Mini Review of a Tiny PCLOS
TinyMe is a scaled down version of PCLinuxOS 2007. The latest version is delivered as a 177 MB liveCD and features the Lightweight X11 Desktop Enviroment, Synaptic, and the PCLinuxOS Control Center. It comes with a few applications, so it could be a really light version of PCLOS for older computers or a foundation on which to build your own system as you choose.
The boot screen and silent boot splash are straight from PCLOS, but the window manager login screen is quite different. TinyMe 4.1 comes with LXDE and Openbox and so the LXSession is the graphical login manager. It works well and looks fairly good, but has some extraneous entries listed. The LXdesktop is a standard setup: a panel at the bottom with a start button and some quick launchers, pager, clock and network applet. TinyMe developers have included a nice wallpaper of rain drops on glass with a blue sky background. The TinyMe acorn logo sits in the middle. It didn't scale for my 1280x800 screen resolution, but no biggie. Version 4.1 comes with a Home icon and gkrellm.
The menus are quite sparce, but most applications installed end up with link. As delivered, GQView is included as for image viewing and medit for text editing or simple document creation. The Settings heading contains About Me, Password, Redo MBR, and Openbox Configuration Manager. System tools include Configure Your Computer (PCLOS Control Center), Disk Management, PCMan File Manager, Root Terminal, Run as Different User, Searchmonkey, and Synaptic Package Manager. Under Network is Opera and TightVNC. Under the hood we find Linux 126.96.36.199, Xorg 7.1.1, and GCC 4.1.1.
There is no entry in the menu for the hard drive installer, but it can be found at
/usr/sbin/draklive-install. It is the same PCLOS customized Mandriva Live installer found in PCLinuxOS and works just as well. With such a small system to install, it finished in just a few minutes. I setup the bootloader to be installed onto the root partition and that worked out really well. I had no problems with any of it.
The installed system boots on my laptop in 19 seconds and takes up about 700 MB of space. I opened Synaptic to install a few things and found PCLOS software repositories already set up. The Gimp I installed while running the liveCD was transferred to the harddrive install and I followed it up with Gnome. I wasn't able to locate a Gnome meta package so I checked most of the important Gnome packages. It downloaded about 150 MB of software and installed without issue. Gnome didn't show up in the LXSession menu, so I had to choose Text.Console and start it manually. One could probably install the Gnome login manager if they seriously wanted to use Gnome. I just speculated that this TinyMe might be the perfect start for the user wishing to run PCLOS under the Gnome desktop without any of the KDE baggage that's so hard to remove completely. And my results were such that I believe it would work out well for that very purpose. Even with Gnome installed the system still weighed in at less than one gig. Apps opened immediately and the system as a whole was very stable.
TinyME might make a good start for a server as all the important LAMP packages are in the PCLOS repositories as well. One doesn't need all the extra goodies that come with the big desktops these days for a server and LXDE would be good for those that like graphical server tools such as webmin.
I didn't have an older computer handy on which to test it, but I imagine it would be great for it. PCLOS developers build support for about everything into their kernels and LXDE only requires a Pentium II and 128 MB ram if one wishes to use like Firefox or OpenOffice.org. It is said that LXDE alone can run in as little as 64 MB ram.
TinyME might be useful to those folks that commonly use ftp or net installs because they prefer to only download what they use. This way, they can still test hardware support before installing without downloading 700 MB.
As it was on my modern HP laptop, hardware support was great. My sound, graphics, and wired ethernet chip were auto-configured. For my wireless chip I easily used Ndiswrapper to load the drivers and had no issue with WPA or WEP. Battery monitoring and cpufreq were accomplished at the commandline as well with the default system. Removeable media is seen, but there are issues with the file manager. Directories show up in PCMan, but clicking on them shot an error. Other media, such as ondisk partitions mounted and opened without issue just by clicking on them.
All in all, it's a fairly neato little image. It's fun to play with as it is or could be a great start to your very own system. See some more screenshots in the gallery. Visit the TinyMe Homepage for downloads.