The linux powered computer I’m writing on

Some people enjoy a daily swim, others a run, each day I write. It is a workout for my mind. A couple of weeks ago I setup a dedicated computer system just for this purpose. An old laptop was pulled off the shelf and given a linux makeover.

The laptop an old Toshiba Tecra 8200 is now running Xubuntu, a free linux operating system suitable for this 800Mhz computer, sporting just 512MB of ram and a 40gb hard drive. With abiword for word processing and dropbox for document backup, sync and transfer, plus Mozilla Firefox for research completes my requirements. If the machine had been older I would of considered a linux os such as Puppy Linux.

So why did I leave the luxury of a Windows 7 desktop? It was overkill, providing numerous distractions and a limitation or two. As I write this article I’m happily sitting at the dining table, the major distraction now is glancing out of the window at the sea. Another time I can be sat elsewhere.

I had wanted to use my preferred writing app focuswriter, but alas it struggles slightly on this sturdy old laptop, but abiword is almost as good and works smoothly.

In years past I have used unix and linux systems. I’m used to the hurdles of installing and configuration. I was very impressed with the smooth Xubuntu 10.10 desktop install. No acpi issues and I only had to lift the engine hood to change the screen resolution and resolve a laptop stretch issue. The wireless networking support especially was a breath of fresh air compared to my past experiences.

So my first blog post written on my new writing setup is almost at an end. Written on a free operating system, with free software and soon to be saved on dropbox’s free ‘basic’ service. Technology changes don’t have to come with an expensive price tag.

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10 years ago

This is a very wise idea. I recently bought a new laptop and I want to keep my old one for taking places, doing some blogging, etc. I never thought to strip it down and only have the basic software on it. I am going to do that and enjoy the simplicity of it, and less distractions. Thanks for the inspiration Andrew!

10 years ago

Hi Amber,

Glad you liked this post and I highly recommend you try out xubuntu. It is free and there are many benefits including security. i.e. most viruses are written for microsoft windows and xubuntu is a linux operating system.

Xubuntu and linux in general has jumped forward in recent years. A couple of years back I would of had acpi, wireless and other issues. Now the process is a lot smoother and worth the hassle of any minor setup issues that occur. There are great communities to find support.

At some stage I will write a more detailed Xubuntu post. I’m hugely enjoying using the operating system.

All the best