Acer recently released the Aspire One. My wife was looking for a laptop to check email and visit her forums while on the road. The tech details were GMail and phpBB, for those interested. We met at MicroCenter after work to look at netbooks on her birthday. I will not criticize Asus. They have made large strides in creating the market for the cheap ultra mobile pc, and I love them for it. But there they were, right next to each other, the EEE Surf and the Acer Aspire One. Comparing the two, spec to spec, the Acer made the Asus loook like a toy. It has a standard resolution width (1024). It has a larger keyboard (80% of a standard keyboard). To be honest, the “triple-E” looked breakable.
So anyway, we picked one up at a store after dinner. The clerk gave us the question that I often get hit with when trying to purchase items. “Now, you know, this isn’t exactly what most people expect from a computer…” I promptly interrupted, “It runs Linux, right?” Then we walked out the door with her new laptop and weren’t concerned about the price we paid.
I am more than impressed with the thing, mostly for it’s flexibility. The distribution that it runs standard is called Linpus. It’s essencially Fedora with a Mobile interface. It’s very easy to get to a terminal and start customizing to your heart’s content. I have already added Skype and upgraded the browser to Firefox 3 with AdBlock Plus to prevent the annoyances, both easy tasks if you already understand how Fedora. For the sake of resource management, Linpus uses XFCE and it’s a simple matter of editing an XML file to modify what your default apps are on the screen interface.
Due to it being Fedora based, I was able to successfully get the Citrix Presentation Server client functioning for her work stuff. The only major hiccup in this was replacing Thawte’s security certificate in the Citrix package. It wasn’t very difficult, just a minor annoyance of downloading from elsewhere. I could see this being a problem for someone with less computer experience. Here’s my suggestion to Citrix: Make your software update the certs automatically. This is the only reason the RPM didn’t work properly.
Well, regardless, the Acer Aspire one is very impressive piece of hardware and I am considering getting one myself just to have the convenience of an extra machine with ssh and a web browser. Acer really thought this one out.