This is all about getting Gmail to run on a low powered processor without the machine grinding to a halt.
I have a 1 1/2 generation netbook, the Acer Aspire One A110.
The netbook has low RAM, 512MB, and adding more is a massive task involving taking the whole thing apart. A new SSD, on the other hand is more manageable. The processor is an older Atom single core, 1.6GHz.
The original SSD is just 8GB, so I may try mounting a larger one. The machine came with a Linpus (as far as I recall (Linux)) system, and some standard apps.
I want to use this with a relatively modern Linux distribution, but the easy choice, Ubuntu or the like) simply cannot run properly on such a low powered machine.
What to do? I tried with Xubuntu, and while it is running, an update broke the screen driver, so it could only show 800×600, not the original 1024×600 screen resolution. Discarded. I became aware that the Raspberry Pi folks had made a version of their Raspbian system for Intel type processsors. This works with a relatively low demand on the 512MB, and the screen works properly in the 1024×600 resolution using about 100MB for the system with its running processes.
So far, so good.
I intend to use the machine for non-demanding stuff like writing for this blog, managing ebooks etc. Now, the system comes with a Chromium web browser, but in my experience this is a massive memory hog, so not really feasible with the low RAM.
The Thunderbird email client is also quite memory intensive, so I tried out a terminal email client, Alpine, which is fairly user friendly if you are not afraid of a text mode screen. This installed and following the manual for setting up Gmail, and at the authentication it failed. The thing kept asking for a login every time I tried to enter the password.
Google the problem. Yes, it was known. I should change the setting accept “less secure clients. This works. But (there is always a “but”) suddenly my phone kept asking to login to Google, and kept doing it. Also they keep sending mails about “upgrading security”.
I tried to find a text mode app that Gmail will accepts as “more secure”, but nothing found.
Here is what I do now with that machine :
Thunderbird and Chromium use about the same amount of memory, even if 2 tabs are open in Chromium. Wo when it is open there is gmail and this blog in 2 tabs. That works with a bit to spare for the writing programs.
Second update 13 August :
That netbook does not have the power for a writing program. Fortunately I have a newer, and with a larger screen, Acer with 4GB RAM and a quad core Atom processor. Runs the writing programs easily with a bit to spare. That will most likely end up as my computer for writing what I want.