TeX on the Samsung NC10 netbook
TeX on the Samsung NC10 netbook
I recently purchased a Samsung NC10 netbook. Inspired by Stefan Kottwitz blog posts about the Asus Eee PC S101, I want to share with you some of my experiences installing and running TeX on such a small computer:
- Processor: Intel® Atom™ processor N270 (1.6GHz, 533MHz, 512KB, 2.5W)
- Display: LCD: 10.2” WSVGA (1024 x 600)
- Storage: 160GB HDD
- Memory: 1GB
The Samsung NC10 ships with Windows XP Home edition. I’m mostly a Windows user, but for many development tasks it is more convenient to use Linux. I therefore went for a dual boot setup with XP and Ubuntu Netbook Remix (UNR) 9.04. I’m not an experienced Linux user, but with the help of the SammyNetbook.com Linux forum and the special Ubuntu repository provided by the Linux on my Samsung forum, I managed to get Ubuntu up and running.
The next step was to install a TeX distribution. On XP I chose MikTeX. Installation was straightforward using the net installer. Since I bought the netbook for use on travels, I chose to do a complete install of MikTeX. That way I don’t have to worry about missing packages when there is noWiFi available. On my Linux system I installed Texlive 2008. Texlive 2008 is not available in any of the official Ubuntu repositories, so I had to install it manually by following the instructions in the Quick install for Unix guide. I didn’t had the necessary dependencies to run theTexlive GUI installer, but using the command line version of the installer was not difficult. Again I chose to do a complete install. It says in the documentation that you don’t need to installTexlive as root, but to avoid fiddling with file permissions I recommend running the installer using
> sudo ./install-tl
For editing I installed TeXworks. I have written about TeXworks before. It is still under development, but the current development version works very well. I recommend installing a recent development version. The builds on the Google code project page are outdated, but AlainDelmote provides up-to-date Windows builds. On Ubuntu it was straightforward to build TeXworks from source following the build instructions. On my system I got some warnings aboutunconfigured components when I installed the necessary dependencies, but TeXworks seems to work fine.
The NC10’s screen is 10.2 inches and has the standard netbook resolution of 1024x600 pixels. When working with TeX I prefer having thetex source and output side by side. TeXworks’s default behavior is to split the screen in half. With only 1024 pixels available horizontally this isn’t an optimal layout, but if you are working on a Beamer presentation it works reasonably well. You can see a screenshot below ofTeXworks on XP.
The Ubuntu version looks like this:
For articles and reports the default layout does not work that well. Screen real-estate will always be a problem on such a small screen. I can’t expect to get the same comfort as on my main dual monitor computer, so I just have to live with it.
Ubuntu netbook remix has a special window manager that automatically maximizes windows. For applications like TeXworks this is a bit annoying. You can easily unmaximize windows, but if you prefer to work with smaller windows you should probably switch to classic desktop mode.
The Atom processor is not the fastest processor around, so expect longer compilation and build times. I tried to compile a large document and the compilation time was notably longer than on my main computer, but it was not that bad. Overall the NC10 feels quite snappy.
Installing and running TeX on the NC10 went surprisingly well. If you are considering buying a netbook I highly recommend buying a Samsung netbook. It is well suited for working with TeX documents and for doing light development work on the go.