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Occasional Contributor
gat0gelat0
Posts: 33

Kubuntu Linux alternative to Win7 on NB505-N508BN

[ Edited ]

Hi, here's a quick summary on installing Linux on my NB505-N508BN netbook (Win7 Starter, Atom Processor, 2GB RAM), If you're looking to have some fun with the netbook and are bored with Windows, try it out. Linux is free, open source sw and there are various linux packages. I chose Kubuntu (Ubuntu linux packaged by KDE).

 

Pros: nice alternative to Win 7 (starter or otherwise)

Cons: Battery gets drained faster than in Windows, and if you're looking for long hours of use, linux may not be for you.

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From Windows, open a browser, and find/download Kubuntu 11.04, nicknamed "Natty Narwhal". Unzip it and find and run an installer called 'wubi'. It'll install Kubuntu alongside Win 7. You'll have to 'restart' to finish the installation at the end of which you restart once again. This time, hit F12 and you'll have the option to boot from Windows or Kubuntu. Choose Kubuntu. If you really want, you can also download and install an image file onto a USB drive (get the Universal-usb-installer-1.8.6.0.exe; look up Pendrivelinux.com) and run Kubuntu from the usb drive itself.

 

Raw Kubuntu 11.04 needs tweaks. Open its Rekonq browser, and download Firefox 4 (for Kubuntu/ubuntu)) and install. Then install Flash and Java. You'll need to open a terminal window and type commands to download. Here's the site for Java: http://www.multimediaboom.com/how-to-install-java-in-ubuntu-11-04-natty-narwhal-ppa/ Also, you can improve the Firefox setup by downloading the Oxygen theme: http://kde-look.org/content/show.php/Oxygen+KDE+%28Firefox+Theme%29?content=117962

 

Install Skype (the webcam video turns out a bit darker than in the windows version) and Dropbox to share files in the Cloud. For audio and video play, fire up and configure the Amarok and Dragon Player that come with Kubuntu. You'll lose the  Fn-#3 and Fn-#4 key volume control but use a volume control app called KMix instead.

 

Connect to Wifi by finding your home or hotspot wifi (note: it saves your wifi passwd in sleep/hibernate, but not if you reboot; you have to reenter it).

 

The file organizer "Dolphin" is the equivalent of Windows Explorer. Find all your Windows files by clicking on Local Disk and drilling down. Kubuntu comes wih free LibreOffice that is like MS Office. I've opened and used Excel and Word files and saved them in MSOffice ('97 - 2000) formats.

 

Download Avast! anti virus for linux (it's a 1 yr free subscription for a home workstation). Don't get the free AVG anti virus for linux -it doesn't install right. Note: you don't really need antivirus for linux, because linux is open source sw which is no safe haven for viruses. But I transfer files between my linux and windows folders, and so want to prevent ransferring a virus inadvertently). Download the Avast! DEB package: http://www.avast.com/linux-home-edition#tab4 and use right-click to open and install with GDebi package installer. Also setup a firewall (UFW or 'uncomplicated firewall'):  https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UncomplicatedFirewall.

 

The look and feel of Kubuntu linux is quite inuitive, it boots fast, runs fast, even on my netbook with just 2GB RAM and an Atom processor. Right now, I'm posting this from my Firefox browser in Kubuntu. I haven't gone back to Windows except to backup my files onto a portable drive using EaseUS Todo software (since I can't find that sw for linux).

 

Hope this gives you an idea of what you need to do to setup a linux alternative to Windows. Note: there are other flavors of linux like plain Ubuntu or others like Xubuntu and Edubuntu, openSUSE etc. Check out what they're about. Overall, if you are willing and able, you can have linux up and running and customized in a day or two. It's pretty cool. See some of the screenshots I have posted below as png graphics files.

 

The only downside I see: the battery doesn't last as long as it did running Win 7 starter, for the same kind of tasks. I think I get about 2/3 rd the number of hours that I would get with Win 7 starter. Someone did a detailed study (http://www.carstenboysenjensen.com/en/articles/linux-distro-battery-test.html) and discovered that other flavors of linux - even supposedly 'lighter' ones, fare no better wrt battery life and that the culprit might be excessive hard drive access (and, consequently, I suspect, the fan, which works harder to keep the drive and other components cool). But otherwise, my Kubuntu 11.04 install on my netbook is fast, stable and great to work with.

 

Cheers!

Nat

 

Occasional Contributor
gat0gelat0
Posts: 33

Re: Kubuntu Linux alternative to Win7 on NB505-N508BN

[ Edited ]

Hi, just a quick update. The 11.04 (K)ubuntu linux distro drains the battery significantly faster than Win 7. I recently learned that the kernel in 11.04 is far more power consuming than kernels used in previous distros such as 10.10 and that it is not clear why or how to overcome this. In this regard, the kernel in 11.04 is a step back from the earlier kernels, which is not a good thing for linux if it is to continue competing with Windows or the Mac's OS, particularly for very mobile devices such as laptops and netbooks that one wants to use unplugged and on battery alone for many hours -that's the whole point of being mobile. This is unfortunate, because Linux is otherwise a very viable and capable OS.

 

My advice to folks on this forum who still would like to play with linux is to try the older versions such as (K)ubuntu 10.10 or just hang on to Windows 7 for now.

 

Nat

 

 

 

Member
dustin_bess
Posts: 3

Re: Kubuntu Linux alternative to Win7 on NB505-N508BN

Just wanted to say thank you for the info ,i am currently running Ubuntu 11.04  on my NB505 it seems to be going ok .

Occasional Contributor
gat0gelat0
Posts: 33

Re: Kubuntu Linux alternative to Win7 on NB505-N508BN

Hi, glad you're trying out ubuntu. Let us know in a month or so as to how it is working out and if it is useful in ways that Win7 is not, or vice versa. I'd also be interested to know how the battery life works out for your tasks.

Regards,

Nat

 

Member
jbernardo
Posts: 3

Re: Kubuntu Linux alternative to Win7 on NB505-N508BN

I've been running kubuntu on my NB550D-105, and I can say that with 12.04 and the proprietary fglrx drivers the energy consumption is on pair with Windows7. There are some scripts that allow better power saving (like this - http://crunchbanglinux.org/forums/topic/11954 ) that lets one get more or less the same autonomy as under W7.