Feeds
75%
Linutop 2

Linutop 2

Linux desktop lightweight – in more ways than one?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Boost IT visibility and business value

Review A whole heap of companies have started offering miniature Linux-powered PCs in the last few years, from Zonbu, Sumo and Koolu to DecTOP, that sells the device formerly known as AMD's Personal Internet Communicator. A number bear an almost suspicious resemblance to x86-powered thin clients, being based around inexpensive, low-powered but cool-running System-On-a-Chip (SOC) devices such as AMD's Geode processors, as used in the One Laptop Per Child XO-1.

Linutop 2

The Linutop 2: so quiet only the activity lights indicate that it's in use

French vendor Linutop's original model of its eponymous machine was the size of a Nintendo DS, with no on-board storage at all – it booted from a USB stick. It's now been replaced with the Linutop 2, essentially a rebadged Ion A603 MiniPC from First Computer – but with European support. The new model is about twice as big – roughly the size of 4 stacked CD jewel cases – and now sports double the Ram (512MB), a power button and a whole gigabyte of internal storage. It has four USB 2 ports, VGA, Ethernet and sound in and out – and that's it. The processor has been bumped from a 433MHz Geode LX700 to a 500MHz Geode LX800, but state of the art PC performance, this isn't.

It delivers a Geekbench score of about 200, whereas, even a low-end netbook, such as the original Asus Eee 701 with its 630MHz Celeron, scores 485. What makes such a low-spec machine viable is Linux's frugal system requirements, even compared to Windows XP. The Linutop is supplied with Linutop OS 2.4, a custom version of Xubuntu 8.04. This is a variant of Ubuntu with the usual GNOME desktop replaced with the lightweight XFCE, making it perfectly happy in half a gig of Ram. The instal is so small that it leaves 400MB of the internal storage free for user files.

Linutop 2

Not the fastest, but versatile

But a lightweight OS can only do so much – and the Linutop is not what you’d call fast. During tests, after whacking up the font size of the Reg homepage by pressing Ctrl-+ a couple of times, Firefox took about 20 seconds to redraw the page. Flash animations and Youtube are sluggish and jerky. Put one of these in an Internet café and on its first day an enraged impatient surfer is going to throw it through a window.

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Apple takes blade to 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
Shaves price, not screen on mid-2014 model
iPhone 6 flip tip slips in Aussie's clip: Apple's 'reversible USB' leaks
New plug not compatible with official Type-C, according to fresh rumors
Top Gun display for your CAR: Heads-up fighter pilot tech
Sadly Navdy kit doesn't include Sidewinder missile to blast traffic
FEAST YOUR EYES: Samsung's Galaxy Alpha has an 'entirely new appearance'
Wow, it looks like nothing else on the market, for sure
YES YES YES! Apple patents mousy, pressure-sensing iVibrator
Fanbois prepare to experience the great Cupertin-O
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
TV transport tech, part 1: From server to sofa at the touch of a button
You won't believe how much goes into today's telly tech
Apple analyst: fruity firm set to shift 75 million iPhones
We'll have some of whatever he's having please
Things are looking up in Flappy Bird sequel
'Swing Copters' offers the same gameplay but in a different direction
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.