5.14.2009

Ubuntu on pIII


If any of you keep up to tabs on my twitter, almost a week ago I installed Ubuntu 9.04 (jaunty jackalope) on an old pIII donated to me by my father in law. It's got under 400mb of memory, a painfully slow proccessor, and I'm sure would crumble under the pressure of any windows distro.

With ubuntu though, it's practically a speed demon. I mean I've noticed a few slow-downs with Multi-tabbed browsing & multi-desktop stuff running at the same time, but this computer was about to be taking up a landfill.

I've been wanting to have another dev environment for some time now, and my collection of "broken" computers are far too broken to run period let alone install an OS. They've got BIOS problems, drives missing/broken, so I'm quite happy to have this new member of my network.

I've never really used a 'nix distro actually installed on a machine. I've played with pureDyne, Damn Small Linux, and Knoppix Live CD distro's and they're all great in their own way. The problem I've had with Live CDs is that they're hogging my CD drive, you can't install or change anything, and on some of them it's really confusing to mount an USB key, or even the hard drive.

The installation proccess with ubuntu was really easy (expecially on a machine I planned on making ubuntu-only.) I popped in the disk, filled out some forms, and let it chug away.

Mounting drives is now as easy as plugging them in.

My only issue now is that my internet connection is shite and upgrading, or installing anything is daunting (because if it fails, you have to start again.) But perserverence is key, and I'm sure someday I'll get a good connection.

I've been trying to install Pd-extended (the one ubuntu serves through apt-get is vanilla) But it's got 8 files that need to be upgraded & sure enough my connection craps out half-way through. so hopefully soon I'll have some fun playing with the linux-only capabilities in pureData.

Until then, I'll just enjoy the pre-installed games (they're crazy-fun) and keep trying.

update:
Ok. i figured out how to get a list of packages Pd needs installed, and now I'm only missing one.
It was pretty easy to find the list, just click the details button... the smaller files were easily downloaded & installed, the only one giving me headaches now is libflite1, it's like 14.1mb, and keeps failing on me. I downloaded it & some other attachments on a flash drive so hopefully this will get me on my way to actually installing Pd-extended.

2 comments:

Chris Wellons said...

With low system specs it helps a lot to use a lightweight desktop environment / window manager. Since you are using Ubuntu I bet you are currently using Gnome with some poop-colored theme. Or maybe you switched it to the even heavier KDE.

XFCE is slight a step down from Gnome and KDE bloat, though I haven't used it in years.

I use IceWM on my machines, running Debian. I use this even though they don't have low-end/old specs just because I like a desktop environment to stay out of my way.

Another possibility is Fluxbox. I once installed OpenBSD on an ancient laptop with 64MB of memory. OpenBSD uses FVWM by default, which is ugly as hell, so I switched to Fluxbox. It couldn't do anything heavier than Fluxbox, though.

If you are new to unix and Free operating systems, dive in and explore your new system. It has a very clean, simple design with well documented APIs and interfaces. A great package manager. Hundreds of compilers and interpreters. Real text editors. SSH. X. It's great!

It beats the crap out of that toy operating system called "Windows". Seriously.

 JKirchartz said...

I'm loving having having the bourne again shell native... I've had linux telnet accounts before but their pretty lame... In the proccess of cleaning my just drawer I found a bunch of old ram cards so I'll have to see if any of them are an upgrade, or even working.