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Acer Travelmate - what's up with new versions of Mint?

Posted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 9:52 pm
by Artichoke
Hi all,

I'm presently in charge of my stepmother's 10-year-old Acer Travelmate 2304LCi (1Gb RAM, 1.3GHz Celeron, 40Gb HDD, etc). Needing to get shot of Windows XP, I thought I'd load it up with Mint 17 or 17.1, XFCE version.

First of all, the live USB boot was very slow, and once up to the desktop, the mouse lag was essentially terminal. Installation kept crashing right toward the end, a problem I solved by taking the hard drive out, installing it in a desktop computer, and doing the installation there.

Transferred back to the laptop, the installation booted, but the painful slowness continued, with the mouse chopping about and lagging terribly. Thinking I might need an even more stripped version of Linux, I tried both Peppermint 5 and Lubuntu 14.10, neither to any good effect. At this point I was almost ready to give up, and then I thought of the 12-year-old Toshiba Satellite A40 which my young son uses, loaded with Mint 13 Mate, and perfectly serviceable.

So I loaded up the Travelmate and lo! not a single problem. The installation went perfectly, and the machine runs beautifully.

My question is, what has happened in the newer versions of Ubuntu/Mint etc that has broken them on this older laptop? Is it a driver support issue concerning newer kernels? What should I do when support for Maya ends?

Please, if you don't mind, answers in plain English only. My Linux knowledge is very fragile, and I'm a pretty poor excuse for a computer geek.

Re: Acer Travelmate - what's up with new versions of Mint?

Posted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 11:58 pm
by Artichoke
Hi gmilo2, and thanks, but I'm not sure that you correctly understood me.

Swap space was configured in all instances, and I did try Lubuntu, as I stated above. In fact, using any of this year's crop of Ubuntu-based distros that I tried (several in all, and all installed, not just running on the USB stick), the poor old computer just about choked and died.

Switch to a two-year-old Linux, and a heftier one at that (Mate vs XFCE or LXDE), and it steams along like a train.


Re: Acer Travelmate - what's up with new versions of Mint?

Posted: Mon Jan 19, 2015 3:09 am
by Artichoke
I'm writing this on the very laptop in question, and it is perfectly happy using Maya Mate (also an LTS, so good for another couple of years).

I'm picking that you're on the right track when you talk about graphics drivers. The CPU usage with all the later Linuxes I tried was modest and the RAM use was about 300-350Mb out of 1Gb when just Mint and Firefox are running - pretty much the same resource use as with Maya.

However, on the other side of the ledger is the long... long... time the machine took to boot up on the later Linuxes, whereas with Maya it is adequately fast.

According to lshw:

description: VGA compatible controller
product: 82852/855GM Integrated Graphics Device
vendor: Intel Corporation
physical id: 2
bus info: pci@0000:00:02.0
version: 02
width: 32 bits
clock: 33MHz
capabilities: pm vga_controller bus_master cap_list rom
configuration: driver=i915 latency=0
resources: irq:6 memory:e8000000-efffffff memory:e0000000-e007ffff

Should there be an issue with the graphics driver in the later distros?

Re: Acer Travelmate - what's up with new versions of Mint?

Posted: Wed Jan 21, 2015 5:50 pm
by Artichoke
I will investigate program that when I next get in front of that machine - last night my stepmother came and picked it up so it is no longer readily accessible. However it is running just lovely on Maya, but I'd like to solve the problem and install a newer version at least before Maya stops receiving updates!

Thanks for your help so far.