Saturday, October 11, 2008

eee pc 901

I progressed a step further in my quest to upgrade my computer systems at home from the outdated and unusable ones I am have at the moment. My workstation is way to slow and has a broken CRT and I have nothing portable at all.

Thursday before the phpconference I bought a Eee PC 901 (Linux version of course). As I am planning to get a proper desktop computer with a big screen for my home desk, I just needed something to take to conferences, on trips and maybe sometimes into town. I also use it at home to browse the web, when I don't want to sit on my desk.

I am used the preinstalled Linux version for a week, which is some kind of Debian based distribution. It comes with all the office and internet applications you usually need. Skype is included for example, which works with the build-in webcam. I enabled the xterm and installed emacs, eclipse and Django, which all worked pretty good.

As I am more used to Fedora and because I want a proper Linux distribution, I installed Fedora 9 though. It was a bit of a hassle to install from an USB memory stick, but worked in the end. fedoraforum has all the information about ethernet and wireless drivers. Everything else works pretty much out of the box. I used LVM to give me one big partition over both SSDs.

I probably will also upgrade to 2GB RAM, as swap is not really an option with the SSDs and eclipse or games need more memory than the stock 1GB. The CPU is pretty quick too, but that might just be compared to my other computers, where the newest is from 2002.

The worst bit is the keyboard. I don't mind it being small, but the layout is different from all other keyboards I have. The key which is usually left of the "1" is above it, to the right of the "ESC" and the "\" left of the "Z" is gone too, it is mapped with the "Fn" key onto the "Z". Having a Spanish keyboard and using GB mapping makes it not better.

So the summary so far:

Good:

  • cheap (350 EUR)
  • small and light
  • runs Fedora well
  • fast
  • long battery life, cool and quite
  • good screen
  • lots of ports
  • graphics chip supports compiz desktop effects
Bad:
  • keyboard
  • some things don't work in Fedora: multitouch touchpad
  • webcam could be better

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