I used to use Red Hat back when I had to compile special modules for my CD-ROM player, and I flirted with Gentoo for a while until I managed to irretrievably kill my installation with an emerge, but Ubuntu really seems to hit the sweet spot with regards to ease of use and functionality.
However, it turns out that Ubuntu is not always the answer, which surprised me immensely. The steps for getting Ubuntu 8.04 onto a USB stick are tedious, and even worse, they don’t appear to work. So with repeated attempts I was unable to get Ubuntu live mode to boot at all.
Now, compare the the procedure for getting Fedora 9 onto a USB stick. One command, non destructive, with an optional overlay for persistent mode. It’s clean and easy, and Fedora 9 is an eminently respectable operating system – it even booted on my EEE PC without any problems while properly detecting screen size and audio.
I wanted to get my USB stick to work perfectly with my EEE PC, so the wireless had to be fixed. To get the wireless running on stock Fedora 9 means following the steps on this site, but there are a few problems. The kernel for the live CD is different than the kernel used by Livna, so if you don’t want to rebuild a kernel, you’ll need to:wget ftp://rpmfind.net/linux/fedora/releases/9/Everything/i386/os/Packages/kernel-devel-2.6.25-14.fc9.i686.rpm rpm -ivh kernel-devel-2.6.25-14.fc9.i686.rpm wget ftp://rpmfind.net/linux/fedora/releases/9/Everything/x86_64/os/Packages/kernel-headers-2.6.25-14.fc9.x86_64.rpm rpm -ivh kernel-headers-2.6.25-14.fc9.x86_64.rpm
… and then go through the steps for building madwifi from source.
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