I have an Aspire One netbook, and thus far I’ve used the stock Linux distribution. Due to some persuasion from my nephew, I decided to give ArchLinux a spin. My objective is to get going with a simple, quick, flexible, and hopefully not too bloated install of Linux.
Specs of the system
Processor: Intel Atom CPU N270 @ 1.60GHZ
ArchLinux, is touted as a “simple, lightweight linux distribution”. And this seems generally true. It isn’t simple in the sense of being “dumbed down”, but rather in terms of being uncluttered and generally uncomplicated for a person of intermediate or advanced Linux experience. The installer is minimalistic, but rather effective. It could be a bit more usable and intuitive, but generally it is not at all hard to figure out. I chose the “core” installer, which requires a network connection to fetch the packages you install.
ArchLinux uses pacman. I was not crazy about this to begin with, but now I find it to be a reasonably functional and handy package management system. I decided to use XFCE for my desktop environment, as I figured this would be the best desktop environment all things considered (the laptop only has 1GB of RAM). There were a concerning amount of loose ends after I retrived and installed the packages I wanted, but nothing that couldn’t be overcome with a bit of tinkering. I was able to get XFCE, my wireless network card, the built-in web cam, and what not working.
Some software I’ve installed:
Linux Kernel: 2.6.29
Desktop Environment: XFCE4
Web Browser: Firefox 3.0.8
Multimedia: Mplayer, Cheese (Web Cam) 2.26.0, Audacity 1.3.7, gimp 2.6.6
Office: AbiWord 2.6.8, GnuCash 2.2.9
Development: Python 2.6.1, GCC 4.3.3
Editor: vim/gvim 7.2
Other Software: FileZilla 3.2.3, Nmap 4.76, XPDF, Putty 0.60, freemind 0.8.1, sshfs 2.2
I’ve timed a few operations, and here are the findings:
From Reboot to Console Login Prompt : 25 seconds
XFCE Load: 11 seconds
Load GIMP: 7 seconds
Compile nmap 4.85BETA7 with GCC: 3.5 minutes
There are definately still some loose ends that need to be fixed up before I feel really comfortable with this setup, but so far so good! I’m having fun. I really haven’t experimented with other distros since I’ve settled on Ubuntu (which still is my distribution of choice for regularly-powered systems). I will post some more about this in the future.
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