Monday, March 16, 2009

Xubuntu and low performance machines : The perfect match !

When the machine gets old and becomes useless. You get short on options. You can't sell it because you are so emotionally attached to it and it doesn't worth that much and you can't run new applications on it because it can't afford them. But you can turn it into a beautiful workstation. Able to open your pdf documents, play your music and videos and does your office tasks... You need just a light operating system that doesn't consume much hardware resources.

I'm talking about a Linux system of course so you won't spend any dime on proprietary software and you can avoid the headaches of the anti-viruses and etc...
The choice was : xubuntu .

I installed xubuntu 8.04 on my Compaq Armada notebook. This notebook is really a disaster running with WinXP but not bad with Windows 2000 and this is its configuration :
Intel Pentium III 750 MHz
64 MB Ram
20 Go hard disk

Pathetic isn't it ? But it was all I had when I needed a Linux system for my SHELL programming courses. I downloaded the Xubuntu which is an ubuntu distribution designed for low performance machines and it was just perfect. The graphics were nice and simple. Most of the applications run properly. The execution of the system in the start up doesn't take much time.
You can see down here the "system monitor" and how xubuntu is using the ressources of the machine.


Anonymous said...

XFCE is a great desktop for lighter machines.

However, the performance of Xubuntu, the XFCE version of Ubuntu is not much better than normal Ubuntu.

To get the real advantage of XFCE, consider building a system out of the server install (or is called alternate - I can't remember now). It gets rid of a lot of the bumpf and runs much nicer! :-)

Magice said...

Frankly, I have serious problem with the title (although not with the rest). It implies that Xubuntu in particular and GNU/Linux in general are only good for low performance (aka good-for-nothing, ready to be thrown away) machines. This cannot be further from the fact!

Of course, you may not (or may, who knows?) think so, but your title creates such impression. "Xubuntu is perfect match for low performance machines" -> "Xubuntu is not that good of a match for newer, more powerful machines" -> "Xubuntu does not offer everything that other proprietary OSes offer" -> "Xubuntu is less than an OS, only good in cleaning up your garage; if you want a 'real' machines, go for proprietary OSes" -> etc. etc. etc.

This, of course, is nonsense. I install GNU/Linux (admittedly, I cannot stand ubuntu family, but hey, we are all fellow GNU/Linux users!) on my laptop, which has top-of-the-line spec, powerful CPU and GPU, plus all kinds of toys you can think of. Yup, I don't need a thrown-away machine, or a cheap ones, or an underpowered, under-appreciated hardware to understand the power of GNU/Linux. Frankly, what OS can offer me, in one package, both customizability and power? What OS can be both extremely secure, user-friendly, and have enough tools for me to do anything under the sky? What OS can afford my findling with the innermost component, swapping in and out libraries and modules, picking my favorite software?

Sorry, Windows is a waste of a powerful machine: half of the power is burned in the OS and its host of "security tools". Heck, it is virtually uncustomizable, un-scriptable, and undocumented. Mac OS, much to its hype, actually failed within 7 seconds of a hacking contest, thank you very much. Plus, Mac OS = Apple way, and the users are not much more than slaves. Lastly, I am not that rich to spend the kind of money that Apple expects me to, so thank you.

Okay, sorry for the long-winded comment, but you get my idea, right? Please stop referring GNU/Linux as if its only, and best, use is for second-class hardware. No, it is the most bleeding edge OS (the first one to support x86_64, USB3, and other technologies), with so much power! It should be run on the best hardware, so you can play games, doing Blender and GIMP, compile the latest code, drop to LaTeX, etc. easily. Please stop referring low-power machines as the "perfect" match for GNU/Linux!

Cassanova said...

@ Magice :
Thank you for your nice comment. I really liked it. I feel a little bit disappointed because I was misunderstood in this article.
Actually, what I meant with my article is that xubuntu is the best solution I found to my problem (thanks to XFCE) I didn't mean that LINUX system aren't performant on newer machines.OF COURSE NOT !(well I didn't say that in my article may be it was implicit). I'm an ubuntu fan and I had the pleasure to develop JAVA and C on it. Play Compiz fusion graphics and even play pro evolution soccer 6 on it !! In one word, I understand very well that Linux system are the best. But what makes them better is the fact they can fit in older machine and run them properly !!!
To prove that, the next articles will be about the power of Linux system with newer machines. :D

Thank you Magice for this comment :)

Jens Staal said...

Personally I must say that the XFCE environment unfortunately is beat with the same ugly stick as Gnome (put on the flame retardant). Personally I prefer e17 for light-weight environments and KDE4 for stronger machines.

The enlightenment DE is stunningly beautiful AND light-weight!

bybor said...

Don't know how you've managed it. I've tested *buntu 8.04 on my old PIII/192mb and they had almost the same memory footprint. Taking all the memory.

Things were a little bit better with OpenGEU with E17.

You're right, that XFCE takes less resources, but *buntu family requires not less hardware than Windows XP, IMHO.

The best option was to run Zenwalk. It has Gnome edition too, but i've chosen XFCE. And it it brilliant. Give it a try if you have such opportunity.

Best regards.

Cassanova said...

Thank you for your tip ByBor
I will give it a try if I ever have the opportunity to