I’ve been thinking about trying out Ubuntu Netbook Remix, the version of Ubuntu Linux made especially for netbooks like my HP MIni 110, for a while now. I was attracted to the idea of being able to run a real Linux distro on the netbook, as opposed to the tightly-controlled version that came on the Mini. HP’s version of Ubuntu–Mie–isn’t bad, so much as completely un-customizable: you can’t remove the screen-hogging front panels from the desktop, for instance, which left me staring a large blank space where Email was supposed to appear (I used Gmail, so a desktop-bound email program is useless to me).
So this week I finally bit the bullet, wiped the harddrive, and installed the latest version of UNR.
Thus far, things have gone well. I had some problems with wifi at first, but running the software updater and rebooting fixed that problem. I’ve been able to download and install Wine, which lets me use the Windows version of eReader for reading my ebooks. I’ve re-arranged the icons in the menus, ripped out some software I didn’t need, and in general had a good time customizing the hell out of the OS.
I feel like I’ve been given a new computer, one that’s more fun to use and easier to bend to my will. In the end, that’s always been the appeal of Linux to me: it puts power back in the hands of users, where it belongs.