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Old 12-05-2011, 10:00 AM   #1
Telengard
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Question Distro needed for system with 192 MB RAM


Needs/Wants
  • My goal is to use this system for forensic data recovery.
  • I don't need a desktop at all, but won't complain if one is included.
  • I'm willing to compile things from source if needed, but prefer APT package management only because that's what I'm used to.
  • A recent kernel would be good, but maybe not a requirement.
  • A live CD would be very helpful, although I can probably dig up an empty HD for install if required.

Hardware Information
  • Model: Gateway Essential 550
  • Mainboard: 1sws00319754 aa 744110-205
  • Chipset: Intel 82371EB and 82443BX
  • BIOS string: 4w4sb0x0.15a.0017.p12
  • Phoenix BIOS 4.0 Release 6.0
  • Pentium III @ 550 MHz
  • 192 MB RAM
  • Video: NVIDIA GeForce2 MX 200 Rev.2 (Gateway PN: 6002262)
  • Sound: Creative Sound Blaster Audio PCI 64/128D (1373 chipset) (Gateway PN: 6001238)
  • Network 1: D-Link DFE-530TX+ PCI Adapter Rev.D2
  • Network 2: Kingston EtherRx KNE111TX/100B PCI Fast Ethernet Adapter
  • CD drive: HL-DT-ST CD-RW GCE-8160B
  • 3.5 inch floppy drive: yes

Software Required
  • EXT2 filesystem tools suite (e2fsck, dumpe2fs, etc.)
  • testdisk
  • and such

Thanks in advance for any help

EDIT
Some of the blanks are filled in now

Last edited by Telengard; 12-05-2011 at 06:47 PM. Reason: fill in some blanks
 
Old 12-05-2011, 10:45 AM   #2
BlackRider
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I have managed to set Debian Lenny + LXDE up in a system with 192 Mb of RAM. Desktop applications (Iceweasel, Open Office) where a little sluggish, but it worked. If you set your system without a graphical interface and use only the text interface, I think it should suffice to you. The room it takes to install Leny + LXDE is of 1.2Gb more or less. However, I can't assure your processor will be able to handle it.

As for Live CDs, I tend to avoid them when there is not much memory in the system. Knoppix with graphical interface would be almost unusable in that computer, while many other Live systems are too error prone for serious work. If you are really interested, I think that a remastered version of Knoppix could do the job if used in console mode only.

There are other Live distributions designed for system administrators and such, like System CD Rescue and Finnix. As I have no experience with them, I would not make a recommendation.

Last edited by BlackRider; 12-05-2011 at 10:51 AM.
 
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Old 12-05-2011, 11:36 AM   #3
TobiSGD
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I would think that grml is exactly what you are searching for.
It comes with forensic tools, has some WMs included in the full disk, but runs CLI by default (the small medium comes without X), is based on Debian, so it uses APT, has a not really recent kernel (currently 2.6.38 in the stable version, don't know about the testing version), comes as a live-CD and runs with 64MB RAM in the full version (128MB recommended, the small version should run with 32 MB RAM).
 
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Old 12-05-2011, 07:00 PM   #4
Telengard
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Thumbs up

Surprisingly enough, Windows 98SE still works as well as always on this box after a few years in storage. Of course by well I mean slower than snails and bluescreen-ing once in a while.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackRider View Post
I have managed to set Debian Lenny + LXDE up in a system with 192 Mb of RAM.
I've got the first two disks of Debian 3.0 here, but I don't think I'll be installing it on this machine.

Quote:
There are other Live distributions designed for system administrators and such, like System CD Rescue and Finnix.
Some time after my OP I booted up SliTaz 3.0. Surprisingly, I actually got a desktop! So I downloaded the latest System Rescue CD, booted up, and got a desktop there too! I'm quite surprised these worked so well on a system which can barely limp along in Win98.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TobiSGD View Post
I would think that grml is exactly what you are searching for.
This I've got to see. If it can live happily alongside Win98 my quest may be complete

Last edited by Telengard; 12-05-2011 at 07:05 PM.
 
Old 12-05-2011, 07:21 PM   #5
Telengard
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One thing I neglected to consider. I haven't had to worry about this in a long time, but on a system this old it is worth thinking about.

There used to be some hard limits on disk size imposed by BIOS (among other things.) I wonder if that will be a problem here?
 
Old 12-07-2011, 07:54 PM   #6
Telengard
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grml worked great with the computer. It already proved itself useful by helping to recover data from a corrupted filesystem (hooray!)

I do have a couple of small reservations. I couldn't figure out how to do anything on the default desktop, though with time I'm sure I could. I don't know about zsh though: it seems a little quirky to someone coming from sh/bash. I did manage to be productive though, so I can't hold its differentness against it.

Thanks for the ideas, friends
 
  


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