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Old 10-21-2011, 12:04 PM   #1
fredb47
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Need to match older machine to an older version of Linux


Hi, I've tried several distro's for older machines. Is there a site to match up the hardware on my older machine to an older version of Linux? I'm new want to set up Linux but don't want to mess up one of the newer machines I have. (don't fix it if it isn't broken sort of thing.) Thank you.

Last edited by XavierP; 10-21-2011 at 03:17 PM. Reason: Moved to Linux-Distributions
 
Old 10-21-2011, 03:38 PM   #2
theNbomr
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How old is your 'older machine'? Why do you think you need a special version of Linux? If limited storage and/or memory are the limiting factor, then you can probably install a subset of the usual installation of a modern distro. Or, perhaps you don't mean 'older', but simply 'smaller'. For that, I prefer Tiny Core Linux, or even it's little brother Micro Core Linux.
Modern kernels still support a lot of legacy hardware, so unless your machine is really old, it can probably run a very recent kernel. Video drivers might be an issue, but you probably won't find any particular distro that will help you there. If your host has a PCI bus, you should be able to upgrade most or all of anything that is difficult to get driver support for. And real legacy gear is usually available really cheap; like free if you look in the right places.
--- rod.
 
Old 10-21-2011, 03:49 PM   #3
ShadowCat8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredb47
Hi, I've tried several distro's for older machines. Is there a site to match up the hardware on my older machine to an older version of Linux? I'm new want to set up Linux but don't want to mess up one of the newer machines I have. (don't fix it if it isn't broken sort of thing.) Thank you.
Hmmmm...

Well, I would think that, depending on the exact hardware, a current distro that is installed in it's "lite" version should be able to handle most older hardware pretty well. Being aware of your limited resources on the hardware and deciding how you want to break those resources out should be the trick. You know, for instance, that older hardware will generally have slower processors and not as much RAM or HDD space, so you will have to take that into account.

As an example, I recently acquired an older IBM (Yes, IBM... NOT Lenovo! :-p hehe) T60 laptop with a 50GB HDD and I upgraded the RAM to 3GB. Even with that, Ubuntu was still too heavy to put on it, so I went with Sabayon-LXDE (Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment). So far everything is working great except trying to get Wine to run well with the ATI graphics chipset (3D rendering in Wine won't work but 2D works fine), but I will get that squared away at some point, too.

So, as long as you are not trying to load up an old 386 or earlier, you should be able to get it to run. Just remember how much of a system's resources a desktop environment will use up and make your decisions accordingly. If worse comes to worst, you can always use one of the completely stripped-down desktops like BlackBox or Enlightenment.

HTH. Let us know.
 
Old 10-21-2011, 04:02 PM   #4
BlackRider
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I have managed to fit a Debian 5 install on a very old computer ( Pentium IV, less than 200 Mb of RAM) using less than 1.3 Gb of room. Results are not very good, but it does the work.

Can you specify your computer capabilities and the purpose of your install? It is not the same to use a box for Desktop computing that to use it for playing stuff from the bsd-games package, you know :-)

As it has been said, just using a subset of a modern distribution will surely do the trick for desktops. Debian with LXDE and a set of lightweight apps (Abiword instead of LibreOffice, M.O.C. instead of other music players...) would work nice with 256 Mb of RAM unless you plan heavy use for it.

If you want, you can try an old version of Slackware too (legacy versions are kept in some mirrors, have a look). Slackware 8.1 (2002) still has some support from the developers. I am running Slackware 13.37 right now and I am consuming 382 Mb with Firefox, Libreoffice and some other stuff running, for your reference.

There are other distributions said to be specially suited for old hardware, like CrunchBang (never tried), Slitaz (not extremely reliable, but ok for casual work) and TinyCore (very minimalistic). I have been told that OpenBSD works great in old computers too.

Last edited by BlackRider; 10-21-2011 at 04:08 PM.
 
Old 10-21-2011, 04:46 PM   #5
theNbomr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackRider View Post
I have managed to fit a Debian 5 install on a very old computer ( Pentium IV, less than 200 Mb of RAM)
See, that's why I asked what is meant by 'older machine'. To me, that's still a current vintage. Old is Pentium. Very is old is pre-Pentium.
Yeah, all 100 GB or so of monthly home LAN traffic still passes through my AMD K6-2 Linux firewall with 32 MB of RAM. It's been doing so for about 5 years, when it replaced the '486 that I couldn't get a replacement power supply for. Okay, I know the OP isn't looking for a headless server, but I do know someone who did web browsing, e-mail, basic office tasks, etc with an IBM Pentium PL-something (Win XP) until about a month ago. Basic needs can be met by pretty modest hardware.

--- rod.
 
Old 10-21-2011, 09:12 PM   #6
jefro
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A virtual machine on your new system is as safe as it gets.

I'd look at the current choices like slitaz, puppy, vector, I forget if it is arch or something like that.
 
Old 10-22-2011, 12:41 AM   #7
John VV
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for an older machine
i have ScientificLinux 6 32 bit running just fine on a 10 going on 11 year old DELL - p4 cpu, 1 gig ram ( 256 from the factory) , gforce2 ( yes 2 ) mx 400 nvidia card , 4 usb ONE ( yes usb1 ) ports and a 3.5 floppy


Now if this box of yours is an old p3 or very old 286 ( something that had win95or 3.1 installed ) ? -it's time to recycle .
 
Old 10-26-2011, 06:12 PM   #8
fredb47
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Im looking for a small or light version that will fit a Dell Insperon 7000 with under 400megs of ram.
I'm looking at the Distros like Damn Small Linux. But wondered if an older version would be best? Id like to be able to
add applications I want. Mostly the linux version of the Arduino IDE, and maybe a C++ Compiler. I'd really also apreciate a good book on linux commands for a beginner
 
Old 10-27-2011, 04:51 AM   #9
corbintechboy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredb47 View Post
Im looking for a small or light version that will fit a Dell Insperon 7000 with under 400megs of ram.
I'm looking at the Distros like Damn Small Linux. But wondered if an older version would be best? Id like to be able to
add applications I want. Mostly the linux version of the Arduino IDE, and maybe a C++ Compiler. I'd really also apreciate a good book on linux commands for a beginner
Any distribution can be as heavy or light as you want.

You don't need anything older, just lighter.
 
Old 10-27-2011, 05:49 AM   #10
TobiSGD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredb47 View Post
Dell Insperon 7000 with under 400megs of ram.

...

Id like to be able to add applications I want.
Try Lubuntu, it is small, not outdated and has a huge repositories for installing programs.

Quote:
I'd really also apreciate a good book on linux commands for a beginner
Not a book, but I usually recommend http://linuxcommand.org/ for beginners.
 
Old 10-27-2011, 11:08 AM   #11
DavidMcCann
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Xfce distros: Salix and Vector Standard run in 256MB
LXDE distros: WattOS and Lubuntu run in 192MB (less configurable user interface)

These are all very reliable distros. WattOS and Lubuntu use the Ubuntu repository and so have very large amounts of software available. Salix uses the Slackware repository, so the software is very stable.
 
  


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