I have an Asus EEE PC 701 4G - one of the original ones - and would like to install a new OS on it.
What options are out there?
I'm looking for:
- Easy to use (it's for my parents)
- Office software
- Ideally not abandonware
- Web browsing
closed as primarily opinion-based by jasonwryan, derobert, Braiam, slm♦ Oct 21 '14 at 16:58
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The bigger question you'll need to think about is what window manager to use. I use fluxbox, which I find works well. But you might want to find one of the eeepc-optimized distros with their heavily customized UIs. In the early days, I was all over the eeeuser.com forum, and there was quite a bit of discussion there about distros for the eeepc. It's down for maintenance at the moment, but I'm sure they still have a number of threads on suggestions, in the archives if nothing else. I recall trying a couple distros that had a similar setup to the original OS, with big buttons on, basically, a home screen.
You should show them a few options, and watch them use it for a bit.. See which one they like, and which one is easiest for them to use.
That said, if you find they use best a traditional interface, you should consider Arch. I have had Arch Linux on my original Eeepc (preordered, I've had it since the beginning) for several years now, it has been great. With the small HD, you need a small distro with fairly precise control over packages, which it gives. I can get the size down around 600M, and you could probably do better with just what your parents need. Maintenance might be a bit difficult for your parents, but they probably won't be doing much of that themselves anyway (and with the way it's set up, I find it easier to adjust than Ubuntu, which I have to use for work).
I have two eee pc 701: the original one with Xandros and the original one with Windows XP. Both of them are in perfect working order, though they suffer from the jurasic OSs that they use. Recently I started to play with Puppy Linux. I've tried Slacko, Precise and, finally, Lucid 5.2.8. All of them are started from a USB Pen Drive. All of them work without any problem. I find Lucid the best as I've found all the daily soft that I use: LibreOffice, Thunderbird, Firefox, Truecrypt (Yes, I still use it daily), Wine, etc. Any matter with the small screen resolution. The system detects it automatically and, almost every thing, works fine. So there is no need to look for any of the old specific OS designed just for the 701 (eeebuntu, Pupeee, Breeezy, etc). You just use Lucid Puppy "as is" and that's all. You have the last releases of the mentioned soft. It's amazing if you use the integrated system information just to see that with the OS charged on RAM, LibreOffice Writer, LibreOfffice Calc, Firefox and, perhaps another program running, and you just use about 300 MB of RAM memory. So, and in spite that there are other small Linux OS suitable for these small machines, if you use Puppy, that I fins specially suitable for inexperienced Linux users (As I am), you still will be able to run your 701s for many years. It's really a pleasure to be able to use those machines, even better that their very first running day (with Xandros or XP).
I know this is a late reply, but here goes:
Ubuntu 12.04, if you increase RAM to 2GiB & you want an all-singing, all-dancing installation, with a totally integrated DE, & don't keep much data on your machine.
Madbox 12.04: This is a from-the-ground-up custom distro based on Ubuntu with Openbox WM, & great if you want a minimal desktop system with few apps installed, to build upon.
Crunchbang http://crunchbanglinux.org/ This is the best I've tried so far, on any hardware, with an excellent default Openbox set-up, that can use keyboard shortcuts for everything, which is great for a netbook. You WILL write your own shortcuts, & you WILL rewrite your OBMenu & Conky scripts, & learn some XML by accident!
It also idles at about 60MiB RAM, & rarely goes above 200MiB!!! This is what I currently have installed, & I have learned more from using this distro than any other. You may have to get another 701 for yourself - I have 2.
Another useful feature of Crunchbang is the post-installation "cb-welcome" script, which gives you options for which web-browser to install, libreoffice, java support, etc.
ALL the above 3 have instant mobile broadband (dongle) support, all you have to do is configure it.
In all 3, the super/house key is enabled.
In all 3 printer support is good.
I would suggest Ubuntu (or in case it is too slow, go with Lubuntu), it is very popular and have a lot of tutorials with easy steps to do in case they would need to do something (like install software or watch pictures).
here you have a tutorial on how to install it on the specific model you have. but feel free to use any other variant of Ubuntu with the same tutorial.