few hours to download and install all the packages). It also seemed to fail to suspend when I closed the lid.
Perhaps unfairly I didn’t spend much more time playing with easypeasy – I know it’s got some good stuff in it, and it looks polished, and it is usable – but it is a minor fork of a larger upstream project, so how current is it and how long will it be maintained for? Time to move on and check out the competition.