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 Forum index » House Training » Beginners Help ( Start Here)
need some distribution advice
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moXXXXXX


Joined: 14 Sep 2005
Posts: 34
Location: Tokyo

PostPosted: Wed 14 Sep 2005, 03:56    Post subject:  need some distribution advice  

Hi Barry,
I can't believe you're Australian. Strange intro but I am smiling already! I want to ask you for some advice.
Last week I was lucky enough to get my hand on about 20 DELL Optiplex G100s and G110s. The specs of these machines vary though the lowest specked machine has is a PIII 500 Mhz machines with 128MB and 5GB hard drives.
What I am trying to do is build the machines with some sort of OS and application suite that would suit a novice computer user that needs to write documents, communicate by email, and research on the internet in addition to being easy to look after and keep healthy and stable. The reason I want to build the machines like is that I am trying to send them to Bangladesh to be used in community organizations, health centers, and small offices supporting advocacy work etc.
I've tried Linspire and Ubuntu - Ubuntu is yet to install at all and though I have Linspire installed on one machine it didn't take to my other test machine and the machine it is running is running pretty slow with the all the graphics etc.
I wrote to Ladislav at Distro Watch and he had some great advice and ideas. I checked out DAMM Small Linux and Puppy Linux, on Ladislav's recommendation, and also checked out Chubby Linux. I thought Chubby Linux looked very easy to use. The desktop was clean, simple, and, from the screen shots I saw, I felt that it would be very intuitive to navigate around for a novice computer user from Bangladesh.
What do you think of Chubby Linux? Good I guess as you made it but I my question is really is it secure, stable, sensible? I looked at the applications in the screen shots I came across and the GUI looked quite simple and so I was thinking perhaps the applications on the distribution were old versions. Is this right? For some things it might not be a problem if they are old versions but if, for instance, the browser was old and didn't handle Flash and a user in Dhaka tried to access a web page that used Flash it wouldn't work and so they would be stuck with some cryptic error message and wouldn't know what to do; as you would appreciate this is just one possible scenario of many.
Still the idea that came to mind when I came across Chubby Linux was how fast and easily the distribution would run on even the lowest specked machine I have here. What would you say if I said that I was thinking to put this on all the computers? Do you think it wise, silly, limited, hard to use, the wrong choice, a good choice for what I am trying to do, for who will use the machines, for the totally unsupported environment the machines will be used in? I wonder? The plan, at this point, is to build the machines with some sort of OS and application suite that would suit a novice computer user that needs to write documents and share documents with the wider world (which generally use MS Office), communicate by email, and research on the internet. The build would be easy to look after and keep healthy and operate stably as the end users could be street children, health workers, advocacy workers, school children, etc. There is a big possibility (given I've got about 20 machines) that the machines would be networked in groups of 5 or so and share an internet connection and a printer? Can Chubby handle being networked like this? How well, or not, do you think that Chubby Linux suits this project and meets the needs of this sort of end user community. One of my concerns is what happens if they want to print, or put in a CD, or, as I used my creative writing skills above to describe, if they go to a Flash website and the browser doesn't handle it - they wont know what to do and will be stuck without support.
I think your distribution is very clever and would really appreciate your frank thoughts and ideas on how Chubby may or may not suit and how best I can progress this project.
Cheers,
Adrian
b/w Also, can Chubby run from a little USB flash memory stick (like my iShuffle)???
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Lobster
Official Crustacean


Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 15122
Location: Paradox Realm

PostPosted: Wed 14 Sep 2005, 04:55    Post subject: Re: need some distribution advice  

Hi Adrian,
Welcome to the kennels . . .

Barry is busy developing - he may choose to answer this but some of the answers are straightforward Smile

mohoohoo wrote:

I've tried Linspire and Ubuntu - Ubuntu is yet to install at all and though I have Linspire installed on one machine it didn't take to my other test machine and the machine it is running is running pretty slow with the all the graphics etc.


Linspire has I believe offered a semi free version. That is free to use except for the program download services (first 3 months are free) Puppy is free and we are more than happy to keep it free and open.
Ubuntu does have good local language support. It is my second system (I have it on the HD and run Puppy from CD). I rarely use Ubuntu. Puppy works so well it spoils you. You expect speed. You expect everything to be simple and fun.

Quote:
What do you think of Chubby Linux? Good I guess as you made it but I my question is really is it secure, stable, sensible?


Very sensible. The programs in Puppy are stable and save and retrieve data securely.

Quote:

I looked at the applications in the screen shots I came across and the GUI looked quite simple and so I was thinking perhaps the applications on the distribution were old versions. Is this right?


Some of the programs are not updated because the older versions are smaller, faster, more secure. For example the Rox file manager is stable. A more up to date version is available as a dotpup installation package but the "official" puppy uses the older, smaller Rox.

Quote:
For some things it might not be a problem if they are old versions but if, for instance, the browser was old and didn't handle Flash and a user in Dhaka tried to access a web page that used Flash it wouldn't work and so they would be stuck with some cryptic error message and wouldn't know what to do; as you would appreciate this is just one possible scenario of many.


Flash is built into Mozilla browser the default browser in Puppy 1.0.4 and the soon to be released 1.0.5


Quote:
Still the idea that came to mind when I came across Chubby Linux was how fast and easily the distribution would run on even the lowest specked machine I have here. What would you say if I said that I was thinking to put this on all the computers?
Do you think it wise, silly, limited, hard to use, the wrong choice, a good choice for what I am trying to do, for who will use the machines, for the totally unsupported environment the machines will be used in? I wonder?


Smile Very wise. If there is a better option I would suggest it. In Bangladesh English is used. Puppy is designed to be simple to use. Chubby Puppy is very useful. Very practical.


Quote:
There is a big possibility (given I've got about 20 machines) that the machines would be networked in groups of 5 or so and share an internet connection and a printer? Can Chubby handle being networked like this?


I use Puppy as a standalone - so I hope someone else will answer this interesting question . . .

Quote:
How well, or not, do you think that Chubby Linux suits this project and meets the needs of this sort of end user community. One of my concerns is what happens if they want to print, or put in a CD, or, as I used my creative writing skills above to describe, if they go to a Flash website and the browser doesn't handle it - they wont know what to do and will be stuck without support.


We have recently set up a Puppy Foundation, to give as much assistance and support as our volunteers are able to. For example where are you situated? Maybe others have spare computers they can add to your store . . .
http://www.goosee.com/puppy/wikka/FoundationPuppy


Quote:
b/w Also, can Chubby run from a little USB flash memory stick (like my iShuffle)???


Yes it can - there is a wizard script to create this

Good luck Smile

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BarryK
Puppy Master


Joined: 09 May 2005
Posts: 7099
Location: Perth, Western Australia

PostPosted: Wed 14 Sep 2005, 07:56    Post subject:  

Adrian,
The main apps in Puppy are mostly the latest versions, or nearly.
Open Office is the latest stable version.
On a PC with 128M RAM... you may find some performance issues with Chubby.
The standard Puppy has Gnumeric spreadhseet editor and Abiword wordprocessor and these are fine. Abiword has a small printing problem -- sometimes text gets displaced a centimeter or so upward on the page -- but I think the upcoming 2.4 version will fix that -- maybe that will be in Puppy 1.0.6.

The advice we will give you on this forum is that Puppy is the best possible choice for your hardware ...but of course we are biased Wink
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rarsa


Joined: 29 May 2005
Posts: 3053
Location: Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Wed 14 Sep 2005, 10:46    Post subject:  

First a clarification. It is not Chubby linux, it is Puppy Chubby. This is the same version as the standard puppy with some extra applications such as Open Office.

mohoohoo wrote:
do you think that Chubby Linux suits this project
You may want to contact Douglas (dougtheslug), He is preparing some puppy computers with the similar goal of sending them to South America. He has done some legwork testing and comparing distros for this task.

Actually he has computers with way lower specs than yours (Pentium III 233 with 32 MB RAM and 1 GB HDD). Douglas was in my house the other day with one of those computers and I was surprised of how well puppy performed (compared to other distros/OSs). Yes, they are not the fastest computers around, but if you consider that puppy works comfortably on that computer, then I am sure that it will be snappy with 128 MB.

BarryK wrote:
On a PC with 128M RAM... you may find some performance issues with Chubby.
tsk tsk tsk... You are spoiled. Performance is relative. If you compare agains puppy running in a computer with higher specs, it will be slower. If you compare against a comparative OS/Distro in the same computer, Puppy will be quite responsive.

The only way for you to know how it will compare is actually downloading the CD and trying it. It is a relativelly small download you have nothing to loose.

mohoohoo wrote:
Can Chubby handle being networked like this?
Puppy is a linux is a linux... This means that it can be done. You may want to follow up on the following thread: http://www.murga.org/~puppy/viewtopic.php?t=763&highlight=gateway. A better alternative is to setup a gateway computer with a purpose specific distribution. e.g. a 486 running something like devil-linux. There are a few distributions like this one.

One thing to consider: You should expect to customize the puppy installations before sending the computers. Here are some sugested tasks:

- Configure the user inteface setting the windowManager, icons, and general look and feel that you prefer.
- Install the extra applications that they may require
- Setup the most commonly used icons on the desktop for easy access.
- Configure networking for all the computers sharing a connection
- Remaster the CD or create your own unleased version so you can 'clone' it to all the computers (a time saver) ans they can reinstall a customized image if they need to reformat a computer.
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PaulR

Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 248
Location: UK

PostPosted: Wed 14 Sep 2005, 17:19    Post subject:  

With regard to networking I run 2 PC's at home and we use an ADSL gateway router to connect to the Internet. Puppy had no problems configuring my connection (I just supplied the basic ip addresses etc) and this evening I've managed to connect to my other PC (Win XP with a shared printer) via LinNeighborhood - here's a picture. It took virtually no setting up other than making sure morizot firewall was not installed!!

How good is Puppy? Very Happy
screeny.jpg
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raffy

Joined: 25 May 2005
Posts: 4798
Location: Manila

PostPosted: Wed 14 Sep 2005, 20:12    Post subject: The "Me-Too" Issue  

Bringing PCs over to another place might also bring with it the expectation of using the PC as an office suite, which often leads to "bloatware". And bloatware requires new PCs, etc etc.

For desktop publishing, Scribus does things pretty well, and PDF files (which it can create) functions as a respectable presentation document. Scribus is in standard Puppy (60 MB). And image files also function well as presentation via the Image Manager.

The browser in Puppy is always up-to-date (if you gather from the Puppy News). And it has Flash support.

Yes, there are smaller Internet Connection Sharing distros, Freesco is another. But if you can find a device that does this automatically for the network (as one post above says), that will be even better. Even Win98 does that easily, i must admit Embarassed

Please drop by the Foundation Page and help us out with a comment or two...

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BlackAdder


Joined: 22 May 2005
Posts: 382

PostPosted: Thu 15 Sep 2005, 03:24    Post subject:  

One of the things that can strongly influence people's view of their hardware/software platform is the time taken for programs to start. You might be interested in the following very rough numbers:

AMD-k6/2- 350MHz - 128MB RAM plus 128MB swap
The AMD 350 is roughly equivalent to a Pentium 233.
Startup of:
Abiword 7 secs
Gnumeric 4 secs
Scribus 12 secs
Open Office swriter 50+ secs
Open Office scalc 50+ secs
Open Office simpress 50+ secs

Celeron 550Mhz - 256MB RAM no swap
Startup of:
Abiword 3 secs
Gnumeric 3 secs
Scribus 4-5 secs
Open Office swriter 12 secs
Open Office scalc 12 secs
Open Office simpress 12 secs

All the program were very responsive once they were running.

Puppy 1.0.4 Mozilla was the platform for the tests of Abiword etc.
Chubby Puppy 1.0.4 was the platform for the tests of Open Office.

Hope this helps.
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moXXXXXX


Joined: 14 Sep 2005
Posts: 34
Location: Tokyo

PostPosted: Thu 15 Sep 2005, 04:31    Post subject: timings  

those timings are good to know.
i am pretty new with all this and don't quite know about SWAP and these thing but I can say I followed the install instructions above and the system is running. given that what sort of swap do you think i would have? is there a way i can find out. if it is too low should i increase it. i've go Puppy Chubby running on the whole disk which gives it 15GB.
cheers,
Adrian
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raffy

Joined: 25 May 2005
Posts: 4798
Location: Manila

PostPosted: Thu 15 Sep 2005, 05:08    Post subject: Swap  

In another post where you inquired about HD installation, you were not required to make swap file.

"cfdisk" while in console (rxvt) will enable you to make swap partition. 2x the size of RAM is the recommended size of swap.

More details in the tutorial link below.

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moXXXXXX


Joined: 14 Sep 2005
Posts: 34
Location: Tokyo

PostPosted: Thu 15 Sep 2005, 05:17    Post subject: no swap  

hi,
i followed the instructions before and have my system booting and running from my HD but there is not swap or anything like that. if i run cfdisk it shows just one disk (hda1 primary linux ext2 15367.80 MB). Should I add a swap disk to make it run better. if so how can i do this?
cheers,
adrian
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Flash
Official Dog Handler


Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 11180
Location: Arizona USA

PostPosted: Thu 15 Sep 2005, 11:08    Post subject:  

As I understand it, a swap partition is space on the hard drive which is used as virtual RAM, for when you are doing something that fills up your real RAM. If you have lots of RAM, or don't do much beyond surfing the web or other non-RAM-intensive things, swap memory may never be needed at all.
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