What can I say apart from I’m very impressed with Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Netbook Remix. I found the whole experience far better than 8.10 which left me with sound card driver bugs and strange display errors. All of these were all fixable and easy enough to do but I want my Ubuntu to work out the box, and Jaunty seems to have delivered this!
Installation was incredibly easy. I downloaded the netbook remix usb image from:
I had a 1gb USB pen drive handy and copied the image onto that using the dd command.
dd bs=1M if=<IMAGE-NAME>.img of=/dev/<USB DEVICE>
There are easier ways to install the image to usb disk and instructions can be found here:
Its then a simple case of booting your netbook from USB and following the instructions. Basically its a set of multiple choice questions asking about time zone’s, keyboard lay out and the such. If your not familiar with installing Linux, make the sensible choices for language and keyboard and leave the rest as default.
Now I’m lucky enough to have one of the supported models, in this case a Dell Mini 9. Everything worked out of the box, graphics, sound, webcam, wifi, card reader and bluetooth. I was very impressed that there was zero tinkering to be done.
The only tinkering I did was to choose EXT4 for the file system as I wanted to give this a go and see if there were any speed improvements, over the standard install of EXT3. You can choose this by selecting advanced on the disk partitioner.
Now there has been a lot of hype about how quickly Ubuntu 9.04 boots and especially when you use EXT4 as your file system. I must admit I was slightly sceptical. However I was pleasantly surprised! I’m seeing boot times of around 19-20 seconds which is pretty amazing and lets you boot up at a whim quickly, which is great for using your netbook quickly whilst on the move.
The user interface is pretty different from a normal Linux desktop and your presented with a nice control panel that allows you quick access to everything installed either by using the small track pad or keyboard strokes. Apart from the nice GUI with easily accessible icons you get the usual run of tools, openoffice.org, firefox, evolution mail etc etc, which gives you basically everything you need for a mobile office. You also get cheese the new gnome application which uses the inbuilt webcam to take and apply effects to pictures of yourself. I did install a couple of extra media components in the form of vlc in order to watch some xvid encoded videos on the train.
sudo apt-get install vlc
Everything had a real slick finish to it and Jaunty is looking very polished. I was VERY impressed when I plugged in a USB 3G card this was instantly recognised. All I had to do was tell it my mobile/cell network provider and I was connected within 2 or 3 clicks. Having used this same dongle on Windows and Mac, Ubuntu beats the easy of use by 10 fold.
I then chose to install dropbox which is a third party piece of software not available via apt-get. Dropbox allows you to have a online web drive which adds some extra space to your netbook. I just have the free 2GB account, which for me is more than enough. You can download it here:
I’d also suggest opening up firefox and visiting your normal sites to make sure you have all the installed plugging you need whilst your on a connection at home rather than trying to pulled down flash over a 3G network.
One thing that I felt was missing is an easy way to switch between netbook desktop and traditional desktop. This feature would be great, and I fully admit may already be there but I couldn’t see how to do it easily. I’d find this feature really useful especially when plugging the netbook into an external monitor and keyboard, in order to use as a traditional desktop.
Just try it for yourself! Hopefully you’ll be as pleased as me. If you do have problems hop onto the ubuntu forums and I’m sure people will be more than happy to help.