Thursday, 29 June 2017

LXLE and a new lease of life

June 2017: LXLE brings a new lease of life

I'm stunned. I've got a linux system on my web book again.

Over time, I've become increasingly unhappy at the bloat that I see in Linux distro's. I can't be the only one.

Look, I only got hooked by the OS for a bet back in the very early 90's when someone bet me I'd never get X windows running on a Toshiba 386 SX 16 with 2MB of RAM and a meagre 512MB HDD. Or was it less than that ? 

They were almost right. The LUG-NUT CD that I ordered from Seattle for about five dollars by sending them an encrypted email using their public key (it took ALL AFTERNOON to encrypt that and almost as long again to send that in DOS through Demon Internet via a 9600 baud modem) featured two distros, Red Hat Linux and Slackware. Red Hat was a non starter, it needed 4MB of RAM.

But Slackware was a sleeker, leaner, meaner machine. Sort of. It took almost all of a subsequent saturday but I was able to power up the Intel powered portable brick, and around five minutes later saw a command line appear. Ten minutes later that, a command prompt accepted my startx command and fifteen after that, "xeyes" and a clock showed I'd won my bet. Nobody said i had to make it usable and the bottles of rather decent bubbly were graciously accepted  from a gallant loser.

But as time has gone on, Ubuntu has swallowed more and more of the capacity of desktops and laptops built to withstand Windows 8 and 10 ! Furthermore, as my last full post here said, Arch Linux, my original choice of an alternative OS when the "official" Ubuntu distro's started playing havoc with my mobile broadband sticks, decided its minimum architecture was now to be far more than the web-book offered, and if this was not acceptable, then the Arch way was not for me. So I consigned the web-book to the cupboard.

Until last week.I've been using various "low power" linux distros on other laptops and finally tripped over LXLE. LXLE Eclectica 16.04.2 to be precise.

Runs like a dream on an ACER Aspire laptop I used to develop Windows apps on, and so I thought I'd see what happens. 

To my utter amazement it not only booted, it installed and ran. It even avoided the horrible Panel Size firmware bug that makes most installs fail with an indecipherable display that has you running for an external VGA monitor

However, it has a few glitches, not least the fact it is currently stuck with a 640x480 screen, and terrible font thanks to shoehorning 640x480 onto what we all know is natively 1280x600. Ah well, that comes next