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Moblin 2.0 and Ubuntu NBR 9.10 on MSI Wind U100

Oct 4th, 2009

This week I have been playing with some of the latest interesting Linux releases on my MSI Wind U100 netbook: Moblin 2.0 and Ubuntu 9.10 Beta Netbook Remix. This post will try to sum up my experiences so far.

Moblin 2.0

I've been following the Moblin distribution for a while and have been watching several videos on YouTube of the system. I was especially interested in the new Netbook optimized interface and really wanted to see it in action. So I finally grabbed an image and installed it onto my MSI Wind.

Moblin

Installation went smooth and I was quickly up and runing. The boot time was just amazing. It boots up elegantly without too much terminal output and quickly starts an X session and the interface slides in. The interface looks really slick and polished and it feels great to use. When I started playing around with it there were naturally some rough edges that needs more work.

Many of these things are of course to be expected at this early point. But it looks really promising so far.

Ubuntu 9.10 Beta NBR

After having played a bit with Moblin I discovered that Ubuntu had just released a new beta of 9.10 that featured an extensive redesign of the Netbook release. So I naturally had to try this out as well. I had some trouble downloading the image for some reason but in the end succeeded only to realise there was no USB stick image so I had to install using a cd.

The live cd booted fine and I could see my hardware was working fine except my camera so I decided to install the system. The installation program worked beatifully but at some point the installation procedure stalled at 83% creating users? After waiting a long time I decided to give it another go but installing outside the live environment and it worked a lot better though some of the installation screens didn't fit the screen resolution.

Ubuntu doesn't boot as fast as Moblin but it boots a lot faster than 9.04 on my netbook. The new login greeter has a face browser as the default taking a hint from Mac and Windows.

The redesigned Netbook Remix interface looks really great compared to the last release and has a lot more unified look. The icons, scroll bars and the way the background image is blended in from behind makes the system feel really polished. The status bar icons now have a more Mac-like skinning using gray colors and some nice default backgrounds are now available. All these improvements must come from the recently established design team. It is great to see improvements are starting to appear and it looks amazing so far - well done.

There are still a few weak spots in the interface though imho. It would be nice to have a better visual coherence between the window, the menu bar and the window title bar on the top. Perhaps it could look a bit like the tabs in Google Chrome.

Ubuntu

The default theme for the NBR is now a dark brown variant of Human which looks fine but there are a few problems e.g. in the Firefox location bar where it is hard to read entries on the dark background.

All in all this seems to be a really good release with a lot of improvements. I'm especially fond of the UI and graphics changes made so far.

Conclusion

After having spent some time with both distributions the winner for me is clearly Ubuntu. Their interface just feels more polished and easy to use for me even though I really like some of the ideas behind the Moblin UI. And Moblin can't beat Ubuntu's large repository of software and configuration options yet.

Posted in Linux, Software by Kaspar | 4 comments

Upgraded to Ubuntu

Oct 18th, 2007

About a week ago I updated to the new Ubuntu Linux release called "Gutsy Gibbon". It has been a bumby ride so far but overall it looks really nice. The desktop effects which are now enabled by default looks great and really improves the user experience in my opinion. Luckily woobly windows are not in the default configurations! Most applications have also been updated and improved which is good of course.

The problems I have had is mainly related to my ATI graphics card. One of the main regressions compared to the last release Feisty is suspend not working on my Thinkpad. It seems to be an issue with the ATI driver and the new Linux kernel. Another problem is that the screen configuration tool which is new doesn't work for me at all. I have a Dell monitor at work but it is almost impossible to make it work properly. It seems the aticonfig tool works a lot better. I hope these issues will be solved at least when the new much improved ATI drivers will appear shortly.

I'm also waiting for VMWare Server to appear in the repositories again as it is quite important for my work. Right now I'm running the version from VMWare's website but it can be a little tedious to configure VMWare on each new Linux kernel release.

Otherwise I am a happy Ubuntu user. Congratulations on the new release!

My Desktop

Posted in Linux by Kaspar | 0 comments

Linux Tip

Sep 13th, 2007

Through Lifehacker I discovered this odd Linux hack. If your Linux system freezes for some reason and peripherals and CTRL+ALT+DELETE stops working - don't hold the power button to turn off the computer. Instead try this:

  1. Hold down the Alt and SysRq (Print Screen) keys.
  2. While holding those down, type the following in order. Nothing will appear to happen until the last letter is pressed: REISUB
  3. Watch your computer reboot magically.
I actually had this problem trying to play World of Warcraft through Cedega. Would have been nice to have known this trick.

On a related note Walt Mossberg has a review of Ubuntu here. I find it quite fair though he's critical. He makes some valid points from the mainstream user's perspective. But it's doesn't make me love it less - but I am also a technical user who doesn't mind tweaking my system and installing codecs and new applications. With the recent announcement of AMD opening up the ATI drivers I will only love it more when I can fully enjoy the Compiz Fusion desktop effects in Gutsy when it's released.

Posted in Linux, Tips & Tricks by Kaspar | 0 comments

Made the Switch to Ubuntu Linux

May 6th, 2007

For the last month I have been running the new Ubuntu Linux 7.04 and it is running very well! I believe this is the first time Linux has been a real alternative to Windows for me in terms of hardware compatiblity and software polish. The last few times I have tried making the switch I have always ended up with some unsolvable hardware issue or ended up breaking the X-server but not this time. I just experienced some minor issues with the screen resolution that was easily solved using Ubuntu Forums which is an excellent resource to find answers to your problems.

Ubuntu

I also tried Windows Vista Business Edition on my Thinkpad for a few months but quickly decided Vista wasn't for me. It's was slow and drained my computer of every little resource and in time just got slower and slower. Ubuntu on the other hands boots and shutdown in few seconds and leaves plenty of resources for the programs to run. Vista's interface is quite nice but a bit too much. Not elegant like Mac OS X or simple and usable like Gnome. I'm sure Vista will work for a lot of people. Maybe it will work for me at the time when Service Pack 2 arrive.

If you're unsure if you want to go the Vista path you should take a look at Ubuntu which is a very recommendable operating system (and free).

Posted in Linux by Kaspar | 0 comments

Ubuntu file/printserver

Feb 23rd, 2006

A couple of days ago I managed to get a Ubuntu file/printserver running on an old machine. I am able to print from all Windows clients via CUPS and Samba and the clients share a 300 GB Maxtor harddisc which is nice for backup of pictures, music and videoes. It is also possible to access my files at work via SSH and it all seems to work pretty well. One problem though could be the power consumption of the server which I guess is pretty high. Maybe I should buy something nice and cheap. Anyway, here is a small walkthrough of how I got the server up and running.

Posted in Linux by Kaspar | 0 comments

Ubuntu Linux Server

Aug 16th, 2005

For the last few months I have been running an Ubuntu Linux server on an old computer from Post Denmark that Anne gave me (800 Mhz, 64 MB RAM, 4 GB harddisc). I use it both as a file server to backup some of my files and as a webserver to test some of the projects I am working on. Administration is done using SSH and development is done using CVS/Eclipse. It's a good way to get some first hand experience on administrating Linux servers. When I have time outside of work I am working on a redesign af Geiger.dk and a new website for Clemens Antikvariat.

Linux File Server

I am working on a description of how to setup a Linux fileserver here.

Posted in Linux by Kaspar | 2 comments

A week with Ubuntu Linux

Feb 25th, 2005

Last friday I installed Ubuntu Linux onto my laptop after having read nice things about it on both Betanews and OSNews. Ubuntu is a Gnome-centric distribution based on Debian and I am overall very impressed with it even though it takes a lot of tweaking to get things right. You just need to download one cd with a nice selection of applications and can update the OS directly over the net without downloading a new cd. This is definitely a step in the right direction compared to Fedora where you are required to download 3-4 cd's with each new release. A major difference between Ubuntu and Fedora is that it is actually working for me because of the package system so I have not been able to mess it up completely yet

Ubuntu Login

The only problems so far has been with ACPI on my laptop and GDesklets breaking Gnome. I managed to fix both problems though. The forums and help resources (see http://ubuntuforums.org and http://ubuntuguide.org) are excellent and I have managed to find answer to most of my questions there. Ubuntu is now officially my weekend-OS since I depend too much on Windows at work. I have managed to run quite a few Windows applications through Wine but some of the core applications like Flash and Filezilla are not working 100%. But Linux as a desktop OS is definitely maturing rapidly which is very nice to see.

Posted in Linux by Kaspar | 0 comments

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