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Portables Ubuntu Linux

Asus To Ship Ubuntu 10.10 On Three Eee PC Netbooks 142

Posted by Soulskill
from the in-other-news-netbooks-still-exist dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Asus has announced that three Eee PCs will ship with Ubuntu Linux. Three 2011 models — the 1001PXD, 1011PX, and 1015PX — are immediately available, though no retailers seem to stock them yet. A Canonical exec had this to say about the new netbooks: 'There are a number of factors that make Ubuntu an attractive proposition for ASUS and its customers. Ubuntu continues to set the standard for slick design, ease of use and security, it is the world's third most popular operating system, and [it] has the most number of users in Linux. We [Canonical] were looking at publicly available data on the operating systems accessing Wikipedia last week and found the web site serves more pages to Ubuntu PCs than to iPads — there are a lot of users out there.' It might not be the same as Asus launching three flagship netbooks all running Ubuntu instead of Windows, but it's definitely a start. Asus says there are more Ubuntu netbooks to come later this year, too — hopefully they'll run Ubuntu 11.04."
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Asus To Ship Ubuntu 10.10 On Three Eee PC Netbooks

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  • Good article on how Linux is coming up.
  • Would love to see Best Buy carry these, but I can only imagine the torrent of customers we'd get trying to understand what something other than Windows is. Also hope they include a disc or flash drive with a Ubuntu installer on it for when it randomly decides to not load up anymore.
    • Re:Retailers (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Gibbs-Duhem (1058152) on Friday June 03, 2011 @02:55PM (#36333148)

      I dunno, they seem to manage fine with iOS and android. We're talking about netbooks, so the different form factor makes people intuitively not expect it to be *exactly* the same as what they've always used. And Unity is closer to looking like android/iOS than windows, which makes even more sense if the device is looking more like a phone than a desktop... although I definitely agree that not including Unity is an obvious choice. That stuff is just a disaster at present.

      • by MoonBuggy (611105)

        It's not a different form factor, that's the thing, it's the same old notebook design that's been hit by a shrink-ray. I'm guessing that if they do sell them in Best Buy, there are going to be plenty of people complaining that the things on the screen of the little laptop look different to the big laptop.

      • Unity isn't in 10.10. Good thing, because it sucks. I'm now using Mint.

    • by Svartalf (2997)

      Did you happen to have that sort of torrent with the Xoom or the Iconia Tab A500?

    • by IANAAC (692242)

      Also hope they include a disc or flash drive with a Ubuntu installer on it for when it randomly decides to not load up anymore.

      "Randomly" is a bit unfair. If Linux doesn't load, it's because of an update gone wrong or a hardware failure, just as it would on any other OS. But that falls on the user to ensure what is or isn't updated, which seems to be asking too much from many.

      • But that falls on the user to ensure what is or isn't updated, which seems to be asking too much from many.

        Am I reading this right?
        If I'm running sid, then sure, I should watch out for broken updates. But if I'm running a distro that doesn't brand itself as pre-testing and unstable, it isn't my job as user to monitor the updates for potential breakage. Rather, it is the distro's job to test its updates before it pushes them out for general consumption. I think it is asinine to suggest that the users of a stable distribution shuold need to check the stability of updates that are pushed by the distribution.

        • by jedidiah (1196)

          It's Unix. Why are you molesting it all the time? Just leave it be.

        • by IANAAC (692242)

          I think it is asinine to suggest that the users of a stable distribution shuold need to check the stability of updates that are pushed by the distribution.

          Define "stable distribution". Every single Linux distribution has pushed out a problematic update of one kind or another at some point in its history, So have Windows. So have Macs. It's grand and all that you want to absolve the user of any responsibility, but that's not how life works. Sometimes we screw up, mostly because we don't know what we're doing or haven't thought things through and blindly clicked the "continue" button. That includes the maintainers of distributions.

          • Okay, first, yes updates do always bring the possibility of breakage. There is always the possibility of some weird configuration or corner case. (This is why stable generally demands relatively few updates, the more often you change things the more likely something is to break). So no, I'm not implying that a stable distro will never put out an update that breaks something for someone.
            I am saying that if I'm using a distribution that sells itself as being for mass consumption and stable, then these broke
    • Re:Retailers (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Locutus (9039) on Friday June 03, 2011 @05:02PM (#36333960)
      didn't BestBuy sign a deal with Microsoft (ExpertZone) putting Microsoft employees inside of BB for training and lots of the training was how to bash Linux and Macs? I wouldn't doubt there was also a contract section eliminating their ability to sell other operating systems, especially GNU/Linux based ones. Here is a good search to start with:

      http://www.google.com/search?q=Microsoft+Best+buy+employee

      Don't count on Best Buy carrying these or expect to keep getting it pulled from your hands by Best Buy employees shoving Microsoft at you.

      LoB
  • "Asus says there are more Ubuntu netbooks to come later this year, too — hopefully they'll run Ubuntu 11.04.""

    Why worry? Its not like it takes too much time or effort to update to the next version. At least this way if people hate Unity they aren't forced to use it.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      People arn't "forced to use" unity if they hate it, you can still install and switch to KDE or Gnome (as i did when i upgraded from 10.10 ro 11.04), however i agree that the decision to use 10.10 is a good one as its very stable now, and ships with Gnome as opposed to Unity.

        (by this logis, 10.01 "forces" people to use Gnome who might want to use unity, eventhough its as simple as installing the approperate packages from the repositories.)

      • by digsbo (1292334)
        My wife's been using Ubuntu since 9.10. She's been basically happy with it, except for the few times she's had trouble getting mp3s from Amazon. But there's no way she'd know to switch the desktop, and I have told her not to upgrade to 11.04 to avoid dealing with it for the time being.
        • by Abreu (173023)

          My home machine has been Ubuntu only since 8.04 and I upgraded to 11.04 without any problems.

          Each user has their own desktop, mine uses Unity, my wife's is Gnome configured to look like WinXP and my 6 year old has a Gnome desktop with minimal menu for edutainment software, games and a locked down browser to visit Discovery Kids and Cartoon Network's sites.

          We are very happy and everything works fine.

          • by digsbo (1292334)
            Thanks for the info. I had not had time to think about dealing with the upgrade to 11.04 (I only read there were some bumps w/ 11.04 and I never bothered customizing the user desktops before), but after reading your post, I might do it this weekend.
            • I upgraded to 11.04 and had no issues. I tried Unity out and didn't like it so I just chose the classic desktop when I logged in and was right back to my normal Gnome environment. There's really nothing to "deal with" ... just upgrade and then it's as simple as choosing Gnome when you (or her) login if you don't want Unity. It's really that easy. Unity is just the new default, but Gnome is still there if you choose it.

              You should stop telling her not to upgrade and just do it. I've been a daily Ubuntu user s

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          She can't click on her login, then change the dropdown to something other than unity?

          You might want to find a smarter wife.

          • by digsbo (1292334)
            What OS does your wife use?
            • by h4rr4r (612664)

              My live in girlfriend who has lived with me for over 5 years, been going out for about 11, runs 11.04 on her PC, and Android 2.3.3 (CM 7) on her Droid.

              • by digsbo (1292334)

                She's been dating you for five years? You're lucky you don't have a smarter girlfriend.

                Sorry to be a dick, but you're earlier comment invited it. Was there really a need to insult my Linux using wife? Show some manners.

                • by h4rr4r (612664)

                  No, 11 years. We have been living together for a little over 5.
                  It's pretty clear your wife isn't the only dummy in your family.

                  Try a little reading comprehension.

                  Stop being a little girl and get over it. I actually think your wife is probably smart enough to use a drop down, you are just a jerk who underestimates her abilities.

    • Re:Why worry? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Vectormatic (1759674) on Friday June 03, 2011 @03:18PM (#36333312)

      good god i hope they dont ship 11.04. Your average gnome 2.4 desktop is mildly understandable for joe sipack (especially once you move to just one panel, at the bottom), but unity is a fricking usability disaster. Once they ship eee's with 11.04, they will have a repeat of the original eee 701 on their hands, massive returns by clueless commoners unable to connect to their wireless and start ther browser.

      i've tried installing 11.04 on my oldish laptop, and the thing is horribly unstable, and basicaly unusable, while old versions of ubuntu run without a hitch

      Honestly, the first system i buy with ubuntu 11.04 pre-installed will have its drive wiped as if it were running vista

      • by Hadlock (143607)

        "Massive usability disaster" is an understatement. I tried lodging my complaints about 10.10 unity on the netbook and got shouted down on the official forums. 10.04 is nearly ideal, but 10.10 is slow as molasses and not at all intuitive or structured around getting things done in an expeditious manner. It's even more frustrating for "power users". I heard a rumor that Unity from 10.10 netbook edition was going to get rolled into a later desktop release. I hope not.

        • by Homburg (213427)

          11.04 has Unity in the desktop release (indeed, there's no longer a separate netbook edition), but it's a significant rewrite and, IMO, significantly better (certainly faster and more stable) than the 10.10 version of Unity.

      • by iceaxe (18903)

        Sorry to hear that you've had trouble. Personally, I've been quite pleased with Natty, especially since switching to xfce.

        I like it so much that the next time I do a full OS install I'll be using Xubuntu. (Currently just running xfce on plain ol' Ubuntu, 11.04 upgraded from a fresh install of 10.10)

        Do bear in mind, though, that I'm the sort who thinks a widescreen monitor is best used rotated 90 degrees because emacs works really great that way.

        • by zevans (101778)

          Do bear in mind, though, that I'm the sort who thinks a widescreen monitor is best used rotated 90 degrees because emacs works really great that way.

          Almost everything does. Not sure which "consumer" decided computers should all be widescreen rather than longscreen, but he better hope I never meet him in a narrow alleyway.

    • Why worry? Its not like it takes too much time or effort to update to the next version.

      False. If there is one problem with Ubuntu, it is that upgrading from one version to another is completely broken, and ASUS would be better off not having too handle such problems.

      If you are one of those few who have not had any problems, consider yourself lucky. However, it may be possible to ensure that it works properly for a limited set of laptops.

      • by Haedrian (1676506)

        I only had a problem once with Kubuntu. Basically it crashed during upgrade and when it came back my mouse and keyboard wouldn't work. But everything got fixed when I chose 'update' again.

        Never had problems otherwise over the past 3 years or so.

        • by SchMoops (2019810)
          How did you choose "update" without a keyboard or mouse? Tell me, Mr. Haedrian, what good is a phone call when you are unable to speak?
          • by Haedrian (1676506)

            Actually I solved it by inserting another USB mouse. It was quite weird, the touchpad was dead but the USB wasn't. Then I used the onscreen keyboard.

      • by Abreu (173023)

        False, I have been updating from one version of Ubuntu to the next for at least 2 years, with minimal problems.

        • by 0123456 (636235)

          False, I have been updating from one version of Ubuntu to the next for at least 2 years, with minimal problems.

          Aside from the fact that upgrades take about six hours, the last time I upgraded my MythTV server the upgrade crashed part-way through and took some effort to fix. For the laptop and netbook I generally just copy /home to an external disk and then reinstall because it's faster and more reliable.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I've got a feeling that 2011 is the year of Linux on the desktop.

    My previous calculations based on random numbers in the Bible was off by about 5 years or so.

  • It might all be fine again in a year's time, it was fine a year back, but plumping for Ubuntu just as they go their own way with Unity doesn't strike me as the best way of getting a slick Linux. (The same would go for a GNOME 3 distro right now, like Fedora.) I'd have been tempted to put on Linux Mint, Mandriva or openSuSE -- something accessible and slick enough, but likely to have a more stable user experience for a while...

    • Ignore me. Reading which version they put on is useful before jumping in and commenting like an idiot.

    • by Lanteran (1883836)
      They run ubuntu 10.10. No unity required.
      • Yeah, I've not been on Slashdot long but it's long enough to get out of the habit of even reading the summary, let alone the article...

      • by Nimey (114278)

        They're going to run it on netbooks, however, and the 10.10 netbook remix used Unity.

        • I've not used Unity on a netbook but what I've read gives me the impression that it's a bit less of a... culture shock, on a netbook. I'd imagine Asus tested it out and found that it was fine.

          • by Hadlock (143607)

            Unity on the netbook is pretty slow, clunky and unintuitive. It's sort of like they reverse-engineered the apple dock from a blurry, static screenshot and forgot to add smoothness and right click context menus, drag and drop functionality, etc. Someone way up the decision chain did someone a favor without reviewing it personally.

      • by Homburg (213427)

        The Netbook Edition of 10.10 does use Unity. The 11.04 version of Unity is a pretty big change over the earlier version (for example, they changed from using Mutter in 10.10 to using Compiz in 11.04), and, IME, is much more stable.

    • by Goaway (82658)

      Yeah, no, going their own way with Unity is pretty much the only they are ever going to get a "slick Linux".

      • That may be true in the future - I'm willing to wait and see - but right now Unity isn't *that* slick. Neither is GNOME 3, by all accounts, though I've not tried it myself so I can't say. Unity might be great in a year's time (or even at 11.10) and if so, well, great. I'm not that wedded to KDE or XFCE... But right now it would seem a bit premature to plump for 11.04.

        Fortunately for Asus, though not for me, I didn't actually read anything (even the *title*) and Asus went for 10.10, which is probably what a

  • 10.10 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nerdfest (867930) on Friday June 03, 2011 @02:46PM (#36333064)
    10.10 is the right version to distribute ... 11.04 is (Unity aside) way too flaky to inflict of someone you wish to impress with the reliability of Linux. this is cool though ... I've been thinking for a while that Canonical should distribute their own line of hardware, perhaps 3 models of laptop at various levels of power and price, similar to the Apple model, but cheaper, and open. This would get around some of the problems people run into with unusual, unsupported wireless and video cards. If done right, it could probably pull off marketing it as a bit of an upscale laptop.
    • Re:10.10 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Culture20 (968837) on Friday June 03, 2011 @02:54PM (#36333140)
      I'd suggest 10.04 LTS. 10.10 is going to EOL too soon.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      10.04 is a better choice for ASUS as it will be supported until April 2013. 10.10's support ends a year earlier.

    • by MeNeXT (200840)

      10.04 is the right version 10.10 has shutdown issues with eeepc I have a 1015pem ans the sound system prevents shutdowns. see here [ubuntu.com] I did not have this issue with 10.04 I was hoping that 11.04 would fix it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by wile_e8 (958263)

      I've been thinking for a while that Canonical should distribute their own line of hardware, perhaps 3 models of laptop at various levels of power and price, similar to the Apple model, but cheaper, and open. This would get around some of the problems people run into with unusual, unsupported wireless and video cards. If done right, it could probably pull off marketing it as a bit of an upscale laptop.

      You mean like System76 [system76.com]? I guess it's not run by Canonical, but they are Ubuntu partners [system76.com].

    • I don't know about 10.10 being the right version... my Broadcom 43xx b/g/n in my laptop only runs at 2Mbs (let me emphasize that is 2 mega BITS) after I upgraded to 10.10 - it had been working fine before that and if I boot Windoze it works fine in that too....
  • Don't want to turn people off of Linux.
  • by Zerth (26112) on Friday June 03, 2011 @02:48PM (#36333090)

    Microsoft must have been late with its kickback check this quarter. I hope the check isn't already in the mail, otherwise these won't be available for long.

    • by kbob88 (951258)

      Microsoft must have been late with its kickback check this quarter.

      Where is that funny & insightful mod button when you need it?

    • by sconeu (64226)

      No, you misunderstand.

      They're shipping it on exactly three netbooks, not three netbook MODELS.

      I hope I get one of the three... I'd hate to be the fourth buyer and have to pay the MS tax...

  • Sounds nice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mmcuh (1088773) on Friday June 03, 2011 @02:49PM (#36333104)
    If I got one I would most likely install Debian on it, but if they make it work smoothly with Ubuntu it will probably be easy to make it work smoothly with Debian as well. And it would be nice to not have to pay the Microsoft tax, even if it's not much cheaper. Hell, it would be nice even if they are more expensive as long as Microsoft isn't getting any of it.
    • by McGiraf (196030)

      most OEMs pay MS per unit shipped, no per unit with windows installed.

      You'll pay for windows, even if you do not get it

      One of the reason is called th MS "tax"

      • Re:Sounds nice (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Xtifr (1323) on Friday June 03, 2011 @05:52PM (#36334256) Homepage

        most OEMs pay MS per unit shipped, no per unit with windows installed.

        That practice was, as I understand it, supposed to have ended in 1994. There have been allegations that it continues, but no whistleblowers have come forward with a smoking gun, which is pretty impressive, given the number of people that would have had to be privy to such agreements over the years.

        These days, I believe, they rely on financial incentives tied to adware and trial-versions of software to be bundled with OEM releases of Windows, to offset the cost of Windows itself and remove the incentive OEMs might have to offer cheaper (e.g. free) OSes as an alternative. The result is: Microsoft is happy because they're still getting paid, even if it's by ISVs instead of directly by the OEMs, and because they get to promote their other products; the OEMs are happy because they're paying less for the OS; and ISVs are happy because they're getting a very cost-effective form of advertising. The only losers are the customers who now get machines clogged with adware and free-trialware that they may have no interest in, and other OS vendors who can no longer compete on price, even if that price is zero.

        This is where it gets interesting: if Ubuntu can start making enough money off of their partnership deals with companies like Amazon and Google, they may be able to start paying OEMs for including Ubuntu instead of Windows. Hence, I suspect, Ubuntu's recent controversial moves regarding Banshee.

  • Great that they're switching to Ubuntu. I've got Ubuntu running on a little Asus EeeBox in the kitchen for the past two years. It came with some Asus-branded version of Linux that was terrible; but I dumped that right away for Ubuntu. It works great; never had any problems. It's a nice, small box, humming away under the cabinet, connected to a monitor mounted on the wall. My wife and kids use it primarily for email and web stuff, and play music on it. None of them have ever complained about Ubuntu or asked

  • The original Linux EEE PCs ran the most god-awful distro imaginable. For reasons I cannot fathom, they had Xandros puke out a sick abortion of the usual Xandros desktop(itself more or less a sick abortion of Debian) just for them. It was painfully bad, partially broken, and basically disconnected from repositories that ever received any actual updates.
    • Re:About Time... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Animats (122034) on Friday June 03, 2011 @03:26PM (#36333388) Homepage

      The original Linux EEE PCs ran the most god-awful distro imaginable.

      It had to fit in 2GB of file space, and still have something left for users. But I agree that it sucks. I have several EeePC 2G Surf machines, obtained cheaply from a failed startup company. I use them to run some embedded system demos, where all that runs is one Python application. The biggest problem is that the WiFi driver is flaky. The second biggest problem is that the "union" file system, which makes one read-only file system and one read-write file system appear to be a single pathname space, leaks inodes, and has to be flushed out occasionally.

      The problem with Asus is that they can't be trusted as a Linux vendor. They've had on again, off again Linux support for years.

  • Where are the models with SSD? Why did they stop making/shipping those?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      People stopped buying them, just like they stopped buying the ones with the 9" screen. It's a shame, I loved my tiny SSD-based netbook.

      • by Nerdfest (867930)
        I think they stopped making them when most netbooks switched to being shipped with XP. I believe XP requires quite a lot more space than a Linux install, so most of the netbooks started shipping with 120 GB hard disks. As usual, I may be wrong, or at least have my timing off on the change.
        • by jedidiah (1196)

          A 120G is useful for more than just the OS install. It's also handy for data.

          If a machine is under-spec'ed it will likely do poorly regardless of what OS you put on it.

          I got a couple of the original netbooks off of woot for yuks and the keyboard is painful to use (but not too bad) but the storage is just too meagre.

          The screen is also a bit tiny. This is an area where the whole tablet (or hybrid) thing makes a lot of sense. More screen, smaller over all footprint.

          • by Nerdfest (867930)
            You're probably doing like I am, and using it as a full-blown laptop with a tiny screen and keyboard, which really wasn't the original intention. It is damn handy to have that extra space, but I think I'd actually prefer the reduced boot time and increased battery life.
  • Even if you don't run Ubuntu, it will be nice to get the same hardware for less money. It drives me crazy when I try to buy a laptop, and there is no option to purchase it sans OS. This way even if your favorite flavor is not Ubuntu, at least you won't be paying for an OS you don't plan on using.
  • There are a number of factors that make Ubuntu an attractive proposition for ASUS and its customers. Ubuntu continues to set the standard for slick design

    Compared to what? Windows XP? I'm pretty sure nobody is looking to Linux to get design ideas. OS X sets the standard for clean, polished design, IMNSHO. Windows 7 next if you care about translucency. It is still pretty obvious that Linux is primarily created by programmers, though it has gotten better over the years. As a programmer myself, I can tell you that you shouldn't let us design interfaces. In an ideal work environment, I would be paired with a designer who knows his shit. Well, unless I'm doing ba

    • by nickb64 (1885128)

      I think all the netbooks w/ Linux preinstalled got killed off pretty quickly since people mostly returned them.

      The only place I know of that you might be able to get a preinstalled Linux netbook still is someplace like system76 or whatever it's called, that site that sells Ubuntu preinstalled machines

      • by formfeed (703859)

        I think all the netbooks w/ Linux preinstalled got killed off pretty quickly since people mostly returned them.

        That was a long time ago -two years?- at a time when people came from Windows laptops. Netbooks were new, and Linux something for hackers.
        Now, Linux is still something for hackers, but people have their android phones, and there are tablets around. Netbooks are not experienced as the underpowered laptops but as a step above the android phone. A Linux netbook might just be the step up from the android gadget.

      • by formfeed (703859)

        I think all the netbooks w/ Linux preinstalled got killed off pretty quickly since people mostly returned them.

        That was a long time ago -two years?- at a time when people came from Windows laptops. Netbooks were new, and linux something for hackers.

        Now, linux is still something for hackers, but people have their android phones, and there are tablets around. Netbooks are not experienced as the underpowered laptops but as a step above the android phone. A Linux netbook might just be the step up from the android gadget.

  • by rsilvergun (571051) on Friday June 03, 2011 @03:18PM (#36333310)
    it's free. You usually don't get any discount on the Linux netbooks & nettops...
    • by mmcuh (1088773)
      Because the Windows licence funds Microsoft stunts like SCO?
  • I'm on my second Eee PC now. The first was a 701 (7" screen). The second is a 1001P (10" screen).
    The hardware has been well supported in the various kernels because the Eee PC's were popular and ASUS was onside.
    The hardest part of sourcing a new Linux-flavoured laptop used to be ensuring that all the hardware worked out of the box.
    It was often best to install a Linux-flavour on an older laptop to help ensure all the hardware worked.
    However, older laptops had used-battery issues and, of course, older hardw

  • I've been running UNR on a 1001p for a year and a bit now and it's fairly flawless. Respectably quick for a wee machine like that, odd-but-nice navigation, and stable with one exception: if it's running under the effects-laden UNR interface then X will sometimes fall over. It's happened maybe 20 times since I've had it - unsure as to the source, but my first total guess would be something between the nVidia driver and Ubuntu. The wireless took a bit of fiddling to get working too, but no huge hassle, just a couple of installations. I'm hoping that the combination of a newer OS than I'm running plus an in-house build will sort both issues out.

    If you're not a fan of the Unity interface (and I get the impression I'm in the minority by liking it) you can easily just boot into good-old-gnome, but given the screen size I never bother. Battery life is a solid 6 hours without being particularly careful (wireless on, screen bright, playing videos with the sound on), dropping to about 4 hours after a year and three months of daily use.

    Cracking machine for the money, and Ubuntu sits very nicely on top. My initial review of it is here: Asus 1001p review [blogspot.com]
  • I've been running UNR on a 1001p for a year and a bit now and it's fairly flawless. Respectably quick for a wee machine like that, odd-but-nice navigation, and stable with one exception: if it's running under the effects-laden UNR interface then X will sometimes fall over. It's happened maybe 20 times since I've had it - unsure as to the source, but my first total guess would be something between the nVidia driver and Ubuntu. The wireless took a bit of fiddling to get working too, but no huge hassle, just a
  • Film at 11. Or maybe they'll use another surrogate, like SCO.

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