It's true: Obsolescence is Just a Lack of ImaginationA few months ago, I tried Damn Small Linux (DSL). I wasn't too thrilled with it. It seemed difficult to use, nothing was familiar, and I moved on to other things. Earlier this week, I received a donation of a Sony VAIO laptop, 300 MHz Pentium II, 64 mb RAM, 6 GB Hard drive. Xubuntu just wouldn't go on with that low of memory, and Puppy stumbled on it too. I downloaded, burned to disk, and booted up DSL. WOW!
DSL runs FAST on this little machine. Either I've learned more about Linux in the past few months, or DSL got easier. I don't remember learning anything really new recently, so I can only guess the DSL people have done some work. I took out the CD, loaded Dban, wiped the drive clean, rebooted DSL, and found the option to install to hard drive. It installed in less the ten minutes. Was actually closer to five minutes! Once I figured out how to install more programs with MyDSL, the new programs loaded on very quickly. At first, I was using a PCIMCIA ethernet card to get online. I stuck in a Lucent Technologies 802.11b Orinoco card, booted it up again, and it found everything without me having to do anything other than turn the computer on. Instant wireless! After looking through the forums, I found how to do screenshots like the first one on this post, using Imagemagick. I loaded on Abiword, and eventually OpenOffice.org 1.1. I installed Java and Flash. I tried youtube on this computer (I'm entering this blog on it), and it ran very stuttered, slow, and no sound. I think that may be due to the low memory.
I cleaned the machine up as best I could. You can see it sitting on newspaper. It seems the little rubberlette feet on the bottom have turned to mush, and come off on anything they stick to. I tried to use alcohol to get them off, but no go. If anyone knows how to remove those gooey globs, let me know.
I am freaking amazed at how fast this machine is. Puppy Linux gave me another too for older equipment, but DSL give me an even deeper tool. Puppy needs about 128 MB ram to run, but DSL can run on as little as a 486DX with 16MB ram!! I would still rather give out a machine with Xubuntu on it. Xubuntu is much easier to use for a Linux nuubie. But, for the price, and the ability to use really old equipment, DSL is excellent.
So who could use a computer like this? Someone without any computer at all, for starters. Sure, they'd have a bit of a learning curve, but it's still a free computer. By using the DSL forums and wiki, anyone can learn how to use DSL in a very short amount of time. Free is a good motivator. Someone who is working on a novel could use it. Or, someone who just wants to surf the net. Works good for that too. With more memory (for only $15! I checked), youtube would probably work ok, enabling you to watch episodes of The IT Crowd.
Update to the laptop: With the kind info, baby oil got the gooey glob off the bottom. I tried to run the unit on just the battery - no go. Battery is dead. But, it runs plugged in.