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A friend of mine from school has a computer with a p133 cpu, 32mb ram, a 1mb video card etc... he is extremely interested in putting linux on that... im thinking mandrake 8.1 might be extremely slow... what would be a good distro for this?
Well, if you don't use KDE or GNOME, Linux is still going to be quite fast with a P200. I haven't tried out KDE 1.x on an older machine... it seems to be a lot faster. If it is still too slow, you might consider giving up XFree as a last possibility. If you can buy another 32Mb of ram, the system will be much faster....
The freeze problem: Well, I had an AMD 233 with 32Mb of ram and while installing Mandrake 8.1, the computer gave up, i.e. it froze. Probably, it didn't have enough memory. Then, i tried SuSe 7.0. With the text-only installation, no freezing anymore. As far as I know, Mandrake 8.1 also brings along a text based setup. You might want to try this one.
I've got a P1 200 running Slack 7.1 and Gnome, BDS4.4 and Enlightenment, and LFS, X4.2, and KDE and no problems. 64 Megs of RAM and a 2 Mb Vid card. Mandy 8.1 is just a little bloated. Slack 8 would probably be fine.