mini distros for old-but-not-dead PCs

mini distros for old-but-not-dead PCs

Post by Pedro Figu » Sun, 05 Oct 2003 20:14:55


Greetings,

I have this old PC (Pentium 133Mhz / 32Mb RAM) running win98... I know
they make PDAs and calculators faster than that nowadays, but I'm
doing fine with it for what I need, as I use it almost exclusively for
accessing the internet (www, mail, usenet and irc), text editing, and
old games. Old as in zork and moria, that is, not as in Fifa2002. By
keeping the windows instalation pretty clean and tuned up I can even
run some heavier stuff (Fireworks and Dreamweaver, for instance) at
pretty acceptable speeds.

Now, I've recently installed Linux (a new Red Hat distro) on my other
(and recent) PC and I'm really delighted. Having read all over the
place that Linux will do wonders with older machines, I'm tempted to
drop windows altogether and get Linux running on this oldie as well.
I've tried a bunch of different distros from cover CDs and such, but
I'm having an hard time finding something that works for me. Red Hat
won't install with only 32Mb of ram, Debian get installed but can only
run in text mode, others do run but are simply too slow. I suppose I
could fine-tune one of these if I knew what I was doing, but alas, I'm
no wizard, so I came to the conclusion that perhaps I should try one
of those mini distros for older PCs... But they just look, well,
boring and dumb. It seems that there's no middle term: I can only find
either 3-diskets text mode distros, or heavy 6 CDs
all-package-included ones, that won't run on my PC. I understand I
can't possibly run the newest KDE, but I do expect to find something
that looks at least as good as windows. Preferably, running much
better than it, too. But then again that goes without saying.

All in all, would any kind soul gently point me to a decent distro
that's not-too-ugly, runs on old machines, easy to install, and
suitable for beginners? Is the such thing, to start with? The answer
is worth extra points if the_thing is available for free.

Thank you so much,
Pedro

XXXX@XXXXX.COM
 
 
 

mini distros for old-but-not-dead PCs

Post by James Vah » Sun, 05 Oct 2003 22:04:21


Debian runs fine here. Most likely all you need to do is increase your
HorizSync spec a bit.

~# dpkg-reconfigure xserver-svga

 
 
 

mini distros for old-but-not-dead PCs

Post by Davi » Sun, 05 Oct 2003 23:29:34


Try Slackware and stay away from KDE and GNOME.
It isn't classified as a "Newbie" distro but it was the first
distro I used. By having a second system you shouldn't have any
troubles finding help if you can't find the answer. Just take
your time and read the different screens and you shouldn't have
any problems. You only need disc 1 & 2 for a complete install and
you also get the Slackware-Live CD which is on disc 2.

--
Confucius: He who play in root, eventually kill tree.
Registered with The Linux Counter. http://www.yqcomputer.com/
Slackware 9.1.0 Kernel 2.4.22 i686 (GCC) 3.2.3
Uptime: 1 day, 2:12, 2 users, load average: 2.06, 2.32, 2.22
 
 
 

mini distros for old-but-not-dead PCs

Post by John Hasle » Mon, 06 Oct 2003 00:10:03

David writes:

Try any distribution and stay away from KDE and GNOME.
--
John Hasler
XXXX@XXXXX.COM
Dancing Horse Hill
Elmwood, Wisconsin
 
 
 

mini distros for old-but-not-dead PCs

Post by mjt » Mon, 06 Oct 2003 00:32:28


... slackware, gentoo, LFS
http://www.yqcomputer.com/
http://www.yqcomputer.com/
http://www.yqcomputer.com/
.
--
/// Michael J. Tobler: motorcyclist, surfer, skydiver, \\\
\\\ and author: "Inside Linux", "C++ HowTo", "C++ Unleashed" ///
\\\ http://www.yqcomputer.com/
Fortune's Real-Life Courtroom Quote #52:
Q: What is your name?
A: Ernestine McDowell.
Q: And what is your marital status?
A: Fair.
 
 
 

mini distros for old-but-not-dead PCs

Post by Stev » Mon, 06 Oct 2003 04:35:08


Interesting.

A few years ago I bought some ram for a 5 year old gateway I had. I
ended up paying a slightly stiff price as SDRAM had come out and few
people had the old stuff around.

I guess it depends on the hardware. Some of the older stuff I suspect
you can't give away.

Steve
 
 
 

mini distros for old-but-not-dead PCs

Post by Davi » Mon, 06 Oct 2003 05:11:25


LOL Both work pretty well on the more powerful systems but not
on old hardware. I have in the past, just for a test, run
GNOME-2.2 on an old i486 50MHz DX2 and though it was extremely
sllloooowwwww it didn't crash, but it would have taken all day to
get any thing done..

--
Confucius: He who play in root, eventually kill tree.
Registered with The Linux Counter. http://www.yqcomputer.com/
Slackware 9.1.0 Kernel 2.4.22 i686 (GCC) 3.2.3
Uptime: 1 day, 7:57, 2 users, load average: 2.07, 2.12, 2.09
 
 
 

mini distros for old-but-not-dead PCs

Post by notbo » Mon, 06 Oct 2003 05:33:22


Run Slackware with KDE. That will give you all you need. You might
think about sticking in at least 128M ram, shouldn't cost more than
about $20. You might consider a new box. Hell, I got my neighbor a
barebones box with an all integrated (video, audio, dial modem, NIC,
etc) motherboard and 533 celery for $59, and that was over a year ago!


nb
 
 
 

mini distros for old-but-not-dead PCs

Post by Matt N » Mon, 06 Oct 2003 06:10:09

> All in all, would any kind soul gently point me to a decent distro that's

Others have mentioned slackware, debian etc.

But I'd suggest Vector Linux. Although I haven't used it yet, I was
considering using it if I was going to resurrect my old pentium boxes.
The URL is: http://www.yqcomputer.com/

It's a distro based on slackware with KDE, IceWM and XFCE. The latter two
would be perfect for low memory computers.
 
 
 

mini distros for old-but-not-dead PCs

Post by John Hasle » Mon, 06 Oct 2003 06:39:25


David writes:

Which is why I told the OP, who has old hardware, to stay away from KDE and
Gnome. Any decent distribution will install without them.
--
John Hasler
XXXX@XXXXX.COM (John Hasler)
Dancing Horse Hill
Elmwood, WI
 
 
 

mini distros for old-but-not-dead PCs

Post by stevesusen » Mon, 06 Oct 2003 06:56:32

Pedro Figueiredo < XXXX@XXXXX.COM > wrote


No such animal.

Any minimalist linux distro will not be easy ( as in newbie easy ) to
install and will not have all that win98 has.

If you are still interested I've collected articles about linux on low
resource systems at:
http://www.yqcomputer.com/
 
 
 

mini distros for old-but-not-dead PCs

Post by Alan Conno » Mon, 06 Oct 2003 07:19:13


He may not be, but I am, and thank you for the link.

I figure I can do everything I want with about a 20 meg install, and have
learned the hard way that starting with a normal install on any major distro,
then deleting what you don't need, is a fool's game.

--
Later, Alan C
You can find my email address at the website: contact.html
take control of your mailbox ----- elrav1 ----- http://www.yqcomputer.com/
 
 
 

mini distros for old-but-not-dead PCs

Post by mjt » Mon, 06 Oct 2003 07:48:38


... then gentoo is probably the game you wanna play :)

or go here: http://www.yqcomputer.com/
and select "minimalist" from the category. i still say gentoo
is the beast to slay on this one
.
--
/// Michael J. Tobler: motorcyclist, surfer, skydiver, \\\
\\\ and author: "Inside Linux", "C++ HowTo", "C++ Unleashed" ///
\\\ http://www.yqcomputer.com/
A bachelor is a selfish, undeserving guy who has cheated some
woman out of a divorce. - Don Quinn
 
 
 

mini distros for old-but-not-dead PCs

Post by Richard St » Mon, 06 Oct 2003 08:36:11

The message < XXXX@XXXXX.COM >
from Matt Ng < XXXX@XXXXX.COM > contains these words:


I'd second that. I've got Vector Linux 3.2 running on a 486 DX/33 box
with ISA bus, 16MB memory and about 1GB available disc space. In command
line mode it's fine.

You can instal X, either version 3.3.6 or 4.2.1. Both work on this
configuration. X 3.3.6 with 12MB memory (reduced to work round a driver
problem) or X 4.2.1 with 16MB memory are about equally slow and not
really usable, if your ambitions extend to more than text editing.
However, with just a spot more memory and a PCI bus I'd guess it would
be quite practical.

--

Richard Stonehouse
(real e-mail: Richard at R Stonehouse dot Co dot UK)
 
 
 

mini distros for old-but-not-dead PCs

Post by Robert Hel » Mon, 06 Oct 2003 09:09:27

David < XXXX@XXXXX.COM >,
In a message on Sat, 04 Oct 2003 14:29:34 GMT, wrote :

D> Pedro Figueiredo wrote:
D> > Greetings,
D> >
D> > I have this old PC (Pentium 133Mhz / 32Mb RAM) running
D> > win98... I know they make PDAs and calculators faster than
D> > that nowadays, but I'm doing fine with it for what I need, as
D> > I use it almost exclusively for accessing the internet (www,
D> > mail, usenet and irc), text editing, and old games. Old as in
D> > zork and moria, that is, not as in Fifa2002. By keeping the
D> > windows instalation pretty clean and tuned up I can even run
D> > some heavier stuff (Fireworks and Dreamweaver, for instance)
D> > at pretty acceptable speeds.
D> >
D> > Now, I've recently installed Linux (a new Red Hat distro) on
D> > my other (and recent) PC and I'm really delighted. Having read
D> > all over the place that Linux will do wonders with older
D> > machines, I'm tempted to drop windows altogether and get Linux
D> > running on this oldie as well. I've tried a bunch of different
D> > distros from cover CDs and such, but I'm having an hard time
D> > finding something that works for me. Red Hat won't install
D> > with only 32Mb of ram, Debian get installed but can only run
D> > in text mode, others do run but are simply too slow. I suppose
D> > I could fine-tune one of these if I knew what I was doing, but
D> > alas, I'm no wizard, so I came to the conclusion that perhaps
D> > I should try one of those mini distros for older PCs... But
D> > they just look, well, boring and dumb. It seems that there's
D> > no middle term: I can only find either 3-diskets text mode
D> > distros, or heavy 6 CDs all-package-included ones, that won't
D> > run on my PC. I understand I can't possibly run the newest
D> > KDE, but I do expect to find something that looks at least as
D> > good as windows. Preferably, running much better than it, too.
D> > But then again that goes without saying.
D> >
D> > All in all, would any kind soul gently point me to a decent
D> > distro that's not-too-ugly, runs on old machines, easy to
D> > install, and suitable for beginners? Is the such thing, to
D> > start with? The answer is worth extra points if the_thing is
D> > available for free.
D>
D> Try Slackware and stay away from KDE and GNOME.
D> It isn't classified as a "Newbie" distro but it was the first
D> distro I used. By having a second system you shouldn't have any
D> troubles finding help if you can't find the answer. Just take
D> your time and read the different screens and you shouldn't have
D> any problems. You only need disc 1 & 2 for a complete install and
D> you also get the Slackware-Live CD which is on disc 2.

*I've* installed RedHat 6.2 on my 50mhz '486 Laptop (32meg of RAM, new
6gig hard drive). Works just fine. I *don't* use Gnome or KDE (not
even on my K6-500/128meg desktop box). FVWM2 is quite happy on my
Laptop.

Basically, ALL distributions will install on older machines, although
some of the newer ones are now using '586-ish install kernels, which
could be a problem on '486s (you'd need to either cross-install or
create a custom boot floppy). The main source of issues for older
boxes with 'slow' proce