Linux: just installed Linux on my last Windows machine at home

I switched to a MacBook Pro 3,5 years ago. Until then, I’ve mostly had Windows machines at home even though I’ve always been more of a Unix/Linux guy. We still had a netbook which was delivered with Windows 7 Starter. I quickly upgraded to Windows Home Basic. Not sure why this Starter Edition even exists. It’s just an operating system with so many restrictions that any OS available 10 years ago would actually be better. Well, the netbook has an Atom N455 processor and 2 GB of RAM. As always with Windows, the longer the machine was in use, the slower it was getting and with this low spec machine, it was even worse. So yesterday, we got fed up with waiting all the time while planning our next vacation and decided to install Linux.

I first had a look at which distribution would make sense. I of course needed a low footprint distribution so that it can still run smoothly on this netbook which is already a few years old. Also I didn’t want to spend weeks trying to get all drivers working. Also I needed to be able to install it without an optical drive which I do not have in the netbook (and I didn’t want to spend hours looking for the external DVD drive I have somewhere in a box in the cellar).

I finally decided to install Easy Peasy.
easypeasy
Easy Peasy is based on Ubuntu (so you can use the Ubuntu package administration) and was specially build for netbooks. It has a low footprint, the ISO is less 900 MB and it brings most drivers you need on a netbook. The UI is also optimize for smaller displays. It uses the Netbook-Launcher from the Ubuntu Netbook Remix and application windows are maximized and displayed without a title bar.

Easy Peasy also brings quite a few open source applications like OpenOffice, Songbird and Firefox. The nice update management makes sure that you always have the latest version of the different software.

You can write the ISO on a memory stick using UNetbootin. Like this you can also first test it and see whether it works for you before overwriting your previous OS. I had a small problem. My Wireless adapter needed a Broadcom driver which wasn’t part of the default package and needed to be downloaded. Of course without driver, no Wireless connection and thus no Internet to download the driver from. So I first had to find a network cable and connect the netbook directly to the router. Installing the driver was no issue at all and I only needed the network cable for a few minutes.

Easy Peasy is a further development of Ubuntu Eee but is now not only limited to Asus Eee PCs (although I actually do have one) but is meant to be used on any netbook.

I still need to test it a little bit more but I’m already very happy with the UI, the performance and the ease of installation and update.

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