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Thread: Help selecting a lightweith OS

  1. #1
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    Apr 2009
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    Help selecting a lightweith OS

    Hello everybody.

    Some time ago I bought a new laptop and my niece, who is 11 years old, is going to inherit my old one.

    This laptop is old, and I want her to have a pleasant linux experience (it will be her first OS, no windows pollution, so I think we can make her a big linux fan ) so, although Xubuntu works, I want to try something different. Can you help me?

    What do I require?

    1.- It must be stable, because I won't be around to solve things. Maybe I can log in remotely, but it must work reasonable well.

    2.- It must have locales, because she does not understand english.

    3.- It must be able to put a bottom panel for no use, because the last lines of the screen don't work.

    4.- It must have access to as much educational software as possible, as I want her to use this laptop as a teaching tool mainly.

    Regarding all this points, I was thinking in Masonux, as some guy in this forum pointed it to me, and it seems to meet all the points (specially it will have access to ubuntu repositories, so every piece of software in ubuntu will be easily accessible with apt-get).

    Anyway, it does not have karmic yet, so I was lucking to some other distros:

    Arch: ok, I can spend all the time it takes to configure it perfectly, but, will I be able to install locales and educational software?

    Is there another distro worth looking at which meet my needs?


    Laptop specifications: 40Gb hhd. 512Mb RAM. AMD at 1250MHz i think.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala

    Re: Help selecting a lightweith OS

    Puppylinux is very lighweight

    but check out www.linux.com

    there are all distro's listed!
    Asus Z53S Notebook>250GB HDD>2048GB Ram>Intel Core2Duo (2x1.5 GHz)>NviDia GForce 8400M>Ubuntu 9.10 'Karmic Koala'
    Registered Linux-User Nr. 499220 Registered Ubuntu-User Nr. 29472

  3. #3
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    Re: Help selecting a lightweith OS

    On those specs, for a young not-that-into-pcs-now person, I would use ubuntu minimal install.

    Its IMO one the the easiest OSes to learn, and fancy stuff like arch etc might be good for experienced PC users, or people who have used linux before, but its not as user friendly as ubuntu.

  4. #4
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    Masonux Looks Okay

    Masonux looks like a good OS, although I've never actually used LXDE. Defiantly not Arch - doesn't matter if you can configure it or not, it's designed for people who know what they're doing.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail

    Re: Help selecting a lightweith OS

    Quote Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
    I would use ubuntu minimal install.
    Me too. Why reinvent the wheel? Just use the system you're already familiar with. It's not hard to get Ubuntu down to about 100MB or less, and would run fine on a 512MB machine.

  6. #6
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    Re: Masonux Looks Okay

    Quote Originally Posted by Penguin Guy View Post
    Masonux looks like a good OS, although I've never actually used LXDE. Defiantly not Arch - doesn't matter if you can configure it or not, it's designed for people who know what they're doing.
    This. I would argue that Arch is one of the lowest-maintenance distros out there, but part of that is because the user is expected to know their way around and set things up solidly. Updating/configuring is done via command line, and it's an unwritten rule that before major updates you read up on the main site and the forums to make sure everything's gravy.

    I vote Ubuntu minimal if the OP is okay with doing the setup. Openbox as well. In my experience once things are all set, most people take to OB pretty smoothly.
    Want me to punchisize your face, For free??

  7. #7
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    Re: Help selecting a lightweith OS

    Well, if you set up Arch in a (for you) perfect way, and everything works, there is no need to update it frequently. This is only true if you install all the educational software for her and she won't download anything from the repositories by herself, but that is a possible issue (and a way to break things) with most distros. The advantage of Arch is that you can perfectly (for your needs) set it up the way you want it and make it very lean and fast (I've really come to enjoy xfce4 lately).

    If you want her to pull software from the repository, Ubuntu may be a safer choice, since she is less likely to accidentally update the entire system. But if it is going to be a locked down system, I'd go with Arch and build something nice and beautiful by myself.

  8. #8
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    Re: Help selecting a lightweith OS

    Quote Originally Posted by mivo View Post
    Well, if you set up Arch in a (for you) perfect way, and everything works, there is no need to update it frequently.
    Sure if you don't mind running a vulnerable browser or im client or ssh or kernel or w/e else gets updated because of a security vulnerability.

    I would agree with SomeGuyDude, I would also setup key based ssh login so you can fix problems remotely and either login regularly to update the system or set it to autoupdate (with backports disabled and security enabled)

  9. #9
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    Re: Masonux Looks Okay

    Quote Originally Posted by SomeGuyDude View Post
    I vote Ubuntu minimal if the OP is okay with doing the setup. Openbox as well. In my experience once things are all set, most people take to OB pretty smoothly.
    +1 if you know how. If you don't, then use Masonux or Sprii, which are both just someone doing that for you. Masonux is LXDE, whereas Sprii is Icewm. Both have their advantages. I believe IceWM is more lightweight as a package because LXDE adds a few apps to openbox, but the difference will be negligible. LXDE might be better for a windows refugee as it resembles slightly XP, whereas IceWM looks a bit more like 95/98 by default. I personally prefer ICEwms themes to LXDEs, though...IceWMs themes are more different from each other.

    Puppy linux is also amazing. I would definitely give it a try, but puppy linux has annoying package management.
    Desktop
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  10. #10
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    Re: Help selecting a lightweith OS

    Quote Originally Posted by Xbehave View Post
    Sure if you don't mind running a vulnerable browser or im client or ssh or kernel or w/e else gets updated because of a security vulnerability.
    Jaunty still only had 3.0.x in the repository, didn't it? And 8.04, a LTS, shipped with FF 3.0 Beta 4.

    He didn't mention a browser, though I don't think there would be a huge security risk if he installed Midori or even the latest version of FF and the browser doesn't get updated in the next six months.

    But as I said, if it's not a locked down system, I'd go with a minimal install of Ubuntu too, or, depending on the specs, with UNR.

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