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I am currently looking at buying a new netbook which would run the newest version of Ubuntu. What would you recommend buying? I have been told that netbooks can be severely slow. This machine would need to be able to run Firefox, Evolution, and VNC at a decent speed. Let me know if you think I should upgrade to a laptop if you think that netbooks are too underpowered.

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closed as off topic by Jeff Atwood May 2 '09 at 19:06

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this sounds a bit off topic for server fault ... –  Hamish Downer Apr 30 '09 at 14:09
    
This belongs on netbookfault.com!!1! –  spoulson Apr 30 '09 at 14:20
    
I don't kwon why people down-vote this type of questions questions, well I up-vote it. –  Jedi Master Spooky Apr 30 '09 at 14:51
    
Just like NPR questions are down-voted on SO, NITR questions will be down-voted on SF. –  Scottie T Apr 30 '09 at 15:14
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I also upvoted this. A netbook in my opinion is an indispensable tool for any sysadmin, especially for visits to datacenters with cramped spaces. –  Edmund Tay Apr 30 '09 at 15:15
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6 Answers

I have a Dell Mini9 with Ubuntu. It's a very nice integrated package and it works well out of the box. They use their own launcher, which overlays GNOME for easier application launching without rooting through the dropdown menus with a tiny mouse and screen. The launcher can be disabled for the standard GNOME interface. With the launcher disabled, you can then enable Compiz Fusion. Slick!

One big problem I have with it is mouse sensitivity. Even with the mouse acceleration and speed dropped all the way down, it is still a little too fast. Also, there is no speed setting for the mouse wheel and it is entirely too sensitive. I haven't found a solution for this yet. I'm hoping this is solved one day.

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Any of the netbooks currently on the market will run Ubuntu wonderfully. There's even a special netbook edition of Ubuntu.

As far as specific brands, I'm a big fan of the MSI Wind and the Dell Mini 9.

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The Dell Mini9 that one of the guys in the office here just got seems quite nice.

It even runs MacOS X if you know where to find the instructions (nb: probably not legal, but morally acceptable IMHO if you buy a retail copy yourself). With its solid-state-drive it's apparently quite nippy.

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The Acer Aspire One runs Ubuntu 9.04 quite nicely. 8.10 was a little sluggish at times, but 9.04 is snappy. It can even run embedded OS's through VirtualBox (although I haven't tried XP under it yet). I run all of the above software, and even the full Eclipse suite on occasion, although that can be a little painful at times.

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I'm currently using a second-hand IBM X40, which is a little old but very light (less than 1 kg) and very well designed. I'm really happy with it (unless for the special 1.8" hard drive).

It's a professional series and I can tell you that you really feel the difference (very great Windows IBM utilies, good design, very good keyboard, big 12" screen, very robust, everything supported by default on Linux) !

So, I'm really suggesting you to take a look on IBM/Lenovo X series which are awesomes and super lights computers for quite same price if bought on second hands.

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Netbooks like the Dell Mini 9 and Aspire One are great for short term use. However, I find that the 8.9" LCD screens on those devices can be quite a pain to work with. My recommendation for a netbook would be one with a 10.1" screen. Take a look at either the Lenovo S10 or MSI Wind. Even with a bigger screen, they're not much heavier. Your eyes will thank you for it.

Another thing I like is that both the MSI Wind and Lenovo S10 have a vibrant user community/forum. They can be found at:

http://forums.msiwind.net/

http://www.s10lenovo.com/

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Thanks for the S10 link! –  p.campbell May 4 '09 at 2:45
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