I bought an Eee PC 701 a little while ago, when Catch of the Day had them as their daily special. Since I bought it mainly as a travel computer, rather than one I intended to use day-to-day, I’ve hardly touched it since it arrived and I dropped Ubuntu Netbook Remix onto it. At the time, I noticed some slowness to do with Wi-Fi and the special GUI, but since I flicked it over to the standard GNOME desktop almost straightaway anyway, I didn’t think much of it.
Fast forward to today, and I’m quickly setting up a guest account for my friends to use while we’re away on our Melbourne-Sydney road trip (since I’m apparently the designated laptop carrier for some reason). The slowness of both the GUI and Wi-Fi annoyed me, so I went and had a look around for solutions. For the benefit of anyone else having the same issues, here’s what I found:
Wireless: The 701 includes an Atheros chipset. Long-time Macbook users like myself will probably have to suppress an instinctive shudder at that. Launchpad bug 378156 is there to deal with this and, although it’s still open, hints at the best way to deal with this: installing the relevant
linux-backports-modules package provides a newer version of the ath9k driver that resolves the flakiness and packet loss that the default version suffers from.
Netbook Launcher GUI: The main selling point of the Netbook Remix is its impressively slick launcher GUI, which wraps around GNOME to provide a better small-screen environment. It looks terrific and would work really well but for Launchpad bug 349314, which details a problem with the tiling support in the graphics chipset driver that makes the launcher unusably slow. The workaround for this is to enable the
/apps/netbook-launcher/force_low_graphics option in GConf, but the real fix is in the pipeline, which is a new kernel version (2.6.28-15-generic) which is currently in the jaunty-proposed repository and makes everything work smoothly, just as your chosen deity or non-deity would have intended.
The Ubuntu Wiki has a useful page detailing these and other problems that affect the 701, but with those fixes above, I’m now very happy with Ubuntu Netbook Remix on the 701.