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I'm trying to get the Hamster time tracking Gnome applet working on OS X using seamless mode.

I'm presuming with Gnome I can create a Gnome panel, with just the Hamster time tracker applet in it, taking up minimal screen space on my OS X system. I have a ton of time tracked already that I will import.

So I'm looking for a VM or distro that supports VirtualBox seamless mode, not all distros do!

I have a preference for a Debian based system because as a frequent Ubuntu user, I am used to apt-get all the time.

Because it will be running constantly, it must consume a small amount of RAM and minimal swap. (I need all the RAM I can get.) I have low disk space at times also (Xcode eats so much space, I will have to repartition.) It's always nice to have a small download also.

The more pre-made the setup, the better - so premade VM's are good as well as ISOs.

Know any distros that fit the bill?

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Perhaps try to run hamster natively, instead of virtually. According to projecthamster, "Hamster is written in PyGTK, using SQLite for data storage", and per, "PyGTK applications are truly multiplatform and they're able to run, unmodified, on Linux, Windows, MacOS X and other platforms." says sqlite3 is included in Mac OS X.

Regarding how to start hamster without a button, a guy with a long name writes,

Since hamster applet is nothing but a Python app, you can technically invoke it as a standalone application instead of an applet. Most of the time, the utility must be in your path. You can invoke it as ..."

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Thanks, I'd love to but I need the feature that shows the present task as part of a system dock, and also there are several Linux things that my system could use, like Geany and a bunch of awesome scripts that just work on Linux, but would take significant reconfiguration on Mac OS X. – Luke Stanley Nov 20 '11 at 19:42
Project Hamster presently has Gnome and DBUS dependencies. – Luke Stanley Feb 13 '12 at 23:23

I haven't used it much myself, but CrunchBang might work well for you. It's Debian with a very lightweight window manager (OpenBox). #!'s focus on speed and low RAM usage will work well for you and allow you to devote fewer resources (RAM) to the VM. Once you get it installed, just 'apt-get install gnome-panel hamster-applet' and replace the default panel with gnome-panel.

If you want to stick closer to Ubuntu, XUbuntu + gnome-panel might also work well for you. One big advantage of XUbuntu over #! is that you may get a newer version of Hamster; if you're going to compile Hamster yourself from sources to get the latest version, the version in the repositories is a moot point.

If you're willing to put in a little more effort, you could do a basic Debian system, and set up OpenBox or some other lightweight WM yourself. It would take a little more time than installing #! but you would end up with something that only used Debian stable. It will probably be almost a year before Debian stable becomes oldstable, and even then security updates should continue for another year or two: so using straight Debian means that, once you get it working, you shouldn't have to worry about anything breaking or changing for several years!

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