Well last week I was in a bit of an experimentation mood. Now that I have a new laptop, my old laptop, a PIII 450 with 320megs of RAM, can be used for experimentation.

In the meantime, it has slowed down and over the past year video has been anywhere from just fine to sketchy, depending on the complexity of the video.

So I removed the Gnome desktop, figuring that the memory footprint had probably been at the cusp of affecting other processes. Curiously, this didn’t cause the computer to explode and it seemed as though as long as I didn’t turn off the computer, I would have been able to continue indefinitely with Gnome.

And of course, I turned off the computer.

This was not a good thing, the boot up sequence appeared to freeze. Fortunately the single user mode was available — hey, they changed the key sequence in F11 from control-alt-F1 to control-alt-F3, and even the exit sequence changed from control-alt-F7 to control-alt-F1! However, getting my wireless to work was not obvious, and I learned just how much of wireless seems to be controlled by the desktop. So connecting to the repos to install XFCE was not possible.

I wonder for about a week when my brother suggests “well just plug in your network card and use a wired connection.” Duh, this works. 🙂 Yum install group XFCE works, and things are humming. (In between he suggests “don’t worry about getting the wireless up until the desktop is installed” … until he suggests using a wired connection, this was like telling someone stranded with an empty gas tank on the side of a desert road to drive to a gas station to get more gas!)

The installation went like a breeze, and while there are differences, the whole experience seems very similar to the Gnome desktop experience.

My brother was impressed that it seemed so easy and seamless, he said that a years ago this easiness factor would have been unheard of.

A quick test of video while I was doing a yum update — an unfair test on this machine in this day and age — showed a slight amount of choppiness. I expect that things will go well when I test again and nothing else is going on.