ASUS Eee PCs and Linux

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Many readers may wonder why I have begun “attacking” ASUS, and they could be forgiven to think that considering my, what some might consider, negative articles recently. The truth is though that often criticism of this nature is the only was to have policies be looked at again and – maybe just maybe – changed.

Dropping Linux from the Eee PC (and general ASUS products) is a bad idea. The Li9nux operating system is what makes and made the Eee PC what it is/was. Windows is no answer here at all, regardless of what some at ASUS seem to believe.

The only real choice as operating system goes for a Netbook is Linux and while there are sometimes things that do not work straight away out of the box, so to speak, with Linux because of driver codes not having been shared with the developers, such as those for some stuff, such as, for instance, mobile Internet dongles, on the Eee PC with ASUS' own version of Linux everything does and did.

I have an Eee PC 900 (which I love) and ever works well and did so straight out of the box (bar the card reader but then I do not really care on that front as I do not, really, use such SD cards, for instance) and that includes the wireless LAN Internet connection.

ASUS claims that the reason for abandoning Linux is that people asked for Windows on the Netbooks instead of Linux, and that being the reason for the “move”.

However, the better system for Netbooks – and not just for Netbooks – is Linux and that should have been the sales pitch in marketing the Eee PCs at least with Linux. It was, however, marketing that let down ASUS and the Eee PC.

It is true that people who have used Windows are “afraid”, for lack of a better word, often to use an alternative operating system (OS) even if that is a free one, and one that is superior, especially as far as Netbooks are concerned.

Linux boots fast and is stable in most environments; more than can be said for any version of Windows. But I do not mean to be Windows bashing.

The Netbook and Linux go hand-in-glove and are the ideal partners and ASUS had the right idea to start with and a winning combination. ASUS may, however, come to regret abandoning Linux in Netbooks, at least, if not more.

The latest Eee PC Netbooks are becoming small Notebooks/Laptops with 160BG hard disc drives (HDDs) rather than Solid state drives (SSDs). And while apparently still claiming great battery life it would all be better still with the previous concept, that is to say, Linux. If something is not broken then, please, people don't go and fix it – just market it better.

The right marketing has not been done, however, and still is not being done. Instead Linux is being abandoned.

How much, I wonder, is Microsoft paying to oust Linux is something that I would like to know, and may other people, I am sure, too. Or for how little does Microsoft sell the OEM licenses in order to get Windows onto everything.

Dell, on the other hand, still sells Laptops and Netbooks with Linux Ubuntu installed though in on one website of their they had marked Ubuntu down as “Microsoft Operating System – Linux Ubuntu”.

As there is absolutely nothing wrong with Linux on the desktop, whether on PCs, Laptop or Netbook, and Ubuntu, for example, is very intuitive and easy to use, the problem must lie (1) with marketing (but no reseller rewards in it, I guess) of Linux and (2) with the pressure that is put on manufacturers from the side of Microsoft.

I leave the reader to make up his or her mind here.

© 2009