Linux netbooks fail

A few years ago there were several Linux netbooks on the market from companies like Asus, Dell and HP. I see them from time to time. Every one with the original operating system is broken. I’ve seen no exceptions. If you were a non technical consumer trying out the Linux thing, you probably think it’s a scam that stole $300 from you and are happily back using Windows right now.

What happened?

The PC makers decided to put in 4GB solid state drives to make them as cheap as possible. Next they throw in Ubuntu or some other custom distro on it and offered no support. As soon as a few kernel updates came out the machines filled up with disk space. Thanks to automatic updates or perhaps user who didn’t know what to do, the updates broke leaving unbootable systems. I’ve seen a few. They seem to get to GDM them can’t go further. Logging in brings you the to the log in screen…

Today I see I made the same mistake. I installed Ubuntu one of these broken netbooks. I uninstalled everything I could think of, but still has about 2.6GB of disk space. Now I got the computer back about 2 months later broken again. It tried to do an update, ran out of space, couldn’t boot. Ubuntu keeps old kernels around just in case, it never deletes them. Three updates is all it took to bring it down, it was a ticking time bomb. Now it’s easy to blame the OEM for this, obviously they should have seen it coming. Asus, with their customized Xandros, obviously didn’t care one bit. Some of their systems broke on the first update. Why on Earth should a system update itself to death? It’s sad to think everyone who might have been exposed to Linux with one of these netbooks must have been burned by it. This time I’m disabling updates.

Well here’s an idea #27342

By David

I am a supporter of free software and run Burke Software and Consulting LLC. I am always looking for contract work especially for non-profits and open source projects. Open Source Contributions I maintain a number of Django related projects including GlitchTip, Passit, and django-report-builder. You can view my work on gitlab. Academic papers Incorporating Gaming in Software Engineering Projects: Case of RMU Monopoly in the Journal of Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics (2008)

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