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Old 07-31-2008, 12:17 AM   #1
IanGlenn
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Minimal install while still using kde apps?


Basically what it boils down to is this:

1. I have a small older laptop that I want to convert into a little working machine for development
2. I therefore need only a few tools; namely kate, gcc, g++, java-sdk stuffs, firefox
3. I also need functional internet with the wifi-card I have (which therefore requires me to use kernel-2.6)

The problem is simple, but the spots I need filled in are:

1. I need help choosing a minimal desktop environment that will support kate and firefox.

2. I need help choosing a distro with binary package availability with high stability. I don't have time really for compiling everything from source a la gentoo

The only option I can think of that would easily fit my distro needs is FreeBSD, but as we all know that can be a pain :P


I know distro questions are pretty faux pas but I hope someone can help.

Thank you
Ian

EDIT: Kate can be replaced with emacs as an alternative.

Last edited by IanGlenn; 07-31-2008 at 12:31 AM.
 
Old 07-31-2008, 01:12 AM   #2
lazlow
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It would help a lot if you would actually post the specs of your machine. One persons older machine is another's work horse. Cpu and RAM being the most important.
 
Old 07-31-2008, 02:24 AM   #3
indeliblestamp
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FreeBSD is actually good, you should try it. It handles packages like nothing I've seen before
And the last time I installed it, it came in only a couple of cd's, and the install felt pretty lean. Everything else can be added *very* easily through ports or packages, and they'll sort out the dependencies themselves. For Kate you'd need at least kdebase and kdelibs I think. You can anyway select the software bundles you want during installation.
Mine one was a pretty old machine too, and FreeBSD was rock solid on it. I dunno about the WiFi though, mine was a desktop.
 
Old 07-31-2008, 04:04 AM   #4
storkus
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Yeah, but FreeBSD won't run on all machines: I tried installing it to my brand new Acer Aspire laptop, and got a kernel panic on boot.

I use Slackware myself, which, if you select what packages to install, can result in a very lean machine (for a binary install).

*HOWEVER* you mention you want to use KDE. KDE is a known hog of memory and CPU, thanks to its trying to be so "windowsy". A quick Google tells me Kate is a text editor: why don't you use something a little more light-weight if that's all you need? FVWM2, XWM, Fluxbox, and more are all much lighter weight than KDE.

Of course, I also have to echo everything Lazlow said, especially about one guy's machine being another's work horse: I pride myself on getting machine winblows lusers say are too old running great with Linux (again, Slackware in my case) with the only problems being some very heavy applications such as gaming or x.264. For instance, I bought a desktop sans hard drive from my old job for 25 dollars! This machine is a 1.4 GHz P4 and can handle anything except modern games or certain scenes encoded in H.264. So Your Mileage *WILL* Vary! (YMWV!)

Mike
 
Old 07-31-2008, 09:02 AM   #5
IanGlenn
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First, as far as FreeBSD, I actually use it on my desktop and love it, the only thing I am concerned about is hardware support. I will have to look into it.

Second, I don't want to use KDE, I just have 1 KDE app that I happen to like. Honestly I not super attached, but it's what I've been using for the past year or so and I would prefer to keep it, but I'm pretty good with gui emacs, so it's not a huge problem.

The computer is a Sony vaio pcgr505jl

Processor, Memory, and Motherboard

* Hardware Platform: PC
* Processor: 750 MHz Intel Pentium III
* System Bus Speed: 100
* Number of Processors: 1
* RAM: 128 MB upgraded to 350 or so.
* RAM Type: SDRAM
* L2 Cache: 256 KB
* Graphics Card: Intel 815EM integrated graphics chip
* Graphics RAM: 11 MB
* LCD Native Resolution: 1024-by-768

The graphics card is picky but I already have an xorg.conf file for it. otherwise the only thing I'm concerned about with freebsd is my network card with has a broadcom chipset.

Last edited by IanGlenn; 07-31-2008 at 09:11 AM.
 
Old 07-31-2008, 09:31 AM   #6
storkus
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My very first exposure to UNIX was BSD 4.3 on a DEC Microvax II at UNLV back in 1989. I loved it. So, yeah, I eventually want to get at least one of my machines running FreeBSD! In the mean time, Slackware is the closest Linux to it (AFAIK) and I've been using it since around 1994?

Ok, on to the machine: 128 MB ram ought to be good enough for KDE apps if you're not using the window manager itself, but even so it may be able to run all of it if you don't multi-task too hard. Firefox, especially with certain plugins, can be a real memory hog, so watch out for that: in particular anything from Adobe (Flash or their Acrobat reader) or Sun's Java will be especially bad. At that processor speed, you may have trouble with Flash, period. You can expect the graphics to be slow with that IGP, of course.

You don't mention the size of your hard drive. Assuming you have the space, a full Slackware install should work fine, as should most other distributions; just make sure to turn off all the daemons you won't be using as it both improves system security and increases free memory. You mentioned you upgraded the memory to 350 MB, which should be plenty for anything short of gaming (which you IGP wouldn't support anyway).

Mike
 
Old 07-31-2008, 01:11 PM   #7
V!NCENT
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Fluxbox is a very fast, lightwight WM that is compatible with KDE (kate) and Gnome (Firefox) apps.

Wireless networking can be a living hell so I suggest you install Xubuntu. That way you get extremely easy wireless networking with a fast GUI where you can easily install Kate, gcc, g++ and Firefox with (if Firefox is not already bundled with Xubuntu.

UPDATE: It comes with the Kazehakase browser that uses the same rendering engine and UI as Firefox, but it's faster.

Last edited by V!NCENT; 07-31-2008 at 01:14 PM.
 
Old 07-31-2008, 01:32 PM   #8
lazlow
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The cpu will be ok but the ram is going to hurt you. If the motherboard will take more memory I would max it out. XFCE is a pretty light weight front end that will work down to 256meg pretty quickly. It is available for Fedora which also has good wireless support and is rpm based. There is a liveCD XFCE version of Fedora.
 
Old 07-31-2008, 03:04 PM   #9
darrelljon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IanGlenn View Post
Basically what it boils down to is this:

1. I have a small older laptop that I want to convert into a little working machine for development
2. I therefore need only a few tools; namely kate, gcc, g++, java-sdk stuffs, firefox
3. I also need functional internet with the wifi-card I have (which therefore requires me to use kernel-2.6)

The problem is simple, but the spots I need filled in are:

1. I need help choosing a minimal desktop environment that will support kate and firefox.

2. I need help choosing a distro with binary package availability with high stability. I don't have time really for compiling everything from source a la gentoo

The only option I can think of that would easily fit my distro needs is FreeBSD, but as we all know that can be a pain :P


I know distro questions are pretty faux pas but I hope someone can help.

Thank you
Ian

EDIT: Kate can be replaced with emacs as an alternative.
AntiX, SLAX, NimbleX?
 
Old 08-06-2008, 02:10 PM   #10
V!NCENT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lazlow View Post
[...]XFCE is a pretty light weight front end [...]
You mean was. XFCE is just a tiny bit faster than Gnome these days.
 
Old 08-06-2008, 02:20 PM   #11
lazlow
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I mean on a limited resource (RAM) machine it runs a lot faster than Gnome. I run gnome on the machines that I can(just a personal preference).
 
Old 08-11-2008, 09:27 AM   #12
IanGlenn
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As it has boiled down, the final choice was this:

FreeBSD 7.0-STABLE with fluxbox...however There was an epic IRQ interrupt issue which prevented me from using either of the PCMCIA wireless cards.

So...I went to flat out debian with fluxbox, then I discovered that the same PCMCIA issue was in linux.

So, anyone know how to iron out some kernel level motherboard issues :P

Thank you all for your help, it was greatly appreciated.
 
Old 08-11-2008, 10:16 AM   #13
jay73
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Compile a custom kernel? It could make an older system a bit snappier, too.
 
Old 08-12-2008, 03:13 AM   #14
storkus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jay73 View Post
Compile a custom kernel? It could make an older system a bit snappier, too.
That's one of the first things I do once I have an installation working with networking up: get the latest kernel and compile in only what's needed.

On older machines, it definitely gives a very noticeable boost! On newer machines it seems to be harder to tell. I think this boost has a lot to do with the cache, but I have no proof other than I find it interesting that "Optimize for Size" is now set by default in the 2.6.26 kernel config and the warning "watch out for broken compilers" is now gone.

Also, it just makes sense to use only the memory you actually need.

Mike
 
  


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