Eee 701 Planetoid

2011/07/13

Moving on from Eeebuntu

Filed under: Linux, Software — Tags: , — Tim @ 22:04

I have no idea whether anyone has this blog left in their RSS readers by now, but if you’re reading this: greetings, and thanks for hanging on this long 🙂

When I last posted to this blog just before last Christmas, I announced that I was unlikely to write much (if anything) for the foreseeable future. My Eee 701 was ‘ticking along’ reasonably; I was using the netbook rather less than previously, thanks to my recent upgrading of my mobile phone to a Nokia N8; and I felt as if I’d been waiting for ever for the successor to Eeebuntu v3 (my netbook’s Linux operating system).

Combine all this with my then-belief that the machine had been set up “just so”, and was unlikely to change a great deal, and you can perhaps understand why I felt it was time to put the blog on the back-burner for a while…

So, what has led me back to the Planetoid after half a year away? What has been going on in the vicinity of my trusty Eee 701SD, to bring about a new post here at last?

Well, frankly, in two words: almost nothing, and that’s the problem in hand. Hardware-wise, the 701 hasn’t given me any trouble at all; unfortunately, however, the same can’t be said for the Linux distribution it is running.

Well over a year since Eeebuntu v3’s successor was announced, and AuroraOS is not only still in beta, but it appears to be a closed one; not available for download to the public. I have been assured that the next beta will be available “soon”, and this has been the case for months now, with no sign that AuroraOS will turn up  in the foreseeable future.

If all were well otherwise, I could put up with this—my 701 is set up more or less as I like it, and under any other circumstances I’d be happy not to reinstall the whole OS (which I am told I will have to do, if/when AuroraOS turns up).

The deal-breaker—and the reason my patience has finally run out—is that a couple of months ago, updates for Eeebuntu v3 suddenly stopped, due to the package repositories disappearing from the Internet. Whether this was a deliberate decision or not—and I doubt it, for various reasons—the result is the same: I can no longer update applications, nor can I install new ones via the repositories, because they don’t exist any more.

I understand that AuroraOS is a small project, with only a few part-time admins working on it, but my Eee 701 is a “working system”, and this state of affairs is simply not acceptable to me any longer. Regrettably, I have decided that it’s time to leave Eeebuntu behind, and find another Linux distro that will restore some “currency” to my Eee, before things really begin to stop working.

Over the next few weeks, I hope to report back here with how my latest search for a new Linux for my 701 is proceeding. I can tell you that the two current “candidates” are:

  • Ping-Eee (an optimised-for-Eee spin-off of the Ubuntu variant Pinguy)—call this the “easy” road 🙂
  • Arch Linux (the “roll up your sleeves, yank up the bonnet and start customising your own system” distro)—call this the “white-knuckle mountain pass”!

There are pros and cons to both, but I have to say I’m leaning towards Arch Linux. Yes, it’ll be harder work—not only will many things not work out of the box, but in effect I’ll sometimes have to build the box in the first place!—but I feel I’ll have the opportunity to custom-build an OS which is lean and tailored to the 701, and is hopefully less likely to be abandoned by an administrator who suddenly finds (quite understandably) that there are more pressing and important calls on their time, than maintaining an operating system.

Apologies if that sounds ungrateful, as I really don’t mean it to. I have enjoyed using Eeebuntu v3 since installing it over Christmas 2009, and a read through this blog will show how I have experimented and got things working on the Eee, which Eeebuntu often made easier because it included the appropriate drivers “out of the box”.

However, all good things must come to an end, and soon it will be time to set off for pastures new… and I promise that’s the last cliché I roll out in this post 😉 See you along the way, and I hope you’ll come back soon.

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1 Comment »

  1. […] first post there since last December, takes stock of the current situation with the Eee, including my first thoughts on which Linux distribution I might choose to replace […]

    Pingback by Over at my netbook blog… « TA Walker, diverted — 2011/07/19 @ 18:49


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