mini distros for old-but-not-dead PCs

mini distros for old-but-not-dead PCs

Post by Robert Hel » Mon, 06 Oct 2003 09:09:28

notbob < XXXX@XXXXX.COM >,
In a message on Sat, 04 Oct 2003 20:33:22 GMT, wrote :

n> > Greetings,
n> >
n> > I have this old PC (Pentium 133Mhz / 32Mb RAM) running win98... I know
n> > they make PDAs and calculators faster than that nowadays, but I'm
n> > doing fine with it for what I need, as I use it almost exclusively for
n> > accessing the internet (www, mail, usenet and irc), text editing, and
n> > old games. Old as in zork and moria, that is, not as in Fifa2002. By
n> > keeping the windows instalation pretty clean and tuned up I can even
n> > run some heavier stuff (Fireworks and Dreamweaver, for instance) at
n> > pretty acceptable speeds.
n> Run Slackware with KDE. That will give you all you need. You might
n> think about sticking in at least 128M ram, shouldn't cost more than
n> about $20. You might consider a new box. Hell, I got my neighbor a

Nope, 128M of RAM for a pre-DIMM motherboard will cost much more than
$20, assuming you could even find it. A P133 will be a SIMM
motherboard, some of which maxed at 64meg of RAM. SIMMs are now getting
rare and hard to find, esp. the larger sizes, such as 32mb and 64mb (the
64mb SIMMs always were rare, even in the heyday of SIMM motherboards),
which is what you would need to upgrade to 128M, since most SIMM
motherboards only have 4 SMM slots. 4s, 8s, and 16s, are common enough.
With the typical 4 SIMM slot motherboard and 4 16mbs you get 64meg.

Running a reduced eye-candy X11 desktop (such as FVWM2) with *any*
distribution will run quite well on this box. The only real issue will
be a web browser. A small-footprint web-browser is the key. I think
Mozilla is a somewhat smaller footprint web-browser (smaller than
Netscape 4 certainly). Forget about Java. Don't bother to even install

n> barebones box with an all integrated (video, audio, dial modem, NIC,
n> etc) motherboard and 533 celery for $59, and that was over a year ago!
n> nb

Robert Heller ||InterNet: XXXX@XXXXX.COM ~heller || XXXX@XXXXX.COM /\FidoNet: 1:321/153

mini distros for old-but-not-dead PCs

Post by notbo » Mon, 06 Oct 2003 10:37:52

True. Depends on who you know. I got a friend who's a compulsive
hardware buyer. He's probably got trays and trays of SIMMS/older
DIMMS laying around. I know the big retailers are preying on the
older hardware user. A friend recently paid $60 for 128M of PC100 ram
at CompUSA, which is ludicrous. Check and see if there are any
computer swap meets/flea markets in your area. Also look for local
HAM radio clubs putting on flea markets. That's who organizes our
local electronics flea markets.

That's why I recommended upgrading. There are people who hoard this
old hardware and have it to sell. But, unless you are in the circle
and know who they are, it's often cheaper to just upgrade.



mini distros for old-but-not-dead PCs

Post by Pedro Figu » Mon, 06 Oct 2003 20:13:40

On Sat, 04 Oct 2003 12:14:55 +0100, Pedro Figueiredo < XXXX@XXXXX.COM >


Thank you for all your suggestions. I'm looking into gentoo, vector,
and lfs right now. Linux From Scratch seems a particularly interesting
way of getting a system that's taylored for my needs, as well as
learning a lot about linux on the path.


mini distros for old-but-not-dead PCs

Post by Frog » Mon, 06 Oct 2003 20:52:38

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


mini distros for old-but-not-dead PCs

Post by Ming H » Tue, 07 Oct 2003 04:13:38

mjt < XXXX@XXXXX.COM > writes:

Like someone had mentioned, any distro will
be just fine. As long as your applications are not heavy in memory,
like newer KDE or Gnome.

A slackware, gentoo, LFS, Debian running KDE 3.1 **will** be
slower than a RH9, Mandrake 9.1, Suse 8.2 running twm.

I'm typing this on a P166/80meg, RH9, icewm 1.2.9. It is not feeling
slower than those LFS Pentium 4 with KDE 3.1.

As in OP's case, just that 32meg is the problem for heavy GUI. If he
just using xterm/rxvt and using it as server, would be fine.