Given that she’s had the same install of Windows XP on it for… ever (2002), it’s been running insanely slowly. However, we figured it would be fine with a lightweight version of Linux. After all, the kids only really need a web-browser so that they can play flash games right?
Anyhow, the tail-end of the story is that the machine is now running a clean recovery version of Windows XP (and currently downloading SP3). I tried a bunch of Linux distributions and they were either too memory or processor intensive (most commonly) or just too esoteric to hand over to someone else. Maybe I should have tried older versions of Linux…
Here’s the list of Linux distributions I tried:
- Ubuntu 8.10: required Alternative install CD; memory requirements were too high
- Xubuntu 8.10: required Alternative install CD; processor too slow
- Debian 5.0 + LXDE: processor stepped to 600MHz by default; Browser (Ice Weasel) performance too slow; too esoteric
- gOS 3.1 Gadgets: CD wouldn’t boot (uses ISOLinux); could use a boot floppy, but the laptop doesn’t have a floppy drive
At that point time was running out and I used the recovery CDs that came with the laptop to return to Windows XP. Performance is much better under Windows XP for this particular hardware, although I’ve ordered an additional 256Mb of RAM which should help a lot for Linux.
I’m considering trying to install Ubuntu 7.10 and then installing the gOS packages, but it’s going to be tough justifying putting more time into this if Windows XP SP3 works fine.
Update: I should mention that I used the awesome Super Grub Disk to fix the MBR (to boot into Windows) after using the recovery disks. It was a great tool for MBR repair.
Update: Installing Puppy Linux as per Rich’s suggestion. The Live CD was crazy fast, wifi worked without hassle, and the browser (Sea Monkey) comes with a flash player! 🙂