Paving the Last PC with Debian GNU/Linux

My wife was the last holdout but even she could no longer love/hate XP after it slowed down for the umpteenth time and started freezing daily. Re-installing that other OS did no appeal to me and my son who has humoured his mother with free IT for years now has a new home of his own. He confirmed by e-mail that there no longer was any application she needed for work that required that other OS. The browser rules these days.

Key features of the paving included getting the box to run the installer. It would not boot from a USB drive and it had no DVD drive, just a CDROM drive. Of course I had only DVDs… I tried but the installer failed in the middle so I was left with an unbootable PC. I switched to netbooting the debian installer from my notebook. Worked like a charm… I had to configure the DHCP server to point to the PXE booting files. I did not have debian-installer in my local mirror so I did a minimal installation from a mirror on the web and then finished manually. Along the way I had to move many gigabytes of home movies and images and documents to backup. That alone took hours and the process took much more time than the installation. My wife had used Ubuntu on a netbook for mobile work so I did not need to do more than install some software she liked and set her password. The only thing not working at the end of the day was Thunderbird. I had restored her e-mail archives from a different version on a different OS and did not get it right.

The SNAP is back! The largest application, takes 2s to open its window. There are no pauses or “hour-glasses”. Just speed. I used XFCE4 and Chrome browser. The old amd64 dual core 4200 Athlon purrs. Running multiple applications including Al Jazeera‘s flash video uses 60% of CPU but the machine is still snappy. That other OS was feeling sluggish under any circumstances.

So, today, we are truly free of that other OS. Two PCs run Ubuntu GNU/Linux and three run Debian GNU/Linux.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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5 Responses to Paving the Last PC with Debian GNU/Linux

  1. Ray says:

    Well, good luck on your business! 😀

  2. I have one foot on the dock and one on the boat… My old job is still being advertised but there are very few others that fit my profile. I have applied for unemployment insurance but to date have not received anything. I can get assistance starting a business from government but that is slow. I may just start advertising to see what comes up. A few years ago, I could make a few applications and get a job. Now it seems there are no suitable jobs. For every one that looks interesting there are dozens for elementary and English teachers…

  3. oldman says:


    Have you had any luck finding employment yet? Or are you retired early?

  4. Just like politics or fashion, a person goes through changes throughout life. When I started, I was timid and mostly concerned with ease of installation. Now that I have aged considerably and value flexilibility more, I love Debian GNU/Linux for the package management system. Having someone upstream do most of the work and having neat tools for finding and installing packages of great diversity from a single source is heavenly for me.

  5. Bender says:

    Try Gentoo and you will truly expierience the term fast GNU/Linux 🙂

    Though it comes with some caveats like compiling the software though thanks to that you can slim down the software and get rid of features you do not need.

    I have switched from Fedora and will never come back 🙂

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