Netbook Adventure Part 2


What Happened?



Well, it's been a little while with the netbook now, and to be honest I haven't used it all that much. A significant part of that, however, was that my netbook was 300 miles away; I didn't bring it back to my family's place with me, but now I've returned. I have played with it a fair amount when I have had access, and I've finally got the system somewhat stable. Most importantly, however, I learned that netbooks just aren't useful for modern computing. They were made for looking at the web and it has a gigabyte of memory which, quite simply, isn't enough to browse the web nicely these days. The Atom CPU doesn't help either, and it struggles rendering anything more complex than, say, Reddit or Slashdot; even Reddit won't be that way much longer, if the way I got A/B tested a few months ago comes true. Even running X is something of a pain, given its practically useless little touchpad whose mouse buttons are wonky on the best of days. Video's practically right out: the GPU can't handle anything above, say, 480p, so it's not like I'm missing out on YouTube or anything. 240p if you're doing anything, and don't even think about fullscreen. This is even when running via mpv as opposed to inefficient html5 players. Essentially, it's an incredibly limiting system.



What's It Running?



As far as the netbook's setup as a whole: it ended up using Slackware, big surprise. I discovered that, while I like Dragora, the Guix plan failed because the netbook just plain can't run Guix: it's too CPU intensive. That's what I was told in IRC after the Emacs installation had been spinning on the repository update for over 24 hours, at least. After Dragora I tried OpenBSD, which rather bizarrely installed fine but wouldn't boot after installation. Haiku came next: it refused to install to the master boot record for whatever reason. It also had the problem of being a heavily graphical system with this touchpad. Slackware, as is pretty much always the case, worked like a charm.



What's It Good For?



Well, right now I'm working on having it set up as a headless work machine. There's absolutely something to be said about having a box where there are no distractions at all to bother you, and I've always found that a plain console with DVTM is the best way to achieve it. I've got MPD for music and Emacs for practically everything else. The main web browser at the moment is lynx, probably w3m or EWW once I have Emacs set up for it. It's not much, but it's enough to look up documentation. The only thing which I'm really missing is colemak support, if I ever get that working properly then the system could be pretty useful in its own way. As it stands now there are some issues regarding input, ctrl+a is a bit broken and quite needed for use of Emacs, caps lock backspace is another important one which is iffy. I may have to run X just to run my editor, but I hope I can fiddle with things and find something which works.