New Review– PCLOS derivative TinyMe

Posted: May 29, 2008 in OS Reviews
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hello fellow geekers, it’s time for another distro review…For a while now, I have made it clear that the Linux distro to win my notoriously cold heart is Linux Mint, the distro widely claimed as “Ubuntu done right.”  This is still true!  But of course, I am the type that is never satisfied with my lot in life, so the search goes on for the “perfect” Linux distro.   Especially at the times like these when my CPU fan never shuts off, getting louder and louder lol…Linux Mint is a tad hard on my memory, to be sure.  As soon as this “economic incentive” check from the IRS gets here, I plan on buying a 2GB DDR kit…until then..I like to check out the distros that are ideal for “legacy machines.”  The latest one I downloaded (last night) is a little derivative of PCLinuxOS, called TinyMe.

Now, bear in mind that the second distro I ever tried was PCLinuxOS.  The first was Debian, which I liked but I was sooo frustrated at the time because there was no flash happening.  What a newb!  Of course, I now know that Debian only uses open source applications but hey, I was a serious newb..wow was that just in March?  Seems a lifetime ago…I digress…So anyway..PCLinuxOS was being proclaimed as the “radically simple Linux.”  Well of course, as a uber-newb, I needed easy to start with…So, bearing in mind my limitations in the memory department (at the time, it was 256 MB RAM) I downloaded the 2008 PCLOS MiniMe edition, a leaner version of the original…basically the same, but on a diet.  I was impressed and I thought it ran great but I didn’t know all the things I do now and I borked it a couple of times lol…plus I preferred Gnome…so I tried quite a few distros after getting a new 512 MB memory stick  and ended up with Linux Mint.

I digress..again…So, at any rate I came across this TinyMe version of PCLOS and was fascinated enough to try it…why bother?  Yes, I have 768MB RAM now, but honestly it’s not really enough for Linux Mint and I do tire of hearing my fan (loudly sometimes) all the time..so I downloaded TinyMe and made myself a nifty little boot disk.  I rebooted with my new “Live CD” and away I go…

It started immediately…and I do mean immediately!  Nice!  Nice polished look of PCLOS…The usual of logging in with guest/guest or root/root blah blah…so then I get to the desktop.  I see all the icons for the major installations of various applications, such as a text editor, Audacious for playing music (which I love), Opera for the internet (which I slavishly adore) and mtpaint for editing pictures, and gThumb.  On the right side of the desktop is the system monitor which is there by default.  Yes, this can be removed or commented out if you prefer (like me) to have a naked desktop.  There is by default a desktop switcher and you can name the desktops (by default they are 4 names, one is fred and one is “soup” no idea why but it made me laugh)  Seriously when is the last time Windoze made anyone laugh in delight?

Anyhoo, there is no desktop environment, which I thought would bother me immensely (because I hate the way Fluxbox looks) but Openbox has a very nice look to it and I made sure that themes could be added…Switching them is a snap..Just open the TinyCC which is the TinyMe control center.  The window management tab allows for switching to various looks for the Openbox..not quite as customizeable as Gnome or KDE but honestly duh!  Nitrogen is a little app that lets you easily switch between wallpapers and lets you add more at the click of a button.  I didn’t see a way to add more icon themes or switch icons but it may be there is a way and I forgot to look or just didn’t notice.

Of course, the full fledged PCLOS control center is there too, allowing for customization concerning networks, hardware, monitors etc..just like the regular PCLOS..  All in all, I thought this was a great distro!  Everything was “whoa!!” fast and I didn’t see any instability issues that ruined the MiniMe experience for me.  There was even an app for killing apps (like Gnome’s fabulous force-quit) I momentarily forgot what it’s called but the icon was appropriate with a little skull-and-crossbones to go over the desired app to kill.

I was sorely, sorely tempted to install this to harddrive and I may still install it with the option for dual-booting..of course, I have to wait for Linux Mint 5 (Elyssa) to be released and give it a go but if it doesn’t work out for me for some reason, I will absolutely use TinyMe.  I give it a B for looks and an A- for functionality (for my purposes anyway).  I am just a “baby geek” after all and I do absolutely love deb and mint packages and I likely won’t want to give that up but this distro tempts me like no other!

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Comments
  1. Glenn says:

    Just came across you review and appreciate it! I’m typing this on a DSL version 3something (forgot!) that I installed on a 64 meg Toshiba Sattelite lappy a friend was going to toss. Using an Orinoco Silver pcmcia nic, and runs quite snappily… but I do want to try tinyme 2008.1 tomorrow. Looking to play a bit and will see what they’ve come up with. I have tried so many little Linuxes I’ve lost count! Fun- and functional. I mostly rely on DSL in various flavors on little and old boxes and laptops but am always looking and trying to find distros that for the various reasons, meet my requirements.

    Thanks for this review! -Glenn

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  3. Graham says:

    ” I didn’t see a way to add more icon themes or switch icons…”
    … You can add icons to /usr/share/icons/ …just make sure they are in .png format. You can get new icons just be googling for them.

    The edit icon feature doesn’t seem to work on TinyMe. The obvious work-around I’ve used is to simply delete the icon and create a new one. During the process it asks you to select one from /usr/share/icons/.

    I’m writing this from TinyMe. I use it on my older machines. After a fresh boot my memory usage is only 41MB! That’s with wireless networking up and running, and of course firewalled. With Firefox running it goes up to 72Mb, add Thunderbird, and it’s still under 100MBs! I get a sick satisfaction seeing people complain that their Vista box runs slow with a Gig of mem, and hearing them plot to acquire another Gig, in hopes of improving performance.

    Graham

  4. Pariah says:

    I am happy you are so militantly fond of TinyMe lol…as for “I didn’t see a way to add more icon themes or switch icons…” I do actually know how to add icons by myself *quirks an eyebrow* however, the point here is that these are reviews designed toward the brand-new newbie..and there is no “newbie-obvious” way to add more icon themes or switch icons..it has nothing to do with what an accomplished Linux user knows or doesn’t…I am targeting an audience of people who basically, have no clue..and then give them one..in terms they can understand.

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