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Thread: A very specific "Which distro is best" question

  1. #1

    A very specific "Which distro is best" question

    The computer: an eMachines T3990. CPU: 2.8GHz CeleronD, 256MB RAM

    The target user: My mother, who is not knowledgeable in Linux, but only needs internet and word processing for online college classes.

    I've tried a minimal custom Ubuntu installation, but it just doesn't have the zip AND functionality I want on this PC.

    I will be the one providing tech support and doing all the updating stuff, I just want it to be fast and stable, with new programs, and not thrash the hard drive when running a word processor, Firefox or Opera, and maybe a music player all at once. And I can't wait hours and hours for stuff to custom-compile, unless I can download everything at once and compile later, so Gentoo is out.

    So, here's the question: should I pick Arch, Debian Lenny, or perhaps DreamLinux?
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  2. #2

    Re: A very specific "Which distro is best" question

    For Tux's sake, **bump**!
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  3. #3
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    Re: A very specific "Which distro is best" question

    i would give dreamlinux a try if you want an OS that is pretty much ready to go. i've gotten dream to work on a pc with 128mb ram. another one to consider is antix mepis (based on debian). it is made to work on older machines, but is very up to date with all codecs and such.

    i just went to a computer fair today and saw sticks of ram for $5. there really is no excuse anymore for not having enough ram.

  4. #4
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    Re: A very specific "Which distro is best" question

    Arch and lenny is ok.Dreamlinux just sucks.with that ram you may want to install xubuntu.Also consider puppy and mepis

    You can download everything at gentoo then compile it offline.

  5. #5
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    Re: A very specific "Which distro is best" question

    Puppy? Mepis?
    ASUS X202E - Intel Core i3 1.8 GHz, 4 GB RAM, 500 GB Seagate HDD

  6. #6
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    Re: A very specific "Which distro is best" question

    well from what I see the machine has limited memory and video. So I guess I would aks you what you mean by "doesn't have the zip AND functionality I want on this PC" I would suspect that its just gnome using up to many recourses that this machine simply does not have. Have you tried Xubuntu its much leaner then the regular gnome based one because of XFCE.

    When you tested ubuntu did you actully install it or run the live disk? the live disk is great but slow comparied to a real install

    You might also want to take a look at http://www.informationweek.com/news/...leID=203100989

    they mention a few distros that are optimised for small machines

  7. #7
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    Re: A very specific "Which distro is best" question

    No matter WHAT you do. A machine with only 256mb of RAM is going to page like MAD running anything like Firefox or OOO....unless you;re running something like Puppy. I wouldn't bother with Xubuntu if you want "zip"...sure you can go ahead and try it-but I'd wager it wouldn't be that much quicker than a minimal Ubuntu install.
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  8. #8

    Re: A very specific "Which distro is best" question

    I've been exploring using tiny little WMs like JWM and FVWM-Crystal, and ultra-light apps, for the past several weeks, and although they're half the answer, Ubuntu is just NOT the OS for this computer.

    More memory is not a possibility at this point, we're a little short on money at the moment.

    XFCE is ok, but I wanted even leaner -- not to mention something I can figure out how to change the menu on! I chose Linux for freedom and I can't change the XFCE menu.

    I know Firefox and OOO are fat, I'm going to use Swiftfox, Midori, and Abiword but have those bigger versions available for max compatibility.

    @ binbash: Why does DreamLinux suck?
    And how can I download all the packages and compile
    offline at a later time in Gentoo? I found the Portage snap
    shot, and the stage3 tarball, but everythihng else is
    .ebuild files (telling where to download from?)
    My little blog/notebook

    Forums for Project Permafrost, a new, centralized community for IceWM users and developers -- whether of themes, configurations, or the window manager itself.

  9. #9

    Re: A very specific "Which distro is best" question

    Quote Originally Posted by cybergalvez View Post
    well from what I see the machine has limited memory and video. So I guess I would aks you what you mean by "doesn't have the zip AND functionality I want on this PC" I would suspect that its just gnome using up to many recourses that this machine simply does not have. Have you tried Xubuntu its much leaner then the regular gnome based one because of XFCE.

    When you tested ubuntu did you actully install it or run the live disk? the live disk is great but slow comparied to a real install

    You might also want to take a look at http://www.informationweek.com/news/...leID=203100989

    they mention a few distros that are optimised for small machines
    I'll check out the link, thanks.

    I've been using Ubuntu for a year -- I know about GNOME, KDE, XFCE, and the WMs. I HATE the live disk, I use DSL for that type stuff.

    Xubuntu has far too much GNOME in it, used like 200 MB (RAM+swap) without any additional programs started. Didn't bother optimizing that, just whacked away and started over with a custom-install.

    Like I said, my mother will be using this, but the tech stuff is up to me.

    The options are Debian, Arch, and Dreamlinux. Please suggest only the pros and cons of each.
    Last edited by Mulenmar; March 28th, 2009 at 11:18 PM.
    My little blog/notebook

    Forums for Project Permafrost, a new, centralized community for IceWM users and developers -- whether of themes, configurations, or the window manager itself.

  10. #10
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    Re: A very specific "Which distro is best" question

    If you don't care for Gnome, then as someone else mentioned, use Arch.

    The base system has no GUI and if you install XFCE (pacman -S xfce4)then it will only pull XFCE dependencies. I also find that wicd instead of network manager is a good way around a no-Gnome XFCE.
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