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Old 11-09-2013, 12:28 PM   #1
Timmi
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Seeking good distro for low RAM, that could be used by 8 year old or grandma


Hi everyone, I'm looking for a lightweight distro that will run well in 512MB of RAM, for my 8 year old daughter's netbook. Sort of that proverbial "OS you would choose for your grandmother".

The netbook is an eeePC, single core Atom, I think, running at around 1ghz, has 512MB of RAM, and a 1024x600 (and 1024x768 with vertical panning) screen resolution.

Allow me to add that some of the websites my daughter visits, like uptoten.com and games like rush hour, won't work in some browsers - so a good, complete, secure/reliable/robust browser is a must. (come to think of it, rush hour doesn't work on firefox in windows - IE required unfortunately - but hey, you never know, we might find something)

Here are the distros on my final list that I'm looking at.

Mint with MATE or Mint XFCE

WattOS

Linux Lite

EasyPeasy

LXLE

I'm just outdated in my knowledge. I've had to go back to windows for the past years in order to run cTrader, MetaTrader, AutoCAD - all mission-critical packages that are not available for Linux. But now I'm faced with having to update my daughter's netbook, because she's too often running into snags when she uses it. I've had EasyPeasy on an eeePC900SD before (512MB with 8GB sdd drive) and am hoping to find something just a little faster than that.

Other lightweight distros that I have tried, but already eliminated from the running are: crunchbang, arch, pclinux, puppy, vector. They're all very nice, but for brevity, I'll just say that each was eliminated for a reason that is important to our needs and is not reflective of the needs of others.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Last edited by Timmi; 11-10-2013 at 01:15 AM.
 
Old 11-09-2013, 12:49 PM   #2
haertig
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmi View Post
Please, I'm not interested in learning about all other distros under the sun, crunchbang, arch, pclinux, puppy, vector, as I've tried them but they won't be on this shortlist. I've tried them and eliminated them for varying reasons.
Then why don't you just try the remaining five on your short list and go through the same process of elimination that you've apparently already done for the other distros? Why ask for advice on what distros might work, and then state that you won't consider them?
 
Old 11-09-2013, 01:08 PM   #3
snowpine
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I think Mint would be a great choice. I use Mint Xfce on my fun/media PC (lots more RAM, though) and it's just about the easiest distro to set up on most hardware.
 
Old 11-09-2013, 01:34 PM   #4
Germany_chris
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Your Sig has a pretty bold statement why not one of the Mints and keep your expectations?
 
Old 11-09-2013, 02:33 PM   #5
Captain Pinkeye
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1. User friendliness often means GUIs & automating things = more RAM used, so you will have to compromise a little.
2. Using Ubuntu derivative for a lightweight distro is like optimising Fibonacci algorithm in Ruby - it simply doesn't make much sense. Just take Debian or some Debian derivative. The saved RAM then can be used for a heavier but more complete (and therefore 'easier to use') desktop environment like Xfce or MATE (as half of your selection has LXDE).
3. Definitely forget 64bit, you will save a lot of RAM.
 
Old 11-09-2013, 03:37 PM   #6
jmc1987
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Why not just plain Debian? example Mint w/ mate or xfce is based of ubuntu (unless you get LDE version), which inreturn based off of Debian.
 
Old 11-09-2013, 04:15 PM   #7
DavidMcCann
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I know the first three (see my reviews on this site) and I'd recommend Mint with Xfce. Personally, if I had an 8-year-old, I'd not leave her on the internet unsupervised (do you use DansGuardian?); I'd use Doudou.
 
Old 11-10-2013, 01:25 AM   #8
Timmi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Germany_chris View Post
Your Sig has a pretty bold statement why not one of the Mints and keep your expectations?
I don't impose my personal needs on others, when I try to help them in setting up a system for them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by haertig View Post
Then why don't you just try the remaining five on your short list and go through the same process of elimination that you've apparently already done for the other distros? Why ask for advice on what distros might work, and then state that you won't consider them?
Thank you for making me feel welcome, and I am sorry for asking for help on here. I'm also sorry for breathing, for thinking, for existing even for that matter. I immensely apologize for the inconvenience I have caused you by posting a question.
 
Old 11-10-2013, 01:42 AM   #9
Timmi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Pinkeye View Post
1. User friendliness often means GUIs & automating things = more RAM used, so you will have to compromise a little.
2. Using Ubuntu derivative for a lightweight distro is like optimising Fibonacci algorithm in Ruby - it simply doesn't make much sense. Just take Debian or some Debian derivative. The saved RAM then can be used for a heavier but more complete (and therefore 'easier to use') desktop environment like Xfce or MATE (as half of your selection has LXDE).
3. Definitely forget 64bit, you will save a lot of RAM.
1. yes indeed - is that why some distros use XFCE and LXDE?
2. when I tried Mint lmde (debian edition), in the past, it wasn't quite as polished as the regular Mint, and I didn't necessarily have access to Ubuntu software libraries - but I could probably run debian software under ubuntu though, is that right? It is not as stable according to the Mint website, so I'd rather not put it into a kid's hands.
It's not that I care if the label says lxde or xfce or whatever... I just don't want it to look like puppy, and want to have access to decent software (although I played with Puppy myself, and sort of liked it, I didn't like the browser I had to use at the time, which would definitely not suit her needs - and I am definitely not willing to relive the nightmare of making everything work at the time. It was fine though for just having fun with old hardware).
3. of course, no 64bit. I wouldn't see the benefit.

Last edited by Timmi; 11-10-2013 at 01:44 AM.
 
Old 11-10-2013, 01:47 AM   #10
Timmi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMcCann View Post
I know the first three (see my reviews on this site) and I'd recommend Mint with Xfce. Personally, if I had an 8-year-old, I'd not leave her on the internet unsupervised (do you use DansGuardian?); I'd use Doudou.
Can you share what the memory footprints are for each?
No worries - she has no facebook and won't if I can help it, no chat, and is beside me in the livingroom. I will look into those two recommendations though. Thanks.
 
Old 11-10-2013, 05:31 AM   #11
cascade9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmi View Post
1. yes indeed - is that why some distros use XFCE and LXDE?
2. when I tried Mint lmde (debian edition), in the past, it wasn't quite as polished as the regular Mint, and I didn't necessarily have access to Ubuntu software libraries - but I could probably run debian software under ubuntu though, is that right? It is not as stable according to the Mint website, so I'd rather not put it into a kid's hands.
It's not that I care if the label says lxde or xfce or whatever... I just don't want it to look like puppy, and want to have access to decent software (although I played with Puppy myself, and sort of liked it, I didn't like the browser I had to use at the time, which would definitely not suit her needs - and I am definitely not willing to relive the nightmare of making everything work at the time. It was fine though for just having fun with old hardware).
1- complicated, but generally Xfce and Lxde use less resources. That doesnt mean that distros using Xfce or Lxde will be 'light' or that they wont have config GUIs and automation. A good example is xubuntu vs ubuntu- I remember seeing a blog post years ago showing that xfce was 'heavier' than ubuntu, even though it was using the 'lighter' Xfce vs gnome 2.X.

To take it further, xubuntu was also 'heavier' than a minimal install + Xfce. IIRC a ubuntu minimal install + Xfce used about as much, maybe a bit more RAM than vanilla debian Xfce.

2- LMDE is based on debian 'testing'. Testing, as a rolling release, gets a lot of updates and updating the system can break it. Not updating the system means security issues. Debian 'testing' isnt meant for use by non experienced linux users and/or users who want maximum reliability.

Running 'debian software under ubuntu' is what all ubuntu users do. Ubuntu gets most of its software from debian.

Its a really bad idea to try to use ubuntu specific software on debian.....but a debian version is almost always avaible from the debian repos anyway.

If you go for debian, IMO use debian stable Xfce or Lxde, not testing/sid or LMDE.
 
Old 11-10-2013, 08:09 AM   #12
J.A.X
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Hello everyone,

here, I stole this from Slackware's website

PHP Code:
    486 processor
    64MB RAM 
(1GBsuggested)
    
About 5GBof hard disk space for a full install
    CD 
or DVD drive (if not bootablethen a bootable USB flash stick or PXE server/network card
- Slack does not need much of RAM and can be installed with XFCE and LXDE.

- With a little bit of work I think Slack can be a great choice.
 
Old 11-10-2013, 08:16 AM   #13
JJJCR
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Wink

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmi View Post
Hi everyone, I'm looking for a lightweight distro that will run well in 512MB of RAM, for my 8 year old daughter's netbook. Sort of that proverbial "OS you would choose for your grandmother".

The netbook is an eeePC, single core Atom, I think, running at around 1ghz, has 512MB of RAM, and a 1024x600 (and 1024x768 with vertical panning) screen resolution.

Allow me to add that some of the websites my daughter visits, like uptoten.com and games like rush hour, won't work in some browsers - so a good, complete, secure/reliable/robust browser is a must. (come to think of it, rush hour doesn't work on firefox in windows - IE required unfortunately - but hey, you never know, we might find something)

Here are the distros on my final list that I'm looking at.

Mint with MATE or Mint XFCE

WattOS

Linux Lite

EasyPeasy

LXLE

I'm just outdated in my knowledge. I've had to go back to windows for the past years in order to run cTrader, MetaTrader, AutoCAD - all mission-critical packages that are not available for Linux. But now I'm faced with having to update my daughter's netbook, because she's too often running into snags when she uses it. I've had EasyPeasy on an eeePC900SD before (512MB with 8GB sdd drive) and am hoping to find something just a little faster than that.

Other lightweight distros that I have tried, but already eliminated from the running are: crunchbang, arch, pclinux, puppy, vector. They're all very nice, but for brevity, I'll just say that each was eliminated for a reason that is important to our needs and is not reflective of the needs of others.

Thanks in advance for your help.
Window would be much better for her I suppose, what application your're looking at why you prefer Linux?
 
Old 11-10-2013, 11:33 AM   #14
Timmi
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Location: Montreal, QC, Canada
Distribution: Mint, Win7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JJJCR View Post
Window would be much better for her I suppose, what application your're looking at why you prefer Linux?
oh! I thought I mentioned that. It's basically a good browser, mostly, and good software for the rest. Where I was coming from, is that some things just don't work - like some educational games that require flash, for example, html5, and stuff like that. And good software too - so we can use the same on different computers here. Where that is coming from, is my experience with puppy years ago, where everything seemed more antiquated versions of what we use in this this decade.
As for why Linux: I want it to be faster than XP. The netbook is quite sluggish. (or maybe that's just me, because I have a 2.6ghz quad-core) It is still lagging in response after a reinstall from the factory image.

Last edited by Timmi; 11-13-2013 at 08:42 AM.
 
Old 11-10-2013, 11:36 AM   #15
Timmi
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Registered: Apr 2009
Location: Montreal, QC, Canada
Distribution: Mint, Win7
Posts: 167

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by J.A.X View Post
Hello everyone,
here, I stole this from Slackware's website
PHP Code:
    486 processor
    64MB RAM 
(1GBsuggested)
    
About 5GBof hard disk space for a full install
    CD 
or DVD drive (if not bootablethen a bootable USB flash stick or PXE server/network card
- Slack does not need much of RAM and can be installed with XFCE and LXDE.
- With a little bit of work I think Slack can be a great choice.
That's pretty good. Is it really easy to install and set up? or is it one of those things that requires a bunch of command line stuff to set up? if it's simple, installs and just works, maybe I should take a look at it.

Last edited by Timmi; 11-13-2013 at 08:40 AM.
 
  


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