Informative post time!
I’ve owned a Toshiba NB100 netbook for coming up to a year and half now and I’m still in love with this machine that came installed with Ubuntu 8.04 Netbook Edition (formerly remix).
Because this is an Ubuntu Certified machine I didn’t really encounter any big problems and the OS itself is easy to use (I would class myself as a fairly advanced computer user regardless).
The only significant problems I found though were that on a very early software update the sound seemed to stop working. This was easily fixed by entering a pair of commands in the Terminal application.
Unfortunately, just a few days back (the original problem happened a week after I bought the unit – which is a year and half ago), a new update broke the sound again, as well as ability to use the webcam, and keyboard mapping had gone wrong too. For example ‘m’ came up as the number ‘0’. I could not enter the characters needed for my admin password.
Fortunately, Ubuntu 10.04 (a long term support – LTS version) had just come out and I fancied trying it. If I were to install it, it would have to be a clean install because the 8.04 provided by Toshiba appears to be disabled in that it allows software updates but not OS upgrades.
Because the NB100 like most netbooks does not come with a CD drive, I had to burn the netbook edition ISO image to a USB key which I did painlessly using LiLi on my desktop Windows XP PC.
I was worried that I might need to install specific ‘Payson’ packages (as witnessed on a forum thread where users with NB100s installed with Windows tried to match its slightly lower spec’d brother) to get the machine to respond as wanted, but it turns out that as soon as I booted into the live environment everything worked! The one thing that doesn’t work and which does not bother me is the function key to wireless off. I rarely do this, because, hey you’re on a netbook. Another bonus I found is that battery life rose from 3h 20mins to 4hrs. I don’t know if that’s erroneous reporting, but I’m glad that battery life didn’t decrease.
There are keys on the 11R that allow for fan control but these, like the Windows key never did anything under 8.04.
This is not a full review of 10.04 netbook edition per se, but I am pleased to report that it is faster and more attractive than the previous LTS. A boon for existing 11-R owners is the fact that installing this allows for upgrading without clean install in future and possibly now avoiding broken updates (fingers x’d!). The OS is truly beautiful, and it’s not bold to say that it is very reminiscent of the latest MAC OS operating systems.
One last addition is that when re-installing all your software you’ll also want to add in the Ubuntu restricted formats package from the Ubuntu Software Centre application to get all the usual stuff like Microsoft fonts, Flash, Java and support for MP3, MPEG etc.
I have not updated the BIOS for this machine. It remains as it was from December 2008 as I haven’t found any reason to update it.
Update: The wireless on/off toggle function key actually still works, I was too slow to realise! So, everything works!