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Old 05-16-2010, 03:14 PM   #1
bigalexe
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which distro has a SIMPLE desktop interface?


I am looking for a distro with an extremely simple desktop interface. I am looking for something as simple as the iPad where you can only run 1 application and it gets maximized. You click an icon and... you get that. Also the hardware is well described as "Aging," it is not dual-core, and may be as low as 64mb of RAM.

This is because the computer will basically be used as a simple game machine, and by game I mean Minesweeper and Solitaire. For Multiplayer games maybe virtual board games on a single screen, no LAN type stuff. Also I do not want the primary users of this computer to be able to access anything besides exactly what I determine they are supposed to. Basically what we want is something that is Child-Safe and Child-Simple. There will be no internet browsing or document creation or anything complicated.

Now I am not saying however that there won't be a possible user login that does have access to a full complement of software programs, just that I need to be able to setup at least one login that meets the criteria I specified.

I have used Ubuntu in a few iterations, I can use a terminal with some internet help, and consider myself "Technical." Primarily I will be managing the software.
 
Old 05-16-2010, 03:18 PM   #2
snowpine
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I think Puppy is your best choice. It's available in many remixes or "Puplets" from full-featured to very simple: http://www.puppylinux.org/main/index...%20Archive.txt

Check out BrowserLinux, SafePup, and TeenPup for examples of what's possible with customized Puppy. Or you can use the remastering tools to make your own Puplet customized for your exact needs.

Last edited by snowpine; 05-16-2010 at 04:29 PM.
 
Old 05-16-2010, 03:43 PM   #3
Alexvader
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Arch...

If you install DVTM ( Dynamic Virtual Terminal Manager ) this will run in runlevel 3 ( no X ), allowing you to allocate several areas of your text framebuffer ( mine is 1280x1024 ) stacked as your preferences

http://www.brain-dump.org/projects/dvtm/

http://www.brain-dump.org/projects/dvtm/screenshot1.png
http://www.brain-dump.org/projects/dvtm/screenshot3.png

Allowing you to run simultaneously a web browser like w3m or links, a source editor like fte, vim or nano, a math prototyping app like octave, scilab or maxima, an IRC client like irssi, an msn client like centerim, a file manafer like mc...
having 5 "windows" per TTY, copying and pasting between all them ...

simpler than this you won't get...

IMHO...
 
Old 05-16-2010, 04:26 PM   #4
chadwick
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When I've installed Debian it's allowed me to skip installing a desktop at all. There's then a range of window managers (as opposed to desktop environments, although they have those as well) that you can install, all the way down to the simple tiling window managers and other virtually nonexistent ones. If you did it that way you'd probably have to use the package manager (apt-get or aptitude, the same used by Ubuntu I believe) from the command line: a matter of memorizing a few commands if you haven't memorized them yet.

Debian's what I have experience with so that's why it's the one that I mention. It should be possible to run most major distros with a light window manager and no other bells or whistles; although the default is to use something like KDE or Gnome. If you want a distro that's specifically designed to be very lightweight right off the bat, then I don't have experience with it myself although it definitely exists. Probably the Puppy ones that snowpine mentioned.

Last edited by chadwick; 05-16-2010 at 05:04 PM.
 
Old 05-16-2010, 05:16 PM   #5
craigevil
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Take a look at lxlauncher or Easy Linux for the Elderly

Child's Play and Gcompris are both games and learning activities for younger children that open in full screen.

You might even consider the Sugar interface.
http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Sugar_on_a_Stick
http://activities.sugarlabs.org/en-US/sugar/

Last edited by craigevil; 05-16-2010 at 05:23 PM.
 
Old 05-16-2010, 06:14 PM   #6
chadwick
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There's also Damn Small Linux: http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/.

Last edited by chadwick; 05-16-2010 at 06:17 PM.
 
Old 05-17-2010, 07:37 AM   #7
bigalexe
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the distro called CognitionPLay that is made by the same team as child'a play pretty much nailed it.
 
Old 05-17-2010, 07:56 AM   #8
pixellany
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Tell us more about the computer (I assume it's not the one in your sig). 64MB of RAM is going to be a problem with almost any OS. Installing more RAM will make a huge difference.
 
Old 05-17-2010, 01:03 PM   #9
DavidMcCann
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64MB is really too low for a GUI. Puppy (which I can recommend) will run well in 128MB. Damn Small Linux is listed at Distrowatch as dormant, so that's not such a good idea.
 
Old 05-17-2010, 02:07 PM   #10
chadwick
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMcCann View Post
Damn Small Linux is listed at Distrowatch as dormant, so that's not such a good idea.
Thanks for pointing that out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pixellany View Post
64MB of RAM is going to be a problem with almost any OS.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMcCann View Post
64MB is really too low for a GUI.
Here's a link (that's recently edited but probably first written about two years ago) that says Ubuntu can be set up to run on a system with 64 MB memory: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/In...wMemorySystems. That said, they don't say it will run well. They say to set aside plenty of swap space meaning it would probably run slowly. So I think it's agreed you might want more memory than that.

Maybe these guys would also be good:
http://crunchbanglinux.org/wiki/about
http://distrowatch.com/table.php?dis...ion=crunchbang

Also there's the question of what medium you'd use to install it. If the machine is that old, it might not read some of the CDs that we have these days.

Last edited by chadwick; 05-17-2010 at 02:33 PM.
 
Old 05-18-2010, 04:41 PM   #11
bigalexe
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The computers were donated machines to an organization originally intended to be used for office work. Once I got asked to come in and assess them I saw the specs and Windows 2000 or Windows ME (can't remember exactly) and said flatly... you need new equipment. Then a grant was written for and machines and equipment were purchased to serve the role.

I am trying to do what I can to make use of them in the best possible manner, and save them from the landfill.
 
Old 05-18-2010, 05:03 PM   #12
snowpine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigalexe View Post
The computers were donated machines to an organization originally intended to be used for office work. Once I got asked to come in and assess them I saw the specs and Windows 2000 or Windows ME (can't remember exactly) and said flatly... you need new equipment. Then a grant was written for and machines and equipment were purchased to serve the role.

I am trying to do what I can to make use of them in the best possible manner, and save them from the landfill.
It really depends on the exact specs, so any details you provide can help us make a better recommendation. There is a huge difference in options between a 64mb, 128mb, 256mb ram, etc. when it comes to your choice of distros. I personally will not touch a computer with less than a Pentium 3 with 256mb of ram, and I believe even Puppy recommends 128mb+ these days.

Here is a great resource to answer the "what to do with an old computer?" question: http://kmandla.wordpress.com/2007/09...-old-computer/
Also: http://kmandla.wordpress.com/2007/03...mputer-useful/
 
Old 05-19-2010, 02:27 PM   #13
chadwick
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If you can still boot into Windows, then you should be able to find out how much memory and what kind of CPU the computers have without opening them up. There's a good chance that info will be available under Control Panel->System or something similar.

Last edited by chadwick; 05-19-2010 at 06:58 PM.
 
  


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