I have done it! I have gotten Linux installed on my Netbook. Specifically, I used Arch Linux for the Blind. Coming from Slackware, it made a good choice, since it already has Espeak installed, and I can get Gnome working out of the box as well. I believe I may even switch my desktop over, since Slackware 13.0 couldn’t even compile the stock kernels which ship with it. They require a newer version of gcc, which I installed, but that of course has broken some other things. I feel very impressed with Arch Linux so far.
I love having a portable computing device. The blind have had portable note-takers for years. I first got my Braille ‘n Speak in 1988 or so. I used and loved that thing for over ten years, then the company merged with others and became the Microsoft of the blind community. After that happened, I no longer had a constant computer at my side tow rite things down. I tried to fill the void with crap, but nothing satisfied me.
The Netbook has arrived in full force of course, and Linux accessibility provides incredible solutions. I can even ssh (log in) to my desktop upstairs while sitting in my living room recliner, and control it pretty much as if at the console. Can you do that with Windows? One crappy note-taker costs the same as thirty-one netbooks! They provide the lock, and GNU/Linux the key. Making a note-taking productivity suite under Linux has the advantage that I can port it to whatever machine I wish no matter what cool thing in the future comes out. As long as it runs an accessible version of Linux I can rock and roll!
I can’t reiterate how great this feels. I feel rejuvenated, like part of me has come back, now that I have this new medium of expression. I feel comfortable and free. This will go very well with blogging. I have Twitter running under Emacs. I also plan to make extensive use of Orgmode. “Your life in plain text” sounds just about right!
I find that suspend works far better under Linux. I disabled it under Windows, since it locked it up and didn’t seem as stable. Linux works wonderfully, I just keep the suspend mode active when I close the lid while on DC. It uses around one percent of battery charge per hour while in suspend. Then, I just open the lid and it pops right back up.
I now have my EeePC 1000HE in a very nice configuration. I kept the original 80GB Windows partition, and installed Arch Linux on the second partition. I now have a nice dual-boot configuration, though will do 99% of my work under Linux. I even have Firefox working under Gnome with Orca. Having Linux on a Netbook rules, and I would recommend it to anyone who has the time and desire.
It just occurred to me that I didn’t blog about what happened. The Thursday before last, a freak power surge took out the drive in my desktop. I’ve had to rebuild since then, and wanted to get my Netbook functioning, since I sort of needed it. Now things will work out, I will have a rocking new setup, and hopefully I can get the data off the old drive.