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I use a fairly low spec laptop (Dell Inspiron 4100 with 256MB RAM) to stream music from my NAS drive, and hoping to reduce the start-up time I set up a dual boot into Puppy Lupu 5.2.8. Everything works, but I haven't been able to find a media player that works consistently; the best to date is the default GNOME/mplayer which can create playlists by drag/dropping folders containing subfolders, and generally doesn't stutter during playback. However it often crashes (silent) during playback of a long-ish playlist – after a variable time usually around half an hour.
Reluctantly I've concluded I'm better off running XP/Windows Media Player on the same machine and using Hibernate to speed the start-up; once it starts to play a playlist it neither stutters nor crashes. I'm a bit surprised my Linux solution isn't more robust than XP on the same hardware.
For a purpose like yours I personally would go for a minimal install with just the needed packages installed. Since I don't want to fiddle much with it I would use Debian for it, install a simple environment (a simple WM or may be LXDE) and then the music-player of your choice ( I usually use Audacious, don't need no extras, only want to play music with a music player). And of course you can use suspend or hibernation on Linux also.
Try mplayer instead. Using gnome adds about 125M. Lucid requires a little more RAM..you could try Wary. Also, run with the "nocopy" option so the OS doesn't load into RAM. I run old dell laptops, but pay the extra $20 to upgrade to 1gig....even then, I'll turn off unnecessary processes. Puppy will run much faster even on an old laptop than XP(or win7) will on a new computer.
Gnome-Mplayer is a resource hog on 256MB of ram without a /swap partition which the OP failed to post in detail on installation of Puppy 528. He would have been better served using either GogglesMM,Qmmp,or Xmms on 256MB of ram.
The stuttering was probably caused by no /swap partiton and running Puppy in ram also. Instead of a pxfix=noram option for boot on a full install. Like I said. No details were giving on how Puppy was installed on a 256MB ram Laptop. By the way. Windows XP uses Virtual Memory and was a full install. My guess was Puppy was installed frugally and ran in ram with GnomeMplayer running.
I see I've stirred up some reaction! Thanks for the various suggestions - I may well try the other media player options as it would still be nice to avoid the interminable anti-virus hassle.
My install is Frugal Puppy with a .5GB swap partition.
Here's what a 'top' memory looks like when GNOME/mplayer is running:
Mem: 191676K used, 63536K free, 0K shrd, 5668K buff, 62440K cached