Saturday, August 7, 2010

Getting the best of Gnome and Ubuntu Netbook Edition !

Buying an Asus EeePC tablet has been on my head for a while. And just recently I ordered one on Amazon, the Asus Eee PC T101MT-EU17-BK 10.1-Inch Convertible Tablet. And then the big question arises, what software do I use on the tablet?

The tablet comes with Windows7, and I'm paying Microsoft tax, because there's no government to protect the mavericks and the geeks. But yet, I obviously don't intend to use the windows since it's a bloated piece of useless software. So then, what are my choices?

I have become an Ubuntu fan by now. But then, there again is the big question whether to use Gnome, or the new Ubuntu Netbook Edition. To answer this question, I did a considerable bit of fooling around with a virtual box vm running the UNE. And finally I decided, I like the netbook launcher which gives a desktop background from which to launch applications, and I also like the start-maximized feature for netbooks. However, the panel on the Netbook remix is substantially crap and I'd rather have my Gnome panels, one on top and one on the bottom so that I won't have accessibility issues with a close button at one of the extreme corners being touch-inaccessible with my finger.

So, my final verdict. Install the Ubuntu desktop edition. Especially if your netbook supports 64 bit, which I believe the Asus tablet does, then the UNE is a disadvantage because it doesn't yet have a 64bit edition. Once the Desktop edition is installed,
sudo apt-get install netbook-launcher
sudo apt-get install maximus
The former is the Netbook launcher program, and the latter is the maximus daemon which maximizes and undercorates the windows when opened.

Once these are installed, they can be added to the system startup via the panels
System->Preferences->Startup Applications

Also if maximus does not undecorate the window when maximising, run
and then uncheck and then check again, the "undecorate" option again (it should be checked for maximus to undecorate).

BUG Note: When the netbook-launcher is added to the system startup, it behaves strangely; sometimes it just disappears, and I don't know how to get it back, and also, it only appears on workspace1, and not on all workspaces. I don't know a fix to this. If you do, please let me know.
Given this bug, I right now have a toolbar button on my panel to start the netbook-launcher, and haven't added it to the system startup list.

With the steps above, the 64bit ubuntu desktop edition can be easily enhanced to incorporate all useful features I see from the Ubuntu Netbook Remix.

And yes, don't forget to check out my post on using Easystroke

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