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Old 05-15-2003, 05:51 PM   #1
Steve Cronje
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Setup on (low-power) to-be-donated computers


I'm busy configuring some low-powered machines (P166 + 32 MB RAM + approx 1-2 gig HD + CDROM + stiffy+ generic sound + 15" monitor, ethernet, but no modems) to donate to those needing them. Unfortunately, no printers. The lack of modem is also problematic, too, but I have decided to ignore that limitation for now, and assume there will be internet access, but not necessarily high speed.

Slackware seems the easiest to get up and running on in this environment (at least for me, a relative newcomer to Linux), but I was hoping to give Debian a try (my personal favorite flavour, mainly because of apt-get)

I would be grateful for input regarding the best setup for a machine such as this. I do not have any information on the prospective users at present, so a generic home PC setup is all I can aim for.

Desktop?

For example, I prefer Flux as a desktop manager, but is that appropriate for this audience? Perhaps something with a more commonly-accepted feel, such as icons on the desktop, etc.

Software?

This is what my early list is looking like:

Editors: Abiword, Nedit, Lyx, Kate
MoneyStuff: Gnumeric, XCalc
Browser:
Dillo, ??Mozilla
eMail: Sylpheed
News: Pan
Graphics: Not sure here. ? Gimp on this platform
also thinking of Sketch, Dia
System utils: (depends on distro): Linuxconfig (not Debian)
Synaptic (Debian), MC, ? XNC
Games: Solitaire, Chess (suggestions?), other

Documentation: ?

Any help is much appreciated.

I was also thinking that it would be best to provide all the above on a CD, or two. Unfortunately, the HDDs are too small, I would think, else Knoppix would be a great way to get this up and going.

Steve
 
Old 05-15-2003, 08:05 PM   #2
busbarn
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I think fluxbox will be your best bet because with only 32M of ram, things will be tight running x. I would go with phoenix (err mozilla firebird???) instead of mozilla because it's much smaller.

I'm going to suggest you look at gentoo for this project. First off, the people are nicer than debian people. Sure, flame me. Second, you can compile everything to function very well with your processor. It's a long process but things run very well once accomplished.
 
Old 05-15-2003, 08:20 PM   #3
jailbait
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Among your editors you include Kate. I think that Kate would require you to install Qt. In the interests of keeping your system small enough for 32M memory and a 650M CD I suggest that you substitute mp for Kate and/or
Nedit.

http://www.triptico.com/software/mp.html

I use both Gnome and KDE so I have no axe to grind in the GUI war. I think that you could set up a newbie friendly desktop with either. Gnome should get the nod because it is smaller and quicker than KDE. Flux is small and fast but it might be difficult to make it newbie friendly enough.

Hardware configuration software: Youare going to do most of the hardware
configuration yourself, something like a store bought machine with Linux
preinstalled. If someone does not have a desktop computer then they are not working someplace with ethernet access. If a newbie adds a winmodem to your system they will never get it working. So I suggest that you configure an external 56k dialout modem on all of the machines and tell your users that if they want Internet access that is what they should buy and plug it into where ever you configured. Include wvdial in the installation and configure it as much as possible (I think kppp depends on Qt). That leaves printer configuration. So what you should look for in a hardware configuration program is a good stand alone printer configuration tool and leave out all the rest of configuration software for the sake of saving space.

Mozilla is great for newbies (or anybody else). But Mozilla is huge and much of Mozilla is beyond a newbies ability to use. You should look at some of the Mozilla spin offs where developers have stripped Mozilla to just its web browser component. That combined with Sylpheed
would make an excellent, small, and fast set of Internet

software.http://www.mozilla.org

Gnucash is probably the best checkbook, charge card program but it has a huge set of dependencies.
 
Old 05-15-2003, 08:37 PM   #4
Steve Cronje
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Originally posted by busbarn
I think fluxbox will be your best bet because with only 32M of ram, things will be tight running x.

Yes, I really like Flux but my concern, like Jailbait below is with familiarity for newcomers to Linux


I'm going to suggest you look at gentoo for this project. .... you can compile everything to function very well with your processor. It's a long process but things run very well once accomplished.


I haven't looked at Gentoo yet. Thanx for the pointer. Must say, I can't complain about the Debian crowd. Yet ;-)

Thanx for the reply
Steve
 
Old 05-15-2003, 08:42 PM   #5
busbarn
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Good point about the desktop. You might be able to squeak by if everything is compiled for maximum performance (insert another gentoo plug here). Gentoo is just so easy to update and manage.
 
Old 05-15-2003, 08:46 PM   #6
Steve Cronje
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Originally posted by jailbait
Among your editors you include Kate. I think that Kate would require you to install Qt. In the interests of keeping your system small enough for 32M memory and a 650M CD I suggest that you substitute mp for Kate and/or
Nedit.


Yes, I forgot about Qt. Good point.

Flux is small and fast but it might be difficult to make it newbie friendly enough.

Agree

If a newbie adds a winmodem to your system they will never get it working. So I suggest that you configure an external 56k dialout modem on all of the machines .....

Wow, I never thought of that solution. Great way to do it. Also the other suggestions. Must say, are the spinoffs that much smaller-footed? Firebird didn't seem that much smaller when I looked at it - perhaps not well enough.

Thanx for the reply
Steve, Steve ;-)
 
Old 05-15-2003, 08:50 PM   #7
busbarn
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Galeon is really small. You're right, firebird isn't smaller but it also doesn't bog down system resources.
 
Old 05-15-2003, 09:02 PM   #8
Crashed_Again
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Although I don't like the browser very much, in terms of efficiency I would go with Opera. It uses about 3/4 the amount of memory that Firebird does.

Maybe you should send one of those pcs to me when your done. I am a very needy person as well.
 
Old 05-15-2003, 11:00 PM   #9
Steve Cronje
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Quote:
Originally posted by busbarn
Galeon is really small.
I also like the tabs in Galeon. I think I'll scratch Mozilla and add Galeon.

Steve
 
Old 05-15-2003, 11:04 PM   #10
Steve Cronje
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Originally posted by Crashed_Again
Although I don't like the browser very much, in terms of efficiency I would go with Opera.

IIRC, Opera has banner ads, doesn't it? That uses up a lot of screenspace.

Maybe you should send one of those pcs to me when your done. I am a very needy person as well.

Shipping and customs will get ya, I'm in Canada ;-)

Steve
 
Old 05-15-2003, 11:08 PM   #11
Crashed_Again
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Quote:
Originally posted by Steve Cronje
Shipping and customs will get ya, I'm in Canada ;-)
Doh' Well I ran the current firebird nightly binary and opera and found that firebird uses around 9.3Mb of RAM when idle and opera uses around 6Mb when idle. This is no official benchmark but just my input.

Couldn't you just put a pc on a horses back for me?
 
Old 05-16-2003, 11:12 AM   #12
jailbait
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---------------------------------------------------------
Couldn't you just put a pc on a horses back for me?
---------------------------------------------------------

In Canada they ship by dogsled.
 
Old 05-16-2003, 01:24 PM   #13
webtoe
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Just a note on Galeon (and correct me if I'm wrong) but it needs and installation of Mozilla to work doesn't it? or at least a number of it's componants. It also requires gnome libs as well, so you'd be needing to go the gnome route for the window manager.

I would just like to quicjly plug windowmaker. If its PCs for people who don't want to get into things to deeply, you can set up a whole load of icons on the dock for them to double click. Its also fast and the menu can be configured as well to allow access to programs.

That's just my two pence. Windowmaker can be a bugger though if you want to run KDE and Gnome apps since you'll need libraries for both installed.

HTH

Alex

P.S. a good viscious culling of kernel options would help as well. Maybe, compile as much in as possible? That way stuff won't have to be loaded off the hard drive (or kept there) after the initial boot. Not to mention the general speed boost by compiling a kernel......
 
Old 05-16-2003, 02:06 PM   #14
Steve Cronje
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In Canada they ship by dogsled.


Nooooo ...in the SUMMER we ship by air - using mosquitoes!
Sheesh!




Steve
 
Old 05-16-2003, 02:10 PM   #15
Steve Cronje
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Quote:
Originally posted by webtoe
... if you want to run KDE and Gnome apps since you'll need libraries for both installed
Yes, although there are so many apps out there requiring one of the two, that both are probable needed.

Thanx for your thoughts
Steve
 
  


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