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Yet Another Linux Distribution! :D

This one is good, not at all quirky, and just works!

 

http://pointlinux.org/index.html

 

Based on Debian, just like Ubuntu, but it's much less cluttered.  Actually, Ubuntu really annoys me on several scores!

 

So far I was able to download the Point Linux 32 bit .iso (for those who don't know that is the CD data image file) and flash it to a cheapo USB stick using Windows 7 using https://launchpad.net/win32-image-writer.  It booted immediately from the stick on a Windows 7 machine as a "live CD" (i.e. without doing an install), and picked up ALL the hardware, including Bluetooth, WiFi, and HDMI video, with zero problems.

 

I'm aiming to install it from the same stick on a number of old Windows XP machines, so will let you know how I get on.  It could be just what many people need to revitalise an XP laptop that's currently gathering dust. I'm also trying out the 64 bit version running under VirtualBox on an i5 lappy.  Will report back on that too.

 

I'd previously tried out http://www.geteasypeasy.com/ on an old XP netbook.  It looked very promising, but sadly the author seems to have lost all interest a while back. So... Easy Peasy Linux is no longer maintained, and therefore can't be recommended.

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Point Linux (64 bit) as a VirtualBox VM

 

Very easy to create a Point Linux VirtualBox 64 bit VM under W7.  Again, everything just works.  Mouse integration etc is already turned on.  Installed the 64 bit Debian version of DropBox in a couple of minutes no hassle.  Removed the pre-installed Thunderbird to save a bit of space, but just at the moment a 10GB virtual drive is more than enough.

 

I turned two cores on for the virtual machine, and bumped the default 512MB RAM to 800MB to give things a bit more oomph, but it was quite usable with the default single core. VirtualBox doesn't specifically list Point Linux so I chose the Debian 64 bit preset.

 

Recommended if you want to concurrently run a full Linux distro on a W7 machine!  If you have an SSD - cheap as chips these days - it's magic! :)

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Point Linux (32 bit) on an old netbook

 

...works pretty well on an Asus EEE PC901 GO (2GB RAM upgrade).  A no hassle install from a live USB stick, with all the hardware recognised and little or no customisation required.  Only 4GB of the SSD used for a complete install, so should work on the most basic of machines.  Haven't tried the 901 GO's built-in 3G WWLAN card yet, it's not on high on my to-do list.

 

VLC player was struggling a lot playing a sample .mp4, but that's a function of the weak N270 CPU, and poor graphics. I have now installed the IBM Eclipse IDE, and that is quite usable.  DropBox installed in minutes too - quite a bonus when you have so little on-board storage.  Make sure you limit the number of your DropBox folders marked to synchronise to just a few essential and small ones, or you'll quickly exhaust available flash, and the initial synch will take an age.

 

The real difficulty is cleanly removing the "Designed for Microsoft Windows XP" sticker. ;)

 

So... recommended for an old Atom N270 netbook too.  You can put Granny on the Internet with Firefox, and give her e-mail with Tunderbird - all in no time at all. :D  The bundled Firefox actually has Flash pre-installed, so YouTube works out of the box.  This is not too bad, even at full screen - better than I'd thought possible with such weak hardware.

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Another good install on a Asus EEE PC901 but not the GO (3G WWLAN version) this time.  Worthy of mention because this variant has built-in Bluetooth, and that works flawlessly too.  Writing this using Point Linux on a PC901 using a Bluetooth mouse.  This PC901 has two SSDs, so I squeezed the entire OS onto the 4GB flash drive leaving the entire 8GB SSD for /home.

 

The first PC901 also worked with the first Bluetooth USB dongle I tried. I've no idea as to what Bluetooth chip it employed.

 

The minor mistake I made on the first install was to format as ext4.  In fact on small SSD(s) ext2 gives more working space.

 

BTW despite the PCI-E connector, and form factor, these SSDs are not mSATA.  This is a pity as really decent sized mSATA SSDs are really cheap nowadays.  The pin-out is different, and there's only one or two manufacturers of Asus EEE compatible drives.  They pre-date the mSATA standard.  Confusingly they are called "Mini PCI-e SATA".

 

http://www.kingspec.com/product_xx150.html#

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