I've about beat this to death, but I finalized the operating system and configuration on the new Acer netbook (the one on the left below). I decided to make it identical to my older Sylvania: Lubuntu Natty Narwhal 11.04.
Lubuntu, LXDE/Openbox desktop, runs like a dream on both and is light as a feather. Also, it is simple, elegant, easy on the eyes, and is easy to configure to leave maximal desktop space for a small netbook screen.
I noticed this about the desktops I tried:
- Gnome Unity – digs at the swap, plus some issues with running slow and sometimes freezing, though I do like the overall idea, and it's pretty!
- Gnome Classic – touches the swap sometimes.
- LXDE – never touches the swap.
One minor Lubuntu tweak, I installed maximus, which helps with auto-maximizing and undecorating windows, and set maximus to autostart with the desktop boot:
sudo leafpad /etc/xdg/lxsession/Lubuntu/autostart
add @maximus to the other processes listed in that file.
Below are pictured the dueling netbooks. The new Acer Aspire One is on the left, and the two year old Sylvania Meso G is on the right. The Acer has Opera (Unite) running, and the Sylvania has the Chromium browser.
I always install three browsers on all my computers: Opera, Chromium, and Firefox.
During the Lubuntu install, the proprietary Broadcom STA wireless driver is suggested for the Acer, but the free driver works fine. The only difference I can tell is that the free driver does not illuminate the wifi light on the LED panel, but otherwise I can find no issues with it.
Below are the two sweeties:
Left: Acer Aspire One PAV 70, D255E-13639.
Right: Sylvania Meso G, GNET28001.