Kanotix Excalibur KDE 3.5 is definitely fast enough - no LXDE needed. No fancy KDE 4 effects too...
But I suggest to wait 2 days for openSUSE 11.3. If you can't wait there's an unofficial livecd of openSUSE 11.2 with LXDE: http://en.opensuse.org/Derivatives#U..._LXDE_live_CDs
If you download the DVD LXDE can be selected while installing openSUSE.
(PS: KDE SC 4.4 or 4.5 shouldn't be a slow with 1.5/2GiB RAM and a recent graphics driver.)
Yes, I tried KDE 4 a while ago with the laptop. It seemed okay. I had some trouble with the Compiz stuff. I have to use the open source radeon driver as the card is too old for fglrx.
I just thought the idea of the ligher DE sounded good and my laptop did seem a lot more snappier. I don't need a lot of glitz for an old laptop. I use KDE or Gnome on my desktop. I also don't mind trying different distros on it.
The OpenSUSE LXDE spin sounds interesting. I was trying to stay with Debian-based, though, for simplicity and familiarity. I might try it, though.
Thanks for the suggestion, Kano.
I just use DWM on top of X.
JWM. TC also tends to be quite light as distros go
I use Sidux xfce version (my desktop is capable of running heavier DE's, but I like xfce). You get to stay in the Debian family and you get a rolling-release model,
Lubuntu (Ubuntu+LXDE) is pretty good, especially if you're used to Ubuntu. ArchBang is based on Arch Linux and is also pretty nice.
But why do you want to change distribution just to have a lighter DE? Would a Ubuntu user have to change distro to use The Gimp? If you are used to Debian and you like it just stick to it. Install whatever you want to use and be done with it. Definitely much easier than learning the quirks of yet another distro. I don't quite get what Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Kubuntu and company offer - I know how to use aptitude, thanks.
For what is worth, I think your laptop is somewhat better than mine (2GHz Pentium M, 1 Gb RAM, 9600M). I use Debian Sid and some months ago I came back to the normal world with KDE 4.3 (ion3 development has ended). After taking rid of stuff I don't need it feels reasonably good, and this comes from a former KDE 3.5 fan. It's not as fast as a light WM alone but it's OK. With desktop effects you will notice it's not that snappy, of course. Only thing is that it takes quite a bit of time to load initially. Apart from that, speed is not a real issue.
I'm bumping this thread to get some feedback, if I can.
I'm going to install Linux on an older machine, a Pentium 4, IBM NetVista machine. I think there's only 512mb of RAM, though. Probably 2 256MB sticks. Is it worth it to put more RAM in?
This is for someone else so I need a noob friendly distro. I thought maybe Xubuntu. Any thoughts? The only programs really needed is Pidgin, VLC and Firefox (or Chrome). Windows XP will also be on the machine. There's a 60GB HDD, I think. There's 18GB left on the machine but I thought it would be enough although I might be able to clear some disk space.
Is Xubuntu a decent choice? I'm not a big fan of Lubuntu anymore for various reasons.
Anyway, I thought a KDE4-based distro would be too bloated and I am not sure if Ubuntu-Gnome is a good choice. Any recommendations?
I had some old Compaqs with Lubuntu on them and it seemed snappy. But, I thought I'd pick something different.
The other choice I am considering is straight Debian with xfce.