What is a good operating system for an Acer Aspire One?

Inspired One August 30, 2011
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My AAO D250 came pre-installed with Windows XP Home on it. It runs like a stoned turtle slugging his way through quicksand without his morning coffee. ;-) I would rather it perform as it says on the label, like the Energizer rabbit charged up with steroids and pumped up by Air Jordans. (Or something to that effect.)

I read Justin Pot’s article at — http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/jolicloud-operating-system-download-for-netbook/

— in which he picked Jolicloud OS as his favorite netbook-specific system. I tried the OS on it once before, and found I didn’t much like it, for two main reasons:

1) I’m not always online and don’t use social network sites at all (and don’t much care for having to register my email to get access to the software repositories or system updates). I like having the Explorer (or whatever Linux’s term is for the file manager) open to find my documents and folders, and the cloud-based screen takes a lot of getting used to.

2) Perhaps more so, I’m not exactly comfortable with my files in the “cloud” or backed up to external servers like DropBox or Google Docs. I prefer the security of knowing where my stuff is and who’s looking after it. ;-)

I was, however, pleased with the hardware and device support that Ubuntu Netbook proper didn’t yet offer (and perhaps doesn’t still). Even XP would sometimes freeze Explorer when a USB key was plugged in and give the occasional “This device will perform better if plugged into a USB 2.0 port” (when obviously the AAO only has 2.0 — was there ever a 1.0, I wonder?

But that was in 2009 when the JOS still was in beta stages (which is perhaps why I had to register my email?), and I had just gotten my AAO and found XP crashing repeatedly after a mere six months of use. Should I give the JOS another shot, or what are some other options? Is anyone familiar with Darn Small Linux or Windows C.E., or perhaps something else?

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  1. Fr. Stephen Supica
    September 2, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    I assume you've got (at best) 1 gig of RAM. That may cause Linux distros using the KDE or even Gnome (like Mint) desktop environments to run a bit slow. You may want to try LXDE or even OpenBox. PCLinuxOS is available with a choice of window managers / desktop environments. I'm currently running it on my little Acer as an alternative to Win7 Starter (and you thought XP was slow!) switching between LXDE, OpenBox, and Enlightenment17 (nice if you want something a bit more adventurous and vaguely Mac-like, but also low on resource demands - you can also give E17 a try with MacPup or Bodhi Linux). Read DistroWatch, figure out how to set up a bootable live USB thumb drive, and have fun experimenting. It's even easier to try live distros if you've got an external CD drive. Running a live distro won't affect your installed operating system, and if you don't like it, you just reboot and remove the drive.

  2. Inspired One
    September 2, 2011 at 5:55 am

    Thanks so much for the answers, everybody!

    I was initially hesitant towards Linux as I've heard it has a reputation as being the "programmer's OS." Trying one out in a VM seems a good idea before going full-throttle and installing it on the HD. Having been a Windows user for about 10yrs now I'm sure there will be a learning curve.

    But then, I first got started on Mac System 6 in Kindergarten (man, that's going back), so I kind of remember when even Windows felt like it wasn't going to be easy for me. :-)

  3. Mike
    August 31, 2011 at 8:37 am

    Another thumbs up for Linux Mint from me. It is the current trend in Linux Desktop distributions! It feels very snappy and light on resources. 
    I would even go as far to say that it's more user friendly than Ubuntu yet very attractive even for the Linux enthusiasts.

    • Jeffery Fabish
      August 31, 2011 at 9:17 am

      Similar to Ubuntu and I suppose every other distribution, after customization it's an amazing distro. My only complaint is that it installs the nasty Google Web Search template, which is difficult to remove. I hope they remove that.

      Ubuntu lost me when they jumped to Unity. Even though I can change it, I don't like significant changes made by default. Contrary to their expectations of it being more "user friendly", I find it very hard to pickup and it gives a tablet-PC kind of feel.

      My avid Linux enthusiast friends and Linux Virgin friends enjoy Linux Mint alike. It welcomes all (: