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Reviewing the Asus Eee PC 4G - page 3

Giddy for the Eee

  • November 26, 2007
  • By Eric Grevstad

Everything is simple enough for kids and newbies, with the command-line complexity of the operating system well hidden. By default, the 4G's File Manager shows only My Documents and Trash, with subfolders in the former such as My Pictures, My Music, and My Office. (A "Show all file systems" option reveals the legion of folders that is Linux.)

Plug in a flash card or USB flash drive, and a dialog pops up asking whether you'd like to open it in File Manager, Music Manager, or Photo Manager. Plug in a USB printer, mouse, or keyboard, and it works fine, or at least the two or three of each that we tried did.

To be sure, what Asus calls Easy Mode has its shortcomings for power users. First-time-boot screens prompt you to enter a user name and password, avoiding the damage possible when a novice signs in as a root user or administrator, but functions such as Add/Remove Programs are sorely limited: The latter works only when online and offers only a scanty list of software updates from Asus' servers (lacking, for instance, the considerably improved OpenOffice.org version 2.3).

Happily, fan sites such as EeeUser have already posted relatively simple instructions for switching between Easy Mode and Xandros' normal, Windows-style KDE desktop, along with tips for using apt-get and Synaptic to add new software, installing Ubuntu Linux, and more.

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