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Maximum PC Primer: Lightweight Netbook Computing with Linux

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These days, netbooks have become a very popular alternative to conventional notebooks for mobile computing. Linux is an ideal choice for netbooks for multiple reasons in addition to CPU architecture. This primer will help you set up and optimize Linux for your netbook.

The Operating System

While any Linux distro will work for your netbook with some degree of success, it is better to use one that is explicitly designed for that purpose. Many specialized distros (optimized for a specific hardware configuration) have sprung up for models like the Acer Aspire One, The Asus Eee, and several others while more generalized distros exist for all netbooks. Most netbook distros are based on Ubuntu, since Ubuntu is very well developed and has enjoyed unparalleled success on more conventional systems.

The first distro we should address is Ubuntu Netbook Remix, which is a trimmed-down variant of Ubuntu designed for netbooks. It is compatible with most netbooks makes and models on both x86 and ARM architecture. (mainline Ubuntu support for ARM is coming soon)

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Learning The Linux File System

Before we get started, let’s avoid any confusion. There are two meanings to the term “File System” in the wonderful world of computing: First, there is the system of files and the directory structure that all of your data is stored in. Second, is the format scheme that is used to write data on mass storage devices like hard drives and SSD’s. We are going to be talking about the first kind of file system here because the average user will interact with his or her file system every time they use a computer, the format that data is written in on their storage devices is usually of little concern to them. The many different file systems that can be used on storage is really only interesting to hardware geeks and is best saved for another discussion. Now that that’s cleared up, we can press on. (Read the rest at Freedom Penguin)

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