I Need a slimmed down Linux or an older version.

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I Need a slimmed down Linux or an older version.

Postposted on Tue Sep 04, 2007 10:29 am

Hey everyone,

I've got an old computer, an HP Pavilion PC Model 8543C, with the following specs:

Celeron 466Mhz
128MB of RAM (2 64MB sticks) of the PC100 variety
1 8 GB Hard Drive
1 10 GB Hard Drive
1 CD-ROM
1 CD-ROM Burner
3.5 Floppy
Fax Modem
Integrated Video Intel 810 (11 MB shared system memory)
AMC97 codec - audio

I have the strange notion of wanting to put a Linux distribution of some sort on this ancient little guy, but the most current distributions of Ubuntu at least require a bit more umph. Could someone reccomend a light Linux distrubution or an older distribution that may run on this machine decently? I could in theory upgrade the RAM to 256MB by buying something on Ebay for a couple bucks.

Any comments are welcome, thanks!
Last edited by Elohim on Tue Sep 04, 2007 11:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postposted on Tue Sep 04, 2007 10:50 am

I have a similary system that I put Xubuntu on. Supposedly Xfce is a much more lightweight frontend than Gnome, and in practice it runs pretty well on hardware almost the exact same as yours (this is an old Dell).
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Postposted on Tue Sep 04, 2007 10:50 am

Depends on what you want to do with it. Gentoo has been pretty snappy on my PII 233MHz PC. Right now, it's only a file server, but it was my main desktop for a while and I had Blackbox as my window manager. I think I installed XFCE at one point too. Anyway, it all ran pretty well.
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Postposted on Tue Sep 04, 2007 10:52 am

Well, haven't looked at the specs much but xubuntu is meant to be a much lighter ubuntu. with near same functionality. The only thing is you may have to use text based installation which i've had trouble with being as it likes to connect to the net and get information. If your just using ethernet that shouldn't be a problem though(it picked the wrong wep encryption and hung up at the downloading point)
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Postposted on Tue Sep 04, 2007 10:57 am

Heiwashin wrote:Well, haven't looked at the specs much but xubuntu is meant to be a much lighter ubuntu. with near same functionality. The only thing is you may have to use text based installation which i've had trouble with being as it likes to connect to the net and get information. If your just using ethernet that shouldn't be a problem though(it picked the wrong wep encryption and hung up at the downloading point)

What I did was actually install Ubuntu, then after the fact switch it to Xfce. That was fairly painless, and the installer for the full-fledged Ubuntu is fairly painless.

Plus, going that way always gives you the option of booting into gnome if you want to 8)

http://www.psychocats.net/ubuntu/xubuntu
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Postposted on Tue Sep 04, 2007 11:04 am

Usacomp2k3 wrote:
Heiwashin wrote:Well, haven't looked at the specs much but xubuntu is meant to be a much lighter ubuntu. with near same functionality. The only thing is you may have to use text based installation which i've had trouble with being as it likes to connect to the net and get information. If your just using ethernet that shouldn't be a problem though(it picked the wrong wep encryption and hung up at the downloading point)

What I did was actually install Ubuntu, then after the fact switch it to Xfce. That was fairly painless, and the installer for the full-fledged Ubuntu is fairly painless.

Plus, going that way always gives you the option of booting into gnome if you want to 8)

http://www.psychocats.net/ubuntu/xubuntu


Nice, good pointer.
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What driver issues can I expect?

Postposted on Tue Sep 04, 2007 12:00 pm

Hey, while I've got this question out there let me add another. Based on the system specs I gave I'd like to pick everyone's brain about what driver issues I may encounter using xUbuntu with this system. I do have a generic PCI networking card in their too, but I'll have to take it out and blow the dust off to get the make and model :).
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Postposted on Tue Sep 04, 2007 12:07 pm

You shouldn't encounter any driver problems. Your computer is fairly old, so the d4rivers should be working for your computer right off the bat.
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Postposted on Tue Sep 04, 2007 12:08 pm

The network card is almost guaranteed to work, Linux has trouble with newer stuff where the drivers haven't been written yet but anything that old should have a driver. The fax/modem is probably a Winmodem and so may not do so well. If you can bump the memory it will help the performance, but everything else should just work straight out of the box.
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Postposted on Wed Sep 05, 2007 1:54 am

When you are talking specs like this a major part of your desktop performance is going to be dependent on hardware acceleration working as well as possible. 11 megs should be sufficient for solid 2d, make sure to use the latest 2.1.1 intel xorg driver & read the man page as ubuntu doesn't do much graphics configuration beyond the basics.

FWIW, I've recently had firefox running more or less ok on a 233Mhz iMac G3 with 64MB, 6MB Mach 64. Slow but usable.
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Postposted on Sun Sep 09, 2007 2:52 pm

On the OP's HP, I wouldn't go with Xubuntu. I've put that on a K6-2/500 with 512 MB of RAM, and it's pretty slow. Given my experiences, I'd say that it's more CPU limited, or possibly VGA-limited (some old Trident 9750).

With that box, I'd put in Damn Small Linux or Puppy Linux. With DSL I was able to run Firefox acceptably on a Pentium-90 with 64MB of RAM and a Voodoo3 (took about 30 sec to start FF, though). If you're fairly experienced with Linux, you might try Debian Netinst (net install), which will let you choose exactly which packages you want.

All of the hardware you mentioned should work except for the modem. If the modem's a Winmodem, it's very unlikely it will work; however, a hardware modem is a cinch.
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Postposted on Fri Oct 05, 2007 12:34 pm

Perhaps VectorLinux?

I've used VL (the non-SOHO version) successfully on machines far less powerful than the one listed. One was a 200Mhz Pentium Classic with 64MB RAM.

The trick is to keep away from the "heavier" desktop enviroments like KDE and Gnome. Try distros that offer IceWM/IceWM Light or Xfce.

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Postposted on Fri Oct 05, 2007 9:04 pm

Any way you can bump the RAM to at least 256MB? That would probably widen the field of potential distros a bit.

From personal experience, Redhat 8 actually ran reasonably well on a 500MHz K6-III, but you probably want something a bit more current than that.
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Postposted on Fri Oct 05, 2007 9:23 pm

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Last edited by nightmorph on Fri Sep 20, 2013 3:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postposted on Fri Oct 05, 2007 10:43 pm

You could try some specialized "light" distro, but I'd just put a base Debian or Ubuntu system (for Ubuntu, that means installing the Alternate Install CD and not selecting the "Desktop" stuff when it runs tasksel) and then install what you want on top as needed. It'll be easier to deal with that way than trying to use some oddball cut down distro. A 466Mhz processor with 128MB of RAM isn't all that bad. I look back to running Linux with X11 on 486s and my basic window manager configuration and background apps aren't all that different (the apps are a bit more memory hungry, though -- Firefox versus old, ugly Motif Netscape).

When I want to do a fairly lightweight system, I ditch the desktop environment entirely -- not even XFCE, just X and a window manager. Hell, I never install desktop environments on any of my systems, even without resource constraints. I'd put X on there and fluxbox (or wmaker or icewm -- that's a matter personal taste). Then you can install Opera (to me it seems to run better in memory limited situations than Firefox -- use the official package repos provided by Opera) and it won't be too bad. Maybe add gkrellm or some kind of wmaker dock apps, and you're good to go.
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Slackware + XFCE

Postposted on Tue Oct 23, 2007 2:51 am

I think this is a viable solution.
Forget KDE and Gnome with 128M. Go XFCE.
Slackware is usually light in terms of hard disk space requirements if you just install the basics.
By the way, it is not the friendliest distribution but still my favourite
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Postposted on Tue Oct 23, 2007 5:35 am

just brew it! wrote:Any way you can bump the RAM to at least 256MB? That would probably widen the field of potential distros a bit.

From personal experience, Redhat 8 actually ran reasonably well on a 500MHz K6-III, but you probably want something a bit more current than that.


Redhat 9 might work well, too. Just have to update some core packages and you ar egood to go.
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Postposted on Tue Oct 23, 2007 8:39 am

I've always been a fan of Slackware for slimmed down systems. Not a lot of auto-updates and a mean install interface to use, but atleast you know everything you put on your system.
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Postposted on Sat Dec 01, 2007 10:58 am

Corith wrote:I've always been a fan of Slackware for slimmed down systems. Not a lot of auto-updates and a mean install interface to use, but atleast you know everything you put on your system.


Good for a slim installation...but quite a learning curve unless you are pretty familiar with Linux or Unix systems.

I think that the Xubuntu suggestion is a good one. If you run into problems with using the distribution or with responsiveness, then look for something lighter.

BTW, I don't think that the GUI installer of Ubuntu will complete with those system specs. I'd use the alternate installer distribution. The installer isn't as pretty, but it is much lighter and kinder to older hardware.

Really lightweight distros include:
Feather Linux http://featherlinux.berlios.de/
and
Damn Small Linux http://damnsmalllinux.org/
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