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.
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.