One's Aspire One. Is it done?

This topic was created by I ain't Spartacus .

  1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
    Linux

    One's Aspire One. Is it done?

    My nephew has found my Mum's old Acer Aspire One. Which is barely used, as was the fate of many a netbook.

    A quick bit of searching found that the OS hasn't been updated since 2009, the last viable Firefox it will run is 7, and Youtube block versions that old.

    I haven't yet come across a forum for users of these things, though I suspect that more searching might do so. As I know they had lots of techy love, and techies like to keep old stuff going. I met an old friend last month, who is still using (with many eBay trips for spare parts) my old Sony Ericsson P800 (great phone), which I gave to him in about 2004/5. It was a very nice nostalgic feeling to play with the old thing.

    Anyway, any quick thoughts on the best Linux to chuck on this to give it a new lease of life would be much appreciated. The nephew is 8. So if there's a version that replaces Linpus and gives a more limited UI that's easy to use - I'm very tempted.

    Otherwise thoughts on whether to go Mint, some flavour of Ubuntu or whatever would be useful.

    I last used UNIX in 1994, but I'm sure I can catch up.

    Thankyou for your attention, please now return to your Friday afternoon beers.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: One's Aspire One. Is it done?

      "I last used UNIX in 1994, but I'm sure I can catch up."

      I missed this two weeks ago, sorry ...

      Try Slackware. It WILL work, once you get it sorted.

      Together, you and your nephew will both learn useful stuff.

      By way of reference, my Daughter was using Slack 20 years ago ...

      TANSTAAFL

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. jake Silver badge

          @1980s_coder (was: Re: One's Aspire One. Is it done?)

          "Must have been Slackware 3.0 or something like that... "

          Actually version 2.1, from the Walnut Creek CD. 21ish years ago, or so. Time flies ;-)

          "Almost the last version I used, too, and yes it was good back then."

          Still is. Better, actually. Don't take my word for it, try it for yourself.

          "Slackware was pretty much the UNIX diehard's distribution of choice"

          After a couple of the BSDs, it still is. IMO, of course.

          (As a side-note, several years later my daughter got into trouble after getting root on a college Apple "server", so she could change a few settings to make it run more smoothly[0]. After the so-called sysadmin found out and told management, she was going to be banned from the college network for a year ... but the sysadmin stepped up and admitted that her work fixed a couple-three major bottle-necks. She married him 5 years later ...)

          [0] Apple's OSX and BSD aren't all that dissimilar to Slackware ...

      2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: One's Aspire One. Is it done?

        jake,

        Cheers. There's some minimal distros based on Slackware that I came across, designed for netbooks and other old slow kit. But I'm going to need to pick something with decent numbers of active online posters, so I can hunt down answers. Given my meagre UNIX skills are now rusty/redundent/forgotten/useless.

        I got the impression that the Acer Aspire One was one of the more popular netbooks, and still has some techy love online. And that seems to be the case, as I've found that some distros specifically have support information for running on them. And that's looking like the most likely thing to sway my choice, given I may need all the help I can lay my hands on.

        Although my first choice will be something a bit more limited, with a child-friendly 'task based' UI, which still needs the ability to get to a proper desktop. But searching so far hasn't turned up anything likely looking.

        If this does go well, I'll be looking at Raspberry Pi for his next birthday.

        1. jake Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: One's Aspire One. Is it done?

          "Cheers."

          This round's on me :-)

          "There's some minimal distros based on Slackware that I came across, designed for netbooks and other old slow kit"

          This machine is a near 14 year old HP Pavillion laptop. It has run Slack-current the entire 14 years. (Granted, it now has 2 gigs of RAM, instead of the stock half gig ...)

          "But I'm going to need to pick something with decent numbers of active online posters"

          Check out the newsgroup alt.os.linux.slackware ... I know, I know, "USENET is scary", but quite honestly if you were to copy & paste what you posted here on ElReg, you'll get positive answers. Maybe even from me, in another life ;-)

          Install Ubuntu, learn Ubuntu. Install Slackware, learn un*x.

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            Re: One's Aspire One. Is it done?

            jake,

            I haven't been on USENET since I was using UNIX back in the 90s. Perhaps the nostalgia will jog the memory.

            Playing around with Linux has been a possible project for me for a while now, and I may just do that so I can equip the family kids with the odd Raspberry Pi and see if any of them are interested. However I'm more focused for now in finding a distro to get this little laptop going so it can be used. I've got other things on the go to keep me occupied. Educating myself into being a 'nix guru is a long-term project - getting this netbook into a useable state should ideally be something I can do over a weekend.

  2. Phil W

    How about Edubuntu? It's a little out of date since it's based spun from Ubuntu 14.04 but for the purpose you intend it shouldn't really be an issue.

    Is it one of the Aspire One's with the bloody awful SSDs in rather than a 2.5" SATA drive though?

    If so it might be worth looking to replacing the storage before you do anything. Even a decent low profile USB flash drive would be an improvement, though compatible PATA IDE ZIF cards should still be available that are faster than the original? memoryc.com sell them, I'm sure others do to.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Thanks for the reply. My nephew decided he wants a new OS, and handed me the Acer to do over Christmas. So I've now got round to having a look.

      I'll check out the hard drive, I've no idea of the tech specs, and didn't realise there were different models.

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Is OpenBSD 8 year-old friendly? I confess I've never seen it running. I'm looking for something approaching the simplified task-based UI of the original Linpus, or if not then something Windows like.

      I've not done much research yet, but was wondering if the old OLPC OS was still going, or if there's something similar cooked up for the Raspberry Pi?

      A quick bit of looking has brought up many distros I've never heard of, no surprise, and a few I was expecting. So Mint and Puppy look promising.

      I think I'll avoid Ubuntu/Unity, as I'm going for minimal footprint. But maybe Lubuntu or Xubuntu are worth a look?

      Have seen nice comments about Crunchbang, but only vaguely heard of it.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Thanks. I'm not sure we're ready for the command line yet. Although he does have a rather cavalier attitude to downloading stuff off the internet. The downside of learning in the iPad walled garden is that it's an awful lot easier to screw up a PC - but he's just used to being able to safely download any freebie from the App Store.

          He's not allowed an email account yet, but I imagine he'll probably want webmail - rather than client based. In general though I can't see the command line being all that attractive - so far he's more interested in what computers can do, rather than how they do it.

          A decent browser is the most important thing, and he's going to want Flash (spit!) in order to play online games and watch iPlayer and the like. Youtube to watch Minecraft stuff most of all. Note to self: sort out Minecraft. He also likes to type lists and stories and the like.

          I don't want the thing totally locked down, as he is showing an interest in IT, and so he should be able to learn by tinkering. It would help if his parents were IT literate, but they're not that great, so by going Linux I'm ensuring that all problems get referred to me. I guess setting myself up as root, and giving him more limited permissions is the way to go for starters. Is it possible to allow a normal user to download stuff from the repository?

          Then pass him full control if he doesn't break anything. He's already a danger to the health of his Mum's laptop.

          I can see this becoming a real time-sink, and forcing me to start learning about Linux, in order to stay a few steps ahead of him. I suppose if stuff doesn't come back, the internet and man pages will sort me out. Although I must annoy jake by saying I never liked vi...

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. jake Silver badge

            "Although I must annoy jake by saying I never liked vi..."

            Doesn't annoy me a bit. If we all liked the same thing, the world would be a very boring place.

            However, by definition, vi is THE un*x text editor. Something to think about, long term.

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

              1. Mage Silver badge

                Vi?

                Nano ^_^

                Gave up using Vi maybe about 1988

      2. jake Silver badge

        "Is OpenBSD 8 year-old friendly?"

        Depends on the 8 year-old, and the adult supervising.

        My daughter had an account on the VAX when she was 6-ish.

        But then her Dad is a computer nerd ;-)

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: "Is OpenBSD 8 year-old friendly?"

          jake,

          The 8 year old in question is amazingly quick at getting an iPad to do what he wants it to. However he also has the amazing ability (and has since well before he was able to read) to click on the right things to get him to where he wanted to be, even if that was clicking on the "ignore this dire warning of consequences" button, or the "I agree to give all my personal data to Apple/Facebook/ISIS/Donald Trump to do with as they desire" one.

          Mostly he's done that on an iPad with little in the way of consequences. He's starting to do it on his Mum's laptop - and that's going to need clean-up again, and my suggestion is to give him a user account with no permissions (it's not his).

          On his own machine, he should have more control, so he suffers the inconvenience of having to clean up his own mistakes. With some help of course. But I'm not his Dad, and I'm not going to be in daily supervision, so there'll have to be some compromise with practicality. And it should be less fragile than Windows, especially if he hasn't got root. So long as I can give him enough permissions that he doesn't feel like it's not his machine.

  4. jake Silver badge

    @1980s_coder

    I still use ed in scripting when it doesn't make any sense to invoke the relatively bulky vi in ex mode to do the exact same thing .

    Something to think about: this thread isn't about you and I, it's about an old computer and an eight year old. Kindly take your ego out of the conversation. Ta.

    As side-note, your subject line says (in the current "Rest And Play" > "Gadgets" section of the user forums) "One's Aspire One. Is it done?" ... Perhaps ElReg should be worried about your "Acne Splatter" buggering up the mirrors?

    1. Pat Att

      Re: @1980s_coder

      " Kindly take your ego out of the conversation. Ta"

      Coming from you, that's very amusing!

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Mage Silver badge

    Old Aspire One

    I added a CF adaptor and a 32G Byte CF card to replace the original very slow Flash memory. I had to fold the ZIF cable end over and put it wrong way up into the CF adaptor to have the correct cable order. Always check the dot!

    Works find with Linux Mint 17.x and Mate desktop. I had to add the broadcom WiFi driver, the ethernet was fine.

    The previous owner had replaced the original Linux with XP, which was too slow on it.

    I changed some settings to minimise disk writes etc too.

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