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Mint 17.1 Xfce 'Rebecca' on an old laptop.


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#1 Al1000

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 06:23 PM

Laptop is a PB EasyNote E6307 with an AMD Sempron 3000+ single core CPU, 768MB of RAM and integrated VIA graphics.

After reading rburkartjo's comment on this operating system re "for old computers" in his cheesemakers-linux corner thread I decided to try it out. Booting from the DVD it displayed a screen full of colours instead of a desktop, as has happened with many other modern Linux distros, for example Ubuntu 12.04 and Lubuntu 14.04, due to the laptop's graphics incapabilities. But I tried again, pressing tab on the boot menu and selecting Compatibility Mode, and it booted to the desktop. So I decided to install it from there and deal with any problems with booting to the desktop once I had it installed, but as it turned out there weren't any.

 

Installation seemed faster than with Mint 13 MATE which I installed last week (and which this now replaces), despite the 17.1 ISO being around 30% larger. Rebooted the computer into Puppy to change the UUID in my Grub4Dos bootloader configuration file, in the menu entry that I previously used for Mint 13 MATE, and for Kubuntu 12.04 before that, then rebooted again and selected that menu entry and it booted to the Mint 17.1 Xfce desktop no problem. Although booting takes a little longer than Mint 13 MATE took.

Once there, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this uses even less system resources than Mint 13 MATE used at idle; about the same amount of CPU resources but 25MB or so less of RAM.

Unlike with Mint 13 MATE, connecting to wifi couldn't have been easier. I selected my network which it had already detected from the menu, entered my password and that was it.

The main issue was - and still is to a lesser extent - dragging windows around the desktop is a little jerky, whereas Mint 13 MATE was smooth. I went into Compiz settings and started disabling things, but couldn't see an option to disable Compiz altogether. So I Ctrl+Alt+F5 'ed and logged into a command line interface, and ran:
 

sudo apt-get remove compiz

...rebooted from there, and back to the GUI desktop. It looks just fine without Compiz, and as I understand it, Compiz is installed on top of the "regular" Xfce desktop, so I doubt I'll come across any issues from having removed it - even though doing so also involved removing a package called: mintdesktop

I removed ThunderBird, HexChat, and all Libre Office packages using Synaptic Package Manager, as I don't intend using then on this laptop. I've disabled the following applications from starting automatically: Desktop Sharing, Indicator Application, Indicator Sound, Migrate Compiz to Custom Profile, and Print Queue Applet, so far, and added one: Conky. No doubt I'll find more applications to disable to speed it up more, but it's running pretty well as it is considering the hardware it's running on.

Mint171screen1_zps592f6a50.png


Edited by Al1000, 12 January 2015 - 06:36 PM.


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#2 wizardfromoz

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 07:28 PM

That's good on the RAM usage, isn't it?

 

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#3 Al1000

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 07:51 PM

At over 100MB less than Kubuntu 12.04 used to use on the same machine, it's impressive!

I might, just might, replace Kubuntu 14.04 on my desktop pc with Mint 17.1 Xfce, as many of the things I like about KDE such as the rotating desktop cube are also included in Compiz.

Edited by Al1000, 12 January 2015 - 07:51 PM.


#4 NickAu

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 08:12 PM

I have always said if you are going to use Linux Mint use xfce, especially on older machines.


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#5 BlackSpyder

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Posted 13 January 2015 - 01:15 AM

I'm running Fedora 21 with LXDE on my beater laptop with 512mb of ram and a P4 era processor. Its sluggish but compared to Gnome, Mate, or Cinnamon it's a vast improvement. Xfce and LXDE are my usual goto DE on older stuff.

Edited by BlackSpyder, 13 January 2015 - 01:16 AM.

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#6 NickAu

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Posted 13 January 2015 - 01:44 AM

I'm running Fedora 21 with LXDE on my beater laptop with 512mb of ram and a P4 era processor. Its sluggish but compared to Gnome, Mate, or Cinnamon it's a vast improvement. Xfce and LXDE are my usual goto DE on older stuff.

Have you tried Puppy on that?


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#7 Al1000

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Posted 13 January 2015 - 09:11 AM

Yeah, nothing (worth having) beats Puppy on older hardware. Which reminds me, I'll need to get around to upgrading Lucid 5.2.8.6 to the new Lucid 5.2.8.7 on this laptop. I'll try out other Linux distros on the partition that Mint 17.1 is currently on, but plan on keeping Puppy on its 4GiB partition for as long as the laptop lasts.

Mint 17.1 may use around 100MiB of RAM less than Kubuntu 12.04, but it uses around 100MiB more than Puppy.

lucidram1_zpsa8148b42.jpg

Lucid 5.2.8.6 with Firefox (1 tab) and GParted open:

lucidram2_zps9ea06f72.jpg

Comparing these screenshots to the screenshot in the OP, we can see that as well as using much less RAM for the operating system itself, Puppy also reserves 8MiB less RAM for graphics.

Also notice that Mint 17.1, with all I've removed from it, takes up less than 4GiB of space on sda7.

Edited by Al1000, 13 January 2015 - 09:14 AM.


#8 Al1000

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Posted 13 January 2015 - 01:25 PM

I don't know if running Mint 17.1 on this old laptop is such a good idea. I guess it would probably be ok if the graphics were just slightly better. I would also guess (and I mean "guess" as I don't know much about it) that modern operating systems are designed for computers with graphics cards/chips that have at least some memory of their own, even if only a few MB, whereas as far as I can tell, the only memory on this computer that the integrated VIA graphics can use is the computer's RAM.

If I look closely, I can see a warning message appearing briefly on the monitor every time I boot up, mentioning VIA and saying something about "cannot reserve" and then some code with "I/O" in it, but I can't find any record of any such warning in the log files. The screen also flashes bright pink colours for a second or two as the desktop shuts down, every time I shut down or reboot the computer. I was kind of ignoring this as I doubt I could do much about it, and it otherwise boots up and shuts down ok, but I don't reckon it can be doing the computer any good. I did initially try different boot parameters such as nomodeset, but they didn't make any difference.

So I'm going to work my way down the list on distrowatch and try some of the lesser known lightweight distros, possibly starting with elementary OS, and will stick to Puppy when I'm on this laptop in the meantime.

But I am really impressed with Mint 17.1 Xfce itself, and am still considering removing Kubuntu 14.04 from my desktop pc and installing Mint in its place. Or else, I could put it on a 20GiB partition that currently contains two frugal installations of Puppy that I hardly ever use. Hmmm...

Edited by Al1000, 13 January 2015 - 01:28 PM.


#9 wizardfromoz

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Posted 13 January 2015 - 05:50 PM

I'm running Fedora 21 with LXDE on my beater laptop with 512mb of ram and a P4 era processor. Its sluggish but compared to Gnome, Mate, or Cinnamon it's a vast improvement. Xfce and LXDE are my usual goto DE on older stuff.

 

That's interesting, BlackSpyder. As Al1000 and NickAu and any number of other folk know, I am looking for an alternative to phase out XP on my wife's old Compaq Presario laptop, running with 512MB RAM.

 

I was looking yesterday at MX-14, which features in bmike1's signature, and from there downloaded AntiXLive, which looks promising.

 

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Edited - typo


Edited by wizardfromoz, 13 January 2015 - 05:50 PM.


#10 bmike1

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Posted 13 January 2015 - 06:00 PM

ummm... mx-14 might require a little work to get running.

here are my notes for it: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/559095/mx-14-install-notes/?hl=%2Bmx14

 

Let me emphasize the word 'might'. I installed it on one computer and it ran right away but on another computer needed my notes. Those notes are taken from my discussion to get it going on the computer it didn't run immediately on. 


Edited by bmike1, 13 January 2015 - 06:20 PM.

A/V Software? I don't need A/V software. I've run Linux since '98 w/o A/V software and have never had a virus. I never even had a firewall until '01 when I began to get routers with firewalls pre installed. With Linux if a vulnerability is detected a fix is quickly found and then upon your next update the vulnerability is patched.  If you must worry about viruses  on a Linux system only worry about them in the sense that you can infect a windows user. I recommend Linux Mint or, if you need a lighter weight operating system that fits on a cd, MX14 or AntiX.


#11 bmike1

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Posted 13 January 2015 - 08:42 PM

actually..... I had mx14 running on that computer for like 6 months. Then I put mint debian on it and no extra instructions were required to get the operating system working.


Edited by bmike1, 13 January 2015 - 08:46 PM.

A/V Software? I don't need A/V software. I've run Linux since '98 w/o A/V software and have never had a virus. I never even had a firewall until '01 when I began to get routers with firewalls pre installed. With Linux if a vulnerability is detected a fix is quickly found and then upon your next update the vulnerability is patched.  If you must worry about viruses  on a Linux system only worry about them in the sense that you can infect a windows user. I recommend Linux Mint or, if you need a lighter weight operating system that fits on a cd, MX14 or AntiX.


#12 wizardfromoz

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Posted 13 January 2015 - 08:47 PM

Yes, thanks, I noticed your Topic when I performed a search on mx-14. I'll check out AntiXLive first, and then take a look at mx-14

 

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#13 bmike1

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Posted 13 January 2015 - 09:42 PM

mx 14 is a corroboration of the makers of Mepis and Anti-x  .


A/V Software? I don't need A/V software. I've run Linux since '98 w/o A/V software and have never had a virus. I never even had a firewall until '01 when I began to get routers with firewalls pre installed. With Linux if a vulnerability is detected a fix is quickly found and then upon your next update the vulnerability is patched.  If you must worry about viruses  on a Linux system only worry about them in the sense that you can infect a windows user. I recommend Linux Mint or, if you need a lighter weight operating system that fits on a cd, MX14 or AntiX.


#14 wizardfromoz

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Posted 14 January 2015 - 02:44 AM

Likewise, so I understand - I love it when people in Linux Land collaborate, we get some good outcomes out of it.

 

And all free - my kind of price

 

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#15 cat1092

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Posted 15 January 2015 - 12:54 AM

I have always said if you are going to use Linux Mint use xfce, especially on older machines.

+1! :thumbup2:

 

I agree, and while Xfce doesn't have as much software installed as MATE, whatever needed can be grabbed from the Software Manager. 

 

I'd also add that some newer (2009-2012) low spec 64 bit computers, especially ultra low priced notebooks, can also gain a huge benefit from Mint Xfce. Many of these can barely run the OEM installed Windows 7, at the most run the browser & maybe one app, anything beyond that, they'll bog down to a snail's pace. These computers will usually have a Intel Celeron or low spec Pentium, or the lowest cost AMD 64 bit CPU the OEM has a surplus of, and are great candidates for Xfce. Boot times will be nearly twice as fast, as well as many other things that we run on our computers daily, the computer will feel like it's new again.  :thumbup2:

 

While it's not mentioned often, because Xfce is normally ran on older 32 bit computers, there's also a 64 bit build of Linux Mint 17.1 Xfce that will make these computers run a lot snappier. I know, because I've performed a couple of Mint 17 Xfce 64 bit installs just last year. Both Windows 7 consumers could no longer stand the bloat, the buggy updates that would cripple computers, and having to run security that just bogged them down further. For them, Mint 17 Xfce 64 bit was the answer, neither has had issues with their computers being slowed to a crawl since. 

 

http://www.linuxmint.com/edition.php?id=182

 

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Edited by cat1092, 15 January 2015 - 01:27 AM.

Performing full disc images weekly and keeping important data off of the 'C' drive as generated can be the best defence against Malware/Ransomware attacks, as well as a wide range of other issues. 





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