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Old 06-22-2013, 09:21 AM   #1
sinuath
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Registered: Jun 2013
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Finding the Right Distribution


I have this old laptop that i'm trying to make useful again, it's not too bad it's got a dual core and 2 gigs of ram, it's probably about 5 years old. I was hoping to throw mysql and php on it and run it as a sort of psuedo-server, something i can play test code on. But, i'm just not sure which Distro to put on it. I would probably be happy with an older version of ubuntu or xubuntu but honestly, should i be using old software? Seems like a lot of creature comforts come from the newer software out there.

A couple things i'd like to have:
  • dual screen support
  • wifi support out of the box
  • play video/music
  • vim

I don't think i'm really asking for a lot there really, if the interface wasn't so weird on the latest ubuntu i'd just go with that. Sorry if this seems like an annoying post that you've seen a million times but i've spent over a week in the past just downloading and trying out different distro's so a point in the right direction would be appreciated.
 
Old 06-22-2013, 10:06 AM   #2
Doc CPU
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Location: Stuttgart, Germany
Distribution: Mint, Debian, Gentoo, Win 2k/XP
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Hi there,

Quote:
Originally Posted by sinuath View Post
I have this old laptop that i'm trying to make useful again, it's not too bad it's got a dual core and 2 gigs of ram, it's probably about 5 years old.
even so, the technical specs still sound like a "power machine" to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sinuath View Post
A couple things i'd like to have:
  • dual screen support
  • wifi support out of the box
  • play video/music
  • vim

I don't think i'm really asking for a lot there really, if the interface wasn't so weird on the latest ubuntu i'd just go with that. Sorry if this seems like an annoying post that you've seen a million times but i've spent over a week in the past just downloading and trying out different distro's so a point in the right direction would be appreciated.
Have you tried Linux Mint yet, an Ubuntu derivate? The MATE desktop follows the look & feel of Ubuntu until 10.10, but actually Mint builds on an up-to-date Ubuntu. However, the current version Mint 15 still seems to have some serious issues; I read a few complaints of users who couldn't get the Live/Install DVD to boot, but just ended in front of a black screen and a non-responsive computer. I experienced that, too, on both PCs I tried to boot from that Live DVD. But I'm good friends with Mint 13, never saw a reason to upgrade to 14.
Mint has everything you ask for, and a lot more, while the MATE desktop, continuing the path of Gnome 2, demands considerably less system resources than Gnome 3 or Unity. It's running nice and smooth even on my notebook with a single-core Atom N270 and "only" 1GB RAM.

[X] Doc CPU
 
Old 06-22-2013, 10:53 AM   #3
sinuath
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Thanks for the reply!

And yeah i have, it's installed on the laptop right now, it's what i'm trying to move away from(should have mentioned that, was dead tired when i posted). Mint is good but the wifi just doesn't want to work on the machine and there's no key binding for the keyboard. I can't change my own shortcuts, which is a convenience i've grown used to. Beyond that Mint is great and i'd recommend it to damn near anyone, especially people coming off windows. I just don't want to hook up to the internet via Ethernet cord every time, since it's a laptop and that's not always an option.

Although i think it's running "Cinnamon" right now, not sure. I'd have to power it up to double check.
 
Old 06-22-2013, 11:25 AM   #4
Doc CPU
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Hi there,

Quote:
Originally Posted by sinuath View Post
And yeah i have, [Mint is] installed on the laptop right now, it's what i'm trying to move away from (should have mentioned that, was dead tired when i posted). Mint is good but the wifi just doesn't want to work on the machine and there's no key binding for the keyboard.
what version? On my notebook, WiFi worked right out of the box with Mint 13 "Maya", and from Control Center/Keyboard Shortcuts I can assign shortcuts as much as I like (though I've never used that feature).

Quote:
Originally Posted by sinuath View Post
Beyond that Mint is great and i'd recommend it to damn near anyone, especially people coming off windows.
Funny you say that, because being a former Windows user myself, Ubuntu was the first Linux distro I seriously used - starting with 9.04, having nothing but trouble with 10.04, dropping back to 9.04, then switching to 10.10 and getting stuck there because I abhorred to the new Unity desktop (and Gnome 3 didn't appeal that much more to me). That's why I still stayed with 10.10 until mid-2012, when I finally discovered Mint and had my new favorite in like no time (which was Mint 12 "Liza" then, its MATE desktop still suffering from a few childhood diseases).
Along with that I got friendly with Gentoo or Debian for server systems with no X and no desktop.

Unlike many Windows users, I dislike KDE because it's too fancy and bloated for my liking - after all, that was one reason why I moved away from Windows: Windows 2000 was fine with me; XP pissed me off now and then, but was okay on the whole after I disabled the Luna skin; and Windows 7 finally drove me nuts and was the last bit that convinced me that Windows and I would go separate ways from then on (I still use XP once in a while, though, and Windows 7 when I really can't avoid it, like in relation with customers). I never even tried Vista, as it seemed stillborn to me when it was released.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sinuath View Post
Although i think it's running "Cinnamon" right now, not sure. I'd have to power it up to double check.
Yeah, Mint comes in two flavors. You can choose between MATE and Cinnamon. MATE is a bit more my preference.

[X] Doc CPU

Last edited by Doc CPU; 06-22-2013 at 04:21 PM. Reason: minor clarifications
 
Old 06-22-2013, 01:57 PM   #5
DavidMcCann
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Your laptop isn't old. Both my computers are 32-bit, single core with less RAM and they're fine. If you want suggestions for specific hardware (e.g. wifi), you do have to tell us exactly what you have, though!

Mint keyboard shortcuts. What was the problem? If you can't use the Super key in the Mate shortcut editor, use the keyboard configuration tool and in the AltWin section switch from "default" to "Meta on Win keys". You could also use the general configuration editor: install the package dconf-tools to get it.

Wifi. Have you asked anyone (like the Mint forum) about your particular hardware, or searched online?

Blank screen and lockup with the live disk. That's a bug inherited from Ubuntu, and can be avoided by using the failsafe session (unlike in Ubuntu where you have to get the alternative installation disk).
 
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Old 06-22-2013, 02:08 PM   #6
sinuath
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Registered: Jun 2013
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Short on time and got a long day ahead of me so i'm going to reply before checking the computer's distro.

Alot of the problems i'm talking about are things i remember not liking about it when i was using it, i've been using a newer computer for the last 6 months or so and the install on my cold comp was somewhat fresh when i switched over. So i was planning on switching to a different Distro but never got around to it. Anyway i can't go into to much detail about the problems i was having with it since i haven't touched it for awhile.

Ack, looks like i've run out of time, gotta go. Thanks for the reply, i'll definitely check out "Maya" i think the version i have might be a little older then that..

Once again, thx for replying

Last edited by sinuath; 06-22-2013 at 05:21 PM. Reason: Had a quick minute, noticed i rambled a bit.
 
Old 06-30-2013, 01:30 AM   #7
sinuath
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Registered: Jun 2013
Posts: 4

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Sorry for the delay, I just sat down and got to it; installed a version of fedora(cd drive seems to be breaking :/) from usb. i don't know if every distro can be installed from a flash drive but i did a little running around on the net and found an app to make flash drives into live cd's (never did it before, kinda awesome)

Now i can finally tell you i was using a Broadcom BCM4312 older version, and it was a bit of a pain to get the wireless to work, but it is! so i'm very happy for that, apparently it's just a pain to get it working or something, found 3 different methods and only one of them seemed to work.

Now that it's all said and done i'm pretty happy.

Oh and yeah i never really thought of it as old myself but people tell me that it is a lot. It's more then powerful enough for my needs these damn ide's keep taking more and more power though.
 
  


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