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Re: Debian Light Desktop - meta package

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On Tue, 11 Apr 2006 13:44:57 -0300
"André Luiz Rodrigues Ferreira" <andrelrf@gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi !
> I'm creating a meta package for install a lite desktop for old
> machines with poor hardware.

That's an admiral goal, however I would be prepared for a great deal of
frustration.  I worked on this for a while last year, but I wasn't
happy with what I ended up with.

> I would like to receive opinions about my packages list:
> - x-window-system-core
> - xfce4 (beautiful!)

You may want to offer a choice of window manager.   On low-end machines
I'm partial to WindowMaker, but IceWm, FluxBox, or BlackBox are also
good choices.

> - gdm

If you're going to pull in gnome depencies anyway gdm is a good choice,
otherwise wdm may be better (but AFAIK wdm isn't keyboard-only

> - gftp
> - mozilla-firefox

I would also install dillo that the user has a choice between a fast,
but no javascript, css, java, flash, etc support (dillo), or a slow (on
the hardware you describe) browser that is otherwise great.

> - mozilla-thunderbird

On a P1?!  No way.  Thunderbird is slower than molasses in January.  I
would recommend Sylpheed or Sylpheed-claws as a much faster/better
alternative.  In fact I have recently switched to sylpheed-claws on my
personal workstation (Duron 850M/2.2G) because it's so much faster,
keyboard-friendly, and I'm finding it a better piece of software.

> - menu

I'd recommend against making an install task that is both about console
and GUI.  Console vs desktop should be different tasks IMO.  They
could, however, be part of the same cd (set).

> - gcalctool (or xcalc)
> - evince

Any particular reason for not just using xpdf?

> - eog
> - gaim
> - zip
> - unzip
> - arj
> - bzip2
> - file-roller
> - gnome-utils
> - inkscape
> - gimp
> - abiword

This is what I would use too, but I know someone who swears by LyX on
low-end machines, so you may want to check it out.  LyX is a GUI for
LaTeX (and maybe DocBook, but I'm not clear on that) that is apparently
easy to get started with and works well for writing reports and
technical documents.

> - gnumeric
> - gnumeric-plugins-extra
> - gnome-system-monitor
> - firestarter

Those all look good.  You may also want to toss in a couple of small
graphical games.

> I made some tests with sucess in my machines with the following setup:
> Pentium 166 MHZ - 64 MB RAM - HD 2 GB
What do you mean by success?  Installs and can load, or you have tried
to do some of your usual activities and found the experience
reasonable?  I know that when I was working on this, that I was getting
frustrated by the speed (though come to think if it, I was also using
32 MB RAM) of firefox and some other apps.  I also found that the 1.2
GB drive I had was pretty cramped, and that I couldn't install
everything I had on the cd I made up (and which I already considered

Having said that, I have been considering trying again, now that a
medical condition is under control and not interfering with my ability
to focus, if I can find the time between work (which at present is not
even computer related) and the various other projects I have on the
go.  If you need a tester I will likely be able to help.

Also I have a number of scripts and things that I was making to make
life easier for this project.  I was also trying to go the debian's
package list to categorize everything, and to pick out and test various
apps that could be useful on a low end machine.

Best of luck!


P.S. I have cc'd you because I don't know if you are subscribed to
debian-devel or not.

- -- 
And that's my crabbing done for the day.  Got it out of the way early, 
now I have the rest of the afternoon to sniff fragrant tea-roses or 
strangle cute bunnies or something.   -- Michael Devore

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