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Old 11-04-2013, 12:30 AM   #16
Timmi
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Hi everyone, I'm looking for a lightweight distro, for my 8 year old daughter's netbook.
I've been away from Linux for a couple of years, so I need some input here.

I'm looking for 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 1024x800 with vertical panning) screen resolution. It has Windoze XP on it now, and has become very very very slow.

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.

I've narrowed down my potential choices to a few distros, and was wondering if anyone could please help me narrow it down further.

Mint 15 with MATE or Mint 15 XFCE
- I wasn't going to include Mint on my short list, as I've only used Mint on more powerful computers, but I just read a good article about Mint and general hardware requirements here, and decided to add it to the list. A longtime user I didn't expect Mint to be good for that netbook, but that guy says otherwise.
WattOS
- their website is terrible... just hope it's not indicative of the user experience with their OS!
Linux Lite
- Stumbled upon this yesterday and it is getting very good reviews.
EasyPeasy
- this is the best linux distro for netbooks I've ever tried, but hope to find something just as good but a little lighter and that is still supported and comes with current apps/browser versions (for reason mentioned at beginning)
LXLE
- It is touted as being quick, but is twice the download size of similar distros. (also one reviewer stated it is allegedly based on an LTS that is expiring and based on Lubuntu which isn't consistent with the LTS vision. I don't know if that is true - but if someone knowledgeable can confirm or dispel, that would help keep it in the running or eliminate it).

Please, I'm not interested in crunchbang, arch, pclinux, puppy, as I've tried them but they won't be on this shortlist.

Thanks in advance for your help.

EDIT: sorry, I think I meant to write Mint 15, not 14. Corrected that above.

Last edited by Timmi; 11-09-2013 at 01:22 AM. Reason: removed peppermint, added Linux Lite
 
Old 11-04-2013, 12:43 AM   #17
cascade9
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Mint 14 is 'end of life' in april 2014. Not really worth it IMO. If you want mint, I'd install mint 13 which is supported 'til 2017 instead. I'd not bother with MATE, but go for Xfce or Lxde.

I wouldnt even bother with ubuntu based distros as they always seem to be 'heavier' than debian with Lxde/Xfce. There is also the 'limited support length' issue with many of them.
 
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Old 11-04-2013, 01:32 AM   #18
itsgregman
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I currently run Vector Linux standard (which is Xfce) on an old dell with a 1 gig processor and 768 megs of ram and it works well, not a speed demon but I can do pretty much anything i want to on it.
Although Vector is Slackware based it uses Gslapt as its package manager and is surprisingly polished and user friendly.
I would recommend anyone looking for a a distribution for an old system to give it a try.
 
Old 11-05-2013, 11:51 PM   #19
Timmi
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@cascade9:
I thought Mint was still partly based on Ubuntu (except for LMDE and my 8 year old won't be experimenting/tinkering with to fix it if it breaks). I'm fine with a recent version - as long as it's quick!
I've stumbled upon some reviews and expert commentary to the effect that xfce might not be as fast as touted for some of the distros, and I was skeptical at first, but I've read that MATE truly is faster, addressing performance issued of Gnome.

It just seems like OSes are getting heavier and heavier... and we're still running the SAME software programs!

@itsgregman:
I tried Vector a while back... and I found it very difficult dealing with those guys. At the time the newer version was reserved for paying customers, it wouldn't install/run with a normal video card, and support was laborious (assumed good linux experience)... I don't see how my 8 year old daughter could be dealing with them. With all the distros to choose from, that bad experience will be keeping us away.
 
Old 11-06-2013, 04:47 AM   #20
cascade9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmi View Post
@cascade9:
I thought Mint was still partly based on Ubuntu (except for LMDE and my 8 year old won't be experimenting/tinkering with to fix it if it breaks). I'm fine with a recent version - as long as it's quick!
Its still ubuntu based, which is why support lenght is an issue.

Mint 14- suported for 18 months, end of life April 2014.
Mint 15 (and all 'nonLTS based released after it)- 9 months support, end of life January 2014.

Is it really worth installing Mint 14 when it will be end of life in less than 6 months? You'll just have to reinstall or risk a dist-upgrade.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmi View Post
I've stumbled upon some reviews and expert commentary to the effect that xfce might not be as fast as touted for some of the distros, and I was skeptical at first, but I've read that MATE truly is faster, addressing performance issued of Gnome.
Without seeing of the 'expert commentary' I cant be sure what was said, etc.. But I have seen a lot of people who love MATE, mainly because they cant get gnome 2.X anymore.

I'd doubt that MATE is going to be any faster or use any less RAM than Xfce. Lxde should be lighter still.

If you were doing a setup for someone who had used Gnome 2.X _maybe_ MATE would be a decent idea. For a new user who hasnt used linux much or at all before, I'd stick with current 'mainstream' desktops (e.g. Xfce, Lxde, KDE, or even flux/openbox, etc.).

Last edited by cascade9; 11-06-2013 at 11:47 PM. Reason: typos
 
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Old 11-06-2013, 03:42 PM   #21
robert_marma
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I want to thank everyone who responded to my request for advice on selecting a linux distribution that is suited for older computers, such as mine. I'm still in the process of searching, downloading ISOs, and burning CDs, and will advise you when I've selected one that I like for my ancient Compaq laptop.
Meanwhile, I've stumbled upon another problem for which I need help from one of the kindly experts out there. Until I'm ready to upgrade my linux kernal and desktop [if I do], I decided to install a few other apps, including Oracle's VM VirtualBox. After downloading the packages and installing VirtualBox, I noticed a diagnostic reporting a "Permissions error". Then, after re-booting, I tried running VirtualBox and received the following message on the screen:
"You are not a member of the `Vboxusers' group. Please add
yourself to this group before starting VirtualBox. You could
do it using Yast/Security and User/User and Group management.
Don't forget to re-login to your user account!"

I looked at the YaST User and Group management dialog box, but could not determine how to add my id & password. I don't mind doing this from the command line, if necessary. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Regards,

Robert Marma
 
Old 11-06-2013, 09:20 PM   #22
jmc1987
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I'm not sure what group you need to be added to as I only add my self to groups "cdrom, audio, video, plugdev"

But to add yourself to a group, you just add your name to /etc/group. Take a look at it and it should be self explainitory of what it is.

To add your self to a group, do it like this.

# usermod -aG <groupname> <username>

Besure to remove the <> ofcourse.
 
Old 11-07-2013, 12:03 PM   #23
itsgregman
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Hey Timmi sorry you had such a bad experience with Vector. I have to say though that they never charged for a new version ever, although they did charge for the deluxe soho version for a while and may still for all I know as I never used it. Soho is their heavy KDE version and as Vector has always been an XFCE based system and Vector Standard is XFCE, I always used what I knew they had perfected.
Also sorry to hear you had trouble with the video, I've run Vector on over a dozen different systems over the years with many different cards (Savage,Nvidia,Intel,Ati, and probably some others) and never had one fail to properly configure.

I'm not being argumentative or trying to get you to give it another try, just pointing out your experience isn't typical.
 
Old 11-07-2013, 02:07 PM   #24
Zyblin
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I have a Desktop I am stuck using until my new computer gets here. The specs are much lower than your laptop. The only Distro I found that I could get to work on it was Debian 7 LXDE. No matter what one you choose, staying with LXDE or XFCE might work out better. Since you are leaning towards Mint you can always try Debian LXDE, just add the repo from deb-multimedia.org after the install. Fedora LXDE spin might also be a good choice, just add the repos from rpmfusion.org after the install.

If you are using it for travel both Debian and Fedora have an easy set up to encrypt your hard drive during the install. Others do as well, some don't, but I am mostly familiar with these two and know it is easy, fast and works great.

These are just my choices and thoughts. As mentioned already you have many choices that should work out well for you.

Last edited by Zyblin; 11-07-2013 at 02:13 PM.
 
Old 11-07-2013, 11:30 PM   #25
Timmi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itsgregman View Post
(...) although they did charge for the deluxe soho version for a while and may still for all I know as I never used it. Soho is their heavy KDE version (...)
Also sorry to hear you had trouble with the video, I've run Vector on over a dozen different systems over the years with many different cards (Savage,Nvidia,Intel,Ati, and probably some others) and never had one fail to properly configure
It was a Toshiba Satellite - I think it was an ATI card - only the largest market share laptop at the time with one of the most common video cards. I don't mean to be argumentative either - all I can say, is that support wasn't easy to come by, and I need to pare this down to one distro for the netbook - I can only pick one. So, to me, it didn't seem to have what was required to support the novice user. It really seemed something for the more experienced university kids.
 
Old 11-07-2013, 11:46 PM   #26
Timmi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zyblin View Post
I have a Desktop I am stuck using until my new computer gets here. The specs are much lower than your laptop. The only Distro I found that I could get to work on it was Debian 7 LXDE. No matter what one you choose, staying with LXDE or XFCE might work out better. Since you are leaning towards Mint you can always try Debian LXDE, just add the repo from deb-multimedia.org after the install. Fedora LXDE spin might also be a good choice, just add the repos from rpmfusion.org after the install.

If you are using it for travel both Debian and Fedora have an easy set up to encrypt your hard drive during the install. Others do as well, some don't, but I am mostly familiar with these two and know it is easy, fast and works great.

These are just my choices and thoughts. As mentioned already you have many choices that should work out well for you.
Thank you for the suggestion. Please bear in mind that an 8 year old needs to be able to set this up and manage her own system.
 
Old 11-07-2013, 11:49 PM   #27
Zyblin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmi View Post
Thank you for the suggestion. Please bear in mind that an 8 year old needs to be able to set this up and manage her own system.
After the first set up both would be easy to maintain. However since she is 8 maybe Linux Mint 15 XFCE would work out better. I am not sure how this one would run on the laptop but there is also Edubuntu You might not want to get the latest release of Edubuntu though. It only has support for nine months. If you read the front page it will explain all of that. It does use Unity. I never used Edubuntu so I am not sure how demanding it would be on your laptop, if at all. Or try both and see what works better.

Last edited by Zyblin; 11-07-2013 at 11:57 PM.
 
Old 11-08-2013, 01:40 AM   #28
dansimon
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Since this settup is for a kid, you might find this article useful:

http://www.brighthub.com/computing/l...les/43224.aspx

Good Luck
 
Old 11-08-2013, 05:30 AM   #29
cascade9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zyblin View Post
After the first set up both would be easy to maintain. However since she is 8 maybe Linux Mint 15 XFCE would work out better. I am not sure how this one would run on the laptop but there is also Edubuntu You might not want to get the latest release of Edubuntu though. It only has support for nine months.
Mint 15, like ubuntu non-LTS releases post 12.10, only has 9 months support. Its just not long enough.

Any ubuntu version with 'unity' is going to run quite badly on a 512M RAM system .....and IMO debian is just as 'easy' as a *buntu or mint anyway (provided that installing closed drivers is not needed, or done by whoever is setting up the system)
 
Old 11-08-2013, 11:51 AM   #30
Zyblin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
Mint 15, like ubuntu non-LTS releases post 12.10, only has 9 months support. Its just not long enough.

Any ubuntu version with 'unity' is going to run quite badly on a 512M RAM system .....and IMO debian is just as 'easy' as a *buntu or mint anyway (provided that installing closed drivers is not needed, or done by whoever is setting up the system)
The OP said 2GB of ram.

And yeah. I keep forgetting how fast the support ends for all Ubuntu and Ubuntu based distro releases. Long gone are the days of two years of support. Linux Mint 15 support stops in January 2014. Linux Mint 16 will be released this month. Debian and Fedora are both easy to set up and maintain once the extra media repos are installed. Debian stable (Wheezy) might be the best one with the least amount of issues. Fedora is great but it is more cutting edge and might need a little more work here and there, once and awhile.

If the laptop can handle KDE, maybe Kwheezy

Quote:
Kwheezy is a Debian-based Linux distribution with an intuitive KDE desktop and a good selection of GNU/Linux and open-source software. It also includes popular device drivers, media codecs and browser plugins, all pre-configured and ready for use at first boot.
http://www.kwheezy.com/

Last edited by Zyblin; 11-08-2013 at 11:58 AM.
 
  


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