Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
My old Pentium III laptop has served as my testbed for Linux distributions that can work on older computers. So far, I’ve had Ubuntu, PCLinuxOS 2007, Linux Mint, and Puppy Linux installed. Most worked fairly well, except Linux Mint had a problem recognizing the 1400×1050 pixel monitor, and Puppy Linux screwed up my USB mouse.
I did like how fast Puppy Linux was, but the USB mouse problem was something I was unable to fix and made it not worth keeping the distro. (I also found Puppy to be a bit too techie in its style.) PCLinuxOS 2007 was actually the best, most stable Linux distro I’d had on here, but I was concerned they were moving to KDE 4 and knew that would never work on an old computer. Concerned about upgrades, I dropped PCLinuxOS to test other distros.
Fortunately, the PCLOS community has come out with a new flavor based on the LXDE desktop, so I can stop worrying about a forced KDE 4 upgrade. (They’ve also decided to stick to KDE 3.5 for their main release as well.)
Of course, I opted for the LXDE install. I’d never tried it, much less heard of it, but the screenshots looked nice enough. The LXDE version of PCLinuxOS comes as Live CD that doubles as the install disk. Installation was fairly easy, but I missed the information about logging in as root when I signed in. Because I was logged in as “guest,” when I hit the install button, I was asked for a password. You’d think after years of playing around with Linux I might have figured out to type in “root,” but I had no clue what to do. (I had to search the Wiki to see what to enter.) This could truly throw off a newbie.