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Old 02-21-2009, 02:53 AM   #1
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picking a distro for a netbook

Hello everyone,

Here is the story. Ive been using linux for a couple years now and i prefer arch linux, however, on my new netbook i just bought (hp mini 1030nr), arch doesnt exactly enjoy running. Ive jumped through hoops just to get it to install (which ultimately turned into a PXE boot install) and ive tried ubuntu (against my wishes) on the netbook also.

I just installed gentoolive and what amazes me is its not working (x wont start) and im getting fed up with the issues im having with it. What im trying to find out is if there is any particular distro that seems to work well with this netbook? Ubuntu worked fine, however, its ubuntu, and it did tax my system with its endless ammounts of bloatware.

What im looking for ideally is a lightweight distro, that has an emerge/pacman style of downloading packages, and that compiles them from source. I'd like to set a useflag to have it compile specifically for my processor to increase speed. If there isnt something out there like that, id be willing to move down to binaries as long as i can get a boot time under 20 seconds. all im looking to do is listen to music, surf some web, play simple games on break like tetris and do work on it while im on the move, so i need openoffice unless someone knows of a lighter and similar program.

the key here is speed, all of my experiences thus far have been awful, with wait times of 1.5m to boot, and abnormal waits for programs to initialize. I understand its a netbook, but these times vary drastically depending on what distro i have installed at the time, and it should be booting quickly because it has a SSD.

Oh, and distCC compatibility off the shelf would be nice, ive got a server i normally let do the compiling for me on the lan.

any and all help is greatly appreciated.

Old 02-21-2009, 03:58 AM   #2
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Well if I where you I wouldn't use the gentoo live cd (BTW I couldn't get x to work either)... Its outdated and could be problems when updating your world file. With personal experience I'd used Unetbootlin 3.13 and add Sabayon MCE lite, or System Rescue CD to my USB (I prefer Sabayon for livecd's, absolutely the best in my opinion). I'm pretty sure your netbook would boot off a USB device. From there use gparted create your partitions and download the latest portage and stage3 tarballs from the mirrors. There making weekly builds now. Load distcc onto your server and start with a stage3 install from a chroot.

If you wanna newer gcc (with cpu optimizations), and use the newer baselayout 2.0 and OpenRC 0.4.3. I'd go with the builds.

A good site to start with that I found some good info for stage3 build was Its slightly outdated though, but helps with use flags for gnome or kde. Though for a netbook I'd try the lxde-meta ebuild, its light easy install, and fast.

My motto is "thin to win" I hate stupid bloatware. Stage3 install is the way to go... If you need an good example of a decent make.conf I'll post my install make.conf I use for installs.

Using Bootchart on my last gentoo install I was @ 21 sec from start to finish on a 32mb cached hdd and 4gigs of mem... That's with an auto login w/ gdm.

Last edited by manwithaplan; 02-21-2009 at 04:20 AM.
Old 02-21-2009, 04:28 AM   #3
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You may want to stick with a distro that is designed for a netbook. A netbook that uses a SSD needs to have the number of writes reduced. Not using a swap file, mounting partitions with "noatime" are needed, but not configured by default for a regular distro. The eeePC also uses the Unionfs to further cache all writes to ram until it is copied down to the SDD layer. Writes to a SDD are slow and done in larger chunks than a magnetic drive.

Dan Washko of TLLTS swears by Mandriva's eeePC edition. If it is generic enough for other netbooks, it may be a distro option to try.
Old 02-21-2009, 04:39 AM   #4
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jschiwal, true ... I've even looked at the Mandriva eeepc verion. I think it lacks flexibility. As for a chroot install you can choose any file system and edit your fstab. FYI I never use a swap. That's great thing about gentoo based distro installs.
Old 02-21-2009, 05:55 AM   #5
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thankyou for the replies, im giving sabayon a try, got it downloading on the server, ill install when i wake up. as for the mandriva eeepc linux distro, i might be confusing it with something else but arent you required to buy the eeepc in order to actually use the distro?


wow, lxde has come a far way since ive last seen it!

Last edited by ISOLATEDViRuS; 02-21-2009 at 05:59 AM.
Old 02-21-2009, 08:50 PM   #6
Registered: Nov 2008
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Just as a hint... I wouldnt go with the full DVD... go for the light MCE light version. Less bloatware. And just so you know... Sabayan install can be somewhat cumbersome. Go through all the packages and deselect all that you dont need.. Firmwares,drivers,... And also there installer installs everything, Then uninstalls everything that you deselected, so it leaves a bunch of folders and configs. No worries though... Maybe go for a core install and add LXDE-meta package. Then edit your startup with "rc-update show", add del etc ..." This will list a bunch of useless startup services that you never use that you can edit. And also check you start up sessions.

Last edited by manwithaplan; 02-21-2009 at 08:54 PM.
Old 02-22-2009, 12:10 AM   #7
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You should visit the support page of hp.
They offer a Linux restore Image (I don't know which Linux Distribution)
hp support

I also got to know that there are different distributions specially adapted for netbooks, the problem sometimes is to find the drivers
(I found 18 Distributions adapted for Asus eee - but Asus is not HP)
So I recommend to try LiveCD from external CD to check out.
From Xandros to Linpus, eeeXubuntu, Pupeee,..

Good Luck maybe you find a forum to your netbook where someone allready has expirence with a linux installation.

PS.: I was reading that vixta should be running on HP mini (I hope that helps you)

Last edited by computerophil; 02-22-2009 at 02:59 PM.


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