OK, now it's time to start making improvements. When I did the RedHat Enterprise installation, I chose the KDE desktop. KDE is another memory-hungry application, and I learned a couple of years ago that it's easy to replace it with the Xfce window manager. This in no way prevents you from using individual KDE applications such as kopete or knode. I was able to locate RPM's for Xfce at http://www.xfce.org/. To add Xfce to the list of login choices when the computer is initially booted, I had to tweak the files /etc/X11/xdm/Xsession and /etc/X11/xdm/kdmrc.
RedHat Enterprise 4 comes with version 1 of OpenOffice, which is an essential application for a laptop. Version 2 of OpenOffice has a lot of significant improvements. So, I removed the three RPM's that make up the RedHat-supplied OpenOffice, then went to http://www.openoffice.org/ and downloaded and installed the most recent version (the “with bundled JRE” one).
Finally, there's a program I use called gkrellm that I've used for a long time that displays useful information about your computer's CPU and bandwidth usage. It's especially useful in this situation, because it shows you the charge level of your battery. I got a pleasant surprise with gkrellm; even though my principal system runs RedHat version 9 (with lots of updates), it's still binary-compatible with RedHat Enterprise Version 4. So, all I had to do to install gkrellm was tar up the directory where I had previously compiled gkrellm, un-tar it on the laptop, then “make install” to put all the files used by gkrellm in the right places; no compilation necessary.
Now, any article of the nature has to have a screen shot in it somewhere, so here it is. (Click here for an actual-size version.)
This shows gkrellm on the right edge. If you look at the upper right corner, you'll see that Xfce has a system tray, and there are two KDE applications running, kopete and kwifimanager.
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