Netbooks and KDE network manager

I’m currently running an ASUS eeePC 1201n netbook/laptop.  It has a 12″ screen and a full sized keyboard;  sort of on the border between a netbook and a laptop.  It’s small enough to carry around comfortably and large enough to see and type.  I tried running openSUSE with KDE on it, but KDE has a major problem with the network manager.  It cannot connect to a wireless station with a hidden SSID.   Bug 209464 has been open on KDE since October 2009 and still marked NEW with priority HI and severity NORMAL.

My wireless station is not broadcasting the SSID and is using WPA/WPA2  personal with a pre-shared key.  I’m not about to change that. There is no point in broadcasting the SSID and letting the neighborhood know that wireless access is available to anyone with a good key cracker.

There are some workarounds which I’ve tried with limited success.  The Gnome network manager works fine.  I’ve also tried LXDE and Enlightenment successfully.  Come on KDE, that bug has been open over a year and a half.  If Gnome and the others can do it, look at their code and fix it.

I started out with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS on the netbook.  Once I got the screen set up with a short panel on the bottom containing links to my most used programs and everything else in the top panel, it was very usable.  Both panels auto-hide to give me more room on the screen.

I made the mistake of allowing it to upgrade to 10.10 and then 11.04.  The Unity layout is OK, but not as good as my original layout.  However, after a few updates, I started having problems with the system.  I don’t know whether that was a result of the multiple distribution upgrades  or just a problem with 11.04.  So I wiped the system and went back to 10.04 LTS.  I’ll probably stay there for the remainder of the netbook’s lifetime.

I have a test system with a wireless PCI adapter that I’ve been trying other distributions.  I tried LXDE and liked it, but couldn’t get the desktop background to cycle through a number of my pictures.  That’s something I have on all my other systems, both openSUSE 11.3–KDE and Ubuntu 10.04–Gnome.  Then I tried Bhodi Linux with the Enlightenment desktop.  It’s very impressive.  I think that my next netbook/laptop will run Bhodi Linux.

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