Stable Linux for Web Surfing?
November 29, 2005 6:47 AM   Subscribe

Is there a Linux install or live CD that is rock solid for Web Surfing?

I've created an Ubuntu boot on my computer hoping to have a safe secure system for web transactions. Unfortunately, Ubuntu seems to get lockups from time to time and I have to reboot. It's not all the time, but I have stuff to do on the web where a delay to reboot would be a big problem. I have done some Ubuntu tweaks without success, and could do with getting on with my web stuff while I look into it.

Is there anything that is easy to set up and very solid for web surfing? I'm quite happy with Ubuntu in general, so a live CD could be an option. I need good Java and Flash compatibility. If I could run Open Office it would be good.

I'm new to Linux - I don't mind following step by step instructions, but I don't want to swap one set of problems I can't solve for another if you see what I mean.

My computer is a PIII and is rock solid under Windows - hardly ever crashes even when pushed hard.
posted by lunkfish to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
Well, part of the problem is that we don't really know why your machine is crashing in Ubuntu. So I can suggest a couple of alternatives, but I have no idea how well they'll work for you.

I really like Slax linux... it's designed to be an easily customizable LiveCD, so you can include whatever apps you want without a lot of technical jibberjabber. It's also small, fast, and nice-looking.

You could also burn the latest Knoppix CD and see how it works for you.
posted by selfnoise at 7:05 AM on November 29, 2005

Ubuntu is rock solid. If you're seeing crashes, it's because your hardware is failing. Linux is notorious for bringing out problems in marginal hardware that "seems fine in Windows."

Another option, given that Windows doesn't seem to have problems on this hardware, would be to build a BartPE disk with a browser on it. But you should really do something about the hardware. It's probably the memory.
posted by majick at 7:48 AM on November 29, 2005

You can use Memtest86 to test your RAM.
posted by zsazsa at 8:40 AM on November 29, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers. I haven't got much to lose by trying a couple of live cds.

We might be talking about slightly different things if you say Ubuntu is rock solid. I believe you if you say it doesn't have any serious problems, but looking at the forums there are software issues that can make it lockup, right, so it could be my inexperience setting it up or a software confilct..?

I will definitely test my RAM though and see if this is the problem.
posted by lunkfish at 8:55 AM on November 29, 2005

When is ubuntu locking up? Is it only when using a specific program or at random times?
posted by meta87 at 9:28 AM on November 29, 2005

posted by ori at 10:12 AM on November 29, 2005

I'm surprised that your whole system locks up. If it's just your browser -- my browser generally locks up when I'm viewing flash. I don't even try to do java -- you could try doing a "killall swfdec-mozilla-player"; that at least gets my browser back to normal.

Flash also hangs my firefox on OS X often enough; I wish I could kill the flash plugin from there, instead of force-quitting FF.

Yeah, my Ubuntu never hangs outright, just my browser. But this is nowhere near as bad as on OS X.
posted by xueexueg at 10:15 AM on November 29, 2005

Response by poster: I've only used internet, office and gimp. It only locks on internet, but it does it on firefox, opera and epiphany. Whole desktop locks up so I can't use the user interface. I don't know if you can still get terminal somehow.

I guess I'll try the live cds and if they lock up as well...install windows..sniff.
posted by lunkfish at 12:35 PM on November 29, 2005

If the desktop locks up, you can try hitting Ctrl-Alt-Backspace to kill the X server, or Ctrl-Alt-F1 to get to a text terminal. If those are unresponsive, your system is definitely hard locked. If it's hard-locked like that, bad RAM is most likely the culprit. Another possibility would be flaky video card drivers, especially binary drivers provided directly from ATI and NVIDIA. Other hardware drivers could be flaky, but generally they're extremely solid. If it's not hard-locked, it's still probably bad RAM, but could also be a software problem. The Flash plugin can be unstable on Linux, and your statement that it only locks up while browsing the web could point towards that. Flash has only crashed just Firefox for me, though.
posted by zsazsa at 12:44 PM on November 29, 2005

Second knoppix. If that doesn't work, try running memtest86, which is on the knoppix cd to test your RAM.
posted by QIbHom at 4:37 PM on November 29, 2005

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