Is this possible?

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Is this possible?

Postposted on Tue Jan 15, 2008 1:43 pm

Hey,
See newest post at the bottom.

600E specs:
PII 366
64MB RAM
2.5MB Video

Thanks.
Last edited by pikaia on Thu Jan 17, 2008 9:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postposted on Tue Jan 15, 2008 8:52 pm

Yes, it is certainly technically possible. The 64MB of RAM may make things a bit sluggish if you are trying to do much more that basic browsing (and even then) on it. Even with a lightweight window manager, most gui apps are rather heavy on memory.

As far as the various distro's crashing, any hints on the errors would be good. Chances are it is something to do with ACPI or something like that.

The thinkwiki page on installing Ubuntu 7.04 on the 600E recommends the following command line arguments when booting the live CD:

acpi=off pci=noacpi pnpbios=off vga=0x317

You can browse the rest of the page here:

http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/Installing_Ubuntu_7.04_Feisty_Fawn_on_a_ThinkPad_600E

--SS
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Postposted on Tue Jan 15, 2008 9:28 pm

I installed a basic core version of Debian Etch on the laptop in hopes of being able to pick and choose my packages to keep it as lean as possible. I downloaded the complete deb file of xfce and the x-window. However, I just booted into the command prompt (no gui yet) and can't get it to install from the cdrom.

I've tried:

mount /cdrom
dpkg -i /cdrom/xfce4_4.3.99.2_all.deb

but get a series of errors - hdc: packet command error: status=0x51
status=0x54
ide: failed opcode

then I get dpkg: error processing /cdrom/xfce4.... cannot access archive: no such file or directory

I've tried
apt-cdrom add
and it tells me to put in the cd and hit enter - I do.
I get the same series of messages as above.

Any thoughts? I have no internet on that computer, so I'll need to add it via either a thumb drive or cdrom. I'll try the usb and see if I have better luck.

thanks.
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Postposted on Thu Jan 17, 2008 9:56 pm

Hi.

I went around and around trying to find a small distro to work decently on a thinkpad 600e I just picked up. Finally after varying success with several different installs I did a server install then installed gdm, dillo, icewm and xfce4 with thunar. I started with icewm and I like it. Its smooth and fast (even with the 64mb of RAM) and Xfce is smooth too, with a more intuitive menu. However I've run into two major issues.

1. The first is that my display driver doesn't seem to be functioning properly. I have minimal colors and the resolution is way off.
2. The second is that when running xfce I don't have a terminal... odd but there is none that I've seen. I didn't install synaptic, thinking I could install most things from command, but hard to do in xfce... it is present in icewm.

Oh and on a minor note, how can I move the icons around on the panel bar in xfce? I added a clock to a panel and selected 'move' to slide it to the end... but it just stays where it is, right next to the menu button.

PS. This is the best set up I've used on this machine. It makes everything completely custom and I don't get bogged down by a pile of apps I'm not going to use. And with only a 366Mhz and 64MB of RAM this thing is faster than I'd expect...

Thanks.
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Postposted on Fri Jan 18, 2008 9:13 pm

Okay, I solved both of these issues and now am just trying to tweak this system so that it has all the functionality that I'd like. I'm trying to find lightweight apps that work well on this machine.

So far I'm using Dillo which is nice, but I'd prefer a browser with greater functionality, but this speedy little guy will do just fine until I get more RAM, I've done a ton of searches on this topic (lightweight Linux apps) and have come up with:

Abiword
xpdf
Dillo
gqview - for image viewing
xterm- terminal
wdm-login manager
and I use xfce more but I also have Icewm (Faster, but I'm less familiar, but learning)

What I'm looking for is a lightweight music player. Any thoughts? I need to see if my sound driver is working or not... and don't really know how to test it. (Edit: installed xfmedia and tried to play something, and failed... so back to trying to config the sound driver... help is always welcome)

Also if anyone knows a good (reasonably priced) place to find some PC100 SODIMM (low density) preferably 256MB but 128 will be a big improvement too, I'd really appreciate it. Thanks.

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Postposted on Fri Jan 18, 2008 11:29 pm

pikaia wrote:So far I'm using Dillo which is nice, but I'd prefer a browser with greater functionality, but this speedy little guy will do just fine until I get more RAM, I've done a ton of searches on this topic (lightweight Linux apps) and have come up with:

Have you tried Opera as a browser? It's not as lightweight as Dillo, but pretty lightweight and very full featured. Opera Software also provides official Debian packages.

pikaia wrote:What I'm looking for is a lightweight music player. Any thoughts?

Audacious is fairly lightweight (it does require a lot of GTK libraries as dependencies, so it's not low footprint in terms of hard drive, but it's not very resource hungry). XMMS is also lightweight, but hasn't been updated in a long time (Audacious is one of its successors).

pikaia wrote:(Edit: installed xfmedia and tried to play something, and failed... so back to trying to config the sound driver... help is always welcome)

Do you have alsa-base and alsa-utils installed? If so, try running dpkg-reconfigure alsa-base. Then try running alsamixer.
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Re: Is this possible?

Postposted on Tue Jan 22, 2008 8:09 am

First, the new site looks nice! Good Job.

Second, I did post a reply, but it might have gotten lost in transit somewhere so I'll try to repost what hasn't been fixed.

1. I got the sound up and running, so thats good. Xfmedia seems fine for playing music but playback from a CD is painful, very choppy, but it seems if I play from my thumbdrive its fine. I'll look into Audacious, it might be better at cataloging music than xfmedia (though I haven't played with it much).
2. I added 256mb of RAM which has sped things up exponentially. The only real hold up is while doing some surfing. Some pages load at a dial up speed. I don't expect things to be as speedy as my dual core... but I'd like it to be reasonable. And I've tested Opera against Firefox (and Swiftweasel) and it does seem to have a slight edge in start up speed (surfing is about equal). Is Epiphany any faster? I tried Kazehakase and it doesn't seem to fair any better than Swiftweasel.
3. I can't seem to get the battery monitor operating. I've installed xfce-battery-plugin, and added it to my panel but it always reads 50%% (with 2 %). I've added apm and it changes nothing, I've set acpi=off AND tried acpi=force, but still nothing... any thoughts?
4. Now that I've got the machine to (pretty much) where I'd like it, is it worth wiping and reinstalling to make it that much lightweight? Or will it not give any noticeable improvements?

Thanks again for all your help.
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Re: Is this possible?

Postposted on Thu Jan 24, 2008 9:13 pm

Epiphany should be a bit faster than Firefox, since it's got a native user interface instead of FF's interpreted one. You'll lose out on extensions, but that's probably OK for a bitty box like this one, and there's the epiphany-extensions package if you want to look at it. For something more basic, look at links2, which can operate in either graphical or text mode, and has somewhat better support for complex HTML than dillo.

Debian has many small CD players: cccd, cdcd, tcd, workbone, and workman, to name but a few. XMMS also plays CDs; the only problem I've had with XMMS is that it's ugly, and since it's the default media player in Damn Small Linux, it should work OK with your machine.

I don't think it'd be worth it to wipe & reinstall the machine. If you want to remove stuff, you can type "apt-get remove --purge packagename" and it will remove both files and configuration info for the package in question, or you can use dselect (not n00b-friendly, but I like it) or aptitude, or the graphical synaptic if your machine can handle it. The deborphan package will search for un-needed library packages.

Your laptop is old enough that its ACPI implementation is automatically suspect, and that's for good reason. See if you can uninstall all the ACPI stuff (since it may conflict with the APM stuff) and then look at how to configure APM for your laptop.

edit: install the hdparm package and see if you can turn on DMA and 32-bit mode for your CD-ROM drive. Wouldn't hurt to do the same for your hard drive, plus multi-sector mode on the latter. If that works, drive access will speed up some.
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Re: Is this possible?

Postposted on Thu Jan 24, 2008 10:06 pm

Ok!

Even more updates, and another problem... or just a lingering one.

I got the Battery Monitor to work. I had ACPI=off and nolapic but there was a typo in my apm code... caught it and now we're running good. (nearly 3 hour battery life!)

On to the problem. Wireless. I've had nothing but trouble trying to get a USB wireless adapter to do anything on this set up. (Ubuntu Server + Xfce) I got the adapter to use on the Desktop builds I do in my basement so I can update the software without having to unhook/rehook my main machine, and since I have this Laptop, I'd like to use it for that too. I've installed Ndiswrapper and installed the drivers (following the instructions from this HOWTO), but it doesn't even recognize there is anything in the port (lsusb yields nothing). But when I plug in my thumbdrive, it picks it up fine... (though there are some minor mounting issues, sometimes it automounts, sometimes I have to manually do it). I installed various Network packages thinking there was some software missing and none of those seemed to work. What am I missing here? I got it to work sporadically on a desktop running Xubuntu, but sometimes it recognizes it and sometimes it doesn't. (its a TrendNET TEW-444UB)

Two other points, thanks bthylafh for the help. I'll look into those players and let you know what I think. Secondly, how will Epiphany compare vs. Opera? I don't plan on putting much on this machine, but I did notice that the Server install + Xfce + Synaptic + Opera + a few other packages adds up to 1.7 GB of space... this seems like an AWFUL lot. It has a 6.5GB drive and I've allocated ~500MB to swap, and haven't installed excessive packages but only have 4.3GB left. Why would it need 1.7 GB of space? Its a fairly minor complaint, but that goes into the 'should I reinstall' question. I regularly remove packages that I've installed and don't feel are necessary or don't give me what I'm looking for, though I worry I might miss some.

I'll also add the hdparm package, will I access this through GUI or through the terminal? I'll let you know how I fair at getting the added speed from my drives.

IBM 600E
366MHz PII
320 MB RAM
6.5GB HDD
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Re: Is this possible?

Postposted on Fri Jan 25, 2008 8:16 am

hdparm is configured on the console or in an xterm. I don't remember if there's an /etc/hdparm.conf file where you can configure it with Ubuntu Server, but I'm pretty sure. The file's got some documentation, but you'll also want to look at hdparm's man page.

ndiswrapper sucks, and so do USB->network adapters. IMO you'll be better served to find a PCMCIA wireless card. I don't know if this machine is old enough to require a 16-bit card or if it also supports 32-bit cards (the pinouts are the same). You'll probably have to trawl E-bay to find a working 16-bit card. I don't know which PCMCIA wireless cards work well in Linux and which don't. I seem to recall that 802.11b Orinoco-based cards are well-supported. I've got a D-Link DWL-G630 wireless card, Atheros-based, works very well with Ubuntu since at least 6.06, but it has a 32-bit interface.

edit: looking around suggests that your laptop has a 32-bit PCMCIA (PC Card) interface.

As to space... hmm. When you did the server install, did you install the LAMP stack? That's Apache, MySQL, and PHP, which aren't needed on your laptop. There's normally several semi-extraneous packages installed which are depended upon by other packages, bind9 for example. In dselect (I'm more familiar with it than aptitude) the packages are split out by priority (base(?), standard, optional, extra) and then category (admin, sound, etc.). Best to leave base/required and standard packages alone, but optional/extra should be fair game for removal if you don't think you need some of those.

Damn Small Linux is one option for this old machine if you decide Ubuntu Server doesn't cut it (it's got a LiveCD version you should play with first), but it's naturally more limited than Ubuntu because of the systems it tries to run on (min req is 486DX with 16MB of RAM and 50MB of hard drive space[1]). Puppy Linux and Feather Linux are somewhat more full-featured than DSL, and I think both of those also have LiveCDs, and your machine should have the computrons (in particular, the RAM now that you've upgraded) to run them.

Don't know how Epiphany's system requirements are versus Opera. You'll just have to install them both and check.

[1] I run it on an old Pentium-90 with 64MB of RAM and a 4GB hard drive. Firefox runs acceptably. Can't do Puppy or Feather because I haven't the RAM.
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Re: Is this possible?

Postposted on Fri Jan 25, 2008 3:10 pm

Again, thanks for your help.

I've not tried dselect, but based on your description and recommendation, I'm going to give it a try. I don't have anything to lose.

I had a feeling the PCMCIA adapter would be the better route. I bought a cheap PCMCIA NIC for it so I'd have wired internet and it works flawlessly. So it might be in my best interest to go pick up a wireless PCMCIA card too.

When I did the Server I think I did do a LAMP install... But I don't remember. I used a server disc, not an alternate download of a desktop version. (sorry for the extreme n00bish-ness, but I'm learning... fairly fast) How would I do a standard, Non-LAMP, Server install? Is this just a Command-Line System? Or something else?

I like Ubuntu, and think with 320 MB of RAM this old machine runs pretty quick with most tasks, even Synaptic. But again, I'd like to keep it as lean as possible and still be functional.

When I get home I'll install dselect and give it a try and write back about my experience. I also see that a store by me has a Super G PCMCIA card for $20, maybe I'll pick one up... or check craigslist for one for less. And I'll give Epiphany a shot too, but doesn't it require Firefox to also be installed?
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Re: Is this possible?

Postposted on Fri Jan 25, 2008 4:08 pm

Be careful with what wireless NIC you get -- not all of them are supported with Linux drivers and you'd be forced to attempt ndiswrapper. Here's one place to search for compatibility info: http://linux-wless.passys.nl/

I don't remember about doing non-LAMP Ubuntu installs. I /think/ there's a menu item when you first boot the live CD for installing LAMP and another for just installing. I don't think there's a need to do a complete reinstall since you've spent all this time getting stuff working, but if you want to try it, by all means.

Epiphany doesn't require Firefox. They both use the Gecko engine, but they are separate.

Since you've got Synaptic running, probably no need to subject yourself to dselect. Synaptic's pretty configurable and I think (I'm booted in Windows now) that there's a button to show packages by priority.
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Re: Is this possible?

Postposted on Fri Jan 25, 2008 4:35 pm

pikaia wrote:When I did the Server I think I did do a LAMP install... But I don't remember. I used a server disc, not an alternate download of a desktop version. (sorry for the extreme n00bish-ness, but I'm learning... fairly fast) How would I do a standard, Non-LAMP, Server install? Is this just a Command-Line System? Or something else?

If you really want to customize it, I would suggest using the "alternate install disc" because it lets you do any kind of Ubuntu install you want. After the alternate installer installs the base required packages, it runs a little program called tasksel. It gives you a little menu that looks like this:
Image
You hit the space bar to enable and disable ones. Each selection is a metapackage that depends on all of the usual software you get with that "flavor" of Ubuntu. If you simply unselect everything you get a clean base system with only the bare minimum required packages. Then you can boot up and pull in anything you want with apt-get (of course it's best to have a wired network connection available for this). After the fact, you can pull in a "version" of Ubuntu by apt-get installing the corresponding metapackage. For example, after a base, minimal install, you can 'apt-get install ubuntu-standard' to get most of the standard stuff above and beyond a minimal system but without a desktop. 'apt-get install xubuntu-desktop' would pull in Xubuntu standard install packages. You can also just run tasksel and select packages after the fact. I believe if you use the netinstall disc you get the most options (since it doesn't have to have all of the stuff available on the CD).
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Re: Is this possible?

Postposted on Fri Jan 25, 2008 9:59 pm

Whoa, dselect is a bit scary. I'm looking through it and am feeling overwhelmed. But I'll keep trying.

As far as hdparm is concerned... I think I turned DMA and 32-bit ON. -d1 and -c1 is this right?

Also, went to install Epiphany and it DOES require Firefox (at least in APT and Synaptic), and after playing with it for a minute or two it seems to be less stable and a bit slower. (it already crashed)

I just ordered a pcmcia wireless card after doing some searching, D-Link seems to be almost plug and play for Ubuntu... so hopefully I'll be lucky and it'll work.

At this point I see my options as going through and removing all packages and dependencies that I don't need, or reinstalling from scratch. I had enough issues getting things up and running properly. But I'm going to review the modifications I made and make sure I can do it again.

I'm looking for a list of unnecessary packages. Some of the descriptions don't tell me much about what system functions they might effect.

Thanks again for any insight.
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Re: Is this possible?

Postposted on Mon Jan 28, 2008 8:54 am

Yes, that's right for hdparm. If you type "hdparm -i /dev/hda" it should tell you what the MaxMultiSect for the hard drive is; then issue those commands for hda plus -m<number>, often <number> is 8 or 16, for a small additional speed boost.

If you decide to reinstall, I'd do as bitvector suggested and use the alternate install disc. Do a basic install (don't select -standard or -desktop) and then tell the machine to apt-get install your window manager (XFCE?) plus the other programs you want to use. That'll be about as small as you can get with Ubuntu, but you might miss out on usability improvements like automatic updates. I can't say that for sure, though, since I haven't done it.

Unfortunately there's not a lot you can do about poor descriptions in the packages.
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Re: Is this possible?

Postposted on Thu Jan 31, 2008 11:43 am

Well, I've been trying to thin stuff out using dselect and am still feeling a bit overwhelmed. But I haven't given up.

And thanks bthylafh, the installation I did was a Server install from an Ubuntu Server disc, but clearly this is not the same thing... as it takes up 1.5 GB which is odd considering that is how much ALL of xubuntu takes up. So I'll do the command-line install next time. (is that the one I should choose)?

Now onto my new problem. I picked up a D-Link Wireless card but my current install doesn't recognize it. To see if it is functional 'out of box' I booted to a Xubuntu LiveCD and there it was and within 3 seconds I was up and running. So I went through Synaptic on the xubuntu disc and installed all the same 'Networking' packages onto my hard drive and still nothing. I installed 'Restricted Drivers' to get the Atheros drivers, but still nothing (but when I try to log into the Restricted Drivers in the Menu it says I should install Linux-restricted-drivers-(some number)-server... which is NOT in the repositories...

So my question is... what package(s) do I need to install to get my current installation to pick up the wireless card? I'm going to do a reinstall, to get my system very thin... but I want to work through all the bugs now, so when I reinstall I'll have it right.

I did look into BeaFanatIX (an small Ubuntu distro) and it picks up the card but won't sign onto my network... which makes me think its a WPA thing. I only offers 'Plain (ASCII)' or 'Hexidecimal' as the password options, whereas Xubuntu has WPA Personal, which is what I used to log on from the LiveCD.

I know this is a bit disjointed, but if you can make sense of it, I'd appreciate any assistance.
So I guess in short, I'm looking for:
1. The packages needed to recognize my wireless card (Atheros chipset)
2. The packages needed to log into my wireless network
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Re: Is this possible?

Postposted on Thu Jan 31, 2008 12:00 pm

If you are running wpa then you need to "apt-get install wpa-supplicant"
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Re: Is this possible?

Postposted on Thu Jan 31, 2008 1:10 pm

In my current install I do have it... here is a brief list of my networking packages.

avahi
bind9
dnsutils
dhcp-client and common
iproute
iptables
iputils
libnmglib0 and util0
miidiag
mimsupport
mtr-tiny
netcat
net-tools
network-manager
network-manager-gnome
ntpdate
openssh-client
pppoconf
tcpdump
telnet
wireless-tools
wpasupplicant
xvnc4viewer

But I'll keep that in mind if I decide to go the BeaFanatIX route.
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Re: Is this possible?

Postposted on Thu Jan 31, 2008 8:11 pm

Hmm. I suspect that when Xubuntu noticed your wireless card when you booted from the livecd, it added a line or two to /etc/modules.conf or one of the files in /etc/modules/ . It would certainly do the same if you decided to do a fresh install, since it's probably handled by the initial hardware detect.

I haven't got the machine that worked with my D-Link card anymore, or I'd tell you what line to put in the file, but boot Xubuntu and look at that file/directory for something with madwifi or beginning with ath, and copy it to your hard drive's copy. Can't help you with the wpasupplicant stuff since my job's wireless network is open and relies on VPN for security.

You could also try switching your kernel: install linux-image-686 and linux-restricted-modules-686, then reboot using the non-server kernel. The madwifi (Atheros) driver might well be in the -restricted-modules, since it's not Open Source.
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Re: Is this possible?

Postposted on Mon Feb 04, 2008 2:09 pm

First of all, thanks once again for all the help.

I've done the reinstall... and somehow with a Command-line only system+Xfce+idesk+synaptic+Opera adds up to nearly 2GB... I don't know how considering my Xubuntu install on a desktop was 1.6Gigs. Anyway, I've got the wireless working with the ubuntu-menu package (I think that was it). Now I'm left with two questions.

1. I can get my wireless connected to my home network by going into the Menu>System>Network and into the wireless properties and typing in my password. I have to do this with each boot, is there a way to have it log into trusted accounts during startup? (this isn't that important, but makes it a bit smoother)
2. I can't seem to log into unsecured wireless networks (like at cafe's and whatnot) I select their name in the pull down menu in the Network screen and delete the password and my network card lights up as if connected, but I can't do any surfing. Is there another package I need to install that make it easier (or possible) to connect to unsecured networks? In the Xubuntu LiveCD there is a network icon in the panel that I can select and connect quickly to networks. Does anyone know what this is? It would make it easier than the above method.

Oh, I've been searching around with no luck, but is there a lightweight flash player that will work on this old hardware? Its fine if its just not possible, just hoping there might be something out there to allow this old beast to view flash.

And after test several different browsers, Opera is the best. Epiphany was decent, but Opera opened several seconds faster and on average, loaded pages faster. Not to mention it has a much smaller footprint. Now I need to find a way to get my Sirius Player to work in Opera...

I'm sure I have more questions, but thats all I can think of for now. Thanks again for being patient and giving me so much help.
Desktop
Windows 7
AMD X2 4200
Biostar K8M800 MOBO
2.0 GB DDR2
GeForce 7600GS AGP
120 GB HD - Windows XP
300 GB SATA - Linux Mint 9
pikaia
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Re: Is this possible?

Postposted on Mon Feb 04, 2008 3:41 pm

pikaia wrote:In the Xubuntu LiveCD there is a network icon in the panel that I can select and connect quickly to networks. Does anyone know what this is? It would make it easier than the above method.
I haven't run Xubuntu, but in the normal Ubuntu with Gnome it is using Network Manager applet http://www.gnome.org/projects/NetworkManager/ and it looks like there is a "network-manager" package, plus gnome and kde add-on packages to get it to integrate with the desktop.
notfred
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Re: Is this possible?

Postposted on Mon Feb 04, 2008 7:12 pm

I have Network manager installed. I installed a gnome applet that gives me a network icon in the panel but it isn't the same. I don't know if I need to install a wifi sniffer or not. Would this make a difference?
Desktop
Windows 7
AMD X2 4200
Biostar K8M800 MOBO
2.0 GB DDR2
GeForce 7600GS AGP
120 GB HD - Windows XP
300 GB SATA - Linux Mint 9
pikaia
Gerbil First Class
 
Posts: 186
Joined: Sat May 29, 2004 2:32 pm
Location: Cincinnati

Re: Is this possible?

Postposted on Thu Mar 13, 2008 11:10 pm

You may want to keep your eyes on a couple of the upcoming webkit-based browsers, specifically epiphany-webkit and midori. Webkit is the same backend as Safari and uses far less resources than gecko-based browsers and is full featured (google maps works for example). For extremely lightweight audio players I definitely second xmms.
nagashi
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Re: Is this possible?

Postposted on Fri May 16, 2008 5:22 pm

To reclaim some space on your hard drive you might want to change a setting in synaptic. By default, synaptic caches all the packages it downloads until they are no longer available. I normally set it to delete the packages after installation as I don't tend to re-install a lot of things. To switch the behavior start synaptic, it is under Settings->Preferences->Files. You can free a significant amount of space especially on small hard drives.
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hypocratus
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