Ubuntu Netbook 10.10: Usability vs. Constraints

“From KDE’s Plasma Netbook to EasyPeasy, every Linux desktop for
netbooks that I’ve seen are designed with the same assumptions.
Each assumes that, because of the smaller screen, the desktop must
be simpler than a workstation’s, and will be used mainly for light
computing in general and social networking in particular.

“Released at the same time as the Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick)
general version, the latest version of Ubuntu Netbook Edition does
not question these assumptions. This conventionality may be
questionable to many: workstation versions of GNOME, KDE, and Xfce
work perfectly well on the smaller screens of netbooks for anyone
with regular vision, and netbooks — especially the latest
generation, with their extra memory — are capable of more than
light computing. In addition, though, Ubuntu Netbook also has some
design quirks that can make it less than ideal.

“Ubuntu Netbook is available as a Live CD. Alternatively, you
can create a Live USB drive, following the instructions on the
download page. However, be warned that, like GNOME Shell, Ubuntu
Netbook requires 3-D hardware acceleration, which means either
using the still relatively few free drivers which meet this
requirement or else finding proprietary ones. Unfortunately, this
requirement is only mentioned in the final stages of loading, and
the Live devices include only a limited set of drivers.”

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