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Last post Author Topic: How to choose the best Linux distro for laptops  (Read 10790 times)

Deozaan

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Re: How to choose the best Linux distro for laptops
« Reply #25 on: March 16, 2011, 01:43:06 AM »
I tried Debian, and it felt so similar to Ubuntu (since Ubuntu is based on Debian) that I decided to give Ubuntu another shot. Well, actually Xubuntu, since I've heard that Xcfe is faster than Gnome. Xubuntu's Task Manager says that it uses up 12% of my RAM on a fresh boot, since the machine has 1GB I guess that's just about 120MB.

I didn't know what sort of resource monitor Debian had, so I didn't check.

But if #! can run on under 60MB, it's definitely worth a shot. I guess I'll start playing around with some more distros. I've also downloaded PCLinuxOS.

[EDIT]Hmm... #! is currently using 93.7 out of 1,000 MiB RAM when running from the Live CD (USB, actually). Not sure if that's a good enough advantage over Xubuntu. Maybe it would have a smaller memory footprint running off the HDD rather than the Live USB?[/EDIT]

[EDIT2] And #! won't install. It can't access the security.debian.com repository and it won't install GRUB boot loader. I find that strange because Debian and Ubuntu both install the boot loader just fine. In fact, GRUB is already the main boot loader for this netbook, so it's already installed. So much for #!... [/EDIT2]

I really like the idea of running Tiny/MicroCore Linux from RAMDisk, but sadly I don't know enough about Linux to do anything with that particular distro.

« Last Edit: March 16, 2011, 02:54:33 AM by Deozaan, Reason: #! went CRUNCH! BANG! »

Deozaan

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Re: How to choose the best Linux distro for laptops
« Reply #26 on: March 16, 2011, 10:19:39 PM »
I ran PCLinuxOS from the Live USB and it was also running on about 97 MB RAM. I decided to install it and when running from an install it was only using about 67 MB RAM on a fresh boot. But I had some problems using the packet manager to download some programs. For some reason it only had one repository enabled and it couldn't connect to that one. It also has a "speed test" program that tests the speeds of repositories and automatically selects the fastest one, but it kept telling me to make sure I was connected to the internet, even though I could browse the web just fine.

I messed around with that for a while and finally got it to download what I wanted. By then the RAM was up above the 120MB mark, so I rebooted to see what it would be on a fresh boot and now there's something wrong with the desktop environment. After logging in, all I get is a blank screen with the mouse cursor on it. I can right click to access most everything (like how Crunchbang did it), but the "task bar" or whatever it's called never shows up. It's just blackness. It's both cool (in that it's very minimalist, like Crunchbang) and annoying (because I don't know how to get it back the way it was before) at the same time.

Also, I installed PCLinuxOS to a separate partition, but somehow it still managed to break my Xubuntu installation. Now when I boot into Xubuntu everything looks great but it freezes almost immediately after I've logged in. Could this be because I told both of them to use the same partition for Swap?


Edvard

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Re: How to choose the best Linux distro for laptops
« Reply #27 on: March 17, 2011, 01:15:47 PM »
Very sorry to hear your difficulty in getting this thing up and running.
Believe me, I understand how frustrating Linux can sometimes be, but when it does go...  8)

I didn't know what sort of resource monitor Debian had, so I didn't check.
All Linux versions have a command-line utility called 'top' that gives you running stats.
'htop' is even better, but it's not installed by default on most distros.
Otherwise, each Desktop Environment will have it's own graphical reource monitor.
On Xfce, it's simply "xfce4-taskmanager" (not always installed by default).
Gnome has "System Monitor" and KDE has "KSysGuard".

Could this be because I told both of them to use the same partition for Swap?
Nope, a swap is a swap.
Nothing should be hanging out in there to muck with the other's.
What desktop version of PCLinuxOS are you trying?
KDE? Gnome? Xfce?
If it's Xfce, just hit Alt+F2 and type in: xfce4-panel
The others, I dunno.

Regarding the PCLOS repository bug:
http://www.pclinuxos...p/topic,87377.0.html

For Xubuntu, I don't know what is causing that.
Sometimes an install just goes south when first installed.
Sometimes re-burning the install CD at a slower speed and re-installing will fix it, sometimes a second attempt at installing will spiff it up, sometimes nothing helps.
That said, I'm not even sure Xubuntu is as lightweight as some promise; it's still Ubuntu under the hood, after all.
I'd go with the Debian Xfce live disk if you want to see Xfce fly.
This might help as well:
http://wiki.debian.o...ebianOn/MSI/WindU100

Looks like the Slitaz website is back up:
http://slitaz.org
I had a pleasant time with it on an older laptop a friend gave me before the power supply died; I can give it a solid recommendation.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2011, 01:17:38 PM by Edvard »

Deozaan

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Re: How to choose the best Linux distro for laptops
« Reply #28 on: March 18, 2011, 11:52:39 PM »
What desktop version of PCLinuxOS are you trying?
KDE? Gnome? Xfce?
If it's Xfce, just hit Alt+F2 and type in: xfce4-panel
The others, I dunno.

Regarding the PCLOS repository bug:
http://www.pclinuxos...p/topic,87377.0.html

It's running OpenBox. It seems to be doing the same thing the reviewer pointed out about CrunchBang, which is just a blank screen and no "start bar" or "task bar" or anything on the desktop. Just a mouse cursor and access to everything from the right-click context menu. It's kind of nice and minimal, and at the same time slightly bothersome since I'm not sure what caused it.


That said, I'm not even sure Xubuntu is as lightweight as some promise; it's still Ubuntu under the hood, after all.
I'd go with the Debian Xfce live disk if you want to see Xfce fly.
This might help as well:
http://wiki.debian.o...ebianOn/MSI/WindU100

As I said, I did have Debian installed and it seemed to run okay, but since I didn't know about htop at the time I didn't check to see how it did with the resources.

I'm getting ready to try Linux Mint 10 LXDE (I might switch LXDE with OpenBox if that's not too hard to do) over my Xubuntu installation, but maybe I'll give Slitaz a try first.

Thanks for all the other info and help that I didn't reply to specifically.


Edvard

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Re: How to choose the best Linux distro for laptops
« Reply #29 on: March 19, 2011, 03:15:47 AM »
LXDE uses OpenBox as the Window Manager, so you're already halfway there.
Most of what 'makes' LXDE is the different panel/launcher/utility thingummies bundled in.
Not exactly sure, but it sounds like your problem with OpenBox is there's no bar thingy running by default.
ObConf (OpenBox configuration manager GUI) should help get that worked out.

I actually liked LXDE's LxPanel a lot, worked better and more stable than a lot of other lightweight panels.
Incidentally, the Xfce panel plays nice with OpenBox as well.

Mint is based on Ubuntu, don't know if you'll get any performance increase but I've heard some reports that Mint solves some hardware problems that Ubuntu still has.

Deozaan

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Re: How to choose the best Linux distro for laptops
« Reply #30 on: March 19, 2011, 03:13:57 PM »
Not exactly sure, but it sounds like your problem with OpenBox is there's no bar thingy running by default.
ObConf (OpenBox configuration manager GUI) should help get that worked out.

Not quite. I don't have a problem that OpenBox has no bar thingy running by default. The thing is, when I first installed PCLinuxOS, it did have a bar thingy running by default. I think it even had a wallpaper image with the PCLinuxOS logo. Then I mucked around trying to get the packet manager to work and now the bar thingy is gone and the wallpaper is just a blank black screen and I don't know how to get it back.

Going into ObConf I'm guessing the "bar thingy" is called a Dock? All the options for the dock have it set to be enabled, but it still doesn't show. And going to the Desktop preferences shows that there's a wallpaper.png set as the desktop wallpaper, but it just shows a black screen. :huh:

As I said, I kind of like the minimalism of it all; the only thing that bothers me is that I don't know why this happened or how to change it back if I wanted to.

Mint is based on Ubuntu, don't know if you'll get any performance increase but I've heard some reports that Mint solves some hardware problems that Ubuntu still has.

I knew that Mint was based on Ubuntu, but I've heard people say it runs better, and I have a friend running it on his Netbook and he's pretty happy with it, so I thought I'd give it a try.


Deozaan

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Re: How to choose the best Linux distro for laptops
« Reply #31 on: March 21, 2011, 07:17:17 PM »
Okay, this is weird. I shut down my netbook to take it somewhere, and when I booted back into PCLinuxOS it had the background image and the "bar thingy" again. The weird thing is that I've rebooted multiple times before and it always had the nothingness. But now every time I boot it up and has the wallpaper and bar thingy.

And it doesn't seem to take up any more RAM to show those things.


urlwolf

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Re: How to choose the best Linux distro for laptops
« Reply #32 on: March 23, 2011, 07:42:15 AM »
The best Hardware detection I know of is in Sabayon linux. They have cfce and lxde editions.

Deozaan

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Re: How to choose the best Linux distro for laptops
« Reply #33 on: April 01, 2011, 01:23:17 AM »
I got a bit lazy and haven't tried any new linux distros. PCLinuxOS seems to do what I wanted for my netbook, which is mostly to use up as little resources as possible so I can use it as a Minecraft server.

Thanks for recommending it to me. I think I'm going to stick with it for a while. :Thmbsup:

« Last Edit: April 01, 2011, 03:47:09 AM by Deozaan »

Edvard

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Re: How to choose the best Linux distro for laptops
« Reply #34 on: April 01, 2011, 03:04:09 AM »
No shame in stopping while you're ahead...  :Thmbsup:

Glad your desktop came to it's senses as well.
Let those of us in Club Spheniscidae know if you need to do any more 'experimenting'.  ;)

lanux128

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Re: How to choose the best Linux distro for laptops
« Reply #35 on: April 01, 2011, 03:24:45 AM »
PCLinuxOS guys seem to have a sense of humor as well..

firefox_01_04_11_001.pngHow to choose the best Linux distro for laptops

http://www.pclinuxos.com/