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Lean, mean Linux

LinuxToday linked to a story today about Building a lo-fat Linux desktop. Basically it’s a list of applications you can run on a 233 MHz machine without feeling like you’re standing in line at the bank.

Most of the apps are things I’ve mentioned here before, but never in one place, at least not as a list of apps that run superfast. The closest I ever came was that last link. So I’m glad someone else did.

One nice thing: That last link was from 2002. Two and a half years-plus later, not much has changed. I think that’s good. It means things are stable.

Here’s a general principle to follow: KDE gives a nice, integrated environment and lots of apps that play well together, but the price is overhead. If you want something that reminds you of Windows and a Mac, run KDE. But don’t complain if Linux is slow on anything less than a cutting-edge machine, because it will be.

If you’ve heard that Linux runs fast even on ancient hardware and you want to live up to that expectation, Gnome apps are faster.

Sylpheed is a nice e-mail client if what you need is an e-mail client and not an all-out PIM. When I’m running Linux it’s what I like to use.

Dillo is a minimalist web browser. That has its advantages. Popups? Flash? Blinky ads? What are those? It’s a great choice for slower machines, and even for fast machines if what you’re wanting to do is get the information on the web without distractions and then get out.

Icewm is my default desktop no matter what machine I’m running. If I had a quad-CPU 3.4 GHz P4, I’d still run Icewm.

I haven’t used a newsreader since Google bought Dejanews, but back when I frequented newsgroups and ran my own client, Pan was tops. Pan did things that the for-pay newsreaders like Microplanet Gravity wouldn’t do. And that was something like five years ago. I’m sure it’s better now. Not only was it full-featured, it was fast.

I hadn’t heard of the picture viewers the article mentions. I’m not sure that I have a picture viewer installed on my current Linux desktop. I guess I just haven’t needed one. Hmm. But as I recall, GTKSee was reasonably quick, and its user interface was familiar, since ACDSee is a very popular program.

As far as links to the apps, I don’t provide them because you’ll need packages specific to your distribution, assuming your distribution didn’t already come with them (which it may very well have). Do a Google search on the app name and your distribution–“Sylpheed Mandrake” “Sylpheed Fedora” or what have you.

It’s a good article that I recommend reading, as is the follow-up, linked at the bottom.

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