I had a little extra time today, so I did a ritual backup of my standard Arch Linux framebuffer system, and installed the full Gnome suite to the Solo.
The results were not as disappointing as you might have imagined.
Debian has always done a good job keeping the lid on Gnome’s grotesque proportions. The full desktop is floating on +/- 100Mb out of the 256Mb available, with just a tease of swap.
Responsiveness is acceptable, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t lag a little bit. I expect as much though.
What’s reassuring about this is, with a lighter desktop environment (LXDE being the obvious choice), I daresay 500Mhz might actually be more or less usable.
And I never thought I’d say this but … after years of Ubuntu Unity desktops, and the passé Gnome 3 arrangement, a la Fedora … it’s actually quite nice to see an old-fashioned desktop like this.
Call me crazy. Everybody else does. 😉
Even more odd though: Lately I resent having to poke at the touchpad and wade through menus to get applications started. Perhaps I have finally gone over to the dark side … a full-time tiling WM fan. 😯