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Linux - Laptop and Netbook Having a problem installing or configuring Linux on your laptop? Need help running Linux on your netbook? This forum is for you. This forum is for any topics relating to Linux and either traditional laptops or netbooks (such as the Asus EEE PC, Everex CloudBook or MSI Wind).

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Old 06-07-2009, 01:09 PM   #1
brownb2
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Using Netbook type remix on old laptop - recommendations wanted


Hi,

I have somewhat computer illiterate parents and an old laptop I'd like to install a netbook OS on so they can use it (they didn't want to bin the laptop - it has nostalgic value and would seem a waste). Ideally something like Android looks ideally suited - if not for the fact I'd have to do some hefty hacking with it.

The specs for the laptop are:

- Pentium 1 166 Mhz
- 64MB Ram
- 4MB Trident Graphics card (VESA and XOrg compatible)
- 6GB IDE disk
- CD ROM
- Wired and Wireless network

The specs rule out modern OS like Ubuntu Remix/MID, as I mentioned Android may be possible (but I don't want to spend time hacking it), but ideally the distro would have a netbook interface. I've tried DamnSmallLinux, but it was too unprofessional/complex, PuppyLinux was dog slow (latest kernel crashed it too, GUI installer wouldn't work and it also crashed on first boot from HD - stupid thing forced a copy of everything to RAM, attempting to reconfigure broke grub, refused to restart - lost patience), SLAX never got past a Kernel panic (iirc).

Although these are full OS, ideally as mentioned it should have a UI that is very clear and professional, primarily for web browsing and doing netbook like work.

I don't want to have to install Windows 98 on it again because it is the only OS that will install with a few clicks

Thanks,

Benjamin
 
Old 06-07-2009, 06:54 PM   #2
michaelk
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What is the make/model of the laptop? Netbook distributions are not necessarily optimal for an older low resource laptop and trying to get a mobile device OS to run on a X86 platform would not be worth the effort. Is this laptop capable for booting from a CD?

There are several distributions that run a lightweight windows manager like xfce. deli might be a good choice. Check out www.distrowatch.com

I suggest the thread be moved to the laptop instead of the mobile forum.
 
Old 06-07-2009, 10:26 PM   #3
pixellany
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Moved: This thread is more suitable in <Laptop and Netbook> and has been moved accordingly to help your thread/question get the exposure it deserves.
 
Old 06-08-2009, 03:18 AM   #4
brownb2
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I tried gOS last night as its minimum spec meets the spec of the laptop (except CPU) and after waiting on the initialisation of the root file system just spins up the CD ROM periodically - I left the laptop on overnight and no change (no init 5/ GUI boot).

It seems the minimum spec of gOS is not what is mentioned on the website, the laptop can do 800x600 but only has 2MB of graphics RAM (the website states the minimum is a GPU that can do 640x480).

gOS is cracking on more powerful machines, it's a shame it would have been ideal.
Quote:
What is the make/model of the laptop?
Its a no name (begins with a T - the name escapes me but its not a major brand e.g. Toshiba)

Quote:
Netbook distributions are not necessarily optimal for an older low resource laptop and trying to get a mobile device OS to run on a X86 platform would not be worth the effort.
I'd have to disagree - I think it's an ideal grounds for netbook distribution - low cost, no real Microsoft competition (unless you want to risk viruses), more support for Linux than for Windows, good compatibility (compared to new tech) and low resources.

Quote:
Is this laptop capable for booting from a CD?
Yes.

I may try a gOS install from another machine to the laptop's hard disk but I think this may be a wasted effort, plus I've no idea how to setup Grub correctly (I can never seem to get it right!) - the drive would have to be mounted on a new machine as a USB device.

Thanks for the help.
 
Old 06-08-2009, 08:52 AM   #5
farslayer
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I would think more along the lines of Puppy, Vector, DSL, Feather, slax.....

I would agree the netbook Distros are Full Distros with lightweight front ends. they are NOT lightweight distros like those I listed above.
I run Debian on my netbook, but it would struggle on a P166 with 64MB of RAM, (I have installed Debian on a P233MMX with 64MB of RAM with XFCE desktop and it was rather slow.. )a P166 is pretty old, and 64 MB of RAM is rather low for a regular distro. .

Last edited by farslayer; 06-08-2009 at 08:54 AM.
 
Old 06-08-2009, 08:54 AM   #6
snowpine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brownb2 View Post
- Pentium 1 166 Mhz
- 64MB Ram
- 4MB Trident Graphics card (VESA and XOrg compatible)
- 6GB IDE disk
- CD ROM
- Wired and Wireless network
These specs are much too low for a modern GUI Linux distribution (Puppy is just about the "lightest" distro I consider user-friendly). Your parents will use it for a few days, get frustrated, and decide that "Linux sucks." Do them a favor; pick up an inexpensive (or free!) second-hand computer with at least a Pentium 3 and 512mb ram, then install something user-friendly like Ubuntu. Sorry to be blunt, but that is my opinion.
 
Old 06-08-2009, 11:05 AM   #7
michaelk
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Not sure what the absolute min RAM for gOS but I read 128MB on one site. With 64MB you are only going to be able to run a very light weight windows manager like fluxbox.

Vectorlinux light edition might work for you. http://vectorlinux.com/
Other options are slackware or debian.
 
Old 06-08-2009, 11:58 AM   #8
brownb2
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Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by snowpine View Post
These specs are much too low for a modern GUI Linux distribution (Puppy is just about the "lightest" distro I consider user-friendly). Your parents will use it for a few days, get frustrated, and decide that "Linux sucks." Do them a favor; pick up an inexpensive (or free!) second-hand computer with at least a Pentium 3 and 512mb ram, then install something user-friendly like Ubuntu. Sorry to be blunt, but that is my opinion.
They already have a netbook running a very poor version of linux (el cheapo CnM Minibook) that they are very happy with. Windows XP is used on the the desktop they have and are quite happy with it. The laptop was offered as see what you can do or junk it, so really I'm in it for the challenge, and to get something that looks like it rivals a more modern netbook OS.

I still have a 386 laptop which runs muLinux, now I'd expect a Win98 capable machine to run something a bit more credible than that I have to say, junking the P166 did cross my mind a few times.

I'll have a crack at Vector Linux tonight.... I just wish there was a netbook variant dedicated for use only on old machines!
 
Old 06-08-2009, 12:21 PM   #9
snowpine
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The first popular "netbook" was the original Asus eee pc. It had a 630mhz (underclocked) Celeron processor and 512mb of ram. Every subsequent netbook to come on the market has had equal or better specs. No "netbook variant" of Linux is targeted towards a Pentium 1 with 64mb of ram.

On the constructive side, I just discovered this "puplet"... I think it could be an intriguing choice for an older person who wants a simple OS for browsing the web: http://browserpuppy.com/ (no idea if it will support your hardware)

Breeezy is another Puplet designed for the original eee: http://minipc.org/safepup/index.php?...0the%20eee.htm
 
Old 06-08-2009, 01:24 PM   #10
rokytnji
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I have a couple of Blog Entries (In my Prefile) on installing Linux on such hardware if you care to use them for your parents Notebook,
 
Old 06-08-2009, 03:27 PM   #11
brownb2
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Angry

Quote:
Originally Posted by brownb2
I'll have a crack at Vector Linux tonight....
I can see why VectorLinux has very few posts on here - the Vl Light installer couldn't even see the internal harddisk (probably something to do with a daft decision to combine drive kernels in the 6.x series). All I get is a cocky error message that it can't see a hard disk, not very useful, then dropped to a prompt.

I'm not going to bother losing another jewel cased CD-R to VectorLinux.

[EDIT] I did try all_generic_ide, noapic etc etc to no avail [/EDIT]

Last edited by brownb2; 06-08-2009 at 03:28 PM.
 
  


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