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Linux net PC inspires tough love

Aug 15, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

Jeff Campbell (aka “Mr. Zonbu”) has updated the blog chronicling his experiences with Zonbu, a mini-sized Linux-powered network computer for home users. The latest posting, based on two weeks with the device, finds Campbell happy but still full of suggestions.

The Zonbu is a small, silent, energy-efficient PC available with a managed, Linux-based operating system. The OS includes dozens of open source software applications, all integrated into a fairly polished home computing environment. The device is currently on the market, albeit at discounted pricing, because the company is still beta-testing the OS, it says.

Campbell praises the Zonbu for its efficiency and performance. He likes the network-based storage (which leverages's S3 service), although he experiences a glitch when attempting to configure GAIM (aka Pidgin) to use network-based sound files. He praises the degree of fit and finish, which he finds to be better than that available with other desktop Linux distributions, such as Ubuntu.

At the same time, Campbell notes that the device needs to surpass not only other Linux distros, but also Windows XP and Mac OS, in order to succeed in the marketplace. It still has a way to go, he reckons.

Campbell calls for better xorg drivers capable of supporting the MPEG2 acceleration built into the device's Via chipset. He rues the lack of a “first run” wizard to orient users. He'd like a native Rhapsody client, as he finds Rhapsody's Firefox plug-in to be a bit unstable under Linux. Other suggestions include a twin-panel file management interface for the remote storage, bi-weekly software updates, webcam support to enable video chats, and more bug hunting and regression testing to improve overall application stability.

Campbell's complete Zonbu review can be found here.

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