ZaReason Terra, in lovely metallic brown. (I know "metallic brown" sounds odd -- I was skeptical before I saw it -- but take it from me, it looks great.) It's cute and lightweight, with a nice keyboard with a clicky IBM-keyboard-style feel, and a meta key with a Tux penguin on it rather than a silly Windows logo. The only criticism so far is that the comma and period keys are narrower than the rest, so all three of us keep hitting slash when we mean period.
It comes preinstalled with Ubuntu (currently 9.04 Jaunty) with a full Gnome desktop. I've never been much of a Gnome fan, but this time we thought we'd try keeping it for a while and see how Mom likes it. We can always switch to something faster, like Openbox, later.
Of course, a lot of things needed configuration, like getting rid of one of the two toolbars. (In this age of cinema-width screens, why is it that the major desktops, like Gnome and even Apple, insist on sucking away vertical space with multiple menubars/toolbars?)
(And don't get me started on Evolution's preferences panes that are too big to fit on a netbook screen, yet have no scrollbars; and although the preference window is resizable, Gnome won't let you drag a window past the top of the screen so you can resize it taller.)
What stymied us, though, was the Gnome keyring and the way it prompts you for a password -- even if you've already typed in a login password -- whenever it tries to connect to the wireless network.
Web searches revealed that we were far from the only people who found this annoying and wanted to turn it off. There are lots of howtos. Unfortunately, every howto is different -- apparently gnome-keyring changes its user interface with every release, but somehow none of these UI changes ever make it easier to find your way to the place where you can turn off the password prompting. So here's one for Jaunty.
Howto turn off the Gnome-keyring master password in Ubuntu Jaunty
The key is a program called "seahorse", which you can get to via Applications->Accessories->Password and Encryption Keys. Click on the Passwords tab: you'll probably see two lines, login password and master password. According to some of the earlier howtos, these two passwords need to be the same in order for the following steps to work.
Right-click on login password and choose Unlock (I'm not sure if that step is necessary, but we did it).
Then from the same right-click menu, choose Change Password and make the new password empty. Of course, it will warn you about this horribly insecure behavior and how you're an idiot to want to do this. Your choice!
[ 15:31 Nov 01, 2009 More linux | permalink to this entry | ]