Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 19th May 2006 19:53 UTC, submitted by Mark
Linux "I am faced with a challenge: I need to find a Linux distribution that is both small enough, efficient enough and easy enough to maintain for my laptop. Realizing that all Linux distributions are not created equal, I did my research and was able to narrow my list to a handful of distributions that may be suitable for my needs and my laptop. Throughout the course of this article, I am going to test each of these distributions on my laptop and discuss my experiences. I will attempt to install and evaluate each distribution for a period of a couple of days. Based on my findings, I will select the distribution that best suits my needs."
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Laptop spec is so low as to be worthless
by rklrkl on Sat 20th May 2006 14:05 UTC
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I think this guy's time would have been better spent buying a new laptop (one with much larger RAM [128MB - you can't run *any* graphical OS - including XP - in that size of RAM and expect to be able to run modern apps with it without extreme disk thrashing] and hard disk - 2GB is ridiculously small to fit an OS *and* graphical apps in).

Which distro you pick and ultimately prefer will depend on your level of expertise and how much post-install tweaking you're prepared to do. Although I can install Linux from scratch from the command line, doing so via Gentoo made me want to pull my fingernails out and scream (yes, you get an optimised system, but the install process is tortuous beyond belief).

I personally prefer a balance of a nice installer with some tweaking after installation where necessary - of recent distros, I'd say Fedora Core 5 and OpenSuSE 10.1 are clear leaders for me. Ironically, these two are the basis for the #1 and #2 Enterprise Linux distros out there, so if you use Enterprise Linux at work, it'll help enormously if you use a free clone of it at home.

Heck, I recently set up CentOS 4.3 - another distro in the RHEL/Fedora family - as a text-only torrent server at home. It's quite easy to kill off unwanted services, set up cron jobs and so on and you get a lean setup - yes, the machine "only" had 512MB RAM and I felt that's enough to run BitTorrent and a text-mode Linux and nothing else. It's risible that the article's author is trying to run KDE, Firefox, Bluefish, Thunderbird and GIMP on a 128MB machine...even running one app at a time will cause major swapping on *any* distro, no matter how lean you trim it down.

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