Linux Advice Sought

I have a eeePC 701 (Intel Celeron processor, 1GB memory, 4GB SSD). I’ve been running Ubuntu on it, but that operating system just seems to get bigger and bigger, and every time a new version comes out, I end up having to install from scratch.

I’ve been playing with Puppy and Puppeee (specifically set up for the eeePC), but my problem with those is that they don’t automatically update software, such as the browser. Chrome, for example, just seems to get better and quicker with each release.

So, here’s what I’m looking for:

  1. Lightweight
  2. Good music manager (like MPlayer or Rhythmbox)
  3. Fast lightweight browser, preferably Google Chrome
  4. Good package manager, which automatically updates your software when new versions come out

I mostly use this computer for music playback (from my collection or online radio like Pandora or various streaming stations), and to surf the web.

Does any linux distro other than Ubuntu (and, maybe Fedora?) accomplish number 4 above? Does anyone have experience with LUbuntu, which is meant to be a lightweight Ubuntu, I think? If Ubuntu is really the way to go, would it make sense to roll back to an earlier version, but one that still works with Chrome? I remember a few versions ago, it really lightened up (maybe 8.04?) and then started larding up again.


I use Fedora, and its package manager has several update options. You can set it to update automatically if you want.

Just checked on the other things on your list.

  1. Not sure how lightweight you want, but Fedora is fairly customizable. I’m using a bit over 4 gigs on a laptop and about 10 gigs on a desktop. You could make it fit in well under 4 gigs fairly easily.

  2. Rhythmbox is available for Fedora.

  3. Google Chrome is available for Fedora. I use Firefox so can’t comment on it. Poking around on the net I see that some folks had issues getting flash to work, which was an issue I had as well with Firefox (not really sure how I fixed it either, but I did finally get it to work).

I’m not saying you should use Fedora (that’s probably more of a personal choice thing), just letting you know that it does meet the requirements on your list.

I’ve used Ubuntu and it works fine. I just happen to prefer Fedora.

You are not going to get what you want by default. The nice thing about Linux (ANY distro) is the degree of customization available. Ubuntu 11.04 released today. Install it, then take out what you do not need or want. Stuff like codecs and proprietary drivers is easier to come by and typically works right out of the box on common hardware better than some other distros.

Nothing against Fedora, but I used them for many years even before it was Fedora. For some reason it always seemed to me like they made things more difficult than they needed to be. Yes, I know, true open source, yada, yada. Most people are not 'nix geeks who enjoy the never ending tweakage. They just want their computer to work right the first time, every time.

I ended up sticking with Ubuntu and reinstalling from scratch. That package manager is just too hard to give up, that and full Chrome support.

Thanks for you help!

I use Ubuntu, but with LXDE+Openbox. All the nice stuff about Ubuntu, but lighter on resources.

Can be a bit fiddly to set up exactly how I like though.

Not that I’ve ever tried it, but Lubuntu is Ubuntu with LXDE already set up. And there’s Xubuntu which uses XFCE. All should be lighter on resources than Gnome or KDE.

I installed Peppermint Linux on a micro-pc which I use as an internet radio. It’s lightweight, fast, and does automatic updates. I’ve have no problems with it.

You could try xubuntu - it’s easier on the system resources and you can run most (all?) ubuntu .debs - including the package manager. You can try it out by typing
$ sudo aptitude install xubuntu-desktop
and log in in xubuntu on your login screen.

There is a site somewhere - unfortunately I can’t remember the address right now - that has great tutorials for swapping between different *buntu flavours.

Also: If you haven’t done it already, make a separate /home partition - that will ease the reinstall process a lot.

If anyone cares, the site I mentioned above can be found here.

All. Definitely all of them, assuming you install all the dependencies they bring in. Which is done automatically by the package manager.

The difference between Ubuntu and Xubuntu and Kubuntu is entirely in what they ship with by default. Using the package manager you can add and remove your way to the system you want, and everything still works. That why we have package management. For example, I run Ubuntu now but I always use the Window Maker window manager (it’s available through the package manager). I’ve been doing this since Ubuntu 6.06 or so. I did something similar with Slackware before it, and Fedora/Red Hat before that.

The package management and the available packages are what make Ubuntu special. Everything else is up to you.

Do you still feel up to experimenting? There’s Lubuntu, a version of Ubuntu based on a lighter version of X11. I haven’t tried it yet, but I heard good things about it. This will give you the excellent package manager that comes with Ubuntu. The distro should be lighter than even Xubuntu.

I think I’ll give Lubuntu a try (as soon as I remember how to back up my current build – something like dd piped to gzip or something, then saved to my network)

I think that might be too lightweight – is there even a browser? I really want Chrome – its performance on my machine seems to be the best.

OK! Sold. I’ll report back with my results.

From what I read, Peppermint Linux is a fork of Lubuntu. Just get the chrome package from the package manager, and you’re set.

I didn’t realize that about Peppermint. Anyway, I went with Lubuntu, took out the packages I didn’t want, figured out how to get Rhythmbox to actually play music (I had to install gstreamer), swapped Chrome for Chromium, and it’s working fine. I’m only using 62% of my 4GB SSD. Thanks, all!