I’m still trying to find the ideal Linux distribution to use in Internet access terminals at work. I have tried Ubutunu (too slow), Xubuntu (couldn’t get it to work), and Puppy Linux (great but it refused to recognize any of my USB devices.)
Reader DM suggested I take a look at Damn Small Linux, available at http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/ . Damn Small Linux (which is also called DSL, and isn’t that nice and confusing) is a 50MB download which is designed to fit on a mini CD, a USB pen, flash drive, or whatever.
I downloaded it and recorded it onto a CD, and ran it as a LiveCD. It ran at least as fast as Puppy Linux, and accepted my USB devices with nary a complaint, so in that respect it was great. It also automatically configured my ethernet connection, which Ubuntu did but Puppy didn’t. (In Puppy’s defense, it was really easy to set up the ethernet connection and took about 30 seconds.)
Using Damn Small as a terminal, I don’t expect to have any problems — it’s going to be used for Firefox and Firefox only. If I were using it for anything more extensive, however, I’d be nervous. I am a Linux newbie and didn’t find it friendly at all. There’s no menu bar, which makes it difficult for me to figure out what’s going on. If you’re an intermediate Linux user, you’ll probably like it a lot more than I do.
Here’s where I am right now Linuxwise. If it would run my USB devices, I would be sticking with Puppy Linux. If I could figure out why it runs so slow and fix that, I would be trying to put together an Ubutunu Linux computer for my mother. And once I get some more Linux experience under my belt, I’ll be taking a closer look at Damn Small…