It’s been an interesting downshift, sending off the 1Ghz Inspiron and relying more heavily on the Thinkpad. It’s running Crux against the framebuffer these days, and as much as I’d like to deny it, there are times when I prefer a graphical environment to my rather nutty text-only adventures. And there are times when they’re almost necessary.
Like double-checking posts to this blog, and adding links that are just too long or convoluted to use a text browser for. Generally speaking, when I post things with Charm that require a link (like the word “Charm” there), I post without the link and add it after, in a graphical browser. I don’t really have to, but it cuts down on the margin of error over typing it manually.
The best solution I have to that problem, believe it or not, is Slitaz. I know, I know: You’re probably weary of hearing me yammer on endlessly about Slitaz, but if it didn’t solve so many problems for me, I wouldn’t mention as a solution so many times.
This time it’s quick access to a graphical interface, like I need for checking how the site looks to 99 percent of the people who visit it. I can reboot to the live environment (192Mb is more than enough) and be back online with a GUI in a minute or two. Check, edit, add links, and send the machine down to return to the console.
I’ve tried running Slitaz continually, but like I mentioned last week, I am too accustomed to the speed and convenience of the text-only environment, and a GUI just feels clunky. If you find that hard to believe … well, try it.
So outside of jumping between Slitaz and the console environment, music and entertainment (read: my ripped DVD collection) are the remaining chores for the Thinkpad. There are some oddball tasks too — it’s quicker and easier, for example, to install EasyTag in Slitaz than it is to compile a new console-based OGG file renamer, and get it going with all the dependencies. Call me lazy, but that’s the route I took.
Of course, that does mean that the Pentium handles most of the dirty work. Chatting, e-mail, blogging, personal calendar, to-do list, even the odd game or two. And although it’s a bit sluggish because it pages out to disk almost all the time, I can often do simple Web surfing on this machine too.
In fact, about the only thing missing between these two machines, that I had with the Inspiron, is a DVD player-slash-CD writer. Right now I have nothing that will burn an ISO to disk, for example. (And only days away from the Ubuntu 9.10 release! Gasp!) It’s not a terrifically critical thing, but should the occasion arise that requires a write to CD, I’ll have to tote the ISO to work, and mooch off the machines there.
Which is not an impossibility, and I am not too proud to do. But until I stumble across my dream machine, this ragamuffin little combination of vastly underpowered computers seems to be keeping me in business.