My colleague Stuart started me in this direction and Wednesday we worked late, and then Cheta and I continued the thread on Thursday, speeding up Firefox by having the cache stored in RAM and not on the CF card, tweaking the ext3 filesystem, and altering the fstab file so that temporary files and logs are written to RAM and not the CF card in order to extend the life of the card (Compact Flash cards have a write limit of 500,000 and so can "burn out", essentially dying in the field).
Ubuntulite offers the venerable OS with the LXDE windows manager instead of the heavy Gnome manager normally used (or equally heavy KDE found in Kubuntu). Like Xfce-based Xubuntu, it includes simple apps like Abiword and Gnumeric (which we'll replace with OpenOffice 3.0 this week).
Performance was much zippier. Before installing Flash and Java, Firefox opened in 2 seconds, faster than on my dual core Macbook. Adding them slows Firefox start time to 6 seconds but switching between programs is faster. And YouTube mostly worked.
Our aim this week is to create seperate images (using the fantastic Self Image 1.2, ironically only for Windows) for our 4GB Adata cards, and 8GB Transcend CF cards, as well as for Western Digital 80GB IDE hard drives, as well as .iso so that people can try out the operating system. In the next 10 days, a total of 50 systems will be shipping out with this OS.
It will come with following preloaded software:
- Firefox 3 (possibly Chrome as well), with Flash and Java pre-installed
- Medibuntu drivers installed
- MPlayer (lightweight video player)
- GTK Pod (for connecting iPod)
- Pidgin Instant Messaging
- Games: Pingus, maybe Tux Racer
- Kstars, Kalzium
- Ability to connect to Windows Terminal Services, RDP
With key apps loaded in an OS X like Taskbar at the bottom.