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The best netbook OS: XP, Windows 7 or Ubuntu?

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Microsoft
Ubuntu

With the arrival last month of Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook Edition, it’s time to revisit a familiar question: which operating system is best for a netbook? Linux-based systems may seem well-suited to lightweight devices (the original Asus Eee PC ran Xandros Linux), but there are advantages to the familiar interface and applications of Windows.

Each of these four operating systems has its attractions, but the key question is how each one performs on low-powered netbook hardware. To find the answer, I’ve spent the past few days installing them all – Windows XP Home, Windows 7 Starter, Windows 7 Home Premium and Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook Edition, with all available updates – on an Asus Eee PC 1008HA, and timing a series of typical netbook tasks to discover which OS makes the most of lightweight hardware.

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