When Windows is Enough

No, I did not switch to Windows or anything, but I just went on a whole journey trying Linux on an old netbook and these are my thoughts

Published 20 Dec 2022, 781 words, ~2 min. read.
Tags:
linux | windows | storytime |

So, a friend of mine wanted me to install an office program on an old netbook he was planning to give away to someone else.

This made it quite difficult for me, because I knew I could not really afford to play around since I was not sure that whoever ends up with the device would be willing to put up with having to learn to use Linux, and having to use a fairly minimal environment or something like that.

But regardless, I wanted to play around for a bit and ended up finding a couple of interesting distros that I think you may want to try out if you happen to have an old device.

The limitations

So, the netbook I was working with is an HP Mini 110. Looking online I realized TechHut had done a video using a model in the same 110 line, but mine was even worse than that. It features an Intel Atom processor, 1GB of RAM and 140 GB of HDD storage. using a model in the same 110 line, but mine was even worse than that. It features an Intel Atom processor, 1GB of RAM and 140 GB of HDD storage. Its painful, unlike Brandon’s, this device does not even support 64-bit systems so yeah.

The distributions I tried

I did a post on Mastodon asking for some suggestions after doing some research myself. I was looking for something that was user friendly, but also something that did well with low specifications.

MX Linux 21.2.1 32-bit

This was the first distro I decided to try, it was nice to go back to MX Linux after a while. It was the second distro I ever tried and had a nice time using it back then, it was my thirst for the latest and greatest that made me want to distrohop from it.

Anyways, while on this device it was working decently enough, I was not pleased with the performance, not at all. Despite the low ram usage. MX Linux has always considered itself as a mid-weight distribution, so I quickly went ahead and decided to try out something else., so I quickly went ahead and decided to try out something else.

LOC-OS 22

Even though Spanish is my native language, I am not very active on the Linux Spanish community at all. But I somehow decided to watch a video by GeeksTelevisión talking about LOC-OS, a distro specifically made for old PCs, developed by another YouTube Creator, Nico from Locos Por Linux.

I decided to give it a spin. It is a distro based on Debian 11 and a bit of Antix Linux, which is also related to MX Linux, funnily enough.

Regardless, this distro is wonderful. It has a super low resource usage. 120MB of RAM, using LXDE and little else. It came with just enough software to not be bloated but still feature-rich, and also quite a bit of nice scripts and even its own package management system, LPKG.

The thing was great, but the only problem was that the netbook’s display was too small to display some QT and GTK windows. While not difficult a difficult problem for me (using the ALT key is second nature nowadays), this small detail made me realize that even if this distribution worked wonderfully. I would still have to settle for Windows, just because this was not a device for me to play with.

Back on Windows 7

So, I decided to go back to Windows. I looked for a stripped down ISO file and installed it again, I got it activated and installed some other programs with it.

I actually found it rather smooth and quick after installing the graphic drivers for it. I think that had I tried some linux distributions that came out at the same time as Win 7, I probably would have had an even greater experience.

But again, the problem was that this device was not for me. So I had to settle.

I installed Microsoft Office 2010, because LibreOffice had some missing libraries and I could not bother to fix it. I also installed 7-Zip and VLC, to at least have some free software running on that device, and I called it a day.

I would love to try this device a bit more, but after all its not for me and without and SSD to use with it, even the simplest tasks were a bit of a chore when running modern software with it. Maybe some other day I will get a Thinkpad or something. Until next time!
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