Which OS for your Vaio P?

Long time since my last post. I blame the medicine studies which takes up most of my time these days. But now, with only one week till exams, I think I can spare an hour to put together some of my thoughts regarding Vaio P, Linux (Ubuntu and Jolicloud), Windows Vista and Windows 7.

I've had my Vaio P for 9 months now, and I honestly love it. Weighing just around 0.7 kg with the large battery attached you can carry it with you everywhere. With about 6-7 hours of battery and connectivity options like WLAN, bluetooth, GPS and a 3G modem, you can pretty much use it everywhere too. If you like all the above you should considering buying one. If you want an SSD (solid state drive) harddrive and the fastest Intel Atom processor, you should consider buying from http://www.conics.net/. My Vaio P came with Windows Vista Basic as the standard operating system, but if you buy one today you should get Windows 7 (if you do, stick with it).

Windows Vista sure had it's problems but I honestly couldn't understand what all the fuss was about. I've used Vista on my Vaio FE-series notebook for maybe 2 years, and I've been more than happy with it. On the Vaio P, however, Vista runs less smoothly and you can feel the little "netbook" struggling to run the heavy operating system. Theoretically the Vaio P can play HD movies (720p) but it didn't matter what kind of tweaks I used, it wouldn't give me more than a choppy framerate of 10 fps. This is largely because the inbuilt graphics are Intel's Graphic Media Accelerator 500 (GMA500 for short), and the processor is a single core low power one (albeit running at 2.0 GHz in my case). But this wasn't the problem at all, as I discovered when I installed Windows 7 on my Vaio P. In Windows 7 the Vaio P plays videos in 720p without trouble, and even the occasional 1080p movie (after a lot of tweaks in VLC media player). Suffice to say that Windows 7 makes the Vaio P more impressive than it already was, and also a lot faster.

But what if you don't have a fortune to spend on a Windows 7 DVD? Yes, you could pirate it, but that's not what I was thinking of. What I was thinking of is Linux! Any linux distro? No, unfortunately Intel hasn't made a linux driver for the GMA500, the poulsbo-driver which has become rather notorious in the linux community. However, some clever guys have made it work, using an old driver and several liters of softdrinks and coffee. It now sort of works under Ubuntu 9.04 and in Jolicloud.

Why should you bother? It's free and when running Compiz you get some neat tools (like a fast zoom function) which will make your life easier. Also my Jolicloud boots in under 30 seconds, is more functional than the Instant On OS supplied with the Vaio P. Connecting to the internet takes less time and surfing generally feels faster, so it's definitely worth checking out.

If you're planning on installing Jolicloud OS on your computer, check out my next post which will guide you through all the steps to set it up successfully on the Vaio P!

No comments: