Distro for an old Netbook?

Soldato
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I have on old Duel core Atom netbook (Lenovo IdeaPad S10-3 1.6ghz x2 2Gb DDR3 128GB SSD) its been running pure Debian for the last 5 years and been running a Pi-Hole for all that time with a couple of docker containers here and there as needed.

Its now surplus to requirements and would like to pop a distro on it so my son can learn to code without having to fire up a desktop PC to do so.

Any distro recommendations for a 6 year old on a very decrepit old netbook Please!
 
Soldato
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If your kids school uses Chromebooks / pads you could always try Chrome OS Flex.

I've never tried it, i've just seen others talking about it.
 
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If you're used to administering Debian, check out Spiral Linux. It's Debian underneath, and uses only Debian upstream repos, but it's (gently) customised out of the box with non-free codecs and drivers, backported Debian kernel, improved smooth font rendering and some nice QoL improvements. Think 'what Ubuntu should have been 20 years ago, but with no extra repos or bloat'. It's by the same guy who makes GeckoLinux (the same concept on OpenSUSE).

The Spiral Linux LXQt spin is very light indeed, and unlike almost everything else 'lightweight' I've ever tried, it doesn't skimp on usability or have stupid 'quirks'. Everything just works as intended and it's fully featured. The zRAM by default helps on lower power hardware as well.

SpiralLinux said:

SpiralLinux features​


  • Installable live DVD / USB images around 2GB in size and carefully configured for a wide array of popular desktop environments
  • Built from Debian Stable packages with newer hardware support preinstalled from Debian Backports
  • Easily upgradable to Debian's Testing or Unstable branches with just a few clicks (instructions)
  • Optimal Btrfs subvolume layout with Zstd transparent compression and automatic Snapper snapshots bootable via GRUB for easy rollbacks (instructions)
  • Graphical manager for Flatpak packages and preconfigured Flatpak theming
  • Font rendering and color theming preconfigured for optimal legibility
  • Preinstalled proprietary media codecs and non-free Debian package repositories ready to use
  • Broad hardware support with a wide array of proprietary firmware preinstalled
  • Extensive printer support with relaxed permissions for printer administration
  • Optimal power management with TLP preinstalled
  • VirtualBox support available out-of-the-box
  • Enables zRAM swap by default for better performance on low-end hardware
  • Normal users can operate and administer the system without recurring to the terminal
  • Depends entirely on the Debian infrastructure, thus avoiding the "developer-hit-by-a-bus" concern
  • Installed system can be smoothly upgraded to future Debian releases while retaining its unique SpiralLinux configuration
 
Soldato
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Thanks @Rainmaker I will take a look at this, I do love Debian but this driver situation always left this netbook with no wifi, was fine as its last roll was to run my pihole and a couple of limited use docker containers. will see how this gets on when I get around to installing it.
 
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Thanks @Rainmaker I will take a look at this, I do love Debian but this driver situation always left this netbook with no wifi, was fine as its last roll was to run my pihole and a couple of limited use docker containers. will see how this gets on when I get around to installing it.

You should be able to get the WiFi to work on vanilla Debian by enabling the 'nonfree' repository in the software centre, then installing the firmware package for the WiFi card manufacturer (e.g. firmware-atheros). The alternative is to install a different card that runs without nonfree binaries. Good luck with whichever you choose to go with!
 
Soldato
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You should be able to get the WiFi to work on vanilla Debian by enabling the 'nonfree' repository in the software centre, then installing the firmware package for the WiFi card manufacturer (e.g. firmware-atheros). The alternative is to install a different card that runs without nonfree binaries. Good luck with whichever you choose to go with!
Yeah I know been running Linux for 20+years in different formats. The binaries are flakey at best for the netbook, other distros and some based on Debian don't have any issues.
 
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Yeah I know been running Linux for 20+years in different formats. The binaries are flakey at best for the netbook, other distros and some based on Debian don't have any issues.

Aha, understood. Most likely your experience trumps mine in that case!:p

Unfortunately nonfree doesn't equal reliable!
 
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