I’ve been getting quite a bit of utility from the HP laptop I refurbished and installed Linux MINT. Unlike my last ventures trying to make a Linux laptop work for my consulting environment, I’m actually making good progress. I have Hamachi and Sonicwall VPN working with it. I have remote desktop access to all my clients’ servers using Remmina. Thunderbird mail is working very well. Installed Chromium after slamming my fist down every time I had to wait for Firefox to load something. Chromium is a memory hog, but is so much faster than Firefox. The MATE environment is snappy and useful. The Linux desktop world has made so many good changes since the last time I tried this. To help out even more, I bought a 2GB memory upgrade on eBay for $15 and installed it today. With 4GB, the laptop is flying.
A friend gave me an old HP laptop with no hard drive or RAM. It was a decent enough system — Core Duo, DVD writer, etc, so I found some spare parts in the garage and got it up and running. The only thing I had to buy was the hard drive caddy that securely holds the drive in the bay. Found one on eBay for $7.00.
Freshly off of two successful Raspbian installs on my Raspberry Pi arcade systems, I felt it was time to try yet another Linux distribution. I do this every 5-7 years and am usually disappointed how little work I can get done in Linux. The GUI is always atrocious, which I know most Linux fans will say is beside the point, but honestly, if I have to look at something all day, I don’t want it to be butt-ugly. And just a general lack of software (or software choices, which is just as important). Typically, if you need a certain type of software, there’s just one choice (or ZERO choices).
But things seem to have changed a bit. I’ve been reading reviews about some of the major Linux distros and it appears there’s a larger library of choices when it comes to software and easier install methods. I’m intrigued. For now, I’ll build a simple Linux laptop to use at clients for LAN traffic analysis and security audits.