How Much Is that Puppy in the Windows?

Impressive...Very Impressive...

I'm of course making reference to 'Puppy Linux.' Right now I am posting this blog from an old refurbished Dell Lattitude CPi with a 233 MHz Pentium 2 and 128MB RAM. My wife bought it "refurbished" for $300 way back in 2004 and it was preloaded with Windows 2000. She could only use it for about 2 years before she couldn't stand its speeds any longer and has mostly sat by the wayside until I recently started tinkering with linux and computers in general. In my hunt for a lightweight OS I found only a few contenders. Obviously DSL and DSL-N were among the first I discovered. Although I liked both of them, they were not without their troubles. First, I couldn't get DSL to work with an 'acx' driven pcmcia network adapter that I had or a WCA55ag Linksys adapter. It had plenty of features to what I wanted out of a basic portable setup, but I don't even have a network adapter of any kind on the Dell and didn't want to shell out $$ on a new pcmcia just yet. Second, I had lots of difficulty getting it set up to save my desktop configuration and install to the hard drive. It was pretty fast however. DSL-N has a more mature 2.6 kernel with better driver recognition and sure enough the Linksys ran right away. I found the system to be just as fast and the boot times better once I did a HD install. I still had a bit of trouble saving my desktop configuration and although the MyDSL apps installer is a great idea and has a few gems, the lack of a proper package manager is a significant downside. Furthermore, it seemed like it would be a chore to install synaptic.

Then I discovered Puppy and so far it is a big winner...and I'm mostly talking about speed here. Barring boot times, it is much faster than the DSLs. I'm completely amazed, especially since it is running entirely from RAM. Right now I am running 2.16.1 which came with loads of network adapter drivers including the acx series. Strangely, where DSL worked with my Linksys adapter immediately, Puppy will not, and so far, I'm struggling a bit to get it functioning.

Puppy's desktop is nicely configured. Slick graphics for icons, a very fast desktop manager, and loads of useful apps. I have just started with it so I am sure I'll have a follow up on functionality soon. My final thought is that...oh yeah, it saves a configuration file to a location you specify and then searches for it on boot so everything is just as you left it. The only trouble so far is I haven't been able to install it to the hard drive, but it moves so fast, I'm not sure I should bother...so what if I need to keep a cd in it to boot?

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