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These days, I'm the director of the American Library Association' s Office for Intellectual Freedom. I'm also executive director and secretary of the Freedom to Read Foundation. See "About Me" for contact information.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Time for an Acer Aspire update?

I guess the issue is Google. It seems to have upgraded some things in Google Docs, and suddenly my old Acer Aspire netbook, running a version of Linpus Lite (based on Fedora 8, which is WAY back there by now) doesn't work that well with Google anymore. Not only that, I couldn't get it to load Chrome. It's the problem of maintaining an aging platform.

I haven't been updating the little netbook because (a) it wasn't broken, so I couldn't see a reason to fix it, (b) Linpus Lite does boot VERY quickly (20 seconds), and 3) I hadn't backed it all up first, which of course I should do first.

So I burned a CD of Linux Mint 11, and launched it as a Live CD to see if it worked on the Acer. It did. No customization was required at all. I'm using it right now. I was working through the files to see if I could get it all set up, and then started reading about Linux Mint 12.

I aked myself this question: Do I upgrade to the last stable version, based on Ubuntu's Gnome 2.32? Or do I step it up again to the underlying version of Gnome 3.0, but customized by Mint to look a little familiar?

And I suppose asking that question answered it for me. I want the netbook to be stable, which means (usually) that it has to be based on a version or two back in the world of OS's and applications. Mint 11 seems up-to-date enough for another year, I would think.

OK, time to back everything up.

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Later. I dragged key files to a flash drive, then did have some struggles "reformatting." When I chose a location, the installer crashed. I got past that by launching the installer again, and just waiting awhile before I selected the location option.

It takes a little longer to start up the netbook now -- from 20 seconds before to 40 or 50 seconds now. Now, the OS requires me to type my password before I can use it. I traded convenience for security.

Then I spent some time downloading a few programs I use a lot (Notecase Pro, Xmind, Kompozer), and transferring my address book into Thunderbird, etc. I haven't gotten it to launch tkoutline yet, for reasons that are mysterious, but I'll figure that out soon enough I imagine.

But once I log in, it looks good, is reasonably responsive, and lets me do want I want to do.

My new desktop looks like this:


Incidentally, Linux Mint did tell me that I probably have a damaged battery. It's the original, which never did last long. I can probably track one of those down, too, allowing me to wring another year or two of use out of it.

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