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Thread: Desktop Linux Advice

  1. #1

    Default Desktop Linux Advice

    Anyone have tips, or ideas, regarding getting some mileage out of a cheap Linux laptop?

    I recently picked up just such a cheap, old laptop. It is several years old, and missing some parts (like a CD drive). Still, it runs, and I'm installing KUbuntu on it as I write this.

    I don't think I can really use it as a gaming machine, but perhaps I can get some other usage out of it.
    Maybe a lightweight way to surf the web on the go?

    I've been running Linux for quite a few years on the server side. Thing is, it has been a long time since I looked at a GUI for any Linux machine, and even longer since I tried using Linux on home computer. So, I'm pretty much booting up something new.

    Suggestions, anyone?
    I'm looking for:
    • uses to which it can be put
    • cool linux-only apps I could try out before possibly running them on one of my more powerful computers in future

  2. #2


    As far as apps I don't really know, as I haven't used it in awhile, but I used to use my old Linux machine as a media server to download movies and music to, and to stream to my laptop and desktop pc so I didn't have to waste my hard drive space on my main pc's. If you are good with networking, and setting up websites (which I guess you are ) then you can even stream your media over the internet, not just on the local connection. I am not completely sure how to set that up, as my step-dad did that part for me. As for streaming media, well that's pretty easy, and if you don't happen to know how to, just do a quick Google search and you'll find hundreds of walk throughs.

  3. #3


    If Kubuntu isn't feeling comfortable on it (dunno how "old" we're talking) I'd recommending taking a look at Xubuntu. It's the same platform but the desktop manager is Xfce instead by KDE...though I guess you could get the same result by installing the xubuntu package from apt-get, or whatever tool they call it now.

    Beyond general web usage, (gpu) eye candy, and media (server) center, I can't recommend much else, but I always thought Amarok was great. Unfortunate they never came out with a stable Windows build.

  4. #4


    I'm not sure about cool apps, all the uniquely Linux apps I know are industrial ones, but if you've got enough oomph in that old laptop Moo perhaps check out Gnone 3. It's an interesting looking new take on the desktop GUI, and I'd say in a similar vein to Windows 8 (in that it tries to do away with the desktop as we've known it).

  5. #5


    If you use the terminal enough but don't want to constantly keep a terminal window open, you might want to use something like Yakuake nice dropdown terminal. other then that not many suggestions atm, I'll keep it in mind though.

  6. #6


    I have Ubuntu on my 2 year old laptop. It runs just fine, i mostly use it for web surfing and video watching when i'm away from my main gaming computer. I also use my laptop to go to sites that i think would otherwise harm my gaming computer. As for linux only apps... having not looked around the only one that comes to mind is AIrcrack-ng, its a neat WiFi security auditing suit, i even wrote a script called "autocrack" that fully automates Aircrack's usage.

    It is good that you have experience with the server side of linux. The GUI is just another aspect of the operating system. Just play around with it - just have fun with it.

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