In case you were wondering, I am still poking around with the homeless but familiar K6-2 that I took home last week. I don’t have much to report in that arena, save a few small discoveries that are worth sharing.
To date, Debian and ConnochaetOS (the i586 rehash of Arch Linux) have been the most promising contenders. That laptop is a true 586, which narrows the field slightly in terms of distros that will work with it.
And of course, running at 450Mhz means the field narrows even further, since the median-ground applications suddenly become sluggish and lethargic.
This is the machine that played back Flash videos from YouTube through Firefox in Crux 2.5 though, so it’s not impossible. Just tricky.
But there is more than one way to skin a cat, or surf the web at 450Mhz. ConnochaetOS comes with a couple of unusual alternatives, including a very simple and straightforward graphical browser with a … terrible name.
That’s xxxterm, and before you go all wide-eyed and start thinking this application is intended to appeal to your biological urges, I can assure you it’s very legit. (Unless you tell it to do otherwise.)
It’s exceedingly simple, with only fundamental controls, tabbed browsing and a trusty right-click menu as an option. It has Java support, a download manager, a browsing history, and for all the vi freak-a-deaks out there, vim-like controls.
(I have to be honest here: I use vim on a daily basis, and short of the oddball-but-necessary colon-prefixed commands, I stick with the arrow keys. I know, I’m a heretic.)
Speedwise, xxxterm (which really should think about a contest to find a new name) opens infinitely faster than Firefox on the same machine, renders … at an acceptable pace, and doesn’t take up too much space.
It’s not going to thrill you with extensions and multimedia sockets and triple-buffered AJAX doodads in support of the latest thingamajig on Friendspace or Twitterbook or iTuneface or whatever. It’s just a step above that Python browser script.
But it does a good job of getting around the Web without dragging its feet. And if you’re surfing at 450Mhz, you’re probably content with that.
Edit: Oops, the picture didn’t quite work right. Reuploaded.