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Old 07-27-2017, 08:19 AM   #1
xahodo
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Lightweight software for old computer.


As the title states. The computer in question is an acer aspire 7750g (6 years old gaming laptop).

I have installed solus (budgie) on it, but would like some suggestions for applications.

The laptop's purpose is to be a computer to use as a system on other locations than home.

I just need a word processor (that can open msword), a spreadsheet (that can handle excel) and a pdf reader. A browser would be nice too. My needs aren't too complicated in regards of the ms stuff. I do need a browser that can handle google drive, though. Any other options than firefox, chrome or opera that is reasonably lightweight and can do the requested?

For a word processor I was thinking about abiword, but is there anything better?

I'm clueless in regards of the browser and spreadsheet. Does anyone have a suggestion?
 
Old 07-27-2017, 08:35 AM   #2
IsaacKuo
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A quick search on Acer Aspire 7550g suggests that your machine's specs are at least 4GB of RAM and Core i5 CPU. This is easily powerful enough to run modern heavyweight (by Linux standards) software. So, for the word processor and spreadsheet you could just use libreoffice. For the web browser, Chrome or Firefox will do. For the PDF reader whatever's installed by default is fine.

However, if you want to get better performance you might do better with a lighter desktop environment. I don't know what's available in Solus, but most of the main linux distributions (such as Debian, Ubuntu, etc) have huge software repositories with many desktop environments available. In particular, XFCE4 is a good pretty lightweight desktop environment which has a lot of user friendly GUI integration. With my Debian systems, basic ram consumption of the OS and XFCE4 is less than 80MB - a puny drop in the bucket out of 4GB of RAM.

In contrast, more heavyweight desktop environments and OS can easily consume over 1GB...still probably less than half of your 4GB of RAM, but still...we're now talking a good chunk.
 
Old 07-27-2017, 09:15 AM   #3
Rickkkk
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Hi Xahodo,

I concur with IsaacKuo's suggestions concerning the desktop environment.

Alternatives for spreadsheet and browser (other than LibreOffice Calc and the browsers you mentioned already):

- Gnumeric is a spreadsheet I've used in the past that is very light, analogous to AbiWord in the word processing space. It's compatibility with Excel isn't as strong as LibreOffice Calc's, but for simple spreadsheets, you should be OK.

- Midori is a very light browser that I've found compatible with most uses I've had.

This said, with the specs of your hardware, I again agree with IsaacKuo that you should have no trouble running LibreOffice and a more conventional browser. Of the 3 browsers you mention, I've found Opera to be the most responsive on older hardware and the one I really dislike is Firefox.

Cheers !
 
Old 07-27-2017, 09:24 AM   #4
hazel
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The smallest and neatest pdf reader is mupdf. It links directly to X, doesn't use a widget library.

You shouldn't have any problem with libreoffice. I run it in 2 GB and it's OK.

Last edited by hazel; 07-27-2017 at 09:25 AM.
 
Old 07-27-2017, 11:18 AM   #5
DavidMcCann
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This is a very high-powered computer from a Linux point of view. You've got an i5, but an i3 would be more than enough. Just try Solus as it comes. Have you tried the default software installed, Firefox and LibreOffice?

If there is any problem with speed or graphics, come back and tell us. You actually have two facilities for graphics on that computer, the graphics core in the i5 and a Radeon: I'm not sure how that works.
 
Old 07-28-2017, 01:54 AM   #6
xahodo
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Well, actually it's the i7 variant, but libreoffice feels slow. There's also a radeon 6650M in that thing.

The reason I'm asking for alternatives is because the software startup takes longer than is accaptable to me.
 
Old 07-28-2017, 02:12 AM   #7
IsaacKuo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xahodo View Post
Well, actually it's the i7 variant, but libreoffice feels slow. There's also a radeon 6650M in that thing.

The reason I'm asking for alternatives is because the software startup takes longer than is accaptable to me.
What sort of hard drive or SSD does it have? The Core i7 CPU is pretty fast, so the main thing limiting how quickly libreoffice opens would be hard drive performance. If it's a spinning hard drive, maybe creating a tmpfs entry in /etc/fstab for /tmp might help.

And going with an XFCE4 or LXDE desktop environment might make a big difference. Someone else had a problem of large calc spreadsheets taking forever to load, and switching desktop environments reduced load time from around 100 seconds to around 30 seconds.
 
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Old 07-28-2017, 04:50 AM   #8
ajohn
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If your new to Linux maybe a straight Mint install would be ideal on a machine like that. I've not used it but have heard some interesting things about it. It seems it's pretty good at finding drivers for what ever is there and connected all by itself. It seems to suit lots of windoze users who have switched to Linux. Mint is a popular well supported distro as well.

On desktops KDE and modern Gnome are probably out. I'm not sure as I installed a full kde 4 on an HP Netbook with less memory than you have. It was way way quicker in all respects than the windoze that was on it and usable but I didn't try office. KDE5 is different though. I will be sticking that on it out of curiosity when the release settles down.

LXDE is in a bit of a state of flux and will become LXQT eventually. Mint uses Cinnamon but can also use Mate. Either of those might do and I believe are well supported. I haven't installed windows for donkeys years but installing even application rich linux distro's doesn't take long so trying several isn't much of a problem. Installing a fresh one might try to form a dual boot arrangement. For simplicity I would suggest telling the installer to use the lot and over write what was on it.

For a lightish weight fast pdf reader I would choose the free version of Foxit Reader.

Don't be tempted to install 2 desktop types on the same machine. It results in a funny mix at the moment. The only way to do that is to install what ever distro it is again along with the required desktop and dual boot. That is likely to require some work in the console to get it to work.

John
-
 
Old 07-28-2017, 11:17 AM   #9
DavidMcCann
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xahodo View Post
…libreoffice feels slow.
The reason I'm asking for alternatives is because the software startup takes longer than is acceptable to me.
That is odd. OpenOffice on this 12-year-old computer starts on 5 seconds: would you call that slow? Of course, a desktop normally has a faster hard-drive.

I don't know Budgie but, having read a bit about the features and design, I suspect that it is a bit heavy-weight on the graphics. It might be useful to know which graphics device in in use. I believe the command glxinfo will only list the one in use (I can't test that), or else you could search the file /var/log/Xorg.0.log for "screen" to see what driver was loaded.

If you're really unhappy, I'd suggest trying the Mate version of Mint.
 
Old 07-28-2017, 12:13 PM   #10
xahodo
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Well, xorg tells me that it uses the radeonhd 6650M, so I'm happy with that.
glxinfo reports that direct rendering is "yes" and that it is using the radeon for that. So the graphics seem to be ok.

The hdd reports itself as: WDC WD6400BPVT-22HXZT1
Something interesting seems to be at the DMA.
It appears to be running on udma6, but in front of the list of support udma modes, there's a list of mdma modes (up to mdma2).
 
Old 07-28-2017, 02:02 PM   #11
IsaacKuo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xahodo View Post
Well, xorg tells me that it uses the radeonhd 6650M, so I'm happy with that.
glxinfo reports that direct rendering is "yes" and that it is using the radeon for that. So the graphics seem to be ok.

The hdd reports itself as: WDC WD6400BPVT-22HXZT1
Something interesting seems to be at the DMA.
It appears to be running on udma6, but in front of the list of support udma modes, there's a list of mdma modes (up to mdma2).
This appears to be a typical 5400rpm spinning hard drive (2.5" SATA). Like all spinning hard drives, it's going to have poor performance with access to lots of small files. I think that libreoffice mainly uses /tmp for all the fiddly little temp files it uses, so taking /tmp off of the hard drive may boost performance.

You can do this by adding an entry in /etc/fstab like this:
Code:
none /tmp tmpfs size=95% 0 1
If nothing is currently using any files in /tmp, you can just mount it. Otherwise, you can reboot to start using it this way.

But generally speaking, this spinning hard drive is going to limit your computer's performance. If you don't feel like spending money on an SSD, and you have more than 4GB of RAM, I suggest you try out my RAMBOOT hack; see my blog entry here:

http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...ization-37498/

Basically, this is a modification on the initrd. Instead of simply mounting the OS hard drive, it copies the entire OS into RAM. This takes a while to boot up, but once it's booted it's like an extremely fast SSD. My blog explains how to use rsync to keep the hard drive copy up to date efficiently. It only takes a second or so to synchronize the OS from RAM to the hard drive backup.

That said, if you don't mind spending a bit of money it's easier and generally better to just buy an SSD.
 
Old 07-28-2017, 03:35 PM   #12
Xeratul
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xahodo View Post
As the title states. The computer in question is an acer aspire 7750g (6 years old gaming laptop).

I have installed solus (budgie) on it, but would like some suggestions for applications.

The laptop's purpose is to be a computer to use as a system on other locations than home.

I just need a word processor (that can open msword), a spreadsheet (that can handle excel) and a pdf reader. A browser would be nice too. My needs aren't too complicated in regards of the ms stuff. I do need a browser that can handle google drive, though. Any other options than firefox, chrome or opera that is reasonably lightweight and can do the requested?

For a word processor I was thinking about abiword, but is there anything better?

I'm clueless in regards of the browser and spreadsheet. Does anyone have a suggestion?
Motif and Libx11 is your friend.

Alternative is to use DamnSmallLinux, FreeBSD or Slackware. Nothing else will be better than FreeBSD if you manage to make it installed.

You will have to try a big but if you want you can PM me for more infos, or you can try to learn minimalist programming since you wont have much possibilities today.

Alternative is Puppy Linxu, Core Linux, or ... others.
 
Old 07-28-2017, 07:50 PM   #13
AwesomeMachine
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I'm wondering how slow is too slow to launch an application?
 
  


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