A couple of weeks ago, I bought my five year old son an Acer Aspire One netbook. Not that he really needs a netbook, but it’s another item in our ever-growing arsenal of tools designed to help him develop the skills he needs to develop. That’s not really the story here. The story is that the Acer netbook came with Windows XP pre-installed. Since I primarily wanted to use the netbook as a learning tool, I installed gCompris, TuxPaint, TuxType, and OpenOffice. The latter is set to hide most menus, rulers, etc, and default to a 72 point font. At first I figured that since I wasn’t going to be working with the netbook, that I would just leave XP on it and be done with it.
Except I do have to deal with it. I have to start it up, log him in, fire up the appropriate application, and so on. It took me a handful of times to discover how impossibly dreadful XP is on a netbook. It was unbearably slow, obtrusive, and definitely not designed for the device in question. The slowness was the part that practically drove me to drinking (more than usual, I mean). Do I need to point out that five year-olds don’t have a lot of patience? Waiting 5 minutes while the system comes out of hibernation, lets you log in, reconnects to the network, and brings up a word processor is asking that five year-old to go find something else to do. I won’t even go into the annnoying non-stop display of popups that plague Windows users worldwide. No, I refuse to mention it.
I shouldn’t have to come clean on this, but I will. I’m not the world’s biggest fan of Microsoft Windows (really?) but I recognize its position in business and on most of the world’s desktop. But trust me. It doesn’t belong on a netbook.
Read my complete post over at the Ubuntu User Website.