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Author Topic: Linux Distro for Netbook  (Read 2922 times)
W4CDO
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Posts: 34




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« on: December 31, 2018, 03:20:59 PM »

I have an Acer Aspire One netbook laptop, maybe 8 to 10 years old. It has an Intel Atom 1.83 GHz processor, 1 GB memory, and 250 GB hard drive. It came with Windows 7 Starter Edition installed. I would like to use this laptop for portable ops, and to run Flrig, Fldigi, WSJT-X, and a logging program. What Linux Distro would you suggest for this use?

It has three USB 2.0 ports and battery op time is up to 8 hours or so.

Thank you for your suggestions.

Jerry W4CDO
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WW7KE
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« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2018, 03:48:17 PM »

I take it that it's a 32-bit processor, given the age.  That restricts things quite a bit, since many distros no longer offer 32-bit versions, or will be discontinuing them in the near future (such as Lubuntu).

Because you want to use WSJT-X, it's mandatory that a current version of any distro be used because of the system libraries that the software was compiled against.  If you can compile your own, then just about anything currently in release will work.  Fldigi is not a problem in any case.  I don't use a logging program, so I can't help you there.

One you might try is PeppermintOS, based on Ubuntu 18.04, which has long term support (LTS).  It's still available in 32-bit, and I use it on my one remaining netbook.  It works fine, with reasonable speed, but I don't use it for ham purposes (my significant other uses it) so I can't verify whether or not it'll work well with ham software.  But it might be worth it to give it a shot.

https://peppermintos.com/
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W4CDO
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Posts: 34




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« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2018, 04:15:33 PM »

Thank you, Keith, for your suggestion. I charged the battery, booted it up, and looked in Control Panel. The OS has a 2009 date and the processor is 32-bit. I bought the computer new and it has sat unused for several years. It looks brand new and the battery seems good. I'll follow up on your suggestion.

Thanks again,
Jerry W4CDO
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KX4OM
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Posts: 371




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« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2018, 04:51:40 PM »

You might get some help on a Linux forum, perhaps the unix and Linux stack exchange.

There are probably Linux distros that that have the kernel tailored for the Atom processors.

https://unix.stackexchange.com/

Ted, KX4OM
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WW7KE
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Posts: 948




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« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2018, 06:37:05 PM »

Thank you, Keith, for your suggestion. I charged the battery, booted it up, and looked in Control Panel. The OS has a 2009 date and the processor is 32-bit. I bought the computer new and it has sat unused for several years. It looks brand new and the battery seems good. I'll follow up on your suggestion.

Thanks again,
Jerry W4CDO

I just checked the girlfriend's netbook, and it is an Acer Aspire One as well, so I know PeppermintOS will work well on your machine.  If you want to install it, Version 9 is the latest, and was updated last week.
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VK6IS
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Posts: 359




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« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2018, 09:14:59 PM »

another lightweight Linux System is
https://mxlinux.org/
and
https://antixlinux.com/
as those two are still designed for those older machines.

 Grin
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W4CDO
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« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2019, 07:11:12 AM »

Thank you both for your suggestions.

Jerry W4CDO
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K7RJB
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Posts: 253




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« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2019, 09:25:21 AM »

You can make most of the linux distros light weight by choosing what packages you install.
Not installing all the default packages will help prevent you system bogging down with dreck
Starting with which window manager you pick. XFCE? or one of the other basic WMs.
Many distros include features often not used.
Don't just accept all the defaults, you can always add stuff later.
I would not stray far from popular/mainstream versions as userland support is better.
Hardware support is more critical.
Another thing to look at is what applications you will be using and what their requirements are, and how they are packaged.
The easiest way to facilitate discovery is to burn a live CD or flash drive for testing.
This will allow you to bring up a system without making permanent changes to your filesystem and boot process.
Keeping in mind boot times will be way better on an installed system.
This can save you time by avoiding investing time in an install, and the ever present opportunity for rendering an old system unusable (loosing data).
Remember everything in Linux is a file, most processes have configuration files that you can twiddle to make them do what you need.
Hardware that is not recognized can sometimes be enabled by editing a configuration file to include the MFGRs ID string.
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K4MPW
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« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2019, 04:29:32 PM »

i use Lubuntu which a Ubuntu/Debian based distro. I use that distro with fldigi and it works fine.
I am using the 64 bit version however the 32bit version should work for you.
You can customize it to your needs.
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WW7KE
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« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2019, 08:30:06 PM »

i use Lubuntu which a Ubuntu/Debian based distro. I use that distro with fldigi and it works fine.
I am using the 64 bit version however the 32bit version should work for you.
You can customize it to your needs.

As I said earlier, 32-bit Lubuntu 18.04 is being EOL'ed.  Updates will end in April 2021, so you have a couple of years left.  There will be no new 32-bit version as far as I'm aware.

By that time, I won't be surprised if more (actually, most) Linux-based OSes are 64-bit only.  The only exceptions I can see are Debian, Slackware, and RHEL/CentOS (depending on what IBM plans to do with it).  Doesn't matter much anyway.  32-bit desktop and laptop processors haven't been manufactured for several years now.  Most of us that still have them (including me) know that once those machines fail, they're unrepairable doorstops.
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W4KYR
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Posts: 1803




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« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2019, 02:16:30 AM »

Linux Mint 19.1 "Tessa" - MATE (32-bit)

Linux Mint 19.1 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2023. It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop even more comfortable to use.

New features:

This new version of Linux Mint contains many improvements.

For an overview of the new features please visit:

“What’s new in Linux Mint 19.1 MATE“.

Important info:

The release notes provide important information about known issues, as well as explanations, workarounds and solutions.

To read the release notes, please visit:

“Release Notes for Linux Mint 19.1 MATE”

System requirements:

    1GB RAM (2GB recommended for a comfortable usage).
    15GB of disk space (20GB recommended).
    1024×768 resolution (on lower resolutions, press ALT to drag windows with the mouse if they don’t fit in the screen).

Notes:

    The 64-bit ISO can boot with BIOS or UEFI.
    The 32-bit ISO can only boot with BIOS.
    The 64-bit ISO is recommended for all modern computers (Almost all computers sold since 2007 are equipped with 64-bit processors).

Download Mirrors
https://www.linuxmint.com/edition.php?id=264

If you need more help, there are a number of Linux Mint how to videos on YouTube

Good Luck
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KC9YTJ
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« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2019, 04:26:21 AM »

You’re sure it’s 32-bit?  You could get 64-bit Atom CPUs in 2010 (N470, for instance, which was a 1.83GHz chip).

It was commonplace to sell netbooks with 32-bit OS (XP, usually) even though they had 64-bit Atom CPUs. 
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VK6IS
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« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2019, 06:46:44 AM »

that's a good point, actually - - most of those 32bit PCs
- did have an 64bit CPU installed.
so you could actually install an 64bit version, of which Linux System, that you liked.
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K7RJB
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« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2019, 06:18:41 PM »

https://skywavelinux.com

This came up this week on the Linux net.

http://kc7nyr.com/linux/
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WW7KE
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Posts: 948




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« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2019, 07:44:38 PM »

https://skywavelinux.com

This came up this week on the Linux net.

http://kc7nyr.com/linux/

Two things that are killers with this distro:

1.  It's based on Ubuntu 16.04, which is old. 18.04 is the current LTS version of Ubuntu.
2.  It includes the now-obsolete and useless WSJT-X 1.9.0.  Version 2.0 has been mandatory since December.
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He speaks fluent PSK31, in FT8...  One QSO with him earns you 5BDXCC...  His Wouff Hong has two Wouffs... Hiram Percy Maxim called HIM "The Old Man..."  He is... The Most Interesting Ham In The World!
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