Linux box for computer newbies : suggestions please !

Linux box for computer newbies : suggestions please !

Post by Gerald Willman » Fri, 18 Jun 1999 04:00:00




Quote:>    So, I'm thinking about getting a laptop that's a couple
> of years old (I could have a good price on a P133 Thinkpad,
> 20MB RAM and 1.3 GB HD, which should be sufficient, IMHO).

KDE and Staroffice might be a bit too much for 20MB. I'm using neither but
I saw Staroffice on Solaris recently eating up 40+MB.

I would recommend using a simple lightweight window manager (personally I
use wm2) together with a nice filemanager (I use tkdesk but there are
others). And Applixware might cost a little more than Staroffice but it
doesn't need so much memory. Just my two cents,
                                                   Gerald

 
 
 

Linux box for computer newbies : suggestions please !

Post by Alain Southie » Sat, 19 Jun 1999 04:00:00


   My parents are now retired and will be traveling a lot.
They will need an inexpensive way to keep in touch and
do basic computing tasks. My mother is a little familiar
with Netscape, but that's about it.

   So, I'm thinking about getting a laptop that's a couple
of years old (I could have a good price on a P133 Thinkpad,
20MB RAM and 1.3 GB HD, which should be sufficient, IMHO).

   The computer will be mainly used for Internet access.
I pretty much have my mind set on using Linux for this.
Now, keep in mind that my parent are neophytes with
computers, so the prime requirement is ease of use !

   I'm leaning toward KDE for the desktop, since It
seems to be most most friendly for beginners. For
WWW, news and e-mail, I'm pretty sure I'll install
Navigator. My mother is already familiar with it (for
WWW, at least). Any other graphical WWW, Usenet and
mail client I should consider ?

   They'll possibly need some application suite, for
this, I was thinking about StarOffice. But what about
KOffice ? Is it far enough and easy enough to be used
by beginners ?

   Since they'll be away most of the time, a nice touch
would be that I could remotely install software and do
maintenance on the laptop. I think telnet should prove
sufficient, but since I'm not too familar with remote
adminitration, I'd like some advice about this.

   They'll be traveling a lot, so an intelligent dialer
would be of big help. What I mean by that is some kind
of dialer that can automatically dials the nearest
branch of the ISP, just by entering the city you're
in. Is there such a dialer for Linux ?

   I don't want to start any flamewar, but I'm also
wandering which distribution would be the best for
such a setup. I'm familiar with RedHat and have used
SlackWare in the past, but I was thinking about using
the latest OpenLinux, since it seems they have the best
KDE support and is the easiest one to install, if they
ever run into trouble while away.

   Any other advice for such a beginner's machine ?

--
Alain Southiere             | If fifty million people
Software developer          | say a stupid thing, it is

http://www.cam.org/~alsouth |
ICQ #16373525               |          - Anatole France

 
 
 

Linux box for computer newbies : suggestions please !

Post by Marc Mut » Sat, 19 Jun 1999 04:00:00



>    My parents are now retired and will be traveling a lot.
> They will need an inexpensive way to keep in touch and
> do basic computing tasks. My mother is a little familiar
> with Netscape, but that's about it.

>    So, I'm thinking about getting a laptop that's a couple
> of years old (I could have a good price on a P133 Thinkpad,
> 20MB RAM and 1.3 GB HD, which should be sufficient, IMHO).

>    I'm leaning toward KDE for the desktop, since It
> seems to be most most friendly for beginners. For
> WWW, news and e-mail, I'm pretty sure I'll install
> Navigator. My mother is already familiar with it (for
> WWW, at least). Any other graphical WWW, Usenet and
> mail client I should consider ?

>    They'll possibly need some application suite, for
> this, I was thinking about StarOffice. But what about
> KOffice ? Is it far enough and easy enough to be used
> by beginners ?

With 20M of RAM forget the following:
1.) running KDE w/o 30M of permantently used swap
2.) running netscape 4.xx versions more than a few minutes (ns 4.xx
usually grow
    to more than 40M on my machine)
3.) running StarOffice w/o coffee-break after clicking *any* menu entry.
4.) Installing one of the monster ditro's SuSE and RedHat out of the box
(they  
    use too much disk space and - in case of SuSE at least - far too
much
    processor time. Debian is way faster than SuSE.
These are my experiences. I'll show you something about my currently
running system:
Quote:> free

             total       used       free     shared    buffers    
cached
Mem:         31216      30508        708      13408        376      
9980
-/+ buffers:            20152      11064
Swap:        66492       7448      59044

Quote:> ps -aux | grep -E netscape\|X

mmutz      183  0.0  0.4  2100   148  p0 S   Jun 17   0:03
/usr/lib/X11/fvwm2/Fv
mmutz      187  0.0  0.6  2092   192  p0 S   Jun 17   0:12
/usr/lib/X11/fvwm2/Fv
mmutz    12005  8.5 44.2 18272 13820  p1 S    18:22   4:40
/opt/netscape-4.08/ne
root       142  4.5 15.6  7192  4876  ?  S   Jun 17 109:11
/usr/X11R6/bin/X

                           ^ this is used RAM, so
X+Fvwm+netsape totals to  29656K of used RAM, all those daemons not
included and:
I'm currently reading news - and only do that!

Marc

 
 
 

Linux box for computer newbies : suggestions please !

Post by Alain Southie » Sun, 20 Jun 1999 04:00:00


   After further verification, I confirmed the laptop has
40MB of memory, not 20MB. It was pretty much a consensus
that 20MB wasn't enough for KDE+Netscape. Will 40MB be
adequate, though ?

--
Alain Southiere             | If fifty million people
Software developer          | say a stupid thing, it is

http://www.cam.org/~alsouth |
ICQ #16373525               |          - Anatole France

 
 
 

Linux box for computer newbies : suggestions please !

Post by Alain Southie » Sun, 20 Jun 1999 04:00:00




> >    So, I'm thinking about getting a laptop that's a couple
> > of years old (I could have a good price on a P133 Thinkpad,
> > 20MB RAM and 1.3 GB HD, which should be sufficient, IMHO).

> KDE and Staroffice might be a bit too much for 20MB. I'm using neither but
> I saw Staroffice on Solaris recently eating up 40+MB.

   Well, I checked again with the guy and I was wrong. It
has 40MB of RAM, which seems more reasonable. What do you
think ?

Quote:> I would recommend using a simple lightweight window manager (personally I
> use wm2) together with a nice filemanager (I use tkdesk but there are
> others). And Applixware might cost a little more than Staroffice but it
> doesn't need so much memory. Just my two cents,

   Never tried Applixware... Is it friendly enough for
total newbies ? How about filters ? Can it import and
export to MSOffice format ?

   I was under the impression Applixware is bundled with
one of the major distribution, OpenLinux, I think. Is
that right ?

--
Alain Southiere             | If fifty million people
Software developer          | say a stupid thing, it is

http://www.cam.org/~alsouth |
ICQ #16373525               |          - Anatole France

 
 
 

Linux box for computer newbies : suggestions please !

Post by Alain Southie » Sun, 20 Jun 1999 04:00:00


   Well, I double-checked and the computer has 40MB, not
20MB...

Quote:> With 20M of RAM forget the following:
> 1.) running KDE w/o 30M of permantently used swap

   So, with 40MB, it should be OK, although a little
tight, right ? As for swap space, it's not really a
problem, the disk is big enough (1.3GB) and I'll do
a rather minimal install, so there should be no
shortgage of disk space... I'll problably reserve
somehwere between 40MB and 100MB for swap (any
advice on this point ? I think I once read that
anywhing above 64MB was pretty much a waste...).

Quote:> 2.) running netscape 4.xx versions more than a few minutes (ns 4.xx
> usually grow
>     to more than 40M on my machine)

   Hmmm, seems it would still be a little tight in
40MB... How's Mozilla progressing ? If it's usable
enough, it could be an option. Opera too, maybe ?

Quote:> 3.) running StarOffice w/o coffee-break after clicking *any* menu entry.
> 4.) Installing one of the monster ditro's SuSE and RedHat out of the box
> (they      
>     use too much disk space and - in case of SuSE at least - far too
> much
>     processor time. Debian is way faster than SuSE.

   Well, I'm far from beeing a Linux expert, but I
won't have problems "scaling down" an installation
for this use. Most server features will go out the
window, along with most development tool and power
user features... After all, they're newbies who only
require net access and some productivity software !

Quote:> These are my experiences. I'll show you something about my currently
> running system:

[ps output snipped fro bievety...]

   Well, it seems X+KDE+Netscape just might be
usable in 40MB after all !!!

--
Alain Southiere             | If fifty million people
Software developer          | say a stupid thing, it is

http://www.cam.org/~alsouth |
ICQ #16373525               |          - Anatole France

 
 
 

Linux box for computer newbies : suggestions please !

Post by Marc Mut » Sun, 20 Jun 1999 04:00:00




>    Well, I double-checked and the computer has 40MB, not
> 20MB...

> > With 20M of RAM forget the following:
> > 1.) running KDE w/o 30M of permantently used swap

>    So, with 40MB, it should be OK, although a little
> tight, right ? As for swap space, it's not really a
> problem, the disk is big enough (1.3GB) and I'll do
> a rather minimal install, so there should be no
> shortgage of disk space... I'll problably reserve
> somehwere between 40MB and 100MB for swap (any
> advice on this point ? I think I once read that
> anywhing above 64MB was pretty much a waste...).

I always recommend (and use it myself) SWAP = 2 * RAM.

Marc

 
 
 

Linux box for computer newbies : suggestions please !

Post by Stewart Honsberg » Mon, 21 Jun 1999 04:00:00



>I always recommend (and use it myself) SWAP = 2 * RAM.

2 * RAM? So with 128 megs, I'd want 256 megs of swap? Hmmm..

I've got 64 megs of RAM, and use 64 megs of swap.

I usually try to make RAM + SWAP = ~128 megs.

--


Humming along under SuSE Linux 6.0 / OS/2 Warp 4

 
 
 

Linux box for computer newbies : suggestions please !

Post by Marc Mut » Mon, 21 Jun 1999 04:00:00




> >I always recommend (and use it myself) SWAP = 2 * RAM.

> 2 * RAM? So with 128 megs, I'd want 256 megs of swap? Hmmm..

yes, that's my config exactly. Consider this: Two years ago boxes were
usually shipped with 16 M of RAM. Not using 32 M of swap was affordable
then. but now you can not be happy with it. So I'd rather use more swap
than I'll 'ever' need in case I do need it in future regularly. With the
new kernels 2.2.x and HD usually many Gigs big, this is nothing that
would hurt...

Quote:> I've got 64 megs of RAM, and use 64 megs of swap.

> I usually try to make RAM + SWAP = ~128 megs.

I twice ran into situations where I used 200M of RAM (usually when
playing with Perl and graphics at the same time - even in the same
program.)

Marc