As soon as canonical announced the development of a netbook specific interface for Ubuntu and the first videos came out, it was very appealing and cool to run a Ubuntu NetBook Remix version of ubuntu on your netbook. I first started using NBR with the Easy Peasy distro of Ubuntu for netbooks. What you quickly discover though is that controlling the system while using the trackpad found on most netbooks is less than ideal.
Controlling ubuntu using the standard interface is extremely difficult on a netbook, horrible in fact, and should not be tried. The Gnome menus are meant for a desktop computer, on larger 20″ screens with a mouse. On a small screen with a small trackpad it just doesn’t work well. Neither, by the way, does trying to control Windows XP menus on a netbook.
Netbook Remix Interface
NBR does help very much in making navigating applications and menus on a small screen using a trackpad a more bearible experience, but it is still a dreadfully slow way of navigating quickly. There are nice and large menu icons with a larger hit area, but the only painful part about it all is the screen distance that has to be traveled. Thanks to all the icons being large and the menu taking up the entire netbook screen, using a trackpad you have to traverse the entire netbook screen to get to the menu item that you want!
Another disadvantage to the pairing of a menu with large icons, that take up the whole screen, placed into a small screen, is that quickly menus collect more icons and most past down below the fold, requiring even further time intensive scrolling to access your desired application. Needless to say that the favourites menu is a smart addition to NBR.
So NBR does look “better” on a netbook, and it does provide a lot of improvement to accessing the menus of the system, but it’s just SO SLOW.
I don’t really need to say anymore do I? As long as you are comfortable with typing on your netbook (I recommend you always skip the smallest sized ones) navigating your netbook will be awesome.
The quick navigation Gnome Do provides fits in perfectly with the “snappiness” and quick booting time of netbooks. By using a keyboard navigation system, you’ll be able to book into your netbook, and without having to fiddle at all with the trackpad, open up websites, applications, or file and folders as fast as you can type them.
As a substitute for Gnome Do, if you know how to do it, you can always skip using an application for navigating applications and just set up hotkey shortcuts for your desktop environment. Setting up complicated hotkey shortcuts is possible and fun to do, especially in minimalist enviroments such as OpenBox or FluxBox.