I grabbed two or three torrents the other day, when I was testing my overworked, underpaid Pentium laptop in its role as rtorrent slave. I mentioned OpenGEU yesterday, which was disappointing because of its heavy Gnome underbelly and overdone desktop glitter. But this one is the complete opposite: function and speed combined with an appearance that underscores its efficiency.
There are a lot of revisions of Puppy Linux, and I don’t know one from the other. I happened to grab the IceWM/JWM “retro” version off Linuxtracker.org, and the results are what you see above, adjusted to my tastes.
Personally, I think this is fantastic. I used Puppy Linux a long time ago and liked it then; I like it even more now. And really, what’s not to love? This particular version (and again, I don’t know all the versions that are out there … I just download and install ) is lightning-fast, finds all the hardware on this machine without even trying, connects to an open wireless network with no more than two clicks, loads completely into memory, has Flash support, plays embedded videos through SeaMonkey and gxine (that’s the blue box in the screenshot up there ), has desktop widgets, takes up only 100Mb on a disc, is completely customizable, uses only a sliver of memory even while running, has more software than I have space on this blog to list, and has a mascot of a little blue puppy that glows while you browse.
It puts me to shame, actually. This is exceptionally well done, and I feel a little embarrassed by that pear-shaped GTK1.2 thing that I occasionally bandy about. Not that there’s anything wrong with an Ubuntu-based live CD that’s intended for old machines and uses only out-of-date software. Oh no. Nothing at all.
It’s just that the Puppy crowd obviously has done a better job. It’s hard for me to find anything wrong with it at all. Coming off OpenGEU, it’s nice just to have tooltips and labeled buttons so I know what I’m pressing (I never did find the “shutdown” button in OpenGEU). But the variety of controls, options, applications and menus in this little distro is … amazing.
And speedwise it again embarrasses me. I spend days putting together a Crux system to run Openbox with an effective amount of speed. But Puppy Linux, like Slitaz, achieves nearly the same sense of performance without cryptic CFLAGS and hours upon hours of compiling. Obviously, I need to reassess my priorities.
But that’s enough talk. There’s almost nothing I could say that would be as impressive as trying it out. I strongly recommend it, if you haven’t at least tried it once. Put it on something old and tell me how it performs. I have a feeling we’ll both be pleased.
Another gold smilie for Puppy Linux: