My netbook is now dual booting with Windows 7 or 64bit Linux Mint 10 (“Julia,” the mainline release). I’m really pleased with the overall nimble performance and UI for Mint, and found the install (from a USB key) to be fairly simple. I’m not so thrilled with the performance of the Broadcom wifi driver, but I’ve read there’s a better option (to investigate later). My most important next task is to find the right set of writing tools. I have the “DVD” version of Mint, which includes a variety of built-in software packages, including OpenOffice, but I’d like something lighter and more focused. I was initially more enthused about the number of writing tool choices for Linux but, like for Windows, software PR is better than the tools themselves. I tried installing the Scrivener beta for Linux (which I still have hopes for), but the instructions left out some key aspects I need to research. Still, I think I’ll find something that’s nimble and provides an explicit and focused feature set aimed at writers. The biggest rumple in the covers is the UNIX model for app and file management–an environment I “grew up in” and am emotionally very comfortable with but, as I suspected, have forgotten how to use. Thankfully, there are a bunch of Mint tutorials and a reasonable user’s guide out there.
Once I’m sure this machine really plays well with Mint, I’ll zap the Windows install and stick with a VM for any Windows needs (WINE, Virtualbox, or some other).