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technology

Moblin, Ubuntu Moblin Remix and Ubuntu Netbook Remix

I’ve had my Samsung NC10 for almost 2 weeks now and am loving it.  I’ve been using it for taking notes at meetings and seminars, as well as at home for simple online tasks.  I thought I’d put up a few notes about the different operating systems I’ve tried so far, because I couldn’t find a whole lot when I was starting out.

The first OS I tried was Moblin, which I was very excited about initially.  I love the innovation of the UI and the fact that the developers are starting from scratch to really do something new with the netbook form factor.  I probably would’ve kept it if it had any sort of presentation software, which is important for me when I’m traveling and need to work on presentations.  There’ll probably be a port of OpenOffice Presenter in the Moblin Garage soon, but I just couldn’t wait.  So, even though I really, really, really wanted to use Moblin, I had to ditch it.

My next project was to try the Ubuntu Moblin Remix, an attempt to integrate the new Moblin UI on top of the development release of Ubuntu’s Karmic Koala, which has been getting decent reviews.  I thought this would be what I needed.  The stability of a Debian-based distribution with the cool new interface from Moblin (and it came with OpenOffice installed).  Unfortunately, I had issues with both Firefox and OpenOffice, the two main reasons that I decided to move from Moblin.  Far from the stability I was looking for, UMR was buggy to the point of being unusable, so unfortunately I had to move on (I did manage to get OpenOffice installed after changing the filesystem from ext4 to ext3, but it would freeze for up to 20 seconds at a time).

I finally tried the Ubuntu Netbook Remix and I have to say that it is beautiful.  I’m running the Karmic daily build, rather than the Jaunty release, so there are lots of usability / design improvements that go along with that.  Besides looking amazing (I’ll add some screenshots soon), everything just works straight out the box, from the webcam, to the sound, to the wireless.  At this early stage, I just can’t fault it on anything (Disclaimer: I’m a hopeless Ubuntu fanboy).

By Michael Rowe

I'm a lecturer in the Department of Physiotherapy at the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town, South Africa. I'm interested in technology, education and healthcare and look for places where these things meet.