The ASUS Eee PC: First Look at Linux
Due to the fact the ASUS Eee PC 701 is aimed at booth computer novices and experts alike, there are two basic GUI designs included with its built-in Linux operating system. The first of which is called “Easy”, which as you might guess, is targeted at first time, or novice computer users.
In Easy mode, there are six tabs: Internet, Work, Learn, Play, Settings, and Favorites. Each of these tabs has icons that can link to a website, file, or application on the Eee. The internet tab has a few interesting links, one to web storage, one to Wikipedia, and even one to Skype. The Eee PC 701 will likely have Skype pre-installed, and coupled with the notebook’s onboard webcam and microphone, will open up VOIP communications to an entire new set of users.
The Work tab opens up 15 different applications, ranging from standard Office-type software to a dictionary. The documents, spreadsheets, and presentations icons all lead to their respective applications in the free, open source office software suite Open Office. The Eee PC even comes with its own Anti-Virus software and in the learn section, has a typing and a painting program. Asus plans to include more open source education-related software when the Eee PC hits the market later this year, but didn’t give any more information on specific titles.
According to ASUS representatives, Standard mode was made to be “Windows-like” and looks and feels just like a typical Windows OS. The Windows Start button is replaced by a Launch icon, and navigating through files and applications is just like Windows. Even the minimize, maximize, and close buttons in the top right of each application window on the Eee PC 701 look identical to that of the Windows XP Silver style theme we run on our own standard notebooks. It seems as though ASUS is trying to bring as much “Windows-like” functionality to the Eee PC as they possibly can. With Windows in mind, ASUS has said that the Eee PC has already been tested to work on Microsoft’s Windows XP, but to keep costs down it will not come pre-installed on the Eee PC.
The ASUS Eee PC is expected to be available, worldwide, in full production quantities by this fall. It is rumored to have a street date of mid-August, and will likely be one of the hottest selling computers in recent history, come the holiday shopping season.