Saturday, March 28, 2009

Back to Xandros

I've gone full circle, back to using the factory installed "Xandros" distro on my Asus Eee 900.
I had some hurdles to jump on the way. First of all, I had misplaced the Eee packaging including the support and recovery discs. Then, as some sort of bizarre irony, you need to run a Windows program from the support CD to create the reinstallation USB stick from the recovery DVD (it is of course possible to do it manually in Linux, but I wanted to do it the legit way). The only Windows installation I have is the one on my quadruple-boot Dell Inspiron, which cannot read DVD-R. Back to my main computer, where I made ISO images of the support and recovery discs and set up Samba to transfer the files to the Inspiron. On the Inspiron, I used Deamon tools to mount the isos, and was finally able to make the reinstallation USB stick.
As a pleasant surprise, the factory Linux has had quite a lot of updates since I last tried it in June last year. Actually, this distro is perfect for my needs right now. All the programs I would typically use on a trip (which is what I bought the Eee for in the first place) are there, mainly a web browser and instant messengers (Skype without the audio cracking up like in Easy Peasy and EeeBuntu, at last!). One addition since June is a large directory of programs available through the so called "Eee download". Better still, even if the developers have tried to hide as much as possible behind the main interface, you can access a terminal with Ctrl-T in the file manager. Now things get interesting. Updates are available through apt-get, ssh turns out to be installed by default, etc. There is actually a decent catalogue of programs available through apt-get from, to which /etc/apt/sources.list points. This, and the fact that the OS boots in a matter of seconds (as opposed to other distros for the Eee) makes me forget about transgressions like the XP-like theme or that USB sticks are auto-mounted as D:. This machine has risen from the ashes, and now I'm ready for my upcoming trips to Spain and Italy!

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