[sf-lug] distro advice, please

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Mon Nov 19 15:34:55 PST 2007

Quoting Christian Einfeldt (einfeldt at gmail.com):
> On Nov 19, 2007 2:22 PM, Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> wrote:

> 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.

Then, your friend needs to add more RAM.

Sorry, 128MB RAM simply is a low-spec machine in 2007.  I find even
Xubuntu gets by with 256 MB but probably could not do well with less.

> This would certainly involve a whole new learning curve for me.  I am
> willing to learn.

You should do that before installing Linux on low-spec machines for
other people.  I'm quite serious.

> top?

Top's default repeat-display mode shows you a view of the process list
that's good for some purposes, provided you don't mind a bunch of them
being off the bottom of the screen (assuming less than giant terminals).

The basic, normal tool for looking at the process list is "ps" (e.g.,
"ps auxw") usually fed for convenience through a pager such as "less",
and/or grep.

> > I hope you know how to disable startup processes.
> kill [PID]


Listen, if you're going to do more than kick the tires, especially if
you're going to be configuring low-spec machines for other people, you
need to figure out how to be in charge of what the machine runs at
startup time.  If you don't have RAM and CPU to waste, quit wasting it.

> > 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.

_Not_ a general solution -- and you need to be able to pare _away_
"desktop" flotsam.

> 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.

Dammit, no.  You're still not getting it.  

Vector has a particular default startup configuration, at the end of
installation.  That default startup configuration uses Xfce4, with
others also available optionally.  If you like that startup
configuration, it can be replicated using very little effort on _any_
other Linux or BSD distribution.  Any.

All you have to do is be willing to do post-installation configuration

> True, but I always have such incredible time constraints. 

OK, so do you want to consistently do a bad job quickly?

> 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.

If you like her a lot, then I'd recommend either learning what you're
doing, or buying her more RAM.

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