These are simply the philosophical musings of one guy with an inherent love of learning how things work.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Holy Crap--New Life for an old Aspire One
I got my Acer Aspire One back in the good old days when it appeared that Linux was going to dominate the newly emerging netbook scene. Of course that never happened for various reasons. I won't go into that--but when Microsoft decided that they needed to dominate the netbook market, they also managed to annihilate the netbook market.
My Aspire One is one of the first ones made. It came with Linpus Linux, which was pretty horrible. The first thing I did was to unlock the hidden advanced features of the desktop. The second thing I did was to start trying other Linux distributions in search of one that would make me happy.
I found Ubuntu's netbook remix to be too slow. Although I had flirted with many other distros, I ended up using an Ubuntu alternate install cd and went the geeky route of installing no GUI desktop. My plan was to use it for ssh-ing to a server, and also for programming CLISP and Python (using Vim). The only problem was that I couldn't get the darn wifi to work right, so I had to be plugged in right next to my desktop. Obviously NOT the best setup for a netbook.
So recently I started thinking of this little Apsire One as I was wrestling with dual booting Linux on my Macs. What is so amusing about installing Linux is that some things that are difficult to get to work in some situations (wifi, sound, etc) are surprisingly easy in others. I simply wasn't using the Aspire One, and I felt a little guilty about that, as I had such high hopes for Linux Netbooks.
So a couple years went by, and things changed a lot while I wasn't looking. I had used CrunchBang on the Aspire One quite a while ago and thought it was pretty impressive. I don't recall why I moved away from it, but I do remember that CrunchBang was pretty new at the time.
Last night I downloaded the CrunchBang iso file and put it on a USB stick using some excellent guide I found through a Google search.
This morning I installed CrunchBang with no problems. Everything works, and I was happy to see my favorite text editor Geany already installed for me. Writing this blog post was surprisingly easy, especially considering how clunky Linux can feel on newer Mac hardware.
I teach Computer Science at a progressive public high school, using mostly open source tools. I improvise a lot and spend most of my time working with students and writing code in Python, Java, Obj-C, LISP....