Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Best OS For Netbooks and Underpowered Tablets?

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the vista-right? dept.

Operating Systems 272

vigmeister writes "I hopped on the netbook bandwagon early this year in a rather odd fashion by picking up an outdated portable tablet (Fujitsu P1510) which just about matches the latest, greatest netbooks for their performance and portability features, while nipping them by managing to give me a better battery life. I've been happy using XP Tablet on this machine until recently, when I started thinking that by optimizing the OS for targeted use, I may be able to squeeze more out of the device. So, my questions are: What OS would you recommend for a netbook/outdated laptop? Usage is typically light — web surfing (with multimedia), email, word processing, spreadsheet and reading PDFs. Also, what OS would you recommend for a ultraportable tablet? Usage is similar to a netbook; there's a little more document editing going on, and good handwriting recognition and note-taking software would be great." Read on for further details about vigmeister's question.vigmeister continues, "I would like for the user experience to be snappy on a computer that is essentially running the equivalent of a 1.2 GHz PIII with 512mb RAM. The other objective for both of these is to maximize the battery life, as that is the major drawback of these ultraportables. A small memory footprint would work wonders, since the hard drives on these devices are typically slow and completely suck the joy out of using them when swap space is being used. Any tips? If you are still using your outdated laptops/tablets productively, please share with us how you're doing it, so we can too."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Something *nix, for sure (3, Insightful)

ohxten (1248800) | more than 5 years ago | (#25517839)

Try a *nix -- maybe something like FreeBSD, NetBSD, or OpenBSD.

Re:Something *nix, for sure (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25518583)

Apparently, you meant to sat *BSD.

Re:Something *nix, for sure (1)

try_anything (880404) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518649)

Something *nix, for sure

Because the sheer idea of Unix inspires a computer torun more efficiently? I kid, mostly.

A couple years ago I was thinking along the same lines as vigmeister (i.e., getting a Fujitsu tablet for light usage around the house, maybe play go online on the couch.) Reports around the internet were that XP Tablet (or is it just Windows Tablet?) was a dog on old Fujitsus. Windows 2000 was more popular, and some people were even recommending using Windows 95, which required finding Windows tablet functionality that had been backported to 95.

At the time, it sounded like a bit of a project to get Linux working on a Fujitsu tablet. I wonder if anything has changed since then?

Are you kidding? (5, Funny)

HateBreeder (656491) | more than 5 years ago | (#25517843)

You're naively asking for an OS recommendation on Slashdot?

talk about predictability of results...

Re:Are you kidding? (5, Funny)

Aminion (896851) | more than 5 years ago | (#25517855)

Yeah, all the Windows ME fanboism is getting really old.

Re:Are you kidding? (5, Informative)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518407)

Serious response here: I gave up on windows ME/2000 and switched to windows flp. gotta pirate it, but it works wonders! (of course, nlite works wonders too)...

Re:Are you kidding? (3, Insightful)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 5 years ago | (#25517919)

Just because the engineers response happens to be one that you may disgree with 'religiously' should not impair your ability as an engineer to agree that it makes a better choice for a lowend outdated machine. Attempting to fit a modern, bloated OS with poor security and modern drivers requirements to an outdated machine is not only dumb but childish in assuming that one OS fits all.

Had the option been 'what OS should I use on a modern machine to connect to my other office PC's?' I would probably suggest Windows or Mac unless they happened to BE a developer. But in this case, I would say Linux is the best engineering choice. So get off your high horse and start thinking like an engineer.

Re:Are you kidding? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25517961)

You're naively asking for an OS recommendation on Slashdot?

talk about predictability of results...

What would the result be, Linux?

But last time I checked you don't get any operating system called Linux but only a kernel.

I do believe he is asking which Linux distribution you would recommend for a netbook or underpowered tablet.

Someone might even recommend *BSD and hopefully in the future a Micro Kernel based distribution using Minix 3 or GNU Hurd.

Re:Are you kidding? (3, Funny)

MimsyBoro (613203) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518011)

Yeah, The question should be something like "Which flavour of Ubuntu would you recommend?" And maybe you'll get one "no but Fedora is also cool" but don't count on it.

Re:Are you kidding? (2, Interesting)

HardCase (14757) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518189)

Now, the really funny thing is that all the [insert linux distro here] recommendations are going to ignore one of his requests: maximize battery life. Unfortunately, that's one thing that no Linux...excuse me, GNU/Linux, distro has managed to achieve. We're still trying to hit the Linux on the Desktop benchmark.

Re:Are you kidding? (4, Informative)

pablomme (1270790) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518307)

Let me introduce you to PowerTOP [lesswatts.org] . Come back after you try it.

Re:Are you kidding? (3, Informative)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518319)

If you think that anything other than linux is the most power efficient, I'd like to not only point you to the responses below but also let you know that you have it pretty much backwards. Linux distros can not only be more efficient but can even be specifically aimed to be even moreso on top of that. PowerTOP was my first thought, as well.

I mean what do you want to point people to? OSX? Vista? Lets be honest now. Try not to throw chairs next time.

Re:Are you kidding? (4, Insightful)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518535)

linux is not great though, even after taking the suggestions from powertop (i believe they are implemented in "laptop-mode" for ubuntu but dont sue me if im wrong), it marginally outperforms windows machines, but still lakes acpi support to make suspend useable (depends on machine ofc). Using a touchpad in xorg also seams to kill battery life.

However what is great is the amount of user interaction with the powersaving, if you use something like kpowersave you just scroll over the icon to change your brightness (which cuts power consumption to nearly half on my laptop), there is also compression on hibernate, which means that you can get back to full desktop much faster than a normal hibernate/boot. In adition using powertop lets you audit your system to see whats wasting your batteries when idle (kicker in KDE is a common suspect, so switching to fluxbox can also give a marginal (5-10 mins) battery life increase)

My point: Linux is no better (and often worse) by default, but if you tweak it you CAN outperfom windows and gain other benifits too (no need for AV, faster boot, faster hibernate, faster file access and chkdsk (reiserfs mainly but ext3 is good too))

Mandriva with Windows dual boot (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25518331)

I use Mandriva 2008 and 2008.1 on a couple of older IBM laptops and it runs great in both instances. (X31 with 1.5 GB RAM and Pentium M 1.4 GHz plus T23 with 1.2 GHz and 1 GB RAM) I have wireless with either Broadcom or Atheros chips and all other items that make them equal or better than XP in Linux including multi media playback, web surfing or office type file usage. I find the battery to last very well with Linux in both machines. Mandriva will help you re-size the files on the hard drive and make space for Linux with Windows.

Re:Are you kidding? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25518603)

"You're naively asking for an OS recommendation on Slashdot? talk about predictability of results..." - by HateBreeder (656491) on Sunday October 26, @11:50AM (#25517843)

Right as rain: Because here? This site's a DEFINITE "Pro-*NIX" slanted one generally, in most of its posters... so, you're going to get a LARGE suggestion base for Linux, MacOS X, & maybe a BSD variants besides OSX...

Ah, anyhow (you're right by the by, & I *think* you were leaning towards my conclusion above, lol):

----

HOWEVER, to satisfy the original poster's requests/constraints of:

"I would like for the user experience to be snappy on a computer that is essentially running the equivalent of a 1.2 GHz PIII with 512mb RAM. The other objective for both of these is to maximize the battery life, as that is the major drawback of these ultraportables. A small memory footprint would work wonders, since the hard drives on these devices are typically slow and completely suck the joy out of using them when swap space is being used. Any tips? If you are still using your outdated laptops/tablets productively, please share with us how you're doing it, so we can too."

----

Thus, based SOLELY on that criteria? I'd have to say, @ least out of the MODERN Windows NT-based family?? Windows 2000... especially once it is FULLY SP#4 (current one for it) applied + hotfix patched to current ones & beyond.

E.G.-> I've seen Windows 2000 running recently QUITE WELL (after trimming services & other background startup programs) on a CELERON 450mhz desktop machine no less! This is for a year straight on my best pal's machine (he doesn't make a lot of money, & we threw it together for he on pretty much this basis no less, the criteria listed above).

( &, if that is NOT light & fast on a DEFINITELY "low-end machine" by comparison to today's systems, & even the OP's criteria above? Then, I don't know what is)...

Windows 2000's also got decent power management as well, & its smaller/lighter on resource consumption than XP or Server 2003 are (& definitely moreso than VISTA) also, especially once you "tune/tweak" it, & there is a wealth of guides out there for that online, bigtime, PLUS it's very simple/easy to do? It flies.

APK

OS/2 2.1 (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25517845)

It's 32bit! And I just upgraded to 16MB of RAM and it FLIES! Preemptive multitasking is awesome.

Windows Vista! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25517859)

'nuf said.

I know! (1)

nxsty (942984) | more than 5 years ago | (#25517863)

How about Windows Vista?

:)

Re:I know! (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25517993)

You're probably joking, but Windows Vista actually has the best tablet support of any operating system I use (XP/Vista/OS X/Ubuntu). I think handwriting recognition is one of the few things that Microsoft actually got right.

Best OS? (3, Insightful)

ROMRIX (912502) | more than 5 years ago | (#25517867)

Why don't you just say what you mean. 'What flavor of linux?'

That's enough computer to run Ubuntu (4, Informative)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#25517869)

I run Kubuntu 8.04 on a Compaq Evo N410c, which is a 1.2GHz P-III with 512MB memory. It's just fine.

The full desktop environments are fat, but not slow. The limiting factor for your free Unix is not CPU - a few hundred MHz will do fine - but memory. I also have a P-II 450MHz desktop running FreeBSD with KDE, and it works marvellously because it's got 704MB RAM.

The other thing is screen resolution - but Xandros on the Eee at 800x480 is quite usable. Perhaps play with the Ubuntu Netbook remix.

Re:That's enough computer to run Ubuntu (5, Informative)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#25517887)

Oh, and the critical factor for battery life? Run a recent Linux. And use PowerTop to check what's taking power, and disable it. Linux is getting REALLY GOOD at this stuff. On my Compaq 6710b (Core 2 Duo, 1GB RAM) doing lots of browsing in Firefox 3 with hundreds of tabs and almost nothing else, Windows XP runs 2 hours, Kubuntu 7.10 ran 3 hours, Kubuntu 8.04 runs 3.5 to 4 hours. Your mileage may vary, of course - but the most up-to-date Linux kernel is well worth it.

Re:That's enough computer to run Ubuntu (3, Informative)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518327)

in reply to both of your comments:

this is why i think vendors need to create a category of lower power computers--not just laptops/subnotebooks/tablets. the average user is not using their desktop PC for CAD work, 3d/graphic design, video editing, or playing the latest FPS. most people simply need a computer that can efficiently surf the web, check their e-mail, do spreadsheets/word processing/presentations, play music, and watch the occasional DVD.

instead of developing more and more bloated software that negate simultaneous increases in hardware processing power/speed, we should be making software more efficient so that casual computing can be done on cheaper and cheaper systems that require less power & energy rather than more.

the average user should be able to accomplish everything they need to do using a 700-800 MHz low-power processor with 256 MB of RAM. they'd not only save on their electric bill, but we'd be creating a more sustainable society. besides, unlike the PC gamer, media/graphic design professional, the casual computer user shouldn't need to upgrade their hardware every single year to keep up with increasing resource intensive software.

using a simple & efficient OS tailored to the casual computing, the average consumer could use a cheaper, less powerful machine that still boots up in seconds. but that would require that PC vendors stop pre-installing their systems with cruftware by their software partners.

Re:That's enough computer to run Ubuntu (3, Interesting)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518595)

Before the destruction of the proprietary home computer market by the PC, software was a lot more efficiently written because the authors couldn't expect people to just upgrade their hardware.

Re:That's enough computer to run Ubuntu (1)

Compholio (770966) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518365)

he limiting factor for your free Unix is not CPU - a few hundred MHz will do fine - but memory. I also have a P-II 450MHz desktop running FreeBSD with KDE, and it works marvellously because it's got 704MB RAM.

Personally, that's why I'd recommend NOT using KDE or GNOME (and I use these bloated suckers on every box I own). If you're on a limited memory box (like a netbook) then I'd recommend using Xfce. For the Ubuntu fans you can load Xubuntu for the Xfce version.

Re:That's enough computer to run Ubuntu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25518497)

I'd favour one of the lighter options like fluxbox. Less stuff to clutter up a small screen, and uses fewer resources.

Xfce, Fluxbox, FVWM (1)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518377)

I run Kubuntu 8.04 on a Compaq Evo N410c, which is a 1.2GHz P-III with 512MB memory. It's just fine.

Indeed, it's not so much a matter of the distro but more of the window manager or desktop environment. I'm also generally using KDE. On one netbook, however, I prefere FVWM, simply because I use it for a few things and don't need *any* eye candy or fancy menus. However, as you get into weaker processors and smaller RAM, other desktop environments might be more enjoyable. Xfce [xubuntu.org] and Fluxbox [fluxbuntu.org] come to mind.

One fact that is not as widely known as it could be is that just about any distro can be modified through adding or removing packages and themes, and changing configurations, to be identical to any other. As an example, Fluxbuntu can be grown into Kubuntu by adding the package kubuntu-desktop [apt] .

No problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25517875)

Linux with a light window manager (forget KDE, sorry) and a light, yet full-featured office suite such as SoftMaker Office 2008 (www.softmaker.com/english/ofl_en.htm)

That should do the trick. 512 MByte is plenty for such a config.

Re:No problem. (1)

SnEptUne (1264814) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518361)

Actually, KDE works fine with 512MB of RAM. I have been using KDE4 daily on my PIII 1.3Ghz Thinkpad with 512MB of RAM. The biggest bloated software I use on the Thinkpad is Acroread, which is taking way too much memory.

Re:No problem. (1)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518395)

xfce! icewm! fluxbox! evolution! ...

If you're going with linux... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25517889)

I have a Thinkpad x61 Tablet that I use to take notes at school; It's running gentoo (mostly so I could have a better chance at making all the obscure features work).

If you do decide to go with linux, no matter the distro, the programs I've found useful are CellWriter, for an onscreen keyboard and handwriting recognition, and Xournal for note-taking. Xournal does well with the tablet's pressure sensitivity and higher resolution.

Stay where you are (2, Interesting)

KasperMeerts (1305097) | more than 5 years ago | (#25517891)

If you're happy with XP Tablet, why change?
Anyway, for something like that, I won't advise anything else than some sort of Unix, Ubuntu should fare well with 512 MB RAM or maybe Xubuntu would do better in this case.

Re:Stay where you are (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25518043)

If you're happy with XP Tablet, why change?

"Me too"

Stick with XP if you're happy. Fiddle with *nix on a desktop.

Naysayers aside, I get ~7 hours of active use on my Lenovo Thinkpad x61 tablet and still have 10% left. This is with the stock 9 cell battery, wifi off and the backlight dialed down to one step above off - perfectly readable indoors.

How do I get better numbers than the vendor claims? I've tweaked the OS, bumped the ram to 4GB and save my data to an SD card in the built in reader - no need to spin the HD up and down every time I hit save. Opening and closing the lid sleeps it just fine and it gets me through a 5 class day without needing to carry the AC brick.

What wondrous OS is this? Vista Business. Yep, Vista. It works, and I have other machines (that I don't really use anymore) if I want to fiddle.

Why not just use XP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25517897)

Power management is a big issue with many Linux distros and you may be disappointed.

Re:Why not just use XP? (1)

SnEptUne (1264814) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518563)

It is only an issue if the person doing the installation is too ignorant to have CPU scaling, idle_timer, and other powersaving features disabled.

Arch (1)

realitygaps (1304481) | more than 5 years ago | (#25517899)

Try Archlinux it works great on my EEE and is faster than the other distros I tried.

I've got one of these! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25517907)

I actually have one of these (a P1510D), and I was just thinking about this! :-)

My P1510D is running Ubuntu 8.04 and dualbooting XP Tablet Edition; the Linux side isn't as reliable as the Windows side, unfortunately. I've got a page of notes here on how I got Linux working on the thing; you need to fool around with Perl to get a touchscreen "driver" working and install another group of applications to get the buttons working.

Mine doesn't have Bluetooth, so I can't comment on that; wifi finally works out of the box, suspend is OK, hibernate is iffy, xrandr+compiz=crash, I haven't figured out how to get the fingerprint reader to work, the touchscreen "driver" likes to crap out and doesn't work too well, et cetera. Can't comment on the battery, since my battery is done for (it lasts for about 20 minutes before dying, on Windows or Linux).

If you want specifics, let me know--I've spent a few weeks digging up stuff.

Several options... (1)

Flapjack (60755) | more than 5 years ago | (#25517925)

Tiny 2003-Vista Edition runs great on older machines using very little resources - people are playing around with the asus EEE version of WinXP as well and the Beast edition of TinyXP. Otherwise, I prefer an older debian-based version of Mepis. DSL (Damn Small Linux) might be an option as well. I'd say that's probably fast enough to run straight WinXP though.

Re:Several options... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25518091)

I'd say that's probably fast enough to run straight WinXP though.

Windows XP Tablet Edition is XP Pro with a few extra tablet features, just like XP MCE is XP Pro with media center features bolted on. (So you can actually run IIS on your tablet, though I'm not sure why you'd want to...)

captcha: inequity

Re:Several options... (1)

akita (16773) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518343)

I dont't think you know what "tinyxp" is (hint: not something you buy from MS), your answer doesn't make any sense.

options (3, Interesting)

itzdandy (183397) | more than 5 years ago | (#25517927)

I *WANT* to tell you to put some ubuntu on there and tweak it up a bit.

The only real reason that this isnt the best option is that Linux (and BSD) are heavier on battery life than WindowsXP. I run linux on my laptop and have on other laptops and linux sucks down the battery faster.

For a Tablet, batter life is a pretty big thing I think and this is a major issue. I get as much as 30% less battery life out of linux.

That being said, linux has come a long way on this front and this may be remedied pretty soon.

Also, with ubuntu 8.10 as well as new releases of fedora the wireless management is much better.

If you are not concerned with battery life then definitely grab a newer linux distro. Remember that you need to do a number of tweaks for power such as turning the swapiness down and selecting the proper power states.

Re:options (2, Informative)

the_other_chewey (1119125) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518155)

*WANT* to tell you to put some ubuntu on there and tweak it up a bit.

The only real reason that this isnt the best option is that Linux (and BSD) are heavier on battery life than WindowsXP. I run linux on my laptop and have on other laptops and linux sucks down the battery faster.

With a tickless kernel (since around 2.6.20, iirc), this shouldn't be an issue anymore. And with 'powertop' being a
nice tool to assign blame, a lot of applications are fixed to support this as well. It really makes a huge difference.

Re:options (4, Insightful)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518179)

The only real reason that this isnt the best option is that Linux (and BSD) are heavier on battery life than WindowsXP. I run linux on my laptop and have on other laptops and linux sucks down the battery faster.

And as a developer, I will state that I've had the opposite experience with Ubuntu on my HP Pavilion dv9000 (Never booted with Vista while in my possession...) and, the previous Pavilion dv6000, the Compaq Evo n800, and my eeePC.

Keep in mind the eeePC with Xandros runs better and actually has a slightly better life than the XP install on the same class of machine. If your claim is correct, why is this the case?

Re:options (1)

xenocide2 (231786) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518417)

For a netboot / tablet, there's also the Ubuntu Netbook Remix which has some interesting (if a bit beta) programs to improve the experience. It's actually quite good on my larger, overpowered tablet.

Re:options (2, Interesting)

laffer1 (701823) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518429)

MidnightBSD uses less power on my ThinkPad T30 than Windows XP SP3. I have powerd and cpufreq running which lowers battery usage significantly. FreeBSD out of the box isn't great, but it can be tweaked to be quite energy efficient.

As others pointed out, Linux has the tickless kernel option which is excellent.

Further, I would say Windows power consumption is worse because many people run antivirus or other background apps that they don't need in a *nix system.

I also noticed less power usage while plugged in. Using a kill-a-watt, I saw a 7 watt difference when the system was idle in bsd vs windows. I think this has to due with the fact that in a gui, powerd is able to get the cpu down to 450mhz in BSD but it runs much higher in windows.

The system includes a 1.6Ghz Pentium M + 512MB ram, a DVD drive and a hitatchi 120GB 5400 RPM hard drive. (it came with a 20GB drive)

I also notice gains in BSD over windows on power use on my desktop.

Re:options (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25518547)

The only real reason that this isnt the best option is that Linux (and BSD) are heavier on battery life than WindowsXP.

That's only because Linux and BSD actually do something.

Re:options (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518653)

YMMV. With Ubuntu 8.04, kernel 2.6.27, I find precisely the opposite: XP runs 2 hours, 8.04 runs 3.5 to 4 hours. I blame the shitty, shitty McAfee antivirus on the Windows installation (it's my work laptop); but antiviruses aren't optional on Windows, and have a notable tendency to cripple the machine and suck power.

Underpowered tablet you say? (4, Funny)

Caboosian (1096069) | more than 5 years ago | (#25517973)

Clearly the territory of Windows Vista.

I think this is the perfect OS for you. (2, Interesting)

neo (4625) | more than 5 years ago | (#25517977)

http://www.zimmers.net/geos/GEOSFAQ.html [zimmers.net]

You'll have incredible speed based on the original purpose and you will also have access to many free applications.

'story' tags (1, Offtopic)

dnwq (910646) | more than 5 years ago | (#25517995)

You know, the stoptaggingeverythingstory and !story tags are getting more annoying than the story tags to begin with.

Anyone else feel the same way?

Re:'story' tags (0, Offtopic)

rikkards (98006) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518057)

I think tags are annoying and wish there was a way to get rid of them. Especially since they are whatever you want to put in.

Re:'story' tags (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25518077)

"story" is the cancer killing slashdot?

Ah-hah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25518005)

MikeOS should do the trick! mikeos.berlios.de [berlios.de]

Some form of Windows XP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25518017)

Turn off all services which you don't use, minimize the number of processes. Don't use big background applications like virus scanners or personal firewalls. The windows firewall is fine.

Windows is still a lot better at saving power than Linux and if you strip it down to the essentials, it runs nicely on very modest hardware. Microsoft is going to be in trouble if they're not planning to make a replacement for Windows XP with the same shoe size though.

Re:Some form of Windows XP (1)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518425)

windows flp ftw!

Re:Some form of Windows XP (1)

SnEptUne (1264814) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518615)

Is that comparing apple with orange? What about "stripping" down the so-called Linux to the essentials and then compares them.

OS-X? (1, Interesting)

MathFox (686808) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518047)

I wonder why nobody suggested OS-X so far... It is a hack to install on non-Apple hardware, but you'll get the best usability. A Linux or BSD distro will make a usable machine too and as others may have said: sticking with XP is an option too.
Your preference matters most, you'll work with the machine.

Re:OS-X? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518149)

OS X in 512MB of RAM is not snappy or responsive. It's usable, but it's not a great experience. I'd probably suggest FreeBSD on a machine like this - I run it on a few machines with similar specs and (especially with the ULE scheduler for desktop use) it's very responsive. I'd also be tempted to suggest Haiku if you aren't planning on running anything that hasn't already been ported to it. BeOS R5 was very fast on a 200MHz machine with 64MB of RAM, even with several things being done at once.

Re:OS-X? (1)

laffer1 (701823) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518451)

OS X is not usable with 512MB ram. That isn't enough ram for Mail.app. Sadly, Mail.app is my reference app for when I need a new Mac.

Re:OS-X? (1)

Graff (532189) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518227)

I wonder why nobody suggested OS-X so far

Mac OS X is a good choice if you are 100% hardware compatible and you have a decent amount of RAM, around 640 MB or more in my experience. If your hardware isn't 100% compatible then you tend to run into issues with the power management features and your battery life will suffer.

Yes, the usability of Mac OS X is high, even on unsupported hardware, but I wouldn't recommend it to someone using an old, brand-x laptop. For this sort of situation I'd probably go with Ubuntu or similar. Power management can also be a bit tricky under Linux but it has a better chance at dealing with random stuff thrown at it and it has gotten a lot better with battery life in its last few iterations.

Re:OS-X? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25518275)

It maybe because we're generally not crazed and oblivious Apple fanboys.

Re:OS-X? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25518339)

In addition, you need a chip that supports at least SSE2 to run Hackintosh OS X. And already with SSE2, it's emulating certain things so it's sluggish. A P3 chip doesn't have SSE2 neither SSE3.

On top of that, even if you have super compatible hardware, OS X on a normal PC isn't always all pretty and roses. I played with Hackintosh on a decently compatible PC and experienced frequent crashes and instability issues. My friend also experienced similar issues and he had specifically built his computer by following the Hackintosh HCL.

Re:OS-X? (1)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518437)

osx on spec for spec hardware has run perfect for me. better than a mac pro, in fact... since I can open it up and change stuff!

Re:OS-X? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25518529)

It's not going to work on a P3 (sse2 is a must) - and if somehow you do manage to get it to work, it'll work ass slow.

SSD or Compact Flash? (4, Interesting)

niko9 (315647) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518073)

Maybe replace the hard disk with an SSD or low power compact flash?

If you go the CF route then check out Voyage Linux. 'Tis like Debian but made for embedded and low power machines. http://linux.voyage.hk/ [voyage.hk]

(I use it with a PC Engines single board computer running MPD as a source for an audiophile grade USB music server. Just install th OS to CF and apt-get what you need.)

Ubuntu w/Netbook Remix (3, Informative)

Neil Jansen (955182) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518087)

Ubuntu 8.x with Netbook Remix interface installed. The desktop interface is touchscreen friendly. Window-picker applet and Maximus do a great job of saving you screen real-estate.

Re:Ubuntu w/Netbook Remix (3, Informative)

Doug Neal (195160) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518131)

Agreed, but probably best to wait for 8.10. 8.04 falls quite short in terms of hardware support for netbooks. It is possible to get them about 85% working with a lot of manual tweaking. 8.10's newer kernel works much better with netbook hardware, and the netbook remix packages are also much better integrated.

I also hear that Fedora 10 works nicely with netbooks, if that's your thing.. personally I much prefer something Debian based.

Puppy (3, Informative)

Trenchbroom (1080559) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518093)

Puppy linux. Running it right now on my eeepc 2g surf--800 Celeron with 512 MB. Works great!

My experience... (1)

Landshark17 (807664) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518109)

The hard drive on my three-year-old laptop died recently, and I replaced it with a new one. I didn't feel like jumping through hoops to prove I had a legit copy of XP to get it re-installed, or worse being unable to prove it and have to pay. So I put the latest version of Ubuntu on it and it's running smooth.

Linux or Windows? (5, Informative)

malevolentjelly (1057140) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518121)

If you're looking for linux recommendations, I can't recommend Mandriva 2009 enough for this purpose. With their experience with the Classmate PC, Mandriva went ahead and integrated all their smooth netbook features into their OS. Mandriva 2009 in particular now provides an available default LXDE desktop, which is far lighter than KDE or Gnome and less spartan than XFCE. In addition, any configuration settings dialogs deficient in LXDE can be made up with the Mandriva Control Center.

On that same note, you might consider gOS 3, which will provide a lovely and lightweight interface on top of Ubuntu but customized directly for the needs of a netbook. It's a very realistic distribution, with ample codecs, default Wine, and a nice implmentation of Mozilla Prism for running web apps as desktop apps. (not that that makes any sense)

Now, if you're looking for a Windows system, there's always Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PC's, a smooth and lightweight XP installatiion weighing in at under a gig default and using the XP embedded kernel. You can find that lyin' around somewhere on the web if you look hard enough- though you can't buy it. Oh yes, and it's full XP with no activation subsystem. ;)

Windows XP (1)

richardtallent (309050) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518151)

Ok, flame-proof suit going on...

Linux might offer some improvement, but OpenOffice is dog-slow compared to Office 2000/2002.

So if word processing and spreadsheet use is more than minimal, I'd suggest sticking with XP, unless, perhaps, you can get Office to run under WINE.

Just replace IE6/7 with Firefox or Chrome for web browsing, and consider Thunderbird for email.

Re:Windows XP (2, Insightful)

pablomme (1270790) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518341)

unless, perhaps, you can get Office to run under WINE

Which you can. There are options other than OpenOffice.org for Office replacements, in any case.

Re:Windows XP (1)

dhasenan (758719) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518577)

In the past, I've experienced, say, Excel loading in a third the time of OOCalc. I've also experienced OOCalc loading much faster than Excel, and these experiences are much more recent.

If there's a speed difference between the two, it'll probably change within the next year or two. I wouldn't use that as a basis for choosing between them.

Depends on inherent Linux compatability (2, Informative)

damentz (1376521) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518163)

Netbooks that were designed with Linux in mind will most likely experience longer battery life with a recent Linux _and_ modern distribution of your choice.

You need to remember to insure you're using the correct module per hardware device. This really is only a problem with wireless and graphics where an alternative reverse engineered or incomplete open source driver is used instead of the full featured proprietary driver. Here's some examples:

ati, via, nvidia, broadcom (fuck these guys, srsly)

Then just remember to _enable_ powersaving features if they exist such as cpufreq with ondemand, intel wireless power management, sata link control, hard disk power management, pci express, and if possible - dynamic clock control for gpu's (nvidia does this already by default in their proprietary driver).

Just another note, modern Linux distros also use the tickless kernel option by default so you're already saving more power on the cpu than you would in XP would (disregarding cpu clock speed/voltage modulation) when idle.

Debian, for example (1)

Timosch (1212482) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518205)

A couple of years ago, I ran Debian Woody on an AMD K6, 300 MHz, 64 MB RAM, 4 MB Video RAM, 8 GB HDD. Just for surfing, writing, spreadsheets etc. It worked fine, even under KDE (although I would recommend xfce or similar under such conditions).

I'm using a P1510 right now (3, Informative)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518215)

I'm using a P1510 and I love it. I don't consider it underpowered at all as long as your goal isn't to run cutting edge games. It runs XP and Linux great. Fujitsu got the netbook concept right 3 years ago when everyone else was still making SUV notebooks. I transport it in a convenient, portable DVD player case.

The best feature is the ULV Pentium M which can be heavily undervolted to conserve battery life and reduce heat output. With the extended battery I can get 6+ hours running at 600MHz, 0.7V. For XP, set up NHC to configure the lower voltages. For Linux, use the PHC [athousandnights.de] kernel patch to override the BIOS voltage settings and configure cpufreq for ondemand at all times.

This machine is quite usable with 512MB if you keep Windows lean on active processes. It gets better with the 1GB upgrade if you can find the memory. The only big problem with this machine is the obsolete connector for the 1.8" HD limits you to an 80GB max drive. If you're lucky you can snag a replacement cable for the newer P1620 (find a broken one cheap) that supports the newer ZIF connector.

Re:I'm using a P1510 right now (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518549)

Oh yeah, I forgot. Having a built-in three-button mouse rocks for select/paste in X.

Re:I'm using a P1510 right now (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518661)

For those of us without 3 button mice, two finger tapping on touchpads also rocks.

If you are going the windows route ... (3, Interesting)

phoxix (161744) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518217)

Windows XP SP3 + nLite [nliteos.com] > Every other version of Windows.

It works with 99.999% of everything, and doesn't suck hard like Beasta

512MB and Xp runs bad?!? (1)

kipman725 (1248126) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518233)

ok your laptop is SIGNIFICANTLY faster than any pc available at XP's launch. I would recomend reinstalling as xp should be pretty fast. If that fails to improve things then your notebook has something seriously wrong with it. As for linux distros debian net install with flux box. My desktop is only slightly better than that laptop and I run an XP/debian duel boot with no issues.

Re:512MB and Xp runs bad?!? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25518357)

XP without SP1/2/3 is very fast
however XP + SP2/3 will bring anything less than 1GB ram to a crawl
you can get some of your speed back by disabling the security center/themes/wifi browser/File sharing
but you will lose significant functionality and security

so dont look at XP launch specs as SP2 erased the speed for security
best advice for the submitter is stick in 2x2GB of SODIMM ram and move on
or put Linux on it and step back to the 80's

Use Puppy Linux (4, Informative)

biggaijin (126513) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518255)

I am writing this on an old Fujitsu P2010 running Puppy Linux. I am completely satisfied with this setup. A full-sized Linux distribution is slow to boot and slow to run on this machine. I used to have Ubuntu installed on it and the performance was not acceptable. Puppy boots quickly and provides all the facilities that you asked for.

What it came with (2, Informative)

Matey-O (518004) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518265)

I've got an AspireOne. I've had a BUNCH of different *ix's on it and ended up going back to Linpus (after using all that I'd learned on the other OS's to get it to do what I want.) Sure, it doesn't have wobbly windows, but it DOES have the latest Firefox, AND it returns dependably from sleep, has a working wifi switch, and boots in under 20 seconds. I found all I REALLY wanted in that form factor was FireFox 3 (F11 full screen is GREAT), and a shell. recompiling the Wifi drivers with every Ubuntu kernel update was getting to be a PITA.

Linux Drivers? (1)

Dr. Zim (21278) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518267)

I'm using a Fujitsu LT 500C and having great performance on plain ol' XP SP2. For all the cool kids running Linux out there, what do you do about pen drivers and on screen keyboards? These two are absolutely critical requirements of a tablet computer for me.

My experience Fujitsu 7010 (1)

fygment (444210) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518271)

I have Ubuntu 8.04 running on a Fujitsu 7010. The reason is that the laptop is very light, a feature I seek for extended travel. But battery life, my other top desired feature, is still poor ... maybe 3 hours tops. I have found that Ubuntu can't do hibernate or suspend with this machine and that is rather important for extending battery life. My conclusion has been to order an AspireOne in the hopes of getting extended battery life (apparently up to 6 hours).

I don't think software is the answer in your case. I think some hardware hacking may be easiest. Put in an SSD HD and upgrade the battery. Those mods and keeping the existing OS (which is exactly tailored to the machine) will likely meet your goals.

OS != distribution (2, Informative)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518297)

Clearly, the best OS is Linux, or perhaps an nLite-d version of Win98. HOWEVER, assuming you do mean Linux, don't confuse the OS with the distribution. Remember, the choice of WM is yours not tied to the OS.

Tiny XP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25518299)

Uses only 80MB ram after boot. Great for small Machines...

For the eee (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518321)

eeebuntu Standard Edition seems to be working out great on my eee. Everything just works right out of the box. Installation was a bit of a bitch though.

CPU Throttling? (1)

fygment (444210) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518359)

Oh, and you might try finding something that throttles the CPU clock back. I've been wondering about this since using the Irex Iliad e-book machine. In attempts to extend battery life in the Iliad, the CPU freq is throttled back. Is there any software that does that dynamically say when running a word processor, surfing, email, etc.?

Budget Constraints? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25518397)

A) are you under a budget? No? Pay someone to install whatever you want.

B) are you willing to steal software? Yes, grab that WinXP for legacy computers from "somewhere" and have at it.

C) If you have zero budget and aren't willing to steal - some form of Ubuntu and Linux are my recommendation though I don't know how much tablet screen use you'll get from it.

I run an Internet Tablet, N800, with Linux and it goes a few days between charges with email and lite web browsing over wifi. The screen is too small for ebook, PDF or word processing unless you're really, really desperate. I've blogged for a few weeks at a time when on vacation, but was able to charge it nightly while uploading 40+ photos to my server. Using the GPS eats power much quicker, so don't get lost if you can help it. ;)

Dare I suggest Win2k? (1)

xeos (174989) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518415)

I recently did a head to head comparison between Win2k and Xubuntu on a 800mhz Thinkpad with 384MB. Both ran pretty well, but Win2k had the distinct advantage of booting faster, as well as resuming from hibernate faster. If you intend to carry the machine around with you and use it during the 10 minutes between classes, etc, then that's pretty important.

Once loaded, however, both OSes were perfectly snappy. More details:

http://alantechreview.blogspot.com/2008/10/what-os-is-best-for-low-end-laptop.html [blogspot.com]

http://alantechreview.blogspot.com/2008/10/evaluating-linux-for-low-end-laptop-my.html [blogspot.com]

If you are really curious about running Mac OS X (1)

nawcom (941663) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518423)

Does this lspci dump match yours? http://launchpadlibrarian.net/8213720/lspcivnn.txt [launchpadlibrarian.net] - this is supposed to be from a Fujitsu P1510D if it makes any difference or not. With those specs - sound, video, wireless, lan, and more should work just fine as there are support for them. The touchscreen will work but it will need some tweaking. If you want to try this just for shits and giggles (assuming you purchased a license for leopard) we could help you get it going at irc.osx86.hu #hackint0sh.

Ubuntu (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518431)

Before my third hand Pentium III laptop's screen died I was running standard (Gnome) Ubuntu on it just fine. The was around Feisty, mind you, but so long as I turned off the beryl-compiz effects and kept an eye on what extraneous packages I installed it ran like a champ on 512 MB of memory and an 8 GB hdd. Battery life was also decent until the battery wore out, but once I replaced it I could use it for a couple of hours with sound and networking on battery.

I'd imagine that Ubuntu with Gnome would work fine on, say, an Asus eee, considering that they have about the same hardware specs but benefit from general tech improvements (like better batteries) and haven't been subjected to 5+ years of (ab)use.

Sorry for the lameness/obviousness of that answer, but it's really obvious because it's true.

MS DOS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25518467)

MS DOS is pretty snappy from my experience.

Surprise: Vista will work (3, Insightful)

djelovic (322078) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518475)

This will get modded down or up as funny as anything mentioning Microsoft here, but I have to say it: Vista will work fine.

I have a five year old old HP TC1100 tablet that has a 1.1 GHz Celeron inside. I use it for web surfing, reading and watching TV shows or movies when I take my dog to the park. It had XP Tablet PC edition on it.

Two months ago the hard disk died (I'm pretty hard on hardware) so I decided to try Vista, which I heard has an improved UI for tablet PCs. So I went out and bought a gig of RAM for $40 thus upgrading the computer to 1.5 gigs. I replaced the hard disk with an ancient 4200 IDE disk I had in a drawer somewhere. Then I installed Vista.

Verdict: Big improvement. Vista really does the whole Tablet PC thing better and the computer with the new RAM feels more responsive than it ever did.

Dejan

BeOS/Haiku OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25518559)

Haiku OS if the development continue at this speed will be my #1 choice in 2009. Latest pre-alpha build i tested really impressed me.

www.haiku-os.org

PDF, Office, light duty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25518565)

If you actually look at what goes on inside of a PDF or a modern Office document of any kind, you might find an aweful lot to keep a CPU busy.

Tablets and linux (1)

Nightspirit (846159) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518571)

Tablets typically don't play very well under linux, with subpar handwriting recognition and at least with older fujitsus they lack drivers for screen rotation and tablet button functionality. I got a recommendation for openSUSE but it was still rather difficult to get half the functionality.

However, your tablet is quite dated, so I would recommend a custom tablet XP installation using nlite or similar tools. Bumping up the ram to 1gb should make it tolerable.

Do you actually want to use the machine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25518621)

If you're actually going to use the machine to get work done there are only two choices.

1. Some version of Windows (probably XP). This really isn't best because of all the activation/DRM shit but if you must run Windows...

2. Run Ubuntu (preferably the latest 8.10 which is being released in a few days).

OS X is out because it's a total hack to make it work in the first place. It'll break at some point after an upgrade and it's just generally a pain in the ass to keep running on non-Apple hardware. Plus it's getting pretty crappy as of Leopard, it's regressing in terms of performance, stability, and usability.

Any Linux distro other than Ubuntu is out too. It's not necessarily that Ubuntu is all that much better than any other distro technically, it's better because Ubuntu is the mainstream Linux distro and you're going to get the best and longest lasting support. It's goal is to "just work" and for the most part that's what it does. It does it better than Windows.

Feel free to use something else if you don't mind spending lots of time screwing around with the OS. Personally I find that a waste of time.

ubuntu + fluxbox (1)

airuck (300354) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518625)

I still use my little Sharp Actius PC-MM10 for travel. It's certainly underpowered with a 1GHz transmeta chip, fixed 256MB of RAM, and a 15GB hard drive. I net installed the basic Ubuntu 7.10 and then added xorg and fluxbox. I would not call it snappy, but it does everything I need it to do. It is smaller than an Apple Air. Here is a photo [flickr.com] .

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?