Saturday, December 27, 2008

Laptop Reborn

Maybe it was the limited 512MB ram, maybe it was the rather slow Celeron 1.5 GHz processor, maybe because I didn't spend time tweaking it, whichever way it was my old laptop was really crawling under Fedora 9. Hearing that Fedora 10 is so much faster I was kind of tempted to try it out. But when I think back I haven't got much time to upgrade and tweak my laptop all the time, I decided to just go the bare minimum way. I decided to go back to Arch Linux. Back home.. :) It'll take some time to get it exactly right, but I know once it's exactly how I like it, it can stay that way for a very very long time but still updated due to Arch rolling release life cycle.

So I wanted something light. Very light. If possible no Gnome or KDE. So that's what I've got myself.. :D Installed xorg with Openbox. Fuh.. now finally my laptop loads under 1 minute again. In the end my desktop consist of openbox for window manager, wicd as network manager, docker as a dock manager, lal as clock in the dock, volwheel for a mixer, pcmanfm as the file manager and urxvt as a terminal emulator.

Learned quite a few stuff too while looking for the lightest software to run. One of them being audacious. I hate xmms. But I don't want to install amarok or even rhythmbox neither due to their rather heavy kde and gnome reliance. So after googling through the arch linux forums I found audacious. It uses gtk+ so selecting which files to play looks very good but still kept very lean and mean.

Another suprising discovery was wicd. I wanted a good network manager. I must admit gnome-networkmanager spoiled me a bit and I don't really want to have to go through the whole iwlist and iwconfig route anymore. Again the arch forums gave a hint about wicd. The interface is drop dead ugly compared to gnome-networkmanager but it works quite well. It automatically detects wifi ap and connects to them once the profile has been created. And since most of the time it just sits in the dock so you forget about the ugly interface after a while. At least till the next time you have to create another profile.. :P

I found out even the gnome-terminal has spoiled me a bit too. Now xterm looks pretty ugly to me. The fonts are so retro. I want beatifully rendered anti-aliased fonts. Again the arch forums and wiki came to the rescue and pointed me in the direction of rxvt-unicode. It can do a lot of other stuff apart from anti-aliased font (like unicode, transparency, and lots of other stuff) but I don't really need them all that much. I just need to be looking at smooth curves all the time. That's all... :D

So finally now my laptop is able to load up fully in under 1 minute and running everything I need to do my job, even mysqld and httpd. I'm happy.. till next time.. ;)


Anonymous said...

while Arch Linux is a fine choice, I do suggest upgrading the RAM as currently it costs only RM40 for 1 GB SO-DIMM DDR-2 or RM60-70 for SO-DIMM 512MB DDR. Considering that laptop is not going to see any further improvement, I feel it is the best upgrade b4 finally going into retirement. BTW, yes I run Fedora 10.

msian_tux_lover said...

Dude, you can also try to use BMP (Beep Media Player) the parent software Audacious forked from.

#Anonymous, there is no reason to spend extra if the notebook computer is not used that often. After all, GNU/Linux is great to resurrect old and given-up-for-dead computers. :D

Happy New Year to all.

Haiya ala Solah