I’ve been experimenting with a cheap, low power, quiet computer running the 64 bit Debian testing distribution (“Squeeze”). The experience has included delights, several positives and some negatives.
- Fanless Intel Atom D510 processor and motherboard works great, even in my bedroom (quiet enough that I leave it on while sleeping)
- Google Chrome beta is fast and impressively stable on Debian Testing. The Debian IceWeasel (rebranded Firefox) is acceptable, but Chrome makes web browsing pleasant and snappy, even on the Intel Atom D510 processor in my low power box
- XMarks for Google Chrome beta works smoothly and well, copying my bookmarks between computers and operating systems seamlessly and easily
- Hudson continuous integration server upgrades are trivial with the Debian repository provided by the Hudson team
- Google desktop search has been interesting on Debian (works, behaves as I expected
- Debian testing has been very usable
- No virus scanner performance penalty for my disc accesses
- Frequent software updates keep the system running smoothly
- Interesting new things to learn in an unfamiliar environment
- Ample memory (4 GB), a dual core processor and hyperthreading keep the computer feeling responsive even when I run several different demanding tasks
- My experimental code was not ready for 64 bit, and is still not ready for 64 bit, so it has taken some work to get the experimental code running on this new environment
- Wireless networking has not been successful on this low end machine. Part of that is my own fault because I can only invest small amounts of time in the setup
My most sincere thanks to the Debian project team, the Google development team, the Hudson development team, and so many others. They’ve provided a free software stack that looks and feels smooth, interesting, and fun.