Internet is the the “Alpha and Omega” of our daily experience with computers, dominating, enriching and engulfing everything we do. This is the case with almost everyone around the world, but somewhere out there, there are computers that are not connected to the internet for some reason that we will not analyse in this article. What would be the ideal GNU/Linux distribution for such systems? Are there any linux distributions that can cover almost every need of an off-line user? Yes there are!
Linux Mint 12 LXDE
Linux Mint is generally great for off-line systems because it offers a complete out of the box experience including media codecs, support for DVD playback, Java and generally everything a simple off-line user will need for daily off-line tasks. I choose the lighter sister of Lisa because it is even simpler, cleaner and very faster so it is suitable for a low specs computer dedicated to off-line usage. One more reason to choose Linux Mint is the hardware support you will get from an Ubuntu based distribution.
Sabayon is a great GNU/Linux distribution that also follows the “works out of the box” philosophy. You will get all the codecs you need, and even drivers for your graphics card. As this distribution is based on Gentoo it is pretty fast and with the admission that you’ll never update it, it will remain pretty stable.
Zenwalk Linux 7.0
Zenwalk Linux is a slim, fast and stable Slackware based distribution. The reason I consider Zenwalk to be a fantastic choice for off-line computers is the inclusion of development libraries that render you able to compile everything you need from non-internet sources i.e. a cd-rom, or a usb flash drive. Of course Zenwalk includes every media codec you’ll need covering the multimedia playback needs of an off-line user.
Vector Linux 7.0
Vector Linux is the best choice one can do for an off-line computer. Like with Zenwalk, Vector Linux offers all the development libraries needed to compile what you need, and it covers even more dependencies (that would simply ruin the day of an off-line user). Apart from this and the media codecs that are available, Vector Linux also provides a unique out of the box ability to be used as a server, offering a complete set of tools for this purpose. What makes things perfect is the fact that Vector Linux is maybe the fastest distribution you ever tried, making it suitable for older systems, and it really is one of the most stable.