Greetings from Munich,
I acquired a Compaq Armada M700 notebook. It had been thrown-out at work, looking a little worse for wear, so I rescued it. It had a P3 processor installed running at 800MHz and 192MB of memory. After replacing the noisy hard drive and adding a USB WLAN dongle it was ready to go and a candidate for a lightweight OS.
PuppyLinux: The live CD worked fine and I had the WLAN running in no time at all loading the windows drivers with ndiswrapper. But for whatever reasons Puppy wouldn’t write GRUB properly so I moved on.
PeppermintOS: After Puppy’s boot problems I had Peppermint install automatically. It formatted the entire hard drive and added a 512M swap partition at the end. To get the WLAN going though I had to download ndiswrapper and the GUI connected via Ethernet to my DSL hub. This was a pain and once connected performance was poor. The disk light was on much of the time - page swapping probably, with the small amount of memory on-board. Also, with the swap space located at the end of the drive does this mean there are very long seeks or is it my imagination?
WattOS: Watt seemed to be not dissimilar to Peppermint. This time though I set-up a 10GB root partition, next to it a 1GB swap partition and the remainder as a /home partition. I installed the system and had to return to the hub to download ndiswrapper etc. Then it was running and I got to know the apps.
Watt apps - I like Sylpheed although I missed some Email client features. KeePassX is a great well-structured utility. I’m familiar with ABIWord and Gnumeric and like them both. Same goes too for FotoXX with its brilliant Panorama facility. Regrettably, a Synaptic search usually locks the hard drive for several minutes but that too was the case with Peppermint. Otherwise I’m well satisfied with the performance.
- I found that repositories are set by default to the US. That’s fine if you live in the US but I live in Munich, Germany. Through Synaptic I found the optimal repository server, just across the border in Austria. I recommend all non-US users to configure this immediately after getting on-line.
- A request for the Watt distro - preloading ndiswrapper-common, utilities, and GUI is a must do. If the user doesn’t have an available ethernet port or even a cable to download these then they’d be stuck. Plugging-in a USB WLAN adaptor is a very likely scenario with old hardware.
- With limited memory I do recommend users run just one app at a time when possible. A surfing point too - steer clear of so-called tech advice sites with associated massive advertising and snazzy content. They really slow things down.
- Question: What 'old hardware’ do you test WattOS?
I can see me continuing to use my Armada notebook with WattOS for some time.Thanks for the all the effort producing a stable OS release with stylish looks and interesting apps.