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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 02-18-2004, 05:20 PM   #1
onish
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Registered: Feb 2004
Location: Bangladesh
Distribution: mepis, suse, fedora
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Which distro to choose for low end laptop with 32 MB RAM?


Hi gyuz, my first posting over here, actually my first posting in any linux forum! Oh well here it goes...

I'm not a new bie, neither a pro... somewhere in the middle and trying hard to get the full hang of linx. Now, whenever any one of my friends (non-geek) comes to me and tells that their computer is screwed up and they can't even browse the net, and asks me to reinstall their op, my first choice is to put a linux distro on that machine and see how it behaves for the general users.

Now the problem that I'm facing currently is, I have this laptop Compaq Precerrio, PII 300 MHz, with 32 MB RAM. Previously it was running WinME (sort of). Now, I'm at lost to choose which distro to try on it. It just needs to but up, run X and through a pcimca NIC, connect to the internet and do regular browsing / email stuff. Nothing much....

Kinda lost... help anybody? I tried the MEPIS (my faviorite) but it didn't even boot. (needs more than 110 mb something to install it from the live cd)

Thanks in advance
 
Old 02-18-2004, 05:23 PM   #2
Nis
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Try VectorLinux. It's a Slackware based distro for older machines with slower processors and not as much RAM.
 
Old 02-18-2004, 06:02 PM   #3
onish
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Registered: Feb 2004
Location: Bangladesh
Distribution: mepis, suse, fedora
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Quote:
Originally posted by Nis
Try VectorLinux. It's a Slackware based distro for older machines with slower processors and not as much RAM.
kool... i'm trying that out right now!!! Thanks a bunch.
 
Old 02-18-2004, 11:02 PM   #4
wartstew
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Registered: Apr 2002
Location: Albuquerque, NM USA
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Vector is good as long as it will do what you want. It looks like you have to get the year old version 3.2 to get the "xf336" root option which includes the older, lighter X-server and window managers. Stay away from the other one that has XFree 4.x and KDE: You simply don't have the RAM for it.

If you like MEPIS which is Debian based, and have a reasonably fast Internet connection, you might consider doing a Debian base install, change your "/etc/apt/sources.list" to find Debian Unstable, then "apt-get" your way to a lean system that has just what you want on it and is very easy to keep up to date. I've set up several old computers this way and they work quite well as long as you know how to deal with Debian, which is more complicated than Slackware based distro's like Vector. I've done a network install starting from a couple of floppy disks, but the whole process is a bit convoluted. I haven't tried the new "Sarge" installer floppy set yet however.

Reguardless of which distro you use, I would custom compile your own kernel, stripping out anything you don't need, to save a couple of extra megabytes of RAM. You need all the free RAM you can get.

Try to find a cheap memory upgrade for that computer if you can. I've got an old P1-120 laptop with 48megs of RAM that I've run Slackware, Debian, and Win98 on and it really starts thrashing while browsing the Internet due to lack of memory. It is made worse in my case due to a primitive IDE controller that only does PIO transfers as well. Still, it does okay running Mozilla-Firebird (now Firefox) or Opera as the Web browser. It flies running Dillo, but Dillo is limited.
 
Old 02-18-2004, 11:27 PM   #5
onish
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Registered: Feb 2004
Location: Bangladesh
Distribution: mepis, suse, fedora
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wartstew, thanks for that lengthy explanation. Debian would be my first choice to start tweaking with, but I'm still not fluent enough to make my debian work as I want it to be. Using MEPIS is my first step to get closer to Debian. Previously I was a RedHat guy, but after they abandonded us, I also abandonded them. Actually I found out that Debian based distros has the most stability that I crave for. Of course my final target is to start using debian directly, till then... i need to learn more!!! Thanks for your advice though, I'll try them out too.
 
Old 02-19-2004, 09:41 AM   #6
questionasker
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try this thread. it has some other suggestions.

but an older vector version is probably best.
 
Old 02-20-2004, 03:02 AM   #7
wartstew
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Registered: Apr 2002
Location: Albuquerque, NM USA
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Debian has been a long steep learning curve for me, but so far it has been worth it. Debian has archane commands that do really nice things like switch around major parts of you user environment ("alternatives"), and keeps all your window manager menus synced up with what you actually install on your system. Finding out about all these extras hasn't been easy.

Slackware (hence Vector) is *very* stable if you do a full install, but as you strip things out of it, you really need to know what you are doing so you don't break a lot of stuff doing it. Adding things to it can be tricky at times as well. These operations are much easier in Debian.
 
  


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