Art Alexion on 3 Jan 2009 07:06:26 -0800

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Re: [PLUG] New Broadcom STA Linux Driver

On 01/03/2009 Elizabeth Krumbach wrote:
> If they aren't committed to maintaining security
> upgrades this early in the release cycle, I don't have high hopes for
> them supporting it in the long term, and that's really a shame.
> Luckily I've heard reports that everything works without too much
> trouble in vanilla Intrepid, so once I gather up the courage (and
> time!) to wipe my factory install I'll be giving that a spin and
> hoping everything really does still work.
> > >  My question, in reading that, is, why take on that extra work and
> > > layer of complexity and then not keep up with it?

And that is my concern as well.  I am really bullish on these netbooks, 
both as company loaners, and personally. (I want a laptop to be portable 
  first, and do only the stuff you need to do portably.  I think desktop 
power is for desktops -- with better ergonomics, hardware support and 
upgrade paths.)  So we have ordered a number of different configurations 
at work. The mini 9 is a disappointment in comparison to the eee 1000, 
ergonomically, mostly.  The updates issue detracts more from the dell in 

> When the fellow from Dell came to PLUG last year he explained that it
> took so long to offer the latest Ubuntu versions (over a month)
> because of the extensive testing and additional development that had
> to go into each model to make sure everything worked. They want their
> customers to get a solid Linux experience from Dell, to reflect well
> upon themselves for offering it. 

The other thing that seems to come up on the dell list is the suggestion 
that users update from the regular repositories rather than wait for new 
dell images.  Most of this talk regards Latitude laptops sold with 
Ubuntu preinstalled.

We are mostly a Dell shop and I have installed regular [k]ubuntu & 
Debian Lenny on Optiplexes without a hitch.  (There are some video 
problems with a stock install of Kubuntu 8.10 with KDE 4, but if you 
memorize what is supposed to be on the screen and install the 
proprietary video drivers, the video works well, too.)

With all of the odd hardware in the laptops, I suppose starting with the 
Dell image is worthwhile, but unnecessary on the desktops.

> There is no proof, but based on
> evidence I suspect their use of their own repositories was a business
> decision made to have full control over the systems so they could
> control the user experience. I don't know that it was the wisest
> decision, since it would certainly be better if we had the security
> updates they're promising but thus far failing to delivery, but even
> the Asus eeepc default install is Xandros heavily customized by Asus
> (I don't know much about their security history though, I didn't even
> realize Xandros still existed!). 

The xandros distro which is stock on the eee is useless in a business 
environment because it is single user only.  You can't easily add or 
configure permissions for users.  It has other customization problems, 
so I like to replace it with ubuntu eee right away, so I don't know the 
update record for the stock distro.

The Ubuntu eeepc project is not an
> Asus initiative, it's a community project, so it's not really fair to
> compare the mini9 and eeepc in that regard since you're not comparing
> stock install to stock install. 

True.  I prefer the eee hardware and price.  The fact that I can replace 
  Xandros with Ubuntu seals the deal for me.

The mini9 has a lot of community
> documentation[1], but since I hear the hardware is pretty easy to get
> working (even if the broadcom wireless chipset is proprietary, it
> works fine with wl, or ndiswrapper) it doesn't require a project
> around it.

Either way you need someone with above average technical interest, 
whether it involves installing ubuntu eee on an asus, or changing the 
repos and configuring ndiswrapper on the Dell.

Security issues aside (because I don't know enough about the Xandros to 
compare), I prefer Dell's stock ubuntu to Asus' stock Xandros, but I can 
change and configure the OS; I can't change the hardware ergonomics.

At least that's my perspective...
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