For those wanting to buy netbooks, one of the main considerations is the built-in Operating System of the netbook. Out in the market you can buy either a Linux or Windows XP version of the same netbook model from the same manufacturer. This is especially true for Asus Eee netbooks, where there is always a Windows XP and a Linux version.
So, which netbook should you choose? If you're going after price and stability of the system, you would much rather have Linux netbook. If you're buying any model of Asus Eee netbook, you best bet for finding a really cheap one is to buy a Linux-based model.
Linux is a free and open-source operating system that runs well on old PCs and less powerful computers like mini laptops. Linux users swear by the reliability of Linux netbooks? they boot quickly, usually do not crash and are compatible with free and open source software.
Not surprisingly, since it is open source, many Linux operating systems come in different varieties and customizations. Many versions (also called distributions) of the Linux OS come bundled with their own set of applications. Many netbook manufacturers develop their own software on Linux-operated netbooks. If you want to buy a Linux netbook, check with your manufacturer what customizations were made on the user interface.
The Asus Eee 900, for example, operates on Xandros Linux. Features are categorized and made accessible through tabbed interface. You can access Open Office and PDF reader on the tab for Work, while games and media players can be accessed on the Play tab. Users can even access corporate emails through a Microsoft Outlook Web Access.
Windows XP netbooks have a standard user interface, and you can operate your Windows netbook as easily as you did your desktop PC. The issues with Windows XP is that it is prone to malware such as trojans and viruses although Microsoft has improved Windows XP since its debut and that it is a more resource intensive operating system than Linux. On the positive side, Windows XP, while older, uses significantly less resources than Vista and can still run fast on a mini laptop.
Windows XP, however, remains a popular OS among computer users. The main advantage of Windows XP over Linux is that a lot of the useful software like Adobe Photoshop are written for Windows and can only be used on a Windows-based computer.