Bet you guys thought I forgot about this blog, huh?
Well, as I mentioned in my last post (ugh, all the way back in November already?), I’m gainfully employed again, and busier than a one-legged man in an…. well, you get the idea.
I get home from work and the LAST thing on my mind is writing any kind of intelligible technology articles.
That said, I DO need to start contributing some content to my own Linux blog again, so here goes.
My old Toshiba laptop
It’s got an antiquated P4 3.06 GHz Hyperthreading CPU, 1.5 GB of RAM (upgraded from 512 MB by Yours Truly), a 60 GB hard drive, and a tendency to run too hot.
It’s old enough that I replaced it with a newer, sleeker, faster Dell a couple of years ago, but when the Dell died (literally a week or two after the warranty expired), I pulled the old Toshiba out and started using it again.
While it’s slow and showing its age, I can’t really complain THAT much about it. It still works (and has been a lot more reliable than the only Dell laptop I’ve ever owned), and since I’m not a super-heavy laptop user (it’s 7.5 pounds, not something I really enjoy lugging around with me everywhere), it fills the gap well enough for the time being, at least until I figure out what I’m going to get for a new notebook.
It has a nice, full-size keyboard, a pretty good LCD (though it’s starting to fade around the edges the way they tend to when they get up there in age… just like us humans), and a rugged construction that’s held up for me since at least 2005.
The Operating System Carousel!
Round and round it goes!
Since last spring, since laptopping isn’t a massive priority for me, and since I don’t keep a huge amount of data on it, I’ve been inclined to wipe my old Toshiba with a lot more frequency than is “normal” for me so that I can give various other Linux distros a try.
When I blew the dust off of the old boy last year after my Dell died, it still had Slackware 12.0 on it, with Fluxbox as its main window manager. I had decided to give Ubuntu a real try, so I wiped Slackware off of it and installed Ubuntu 9.04 on it to give that a spin.
That was fun; it taught me a lot about the Ubuntu world, and it gave me some ideas for other things to do with this laptop while I was working on coming up with things to write about on this very blog.
In the end, I decided I liked Ubuntu, and since I was moving away from Slackware anyway, this merited some deeper study.
I then decided I’d test the “upgrade” feature when Ubuntu 9.10 came out, and let it upgrade itself via APT. That was interesting, but a few things didn’t work quite right. I’ve never been one to upgrade an OS because of this. I’m a clean install kind of guy. So when things didn’t work quite right, I wiped it and installed my next project. Linux Mint 8.
Now, back in September-ish, I rebuilt my main desktop machine at home. I had initial plans to install Slackware 13, but since Slackware now doesn’t fit my needs, I decided to go with something else entirely, so I ended up installing Linux Mint 7 on it.
My desktop is still running happily on Mint 7, and while that process came with its own issues (the default kernel didn’t like my DVD-ROM drive, plus I discovered massive problems trying to set up Mint 7 on a machine that uses both IDE and SATA drives together), once I got everything set up, it’s been really great.
As odd as it might sound, Mint 7 with Fluxbox on this hardware actually runs faster than Slackware 12.1 with Fluxbox, and it’s been just as stable. It was because of that that I ended up deciding to go with Mint 8 on my laptop when it was released back in November.
And while I have some complaints about Mint 8 as compared to 7 (the removal of functionality from GDM, for one example), most of these things are issues I have with GNOME; the Mint guys themselves have done a bang-up job with what they are using as a starting point!
What’s next for the old Toshiba?
So Mint 8 has been running well on my old laptop, am I going to leave it there?
Of course not. I just read the other day that the first release candidate for the Linux Mint 8 Fluxbox Community Edition is out. When the final release is ready, I’m going to blow away regular Mint 8 and install the Fluxbox Community Edition and give that a whirl.
Being a hardcore Fluxbox user, I have my own way of configuring things, but I’m really curious to see what they have in mind for this, and the best way to find out is to try it.
I figure if I don’t like it, I can always just put regular Linux Mint 9 on it, which will be out in a few months.
I think I will keep this laptop in this role for the foreseeable future. It’s been reliable, so it makes a good test bed for distros I might not be inclined to put on my primary productive desktop machines, and it’s already been a very educational experience.
Maybe if I have time, I’ll continue to write about it!
Until then, keep checking back. Sooner or later I’ll get back into regular content here again.