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Super low power text editor OS?

Last response: in Linux/Free BSD
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July 29, 2012 11:55:28 PM

I'm looking for an extremely low power text editor OS

What I mean by this is that I want an OS that is essentially stripped down to absolute nothingness, with nothing but a black background with white text where I can take notes and save them to text files on a dedicated partition of some sort.

It'd be awesome if it like disabled half the monitor and had a really small area solely for taking notes. I think this would probably be the lowest power consumption setup for taking notes on my laptop

Does anything like this exist? Would it be hard to create something like it by taking scraps of other opensource code? I have next to no complex coding experience but I understand the basic overall concepts I guess. I know a bit of VBS and have done quite a bit of automation with it

Even just some sort of command line thing where I could take a line of notes and hit enter and it saves it to some log would be good

Would this limit power consumption and noticeably increase battery life to the point where it's worth doing?

Thanks
July 30, 2012 12:16:10 AM

You can install any distribution without using a desktop environment. This will leave you with only a bash shell. From the shell you have access to text editors (nano, vim, emacs, etc.), compiliers (gcc, g++, whatever), and debuggers (gdb and the like). Many refer to the bash shell as an IDE. :) 
July 30, 2012 1:13:55 AM

Would it still run the entire OS though and take more power than if it were running a solely text editor OS?

I don't really know enough to know if that's even a relevant question for me to ask I guess. Would you always require some sort of moderately complex OS to be able to even run a text editor? I want it minimalist as possible
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July 30, 2012 6:56:35 PM

I can assure that if you install a lightweight distro (my personal favorite in this case is Debian), it will require VERY little resources. You can run Debian with under 100MB of RAM and it'll be just fine.

Nothing as specialized as a text-editing-only OS has really been created, due to how niche it would be. Install Debian without a GUI in VirtualBox and give it a try!
July 30, 2012 8:39:07 PM

Pencil and notepad. The ultimate lightweight distribution - and it's solar powered.
July 30, 2012 9:36:01 PM

I would just pick any random distribution you want, and you can go through and select what options you want to install, and basically all you really want to install would be the bare essential packages and any text based editors like vim, emacs, joe, whatever. You could even set up your .bashrc file to launch your text editor of choice right away, or if you REALLY wanted to go bare bones, you could set vim or something as your shell. It'd be kind of dangerous, unless you went with emacs which is almost an OS (and religion) unto itself, because if anything went wrong, you'd have no real way to access the system.

As for whether or not it would save enough battery power to be worth it... It's difficult to say, but probably. You'll be running a low resolution, the GPU and CPU will be doing minimal work once the OS boots. It certainly sounds like it should save power on paper, but sometimes these things don't work out as you expect later on.
July 31, 2012 2:10:10 PM

Want to go retro: DOS and WP5.1?
128 MB PC100 RAM and PII, for example.
250W PSU should do it -- LOL!
September 7, 2012 2:33:32 AM

You could try giving arch linux a try. My install uses 200mb of ram at boot up with kde4. Im not sure what it uses when its just the bare install.

Like someone else said you can use terminal based text editors without the use of any guis.
You can also install X that only comprises of a few terminals on the same screen. This ius what i would recommend personally. Once you have your os booted up and have logged in via CLI youd simpily type 'startx' and then you have a extremly light weight gui that only displays a couple of terminals. If you have the need to do so from here you could install some applications that require X to function. In your case since you want this mainly for text editing/notes you could install the lightweight text editor Scribes. Then run it through the terminal allowing you to take notes while also giving you access to continual use of other terminals.

September 7, 2012 11:45:23 PM

Most Linux OSes can be trimmed down to run fine with a minimum of services and no GUI. Then install the powertop utility so you can further configure to reduce power consumption. Maybe you can start a contest like "hypermilers" to see who can get the most hours of note taking per kilowatt-hour.

Sounds like fun. First place goes to a geek who can run his laptop off his solar-cell covered sombrero.
September 10, 2012 6:52:32 PM

zeffolia said:


Would this limit power consumption and noticeably increase battery life to the point where it's worth doing?



This is the big question. You could use FreeDOS and a range of text editors such as edit or even ed. The question is would FreeDOS or some other stripped down OS still contain the code to execute things like SpeedStep or PowerNOW technology? Would it know how to suspend the system or power manage your disk? While it may not be intuitive thinking smaller does not always mean lighter resources nowadays.

DSL or SLAX on a pen drive will cover 90% of what you are after for less than 10% of the effort in cutting something yourself.
October 8, 2012 4:46:01 PM

audiovoodoo said:
This is the big question. You could use FreeDOS and a range of text editors such as edit or even ed. The question is would FreeDOS or some other stripped down OS still contain the code to execute things like SpeedStep or PowerNOW technology? Would it know how to suspend the system or power manage your disk? While it may not be intuitive thinking smaller does not always mean lighter resources nowadays.

DSL or SLAX on a pen drive will cover 90% of what you are after for less than 10% of the effort in cutting something yourself.


Im pretty sure that on a stripped down version of linux ( the one i use is arch linux so ill be referring to that when i say this) can have poweramangment tools installed. So you could set up a super light CLI OS that uses a command line editor and then install "laptopmode-tools" and configure that to manage your powermanagment. I have this set up of kde4 but i would assume it would work on a CLI.
October 18, 2012 8:23:34 AM

Go for Microcore. Comes as bare Minimum (8MB in size). Then install the text editor you want and power-saving tools. Runs totally in RAM, so you can even shutdown the disk and only power it up if you want to sync your noted with the harddisk.
!