That hard drive-less FTP server I made finally got the hard drive tray I needed to get it running properly. With that and a spare 20Gb hard drive, it has come out of retirement as a spare machine for Mom.
I more or less built it up in the same way I built up Turbo, with ext3 as the primary file system, with the dir_index, journal_data_writeback and noatime tweaks, then with an Edgy beta installation on top. Readahead, profile, elevator=cfq, and a good reoptimization of the directory structure once everything was in place.
I added a sparse Openbox desktop, Iceweasel for the browser and XFE as a file manager. After that, everything else was icing.
And here’s the funny part: There’s a lot of icing. The system needed only 29Mb to boot to the desktop, and there’s no lag starting programs. So I added a few bonuses.
Now XMMS sounds great, and since the WPC11 wireless works perfectly, Mom streams Shoutcast channels while she plays Frozen Bubble. Java installed fine, and she can play Bookworm even if it takes a long time for the applet to get ready (like 3+ minutes … I wonder why).
After all that, I had to wonder … why not everything else? So on came the Gimp, Abiword and I might even throw on pypanel so it doesn’t look so sparse to her. About the only thing that keeps it from being another proper desktop is the lack of a start button.
Startup time is about 1:11 from a cold boot, which I blame on the oversized drive. Shutdown is less than 10 seconds. Total spent: $11. $5 for a broken laptop and $6 for a hard drive caddy. And she loves it more than the $1100 Inspiron 600m she got for Christmas.
Linux is great!