Mailinglist Archive: opensuse (818 mails)

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Re: [opensuse] what to put on a _small_ netbook
On 9/20/2011 5:18 PM, Hans Witvliet wrote:
Hi,

I have to re-install my wife's acer-aspire-one,
a small netbook with just 512MB (you have to be a brain surgeon to
upgrade the mem).

And worse, just a 10" display.

Any recommendations?
smeegol? 11.4? 12.1?

I presume i have to stay away from standard KDE or GNOME...

hw

I run lubuntu latest on a Sony Vaio P.
Atom 1.3 ghz, 2G ram.

It's pretty good finally. Finally as of only the last few months there is a more or less working and maintained (open source, so it's possible TO maintain) video driver for the thrice damned gma500/poulsbo chip that doesn't break every time you update the kernel or xorg.

Other than the constant fight to get a working video driver, it's been pretty good.

LXDE desktop, wicd instead of NetworkManager, still has some gnome stuff for things lxde has no native answer for like bluetooth manager and power manager. I actually haven't tried to set up a printer on it yet (in over 2 years) so I don't know off hand how smooth that is or if it is a pain in the neck. wicd works well and is perfectly easy. Other than that, it's as slow as I expect such hardware to be, and fast enough to be usable as long as I stick to small files in Gimp and *Office (hahaha just noticed, hey it's back to it's roots, once again called "star office!") Which I happen to rarely use either of those.
Browsing with chrome is ok, youtube videos work ok but are almost unwatchable full-screen on the new open source "emgd" driver. If you need the video to work perfectly, you have to use one of a very small subset of old versions of distributions that PowerVR made a binary driver for, and then you have to worry about it breaking every time you even think about running apt-get or synaptic. Or if yours doesn't have a gma500 graphics then boy are you lucky, or a smart shopper, and this part doesn't matter.

I would absolutely put a 2G ram chip in there though. It's really not that hard on an aspire one. Local computer shop may even do it for nothing. I know lubuntu (and windows 7) are fine on both the Vaio P with 2G and my eeepc 1000H with 1G, but 512M? probably fine until you get a 3rd tab open in chrome, or one tab in firefox.
Besides, even if it IS hard, it's only hard once, whereas she has to live with the machine being slow 60 times a minute, 60 minutes an hour, every hour, every day...

Also WIndows7 is actually fine on the cpu, especially if you disable aero and set all the visual settings for performance (start -> computer -> right-click properties -> adjust visual effects), but I don't know about on 512M ram.

If I was really stuck on 512MB ram I'd find a high speed SD card and put swap and/or the windows pagefile exclusively on that and leave it in the slot permanently.

--
bkw
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