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Thread: Linux for an old laptop

  1. #1
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    • madman045's system
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    Question Linux for an old laptop

    We are trying to make use of an OLD laptop and we were going to try linux on it.

    We only want to use it for surfing and email

    Its a p166, 96mb ram and a 1.2gb hdd

    It can boot from cd as we installed 98SE on it, it runs ok, but when we tried the internet, it froze

    Also tried installing ubuntu on it, but there didnt seem to be a minimal install option and it ran out of space...

    What do you guys recommend? Needs to have a gui for ease of use

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Ah, Mrs. Peel! mike_w's Avatar
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    Could try DSL, or Xubuntu (to be released... tomorrow)
    "Well, there was your Uncle Tiberius who died wrapped in cabbage leaves but we assumed that was a freak accident."

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    Admin team peterb's Avatar
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    With only 96Mb RAM you may find running X windows a bit of a struggle, which woulkd rule out any GUI applications for e mail or web browsing. If you can get Knoppix disk, you could test it out that way before committing anything to the hard drive (although you may have done that with the Ubantu disk)

    If you do get it to run I think you will find the performance disappointing. If you casn get memory for it (and it will support more memory) you should aim for at least 256Mbytes. The hard disk may be limiting too as you will need double the ram size for the swap partition.

    It would certainly run a mail server and possibly a web server but as a general client machine with a browser and GUI, I think it is probably a no gp.
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    Seething Cauldron of Hatred TheAnimus's Avatar
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    this problem here is most linux distro's are hampered by the lack of a good windowing system.

    How about NT4? Can be quite well patched so its okay to use on a network, will run firefox happily too.
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  5. #5
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    I've ran Windows 2000 on a much worse desktop machine... went slow but faster than Win98.. you could probably pick up a cheap copy off eBay too.

  6. #6
    Not Very Senior Member RavenNight's Avatar
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    I'm a big fan of puppy linux, very similair to DSL, I've run it on a laptop with almost identical specs.
    AMD 3700+ San Diego @ 2.8GHz | Zalman CNPS 9500LED + Arctic Cooling MX-1 | Asus A8N-SLi Deluxe + Zalman Northbridge | 1024MB DDR RAM (2 x 512MB Corsair XMS Pro TwinX) | Leadtek nVidia 6600GT 128MB | Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi Xtreme Music | 2x80GB Hitachi Deskstar SATA-II (RAID 0) | Gigabyte 3D Aurora Case | Hiper Type-R 580W Modular | Enermax Ultimate Fan Controller| Microsoft Nautral 4000 | Logitech G5 + fUnc 1030| Ideazon Fang | SpeedLink Medusa 5.1 Surround Headset | Samsung SM913N 19" TFT | Compro DVB-T200

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    Senior Member UltraMagnus's Avatar
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    windows NT is unsupported, so is sucseptable to virii

    i would recomend xubuntu personally, although i have heard good things of DSL and puppy

  8. #8
    Seething Cauldron of Hatred TheAnimus's Avatar
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    NT 4 is still well supported by 3rd parties, so about as well supported as linux. Banks still run it :S (i could name names.... shocking ones too, some of the boxes running it are brand new too!).

    DSL is okay, but it runs slow on a PII350!
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  9. #9
    Senior Member UltraMagnus's Avatar
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    DSL can run on a 486 quite well, but you will have to do a hard drive install! otherwise it will be slow.....

  10. #10
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    • madman045's system
      • Motherboard:
      • P9X79 Pro
      • CPU:
      • I7-3820
      • Memory:
      • 32GB
      • Storage:
      • Not enough!
      • Graphics card(s):
      • HD7970
      • PSU:
      • 850w Corsair
      • Case:
      • Corsair Carbide 300R
      • Operating System:
      • Win 7 Ultimate X64
      • Monitor(s):
      • Dell U2713HM & 2007WFP
      • Internet:
      • Plusnet FTTC - 30mbit/7mbit
    Going to have a play with both DSL and Xubuntu, ran DSL on vmware and it didnt work very well... just going to have to wait and see....

    Thanks for the suggestions

    Andy

  11. #11
    Admin team peterb's Avatar
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    • peterb's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Nascom 2
      • CPU:
      • Z80B
      • Memory:
      • 48K 8 bit memory on separate card
      • Storage:
      • Audio cassette tape - home built 5.25" floppy drive
      • Graphics card(s):
      • text output (composite video)
      • PSU:
      • Home built
      • Case:
      • Home built
      • Operating System:
      • Nas-sys
      • Monitor(s):
      • 12" monocrome composite video input
      • Internet:
      • No networking capability on this machine
    Quote Originally Posted by TheAnimus
    this problem here is most linux distro's are hampered by the lack of a good windowing system..
    A bit of a sweeping statement! However it is true that the popular Linux GUIs (Gnome and KDE) are resource hungry (partly because of the extra features such as the extended workspace) However there are other GUI's around that use fewer resources, although they lack some of the features of the two I mentioned. One is TWM - there are others.
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  12. #12
    Seething Cauldron of Hatred TheAnimus's Avatar
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    runs on X........ don't you get thats not useful for a DESKTOP style windowing system.

    KDE and Gnome are incredibly resource hungry and run impressivly slow even on my 4 virtual cpu'd xeon system. I spent ages trying to figure out how it was running so slow until i called upon a friend who spends far to much time mucking about with debian, only for him to call me "crazy" to complain about the latency..... yes.

    The extra features like extended workspace don't slow down NT when you have them enabled (see power toys). The only time such a thing should slow down is when you change between them, paint updates to them from the applications should be very low priority.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member UltraMagnus's Avatar
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    well, that is very strange, i have never had any problems with gnome on my pentium M 1.8ghz laptop....

    and TheAnimus, while nt might be supported by the community like linux is, the difference is the NT community does not have the source code of the OS to fix problems

    and Xfce is quite a nice GUI IMO

  14. #14
    Seething Cauldron of Hatred TheAnimus's Avatar
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    are you trying to say that gnome/kde in fact anything that uses X runs as well as on NT? well some people also think that john prescot is a decent upstanding moral pillar.

    NT supported by the community.... piss off, any problems should be fixed by the people who know the design, rather than just have the source code.

    a simple proof of why open source developement leads to terrible design, just look at the pittyful excuse of a HAL in linux, thats what courses its lack of hardware support!
    ....rants on....
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  15. #15
    Admin team peterb's Avatar
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    • peterb's system
      • Motherboard:
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      • CPU:
      • Z80B
      • Memory:
      • 48K 8 bit memory on separate card
      • Storage:
      • Audio cassette tape - home built 5.25" floppy drive
      • Graphics card(s):
      • text output (composite video)
      • PSU:
      • Home built
      • Case:
      • Home built
      • Operating System:
      • Nas-sys
      • Monitor(s):
      • 12" monocrome composite video input
      • Internet:
      • No networking capability on this machine
    Quote Originally Posted by TheAnimus
    any problems should be fixed by the people who know the design, ...
    ....rants on....
    They should indeed - pity they aren't! Joking apart, there are many good aspects of the linux design, such as the modular Kernel, multi-tasking etc (and the fact that I don't have to reboot the machine everytime I install something) and easy access to the CLI - everything is pretty transparent, and no messy registry to worry about. (No hidden 'Easter Eggs either')

    Howver, NT works pretty well out of the box, is relatively simple to use and has a powerful marketing force behind it. I use both, each does things the other doesn''t (or I can't make do)

    But I'm not going to get into a Linux/Windows flame war over it!
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  16. #16
    Seething Cauldron of Hatred TheAnimus's Avatar
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    multitasking in linux is probably one of its major pitfalls.

    google pre-emptive multi-threading.

    the modular kernel is nothing compared to NT, which lets be honest what do you need to reboot for? A badly written installer's benefit. Most things you really don't, like driver updates. Its worth noting vista beta has features to patch so much without a reboot, waaay more than linux.

    Linux's biggest let down is how badly designed the kernel.
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