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The Eee — a $400 Linux laptop

 The Eee — a $400 Linux laptop

That’s Associated Press writer Daniel Sorid’s rave review of Asustek Computers’ which he kicks off with:

“Didn’t Asus know notebook computers need hard drives? Or that they’re supposed to run Windows?” wonders Sorid. And, “Don’t they know you don’t just go selling laptops for less than $750 – let alone $400 – unless the hardware has been aged like whisky?”

Could it be Asus has figured out laptops came be produced inexpensively and unencumbered by bloatware and still do the job?

Bill and the Boyz started it by making sure you got Windows whether you wanted it or not. Other software manufacturers saw the possibilities and pretty soon, your PC and then your laptop arrived packed to the gills with all kinds of junk you didn’t ask for and didn’t want, but couldn’t remove.

Asus says the 7″ (5″ screen) Linux Eee PC, with built-in WiFi 802.11, weighs 0.92kg and comes with a card reader, camera, speakers, and microphone, and has USB ports for peripherals, a monitor port and a flash memory slot, 512 MB (DDR2) memory, and a 4 gig solid-state disk).

But it does after all, come pre-loaded with certain corporate applications you didn’t ask for and perhaps don’t want, and neither AP nor Asus say whether or not you can easily dump them.

The review continues the Eee’s “custom version of the Linux operating system has a simple user interface that takes some getting used to.”

But no worries there, and it organizes the software by tabs – Internet, Work, Learn and Play although, “many users on the Eee forum dislike its look”

However, “An upgrade to a more familiar, Windows-like interface is available in ‘advanced’ mode, which can be activated with a few minutes of careful programming. (But you’ll do that at your peril. On my second day, a badly written command crashed my system. I had to reinstall the original software.)”

Firefox , Adobe Acrobat Reader and open-source OpenOffice come pre-installed, but Google Docs,”an online document suite for storing files remotely and sharing them,” is also “configured” and, “Links to Yahoo Mail, Gmail and other e-mail programs are already on the desktop,” says Sorid, adding:

“A messaging program called Pidgin worked with AOL Instant Messenger and Google Talk. Skype, the voice and video calling program, also worked well.”

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Moreover, “Users willing to learn a few Linux commands can add the Picasa photo sharing program, Google Earth and Audacity, a free audio editing program beloved by bloggers.”

So at the end of the day, even thought it’s only $400, you still pays your money and takes your chances.


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