What is this about?

26/05/2009

How much can you do with a Pentium III Coppermine processor, 256Mb of ram and about 8Gb of hard drive space?

Quite a lot as it turns out. I’m running an mp3 player, editing this blog and I have a 25 page document loaded into Open Office, and free is showing about 110Mb of memory in use, with a tiny amount (300Kb) of swap space. The computer is relatively responsive, although Firefox is a heavy beast of a program.

Firefox is the most demanding application

Firefox is the most demanding application

This blog is about running minimal Linux but with mainstream applications. I work as a teacher and need to produce handouts and presentations. I like to surf the Web and enjoy flash player content (classical music mostly, there is so much on YouTube, interviews with composers, clips of performances, historical footage). I’d also like to learn Linux.

The whole screen more or less is available for work

The whole screen more or less is available for work

The installation I’m currently using is Debian 5 installed from the Net Install image. I did not install any packages at all above the base system, I unticked the Desktop, Standard and Laptop options in the installer. I then added Xorg, dwm, firefox, openoffice.org, leafpad, mtpaint, mirage, epdfview. Then I sorted sound out by installing alsa-utils and running alsaconf as root. Then I installed the Flash player from the backports (despite dire warnings), and added a nice terminal based mp3 player called mpg123.

the stock dwm window manager is really usable

the stock dwm window manager is really usable

No desktop manager, and no file manager. I can cope without wallpaper thanks, and I don’t mind logging into a command line and typing ‘startx’.

Adding wvdial has sorted my t-mobile Web’n’Walk mobile Web modem, although adding automounting of USB disk drives with ivman has caused a problem with the USB modem in that the modem is recognised as a mass storage device.

Things that I get working will be blogged here.

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