We wrote about the Sylvania G netbook back in January, mentioning that it was a moderately equipped machine with decent battery life (3.5 hours) and a cramped keyboard. The combination didn’t sound terrible though, and the Sylvania G was tucked away from publicity for a while.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of the story. In a recent article at Oreilly.com called “Netbook Nightmare”, Linux netbooker Caitlyn Martin found that the Sylvania G netbook was troublesome at best.
She discovered several hardware problems with the machine she reviewed, though it’s of course possible that she just got unlucky. The Sylvania G didn’t include the right drivers for gOS Linux implementation, “leaving the system effectively crippled.” She says this might be a death sentence for users new to Linux, for whom the problem “probably can’t be fixed.”
Patching the OS or adding additional software were both difficult. Martin offered some advice for Linux users looking to mess with the G netbook:
“A knowledgeable Linux user will find it best to wipe the hard drive and start over, doing a new installation from external media. I can’t imagine that very many people would be satisfied with the g Netbook as shipped.”
She says that Sylvania was definitely capable of providing “a first class out of box experience” on the G netbook, but seriously failed to do so. She blames Linux’s image as difficult to use on this kind of “half-baked implementation.”
In the end, the solution for prospective Linux netbookers was clear: spend $299 and get the G Netbook Meso preloaded with Ubuntu Netbook Remix instead.