[sf-lug] distro advice, please

Christian Einfeldt einfeldt at gmail.com
Mon Nov 19 14:59:30 PST 2007

On Nov 19, 2007 2:22 PM, Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> wrote:

> Quoting Christian Einfeldt (einfeldt at gmail.com):
> That leaves essentially _any_ Linux distribution for x86, that doesn't
> have too bloated an installer (check system requirements),

I guess Ubuntu has a text-based installer, as I recall.  The problem, IMHO,
with this kind of solution is that you are forced to use one of the more
lightweight desktops, and I have not found those things to be intuitive for
new users.

> where
> you're willing to do work at the end of installation to prune down the
> startup configuration and select an appropriate window manager, and
> where the distro is installable from compatible media.

This would certainly involve a whole new learning curve for me.  I am
willing to learn.  It sounds really tough, though.  But I am willing to try.

I know that Daniel Gimpelevich really had to work hard to get something
running on an old Mac that an acquaintance gave us.  Of course, that was
Mac, and this is Intel, so it should be a little easier.

> Christian, you'll please note that I'm speaking differently to you than
> if you were a novice.  (As a person installing Linux for other people,
> and who's spoken to me of plans for prepping old computers with Linux
> for people elsewhere, you are not a novice.)

Well, yeah, not a novice but still sort of a level one sys admin.  I am
always getting myself in over my head, due to my passion for never saying no
to someone in my social circle who is interested in Linux.  It seems as if
we have so little time, if we want to catch up with Microsoft.

> I hope you know how to
> look at the process table and figure out what you _want_ and have reason
> to run.


> I hope you know how to disable startup processes.

kill [PID]

> I hope you
> know how to change a system, or a user, to a different and less
> resource-wasting window manager.

Yeah, there is usually a point-and-click solution to switch desktops.  But
the problem, IMHO, is that those lightweight desktops are really not all
that friendly for simple end users, IMHO.  Vector seems to be an exception.

> If not, I submit that it's very much
> in your interest to learn, if you're going to install Linux for other
> people, especially onto low-spec hardware.

True, but I always have such incredible time constraints. And the problem
with the low-spec installs is that they don't happen often enough, and so I
have re-learn them each time.  Before I accepted helping this person, I had
sworn off doing installs on less than 256 MB RAM and less than 800 Mhz
chips.  But this person is a special friend, and has helped us enormously
with our public middle school project.  She has gone to bat for us on
numerous occasions to get FOSS in there, and we simply would not have gotten
there without her.

> Here's someone's notes from Dec. 2001 about Debian on an Inspiron 4000
> (and no, I'm not specifically recommending Debian):
> http://web.archive.org/web/20051124094442/http://www.cynox.ch/asuzuki/inspiron4000.htm
> (Note the Lucent LT winmodem.)
> Other write-ups can be found here:
> http://www.linux-on-laptops.com/dell.html
Thanks for this info.  It is good to hear from people who have had the
experience of getting this done.
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