Originally Posted by cewillis
With regard to Linux distribution, I'm looking for a place to start. I tried Ubuntu on a spare computer, and it's more than I want.
There is no problem with it running (afaik).
I don't know what you mean by "more than you want" re: Ubuntu 10.04.
The LiveCD has been stripped of most extraneous software now- not even Gimp!? IN any event, it is trivial to add/remove apps from Ubuntu using the Software Center and/or Synaptic.
Gnome is highly configurable- you can add/remove panels (top and bottom screen menu bars), change themes, add applets/widgets to panels and the desktop, etc- basically customize the desktop GUI to your hearts content, FAR more than you ever could with XP.
Ubuntu 10.04 boots and shuts down faster than probably any other top 10 major distro (ranked by Distrowatch) at the moment.
Any recent vintage Gnome, KDE, XFCE, LXDE based distro will have a similar look/feel/resource footprint (memory/CPU usage and general feel), comparing apples-apples (Gnome distro to Gnome distro, KDE-KDE, etc).
You could experiment with different desktop environments/window managers if UI/features/resource usage/performance of the GUI are an issue to you. I already mentioned XFce, LXDE, and Enlightenment (E17), with OpenBox being one of the lowest resource desktops around that is widely used. Of course there are plenty more low resource window manager/DE's that have smaller user bases.
The main differentiators among the major distros- Ubuntu, Fedora, PClinuxOS, Mandriva, Arch- are their packaging systems (deb vs rpm), update model (timed releases vs rolling) and how well they integrate and debug all included software (GUI/DE, apps) and drivers, and how responsive the distro is re: fixing post release bugs.
The only way around this would be to use a distro that is designed for ultra low resource use like PuppyLinux, Crunchbang, Slitaz or similar that run largely from RAM.http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=slitaz
A few months ago I would have said that using these for a media PC would be unwise, but the current release of an Ubuntu 10.04-derived Puupy variant, Lucid Puppy 5.x, may prove a viable media PC low resource distro.http://puppylinux.org/news/petstests...u-lucid-lynx-/
Bottom line- I think it is unwise to stray from the main full featured distros like Ubuntu, Mandriva, PCLinucOS or Fedora. There is really no reason to given the CPU, GPU and RAM resources we have now.
A "modest" machine to me would be a 1.6Ghz single core CPU, fer crissakes! "Low end" would be a P3 1Ghz, which can run the current Ubuntu fine- it's Flash that's the limiting factor for low end CPU cutoff.
Again, a 1Ghz P3 with 1G RAm runs Ubuntu 10.04 great, but Flash won't play smoothly on it. So you need a min 1.6Ghz CPU, preferable dual core, just to run Flash (and Java to a lesser extent) well!