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Thread: Need help choosing a stable, fast(ish) Distro...

  1. #1
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    Need help choosing a stable, fast(ish) Distro...

    Hi!

    Currently using Ubuntu 12.04 but finding it a bit bloated and sluggish on older Hardware (Dual Core 2, 3GB RAM, int graphics).

    Errors drive me mad. As long the software works as it should I really don't care if its not the total latest version. Also, I'm not the world's biggest fan of the command line but I realise that there is no distro you can get away from it completely. I am an intermediate Linuxer.

    I don't mind fiddling with OS during installation but once its done I want to just it without having to spend a few hours configuring every package that I download.

    So... I have identified a few different distros. Some I have used and some I haven't.

    Xubuntu - Possibly with IceWM as an alternative to XFCE. Hear that it is slightly bloated and the Ubuntu packages aren't as stable as would be ideal. Good speed.

    FreeBSD - Very different from what I am used to. Some of the ports can be very old. The installation process takes forever! (Personal experience!) Speed is apparently "OK"

    Arch - Command line centred so not ideal. I hear some people say its the most stable thing since God and others say that it constantly falls over and its useless. Very fast though. Possibly too much like hard work.

    Debian - Probably as Stable as BSD but also suffers with older packages. I would be more familiar with it though. Speed also found to be "OK"

    I'm not really leaning towards anything at the moment. What do you guys think? Any preferences? What do you use and why?

  2. #2
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    Re: Need help choosing a stable, fast(ish) Distro...

    Thread moved to Recurring Discussions

    Try 'em all out. See what suits. That simple.

    Lightweight for old hardware? Lubuntu or Xubuntu. But your hardware is not that old and should be running the current Ubuntu just fine ...

    I would advise running them off the disk and trying them out or making a bunch of partitions (possibly logical drives inside and extended partition) and installing then attempting all the variations you suggest.

    Good luck ...
    Last edited by Bucky Ball; January 20th, 2013 at 04:52 PM.

  3. #3
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    Re: Need help choosing a stable, fast(ish) Distro...

    "Dual Core 2, 3GB RAM, int graphics" doesn't sound bad. It should run Ubuntu 12.04 / 12.10 quite well.

  4. #4
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    Re: Need help choosing a stable, fast(ish) Distro...

    In fairness, it doesn't do too badly. However, there are a few (5 or 6) seconds delay when clicking on the launcher button. I'm just looking to trim things like that down to a few seconds.

  5. #5
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    Re: Need help choosing a stable, fast(ish) Distro...

    I would not suggest any rolling release distros (like Arch or Gentoo) if stable is what you want. There will be breakages with a rolling release model. Avoid the BSD's too. Think of them more as server OS's than something you want to live in as a desktop user.

    Debian is stable but you are stuck on alot of ancient packages. Maybe try out Crunchbang if you want a Debian-based lightweight distro...it uses Openbox. For something with fresher packages, I'd suggest Lubuntu. LXDE/openbox is very, very lightweight. And you have access to all of the (reasonably) fresh packages in the Ubuntu repos. Stability shouldn't be much of problem with LXDE/openbox.
    "The Linux philosophy is laugh in the face of danger. Oops. Wrong one. Do it yourself. That's it." --Linus Torvalds

  6. #6
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    Re: Need help choosing a stable, fast(ish) Distro...

    You can try light distros like bodhi linux or crunchbang.
    Lubuntu is pretty light, IMHO.
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  7. #7
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    Re: Need help choosing a stable, fast(ish) Distro...

    For absolute stability above all else, you can't go wrong with: Debian, CentOS, Slackware.

    For speed, you can't go wrong with any distro, really, so long as you use a lightweight DE such as Xfce or LXDE.

    Quote Originally Posted by BigTobster View Post
    In fairness, it doesn't do too badly. However, there are a few (5 or 6) seconds delay when clicking on the launcher button. I'm just looking to trim things like that down to a few seconds.
    For an "apps take too long to load when I launch them issue" I would suspect the bottleneck is loading them from the hard drive, right? One solution would be to put your / ("root") partition on a fast SSD drive, another might be to use "preload" (which loads your frequently-used apps during system boot, giving the illusion that apps are faster to load).

    Also you mention you have (presumably integrated?) Intel graphics. You might have a better experience with Ubuntu's Unity interface if you upgrade to a dedicated graphics card. This will not help specifically with app loading time, but may help with the overall experience of "sluggishness."
    Last edited by snowpine; January 20th, 2013 at 07:10 PM.

  8. #8
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    Re: Need help choosing a stable, fast(ish) Distro...

    Quote Originally Posted by BigTobster View Post
    In fairness, it doesn't do too badly. However, there are a few (5 or 6) seconds delay when clicking on the launcher button. I'm just looking to trim things like that down to a few seconds.
    I had that with 12.04 too. Using 12.10 solved that irritating delay.

  9. #9
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    Re: Need help choosing a stable, fast(ish) Distro...

    Quote Originally Posted by BigTobster View Post
    What do you guys think? Any preferences? What do you use and why?
    I've been using Peppermint OS, for a year or so, on my netbook, on USB-stick installs, et cetera.

    It's a Lubuntu fork...

    Quote Originally Posted by BigTobster View Post
    Currently using Ubuntu 12.04 but finding it a bit bloated and sluggish on older Hardware (Dual Core 2, 3GB RAM, int graphics) [...]
    You shouldn't have to tap your fingers on the desk, waiting for something to happen!

    Peppermint OS is fast, lightweight, no lagginess, stable, and looks great (with some tweaking).

    If you go to the Peppermint OS site, don't let the "cloud" talk scare you off. While it sounds intimidating (like you will need to learn something new) it actually runs like any other Ubu distro -- uses the same PPAs, and so forth, and so on.

    Here's a recent screenie of my humble 10-inch netbook install (still tweaking)...


    ASUS Eee PC 1000HD (circa 2009) / Peppermint Two OS (Lubuntu Fork) / Conky 1.8.0 / ConkyWX 0.7.9



    Check out the RAM usage.

    Guayadeque (music player) is using a few CPU cycles, but that's okay... gotta have tunes.


    Here's a 16 GiB USB-stick install, mounted on a desktop box (still tweaking)...


    Intel P4 Extreme Edition (circa 2005) / Peppermint Two OS (Lubuntu Fork) / Conky 1.9.0 / ConkyWX 0.7.9



    Anyway, that's my choice, and my reasoning...
    Last edited by VinDSL; January 20th, 2013 at 07:58 PM. Reason: Addendum
    Intel ® P4 Extreme Edition 3.4 (Gallatin) || DFI ® LanParty PRO875B rev B1
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  10. #10
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    Re: Need help choosing a stable, fast(ish) Distro...

    Your specification are absolutly fine even for 12.04, what has boosted my laptop with near the same specification was the fact that I exchanged my old HDD with a SSD. You get currently quite good bargins such as:

    CRUCIAL M4 SATA III 2.5" SSD - 512 GB for £279.99

    There are of course many other tips and tricks you can enhance your performance but I found the new SSD the best solution for me.

    -Greg

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