Went shopping the other day. I was off to find myself a nice security camera for my PC based security system, and while I was in the local Office Works, I noticed they had the Linux version of the Acer Aspire One on special. And well I just couldn't resist.

A mate of mine had the Windows XP version and that was what I mostly used for net access whenever I was round his place. His machine worked well enough for what it was but I found his machine to be a little laggy. I hoped that this was due to the fact that Windows machines need an avalanche of anti malware in place to stop them from becoming an ozzing and sloppy infestation of binary muck and virii.

Well when I got home I plugged it in and booted it up. The first thing I noticed was the boot speed. This thing got to a usable desktop like it was running from ROM. And once there, performance stayed fast. Launching applications as well as overall performance felt quite snappy.

While it comes bundled with a good assortment of applications covering the usual tasks a user might want to put the unit to, one glaring omission was Skype. To install this invloved two main steps. One was to enable the edvanced mode so that I could get to a command line. Then I downloaded the deb package from Skype.com and installed it.

While I did like the O/S as shipped with the unit, I am mostly a Kubuntu user so the next thing was to get Intrepid Ibex on this thing. I wasn't sure just how this unit would run a full desktop disto, so first I installed it onto a usb drive before overwriting the shipped O/S. For a machine running from a slow USB drive it did quite well. Completely acceptable. So I couldn't wait to see how it'd go running from something with a bit more oomph. The plan was to see how a class 6 SD card would go.

Before I got the SD card I got my hand on a 1 GB sodim. A friend bought two 1GB sodims to upgrade his IBM laptop but found that it would only accept one, so this machine of mine found itself the subject of an impromptu upgrade. Shipped with 512MB it performed well enough, but with 1.5 GB I was hoping for a bit of a performance boost and I wasn't disappointed. Unfortunately memory upgrades of the Aspire One involve complete disassembly of the unit. What a drama! But luckily it didn't turn out to be that hard. About a half hour job depending on how careful you are.

I then re-installed the O/S onto an SD card, but because the Aspire One won't boot from an SD card, I had to put the kernel onto the internal SSD. The machine felt much better running from this class 6 CD card, but after benching the read speeds of the SSD and the CD card, (28 MB/s and 10 MB/s) I've decided it's time to install on the internal drive. I'll post back with some metrics when I've done this.

Copyright (c) 2009 Greg Newsome all rights reserved.