The Asus Eee, a few days on

So the Asus Eee is a pretty wonderful machine, all in all. In fact, I’m using it right now to type this, and apart from the occasional mistype it works pretty damn well.  The interface is easy and intuitive, it comes installed with more or less everything you need, and it plays well out of the box. It’s great.

So the other day (Friday) I took it to college as a shakedown run, I guess you could call it.

This threw up one rather major difficulty – WPA-Enterprise isn’t supported by default, and that’s what the Imperial wireless network uses. Bugger.

So support for WPA-E has to be rather hackily hacked back in. One ham-handed attempt by me has already cost me the use of the network monitor in the tray. No great loss, but kinda irritating.

Anyways, I’m right now running a specially customised version of Ubuntu Linux, which should fix the network issue, but the list of post-install tweaks on the wiki is frankly just frightening, and some of it is pretty important stuff, like fixing SD cards not mounting.

I’m starting to get the impression that Linux is an operating system designed for people who, a priori, know what the fuck they’re doing, and in the hands of these people it is an incredibly powerful tool. You can do anything you like, assuming you know how to do it.

In some ways it feels like the direct manifestation of the principle that the last 10% of the work takes 90% of the time, so they’ve only done 5% of that last 10%. Most everything works, and you can fix or disable anything that doesn’t, right? Because worst case scenario, you have to delve in to the command prompt, type in some arcane commands and poof, it works.

Thing is, I really don’t want to install Windows on here. I want to get to a point where I can use Linux, but not being able to get onto the Imperial Wireless network might really be a dealbreaker.

We’ll see.

10 thoughts on “The Asus Eee, a few days on

  1. Yeah, Linux does seem to be the weak point. I’ve realised how much I love the way that Windows Just Works; you don’t have to spend half an hour configuring things through the command line to get it to work.

    I’m with you though in wanting to use Linux, because I think it’s more suited to the eee than WinXP. But Windows is looking more and more tempting the more I think about it…

  2. Yeah, Linux does seem to be the weak point. I’ve realised how much I love the way that Windows Just Works; you don’t have to spend half an hour configuring things through the command line to get it to work.

    I’m with you though in wanting to use Linux, because I think it’s more suited to the eee than WinXP. But Windows is looking more and more tempting the more I think about it…

  3. As a comparitive lay-person when it comes to computer hardware and programming and operating systems and stuff like that, I have great sympathy with your comment “You can do anything you like, assuming you know how to do it”. What I dislike about systems like Linux, about technology like the Asus Eee (from the sounds of it), is that they are made unnecessarily inaccesible to the vast majority of computer users – it wouldn’t take that long for someone to write an understandable explanation of what these things are and how they work. But instead they just bury everything under a swathe of acronyms, which makes everything seem to complicated, and therefore elitist.

    I say a ‘comparitive lay-person’ because this is coming from someone who is interested in computers, is logically ‘wired’ (as ’twere) and can program to a reasonable level in Java…

  4. As a comparitive lay-person when it comes to computer hardware and programming and operating systems and stuff like that, I have great sympathy with your comment “You can do anything you like, assuming you know how to do it”. What I dislike about systems like Linux, about technology like the Asus Eee (from the sounds of it), is that they are made unnecessarily inaccesible to the vast majority of computer users – it wouldn’t take that long for someone to write an understandable explanation of what these things are and how they work. But instead they just bury everything under a swathe of acronyms, which makes everything seem to complicated, and therefore elitist.

    I say a ‘comparitive lay-person’ because this is coming from someone who is interested in computers, is logically ‘wired’ (as ’twere) and can program to a reasonable level in Java…

  5. “What I dislike about systems like Linux, about technology like the Asus Eee (from the sounds of it), is that they are made unnecessarily inaccesible to the vast majority of computer users ”

    To be fair to the Eee, it *is* pretty accessible to anyone. The stock user interface is really intuitive, its just that Andy and I want to do something that the stock UI wont let us do (which it really *should* do, but that’s beside the point), and for that you have to jump to tweaking the version of Linux the Eee runs.

    The thing with Linux isnt that its necessarily “elitist”, its just that its only really made and used by techies, people who know how to (and/or enjoy) tweak the system to do what they want. There’s not really been a version of Linux, that I know of, that’s been made to Just Work in the same way that Windows does. You use Linux because you want to; you use Windows because it does the job.

  6. “What I dislike about systems like Linux, about technology like the Asus Eee (from the sounds of it), is that they are made unnecessarily inaccesible to the vast majority of computer users ”

    To be fair to the Eee, it *is* pretty accessible to anyone. The stock user interface is really intuitive, its just that Andy and I want to do something that the stock UI wont let us do (which it really *should* do, but that’s beside the point), and for that you have to jump to tweaking the version of Linux the Eee runs.

    The thing with Linux isnt that its necessarily “elitist”, its just that its only really made and used by techies, people who know how to (and/or enjoy) tweak the system to do what they want. There’s not really been a version of Linux, that I know of, that’s been made to Just Work in the same way that Windows does. You use Linux because you want to; you use Windows because it does the job.

  7. “The thing with Linux isnt that its necessarily “elitist”, ”

    i meant that it’s *not* necessarily elitist…

  8. “The thing with Linux isnt that its necessarily “elitist”, ”

    i meant that it’s *not* necessarily elitist…

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