Ubuntu Netbook Edition is a light weight version of Ubuntu Linux optimized for netbooks. It used to be called Ubuntu Netbook Remix, but this spring it will  graduate from “remix” to “edition” status. The operating system is designed to play well with low resolution displays, limited storage capacity, slow processors, and it’s specifically optimized for machines with Intel Atom CPUs. But one thing that’s always puzzled me about Ubuntu Netbook Remix is that some of the applications that come preloaded by default just don’t make that much sense on a netbook.

For instance, why do you need the Brasero disc burning software on a device with no optical disc drive? It’s not like Brasero takes up all that much space, but some netbooks don’t have much disk space to start with, so every megabyte counts.

Now it looks like the Ubuntu team is stripping Brasero and a number of other programs from the list of applications to come preloaded with the next version of Ubuntu Linux. Also missing from the latest nightly builds are the PalmOS Pilot software, and Openoffice.org.

OpenOffice.org is an open source alternative to Microsoft Office, and it comes with a word processor, spreadsheet app, database builder, and presentation application. I wouldn’t say you don’t need these things on a netbook. But some people will prefer to use web-based solutions such as Zoho or Google Docs. And others might simply not use a netbook for editing office docs at all. So I can’t say I blame the Ubuntu Netbook Edition team for stripping a OpenOffice.org from the default installation. It does take up a couple hundred megabytes of disk space, and if you really want it you can always download and install it yourself.

What else would you like to see added or removed from Ubuntu Netbook Edition?

via OMG Ubuntu

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18 replies on “Ubuntu Netbook Edition app list undergoes revision”

  1. Slow Internet probs on my eeePC 701 4G after installing 9.10 nbr. I have read several posts but no solution seems to be anywhere. Love the style of the interface. Agree with others that Evolution is buried now most of us use web based mail. Should I wipe it again and install Leenux?

  2. Just tried 9.10 on my brand-new 1201N, and it actually ran slower than the bloated standard Windows 7 install. I ended up digging out a different 7 disc and doing a clean install after that.

    Assuming I had chosen to keep it on there (as it is on my big laptop), I would like to see a package manager that lets you choose what you do and don’t want to install. I would definitely have use of OOO, as I purchased the netbook specifically for use at school. I haven’t tried GoogleDocs, but OOO has always worked well enough for me, and since I have to be able to play friendly with my the university profs, I need good compatibility with MSOffice. I would probably install Brasero too, as I did purchase a USB burner for use with the 1201N.

  3. My suggestion – use the same / similar user interface for the package manager as the GUI user display layout.
    Then the user doesn’t have to try to guess what package(s) should go in a particular
    empty slot of the menu – I.E: click applications > office > >> do some key
    trigger – get the list of possible things for that slot — I.E: skip learning all of the
    package naming business.

    Also – include a “bloatmeter” connection with the above.

  4. Oh, definitely drop Evolution, which is the source of what, 75% of the updates? The Software Store is awesomely better than Synaptic “for the rest of us”, so keep it if we want the nongeek wog public to ever develop a taste for Linux.

    Eeebuntu Base is a great distro because it does not include these large and optional apps. Looking forward to EB4, coming “real soon now”. Jolicloud similarly lets you choose and makes updating far simpler — no head-scratching about whether you need that obscure library.

  5. The openoffice release used by Ubuntu is indeed based on go-oo.org, and indeed Novell is one of the main contributors on this project. But this isn’t a fork, but more a shadow version or development environment where third-party developers work on new features. The problem is that the third-party developers rely on Sun to get thing’s added to openoffice.org, this is why they started with go-oo.

  6. Just today I installed UNR. I had to get rid of the netbook menu interface. It really made everything very slow on my eeePC 901A. Once I got rid of that and went back to Gnome, everything returned to normal. Then I installed the XFCE desktop, and I forgot I was on a netbook. With XFCE, everything is snappy. GPodder, Calibre, and FBReader are absolute necessities for me. And I don’t need all those extra languages — Thai and Laotian and Hindi etc. And I really dislike the Ubuntu Software Store (can only install one ap at a time) thing and just use Synaptic since the Gnome software install thing disappeared.

  7. UNR runs perfectly fine on my EEE PC 701, so I can’t see what the problem would be on a 901. Perhaps you should file a bug.

    I agree that they should pare down the default install. It’s not about your subjective opinions on particular apps you don’t like or what netbooks “should” be used for — the point is “less is more”. Concentrate on making a lean and mean base install and making it easy to install the rest of the apps that the user deems appropriate. (And I think they’ve already achieved the latter.)

    Personally, I’d like to see them get a squashfs+union root system working, out of the box. I’d set it up so that periodically (after updates and installations) you could rebuild the squashfs image and clean out the writable union and reclaim the space.

  8. Problem is, that the Ubuntu version of OpenOffice.org in the Repositories that we can download if we want it is the forked version of OpenOffice (mostly built by Novell), and we don’t want that either. Too bad you can’t get the non-forked version. Oh – we don’t need any MONO apps at all and we don’t need Evolution either.

  9. I sometimes use one or two programs of the StarOffice — closely related to OpenOffice — suite that came with my Asus 1000H netbook. My desktop machine at home runs OpenOffice, the family of programs I use most of the time I do Office-type work, and if I want to work on or access something while I’m away from home, I transfer the documents back and forth between machines.

  10. I think making the distro lean is the right way to go. Yeah, I’m okay with leaving out OpenOffice by default. There are smaller and simpler word processors that would be more suitable for most people on this type of device. Then if it turns out you need OpenOffice, then it’s not hard to install.

  11. Like to see some stability added. Tried installing 9.10 NBR a few days ago, it was horribly slow. It took at least 5 seconds to switch between the “switcher/menu” items, and I was worried my hardware might be bad. Installed regular Ubuntu on it, and it FLEW (at least comparatively). There must be something wrong when something that is “optimized” for the Atom processor does so poorly on a Eee PC 901, one of the better supported netbooks by Ubuntu.

    1. Suggest you try the Kubuntu Netbook Remix for a “quicker” experience that is very interesting (note that you need to use the key to fly between open applications).

      I think that Kubuntu (and Kubuntu for Netbooks) once KDE 4 is done (and it will be much better this April and a whole TON better in October) is very interesting with very interesting options (Love that they use Gwenview as default photo viewer, can use FireFox and should be default vs elective to install later). The potential for the whole KDE 4 user experience from a programmers perspective, is getting better every day.

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