Sorry for the lack of new posts. I’ve been having heat issues with the main laptop I use (if our living room is too hot, it’s likely to shut off after only a couple of hours.)
In the meantime, I dragged out my older laptop and spent several days trying to install a recent version of Linux on it. It’s not easy because this laptop uses a Broadcom 4318 wireless card – PCLinuxOS installs and runs just fine, but I had hoped to find a Debian-based distribution to put on. After a few failed attempts, it turns out that Crunchbang Linux will install and run with no problem.
This laptop is a 6 year old Gateway 7340 with only 1.5 gigabytes of RAM and a Pentium 4 chip. It doesn’t normally boot from USB stick, but there are several pages online to help you chainload, if you are using a GRUB bootloader, from the MBR onto the USB’s bootloader. For this ancient beast, Crunchbang is ideal. I am running Statler (based on Debian’s stable repos), with Openbox and Fluxbox as my only window managers.
I already discovered how to disable the touchpad. (I use a mouse most of the time, and brushing against the touchpad would move the cursor or drop a sentence I was typing. ) There’s a file located in the /usr/share/X11/xorf.conf.d folder entitled “50-synaptics.conf”. Use sudo to open a text editor as root, and insert the following line just prior to the Endsection line:
Option “Touchpad Off” “1”
Save the file, then log out. Now everytime you log in, the touchpad will be nonfunctional.
Crunchbang also has some nice conveniences I forgot to mention in my review – for instance, if you left-click a zipped or tarred file, it will be extracted, and if you left-click a .deb file you’ll get a password prompt and the system will attempt to install it. Little touches like that impress me.
Crunchbang Statler does have pretty recent applications (Firefox is 11.0, rather than the current 14.01), and I easily added the games I wanted to play, such as FreeDink and the roguelikes I am playing. Instead of trying to get the most recent version of wine, I decided to grab the newest PlayonLinux .deb file from their website and install it. We shall see how that goes.