[clug] Asus Eee PC first impressions

Robert Edwards bob at cs.anu.edu.au
Sun Dec 9 23:05:34 GMT 2007

So I put my name down at the Civic Myer store for an Asus Eee PC
several weeks ago (and my name was first down, apparently). The
December 2nd date was a no-show and I was promised a phone call
by the Wed. Finally went in on Friday night and they had mine
sitting out the back waiting for me - no phone call, and no stock
for people who hadn't pre-ordered (apparently).

The thing crashed (locked up hard) _five_ times on Friday night!
Each time after between 5 and 15 minutes of running (usually with
Firefox open). No virtual consoles and no SSH daemon - so needed
a solid power-cycling each time to bring it back. Seriously
considered taking it back first thing Saturday, but persevered,
did an upgrade and the thing has been running since Saturday
morning (about 48 hours now) with no further issues, including a
couple of suspend/resume cycles.

Some others have experienced similar from accounts on the Web.
Seems that despite not having a hard drive or an optical drive,
the thing is not "moving part free" - there is a fan and there
are vents underneath and if you sit it on your lap and block
those vents, it can overheat and "freeze up" (excuse the obvious
contradiction in terms there). The fan does make an audible noise
when it is running, but not that noticeable (at least to my 40+
year-old ears).

The manual is hilarious. On page 1-5: "... The solid-state disk
drive's head retracts when the power is turned OFF to prevent
scratching of the solid-state disk drive surface during transport..."
Clearly a case of a non-English speaker cutting-and-pasting from a
manual for some other laptop.

There is a "mouse button" with the touchpad. Looks like a single
button, but is, in fact, two buttons with a single cover - so you
can press the left-hand end or the right-hand end, or press in the
middle to get both. No mention of this anywhere in the manual that
I could find! Could be really confusing for some users, I suspect.

The Xandos desktop is OK for a novice. No obvious way to get to a
command line. Turns out you need to hit "Ctrl-Alt-T" (not documented
in the manual) to bring up a basic Xterm. After that, anything is
possible! Many are re-installing Ubuntu onto it. I won't, just yet,
as I want to demo it "as is".

Disappointingly, no bluetooth for connectivity to a mobile phone. I
would have thought that was an obvious thing to have, but apparently

 From the web, some are expanding the RAM from 512M to 2G. Need to void
the warranty to get to the RAM slot. I haven't done that - yet.

In summary, for A$500, not a bad little package, but definitely not
a coders machine.


Bob Edwards.

More information about the linux mailing list