In the last year there has been a lot of talk about Netbooks. Whether they are better with Windows XP or different flavors of Linux. Now that Windows 7 is coming in to the mix it is possible that it will capture a part of the Netbook market but just how much remains to be seen. Netbooks require very light operating systems that perform well without a lot of hardware power behind it.
A few months ago I purchased an Asus Eee PC (Linux version) as a replacement PC for my wife. She was wanting something lighter than her Gateway laptop that is excessively over-powered for her needs. After playing with the computer for a few hours she started to complain that it was too slow even for her. At first I just thought maybe she was just not accustomed to Linux and was having trouble with the operating system. So I decided to use it for a day just to see how the performance was of it and I had to admit that the machine was just too slow for any normal computing. We ended up returning the computer to Best Buy after she decided heavy was better than slow.
Netbooks are intended for just that, the Internet. But what is considered acceptable performance for one of them? If the average user finds a machine not even suitable for surfing the Internet how is it acceptable for long-term usage? Best Buy has now even started to take the stance that a Netbook is an “accessory” to a main computer and should not be a primary machine. They have even posted this on their website:
Netbooks may look like laptops, but they don’t have the full capabilities of a computer. Instead, a netbook specializes in mobility and the Web, so it’s great for travel or as a supplement to your main PC.
So now comes the real question, What is the best Operating System for a Netbook? What OS will make a user comfortable using it and maybe even enjoy using it?