Topic: Asus EEE PC revisited

There was an interesting article on Distrowatch today.  The page owner lives in Asia, I believe and wrote about going to a show.

The article is here. … 09#feature

He commented how it seems that ASUS has almost abandoned Linux on the EEE.  The downside for we BSD folks is that the less concerned they are about Linux compatibility, the harder it might be to get hardware support. I suspect one reason the AR5007EG wireless got its Linux support for 32 bit so quickly was because of that PC.  (For those with a laptop and that card, Madwifi now has a patched snapshot for Linux that works with 64 bit.)  As Sam Leffler of FreeBSD is one of the main MadWifi people, that's always good for BSD as well.

I didn't buy one.  When it was first mentioned, I thought I would.  However, when it was first mentioned, it was supposed to retail at $200. When it came out, it was $300-350 for the 2 gig drive.  For $500, I was able to get something a little bigger and heavier (but under 6 lbs which is 2.27 kg for most of the world) 130 gig hard drive, gig of RAM, etc. 

The article did point out that many others are now copying the idea with what they're calling UP--they claim it stands for ultra-portable, but I always call it underpowered, and many will be running Linux.  As another article somewhere or other pointed out, when you're selling machines for less than $500, the cost of the MS O/S becomes a more important factor.

Anyway, I found the article interesting.  I don't share the sense of the author's outrage at the companies for pushing MS,  but it nice to see more manufacturers looking at open source as having profit potential.  If Linux will run on it, there's a good chance that the BSDs will also be able to use its wireless, which is usually one of the more problematic things on a laptop.

I don't know if binary blobs could be avoided though.  Still, it indicates some sort of change to my mind. 

Interestingly enough, a Korean friend of my wife's decided to change her Mac for a PC.  I asked why and she said that apparently there were compatibility issues in Korean between her Mac and many of her friends in her country.  She said, "They all use Windows or Linux."

<@andre> i would be so much more efficient if i wasn't so stupid

Re: Asus EEE PC revisited

scottro wrote:

However, when it was first mentioned, it was supposed to retail at $200. When it came out, it was $300-350 for the 2 gig drive.

For ~$350US, a 4GB SSD model sans Webcam is available.  With a Webcam, the price goes up another $50US.  Both of these models come with 512MB RAM.

For $500US, I was able to get something a little bigger...

Yes, there is a 8GB SSD model with 1GB RAM for this price.

Everything discussed thus far (701 series) only sports a 7" 800x480 screen.

There is also a 8.9" screen model (900 series) which is now available with 1GB RAM & up to 20GB SSD for $550US.  ASUS is continuing to increase the size of various components, but the price is rising as well.  Given the Eee PC's deficiencies, the product begins looking less & less attractive as ASUS embellishes on the original concept.

The Eee PC has a very small keyboard.  It is usable, but unless I stay on mine for hours on end, the number of typing mistakes remains annoyingly higher than normal.  The 7" screen is also tolerable, but various X applications found in packages & ports (including OpenOffice...) will on occasion have dialogs which are longer than the screen.  The processor is a 900MHz Celeron underclocked to 600MHz for power consumption reasons.  Although OpenBSD can be effectively installed on a 4GB SSD, I use an external USB hard drive for housing source & other building reasons, & I have a 8GB SDHC card (The Eee PC has a built-in slot...) for home directory clutter.  Yes, wireless support is still non-existent, but I have always had low expectations on this topic given the OpenBSD project's stand on proprietary drivers & specifications.  For what I do with my Eee PC, wireless support is neither critical nor a deal-breaker.

The smaller dimensions & noticable lighter weight makes the Eee PC attractive especially when traveling.  I use mine as a console in a networking lab, so portability is key.  I don't need it to serve as a desktop replacement although it can in a crunch.

For what it is, spending $200-$350US was justifiable, & I'm content with the results.

Note that other manufacturers have noticed ASUS' success, so the copying has begun.  Dell is to be releasing their equivalent sometime this month (June 2008), but the details are still vague: … -revealed/

Microsoft's push into this market also isn't surprising.  Given how the OLPC Project is switching to Microsoft along with what ASUS is doing in their Eee PC product lines, Redmond obviously sees both the market & possibly thwarting Linux-based laptops as important.

Last edited by ocicat (2008-06-10 08:08:18)

Re: Asus EEE PC revisited

Thanks (as always) for the input. In my old job, something like this might have been worthwhile, however, in my current job, it's not really necessary.

Apparently, their costs are going to go down, (and might even wind up being free with 3 years and your first born child to various wireless providers.)   My thought, eventually, is that my wife might be able to use something like this when she travels.  The early ASUS probably would have been a pain--she needs Japanese input, and I think I can get her to adjust to scim, but Xandros is one of the very few remaining Linux distros where Japanese is problematic.

For me (or her) wireless would be an issue.  That's one reason that I'm glad many manufacturers are putting Linux on their versions.

Interestingly enough, my boss wasn't able to connect to his WPA2 home network.  It makes me suspect that they were using the ndis drivers, because the driver for that card is one (the that seems to have problems with WPA2. 

Acer is apparently going to push Linux on their UP's.  So, that's good for all of us (though I think MadWifi was also reduced to using a blob.)  While I don't like blobs, it's something that I would find acceptable for me if wireless worked on what was going to be a seldom used machine. 

I could be wrong about MadWifi though--it might be that they were able to do it without a blob, I honestly don't know.  You're a programmer, and I suspect such things are more important to you--if I had access to the code, I wouldn't know what to do with it.

<@andre> i would be so much more efficient if i wasn't so stupid

Re: Asus EEE PC revisited … in-europe/

Ace Aspire One looks better than the current EEE line and it's really cheap at least in Europe (329


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