It even seems to give the Via C7-powered HP Mininote 2133 a boost in speed – it just doesn’t feel “slow” like it did with Vista, although it’s still not as snappy as the Asus. That said, Windows 7 and the HP Mininote 2133 seem made for each other far more than Vista ever was, and that’s a very good thing.
Indeed, I’m far more impressed with Windows 7 on the HP than I am with Ubuntu 8.10. While Ubuntu loaded relatively nicely, I had to complete the installation in “safe graphics mode” as it would otherwise freeze, and then once it finished loading, the resolution was 1280x720, not 1280x768!
This meant that things just didn’t look quite right, and that’s very, very annoying. Windows 7 on the HP loads first with a “Generic VGA” driver, and runs in the right resolution.
That said, Ubuntu 8.10 looks like the best version of Ubuntu yet, and a Linux distro that gets all the publicity despite a plethora of other distros. Ever since I got my hands on Windows 7, playing with Ubuntu 8.10 has stopped.
In the time that I used it, I was impressed – and I’ll certainly continue testing it. I was able to easily get online, activate a commercial Broadcom driver for my wireless card, surf the web in Firefox, create documents in Open Office 2.4 (Canonical have not included the newer Open Office 3.0 in this version), play media files and more.
If you have an older computer and want to give it a new lease of life, downloading Ubuntu 8.10 is a good idea, it’s free and it works better than ever, which is a welcome change over earlier versions. Ubuntu can also be run through Sun’s free Virtual Box virtualisation software, so if you want to give it a go, both are free and awaiting your download whether you’re running XP or Vista.
Still, just as some people prefer cats over dogs or vice versa, I personally prefer Windows over Linux – despite all the claims that Microsoft is the evil monopolist that is trying to DRM the world, its competitors and worse out of existence – no amount of hysteria from Linux advocates has changed my opinion on this.
I just wish Ubuntu 8.10 had worked out-of-the-box with a better video driver. Ubuntu obviously has a “Generic VGA” driver that works, but it needs to work at more resolutions – hopefully they can do that in future versions.
There is a Via driver available for Ubuntu but it only works in 8.04, so hopefully Via is working on an Ubuntu and Windows 7 driver at the same time.
There is a Via Graphics Vista driver for the Mininote, and while this does work in Windows 7, the Aero Graphics part of it doesn’t, so Via will need to update that driver for Windows 7 – at the moment I’m just running it in “Windows 7 basic” mode which looks the same without the Aero Glass transparency.
The new “superbar” works in Windows 7 basic graphics mode too, you just don’t get the graphical previews, and the taskbar is a silver colour that looked too bright, so I restored the old taskbar instead, although my Tablet PC has the new superbar in all its glory and that won’t be changing back ever!
I couldn’t find a way to change the taskbar colour – I looked everywhere, so hopefully that option is built in to Windows 7 RTM.
Please read on to page 3 for my pre-final thoughts on this new pre-beta!