Oct 19, 2007

What a Dream Come True!

I mentioned in a recent post that I recently aquired an older Pentium III laptop with only 384MB of RAM. It really isn't fast enough to run Windows XP without trimming the fat.

I originally was going to put Xubuntu on it, because Xubuntu is designed to be more light weight than regular Ubuntu, because it uses the more minimal XFCE interface. It turns out though that XFCE is still a little too beefy for even this computer. Sure it installed, and ran fine, just a little slower than I would like. I did try XP with the fat trimmed like I mentioned above, but that was still God awfully slow.

Not wanting to give up, or revert to an older version of Windows, I decided to keep poking around in the Linux world for a solution. There are a lot of them out there that will run just find on such a machine, but the trick it so get one that my wife won't mind using when going to the Java Mama's coffee shop with my little girl. I

I found the perfect distro for my wife in Dream Linux! This is one of the many lightweight live CD distros out there that also have the ability to install to hard drive. The cool thing about Dream Linux that I like, and my wife likes especially since the popularity of MAC's now days (Damn they have good marketing don't they?) is that this is pretty much a MAC clone complete with the animated launcher bar at the bottom, and yes, that bar works well on the Pentium III without slowing it down!

If you have a relatively newer computer, it also supports Berly and AIGLX, which means sweet 3D desktop goodness! Check out the video:

Of course, I wouldn't even try using Berly on a Pentium III, but it does make a strong case to test it out! Another cool thing about it is the graphical front end to ndiswrapper, which lets you use Windows drivers for hardware that isn't supported under Linux! Just open the GUI, point it to your driver inf file, and away you go! I did have to add the following line to my /etc/rc.local script to make some hardware work after boot up, but that is a minor tweak and hardly a deal breaker:

modprobe ndiswrapper

The best thing though is that it is Debian based, so apt-get is in full effect, which means that if something you use normally is missing, you can get it and install it easily! For me, network manager is essential for easy WPA configuration. It didn't come pre-installed on Dream Linux, but a quick apt-get later and I was good to go!

I'm not quite ready to name Dream Linux as a replacement distro of choice yet, for me my favorite is still Ubuntu, but it really is pretty great, and works well on older computers!

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