Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Moving on from Ubuntu

Instead of using Microsoft Windows or Mac OSX as my operating system I use Linux. More specifically I use Ubuntu. Even more specifically I used Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal.
Ubuntu Natty Narwhal with GNOME Classic
This is now out of date, Ubuntu has moved on to version 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot. I have messed around with Ubuntu for years, somewhere I have a copy of Dapper Drake (from 2006). Back then Ubuntu looked different. I first installed Ubuntu in the era of Hardy Heron, there were changes, but they were mostly behind the scenes: installation was easier, sound & wireless worked out of the box.

6 versions later there was a big change: Unity. This did not just change things behind the scenes. The look changed too. It became less customisable at the same time, taking up more screen real estate.

I have worked around this by using the GNOME Classic desktop (see above). This is similar to GNOME 2.x.

Unfortunately there are other issues with Ubuntu, in particular it is relatively power and resource hungry. Linux is typically fast and lightweight, Ubuntu is bucking this trend.

Therefore I am looking for a faster, lighter Linux distribution with a simple desktop.

I plan to test:
CTKArch - Based on Arch Linux, but ready-to-use.
ArchBang - As above, but considered more stable.
Lubuntu - Ubuntu with LDXE.
Xubuntu - Ubuntu with Xfce.
#! (Crunchbang) - Debian/Ubuntu with Xfce and Openbox.
But I am open to suggestions.

I will be playing with LiveCDs on an older Laptop (with a 1.3GHz Celeron processor from the Pentium III era). This is a quick and easy way to test hardware compatibility and get a feeling for the user interface.

For now I will keep my main machine with Ubuntu. Lubuntu and Xubuntu will require only a small alteration, and getting a #!-like system is rather simple, for anything else a fresh install is required. Best to leave that for the holidays*.

Despite all this I encourage you to try Ubuntu, try it as a LiveCD and leave your computer completely unchanged!

Other lightweight distributions of note:
Puppy Linux - Very basic.
Bohdi - Ubuntu with Enlightenment.
Any others?

*Knowing my luck with completely messing things up and having to start again.

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