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Jedinovice 10-24-2010 01:11 PM

About to start Linux - Recommendations on 2 variants of Linux. Help please!
 
Hi to all.

From reading the stickies I _think_ this is place to post! Sorry, my first post. It's a bit long but I want to be clear.

I have need of advice regarding distributions of Linux. No time for a flame war here!

I plan to move out to South East Asia – my wife is a local there – next year. I have a language to learn, IT skills to catch up with (sorry, this is a sudden change of plan) and I have to get into Linux *fast.* Where we plan to go Linux is much bigger than Windows in many ways cause its, er, cheap. I gotta have Linux on my Resume. “And fast, Uhura, fast.” Now, there are the odd couple of Linux freaks who can help at work but… in my experience, such tend to be so enthusiastic about their set up they wish to impose it on me. So when I say, “What I want to do is…” rather than “Well, how you do it is…” I get, “You want to do this instead!”
Thanks guys.
Sigh.
I swear, I asked on guy about a Linux wordprocessor at work and was being pushed towards and entire document management system. No, I know what I what, don’t tell me what you want.

I have high hopes of better help here! :-)
So here is my plan.

I have new Windows 7 laptop that will remain so. I am not a fan of Windows 7 but I need that in place.

So I have two other PC’s to put Linux on.

The first is a 5 year old 1.7GB Athlon XP shuttle box – which has been excellent – with 60GB HD in two partitions and 256MB RAM. This one I want to run as a basic multi-media machine to play MP’s, MOV files and basic wordprocessing. Frankly, I want to have a basic desktop to play with the OS and get ‘under the skin’ of Linux. I want a minimum fuss, compatible install so I can get a desktop and CLI and multimedia quickly. Then I can play. I do NOT mind using an older rendering of Linux to get things done. I do not need state of the art Linux here. I need reliability, MP3 playing and desktop customisation.

Oh, please tell me you can change the screen colours in the GUI!! I use secondary colours for Windows backgrounds as it is much easier on the eyes for me than black on white. (And one of the many reasons I spit on Mac’s!) I dread paper white for everything!

The second machine I wish to get up and running is a P75 with 500MB HD and 8MB RAM (though I can get EDO RAM easily enough but I do not want to go beyond 32MB as I am emulating hardware in use in the East.) Linux on ancient machines is not stupid out where a PC costs five years wages. Having skills in pushing old machines will be of help to me in the East. [I also enjoy resurrecting old boxes that people tend to abandon. So it will be fun as a project. So no-one say “Why do you want to do that?!”] Please also note that I am looking to emulate the situation in a developing country where cost is an issue regarding computing so want to find freeware that provides solutions on all manner of hardware. Old, unsupported apps are of interest to me.

I could do with an older version that will run on such a box and run some office software so I can support such HD/SW out there. Once I have cut my teeth on the Athlon I hope to be able to roll up my sleeves and CLI up an older box. The first I want fast install, least hassle and the chance to play MP3’s while doing a bit of typing as I learn a whole new language. Then I want roll my sleeves and do battle with an old box to know Linux closer and be ready to support the OS on older HD out there! As I say, boxes we throw away in three years where I am going – I shall not say – they hang onto for ten. I want to be ready for that.

I have some limited experience with the Unix command line but that was decades ago when x-Windows was being displayed on servers in largely demo form only! The internet was first being mentioned in Universities. But I remember ls, chmod, rm, grep and the like. I am not a Windows baby and don’t need to do everything by point and click. I drop to CMD regularly at work.

The other thing is… I do need a wordprocessor for both machines. I tried Open Office under Windows. Where it did not utterly trash the operating system, it rarely read RTF, saved DOC files with random corruptions and what it did to tables could not be undone! Others confirmed my experience. But those running it under Linux swore by it. So, I am suspicious of Open Office unless I can be convinced it works under Linux. In fact I fear for office apps under Linux after this experience. Help! I can use version 1 of anything if it works. I hate bells and whistles in Wordprocessors. One WP for the XP machine, one for the P75. Any recommendations?

These machines will NOT be networking at this time nor going online. They will be firmly offline until I ‘get’ Linux and where I have room to connect. I need to know the OS before I worry about comms.

You advise! I’m in your hands. I hope I am clear and I can participate in these forums more fully as I get ‘techie.’ Many thanks. I’m keen. This should be fun! Sorry about the long post. I am trying to be clear after too many “What you really want to do is…” Hope you understand. Your feedback could help lots of people in the far east! My wife and I hope to spend time educating the locals in IT, English and other skills.

corbis_demon 10-24-2010 01:27 PM

Hi,
Welcome to LinuxQuestions.org. Since you're new here (and to linux), you've misunderstood the meaning of Linux From Scratch. It's the name of a GNU/Linux distribution/instruction set. I guess you probably meant to post in Linux - Newbie forum. Hope you find answers to your questions soon enough. Best wishes.

crts 10-24-2010 02:19 PM

I have asked a moderator to move your thread to a more appropriate forum.

XavierP 10-24-2010 02:56 PM

Moved: This thread is more suitable in Linux-Newbie and has been moved accordingly to help your thread/question get the exposure it deserves.

arochester 10-24-2010 03:57 PM

Quote:

The second machine I wish to get up and running is a P75 with 500MB HD and 8MB RAM
8Mb is just not enough. 32Mb is hardly enough.

See:
http://kmandla.wordpress.com/2010/10...at-150mhz-32mb
http://kmandla.wordpress.com/2010/10...t-150mhz-32mb/
http://kmandla.wordpress.com/2010/10...3mhz-and-32mb/

...he writes a lot about using non-graphical apps

Quote:

5 year old 1.7GB Athlon XP ... 256MB RAM.
I have an Athlon XP which has 3Gb. With only 256Mb you are looking at Xfce, not Gnome or KDE, something like Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Sam Linux, Dreamlinux or Zenwalk.

Something many people don't understand is that you can't have a (fairly) lightweight distro and then pile heavyweight apps on top. That uses memory.

honeybadger 10-24-2010 04:04 PM

Hi,
How about starting with a live cd/dvd. You dont have to install anything on the hard drive. I would recommend knoppix dvd (5.1) I believe and then there is Ultimate distro. It is something you would need if you are stuck with linux cli.
Another option is installing ubuntu as a program in winduhs 7. You can choose yali and install it. When you want to uninstall it would be there in add/remove programs.
I hope this helps. Any more queries please post.
PS:- linux users are very agressive when it comes to linux so just bear/ignore them :)

johnsfine 10-24-2010 04:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jedinovice (Post 4137770)
500MB HD and 8MB RAM

I wonder how many other people missed the M's in that (as I did on first skim through your post) and thought you were talking about a computer, not a pile of scrap.

Quote:

no-one say “Why do you want to do that?!”
No need to say it, since you already understood it is the expected response to your request.

Quote:

Once I have cut my teeth on the Athlon
A machine that underpowered (mainly the ram size) will be a serious handicap when learning Linux.

All your choices will be driven by the limited ram. Even so, your time will be wasted waiting for even the lightweight applications you chose to do simple things.

Quote:

Originally Posted by SilverBack (Post 4137885)
How about starting with a live cd/dvd. You dont have to install anything on the hard drive.

Live CD running on what?

The system with 256MB ram would be far lamer running a live CD than running an installed copy.

Running the right live CD instead of Windows 7 on a decent laptop, might be better for learning Linux than installing to the hard drive on a 256MB relic. But not much better. Running a live CD Linux is SLOW! It would let you run Linux on the laptop without ever installing Linux on the laptop. But I still wouldn't recommend it.

If you plan to shrink the Windows install on the laptop and make Linux dual boot with Windows, playing with a live CD first in the same laptop is probably worth the extra time (to improve the overall safety and decision quality of setting up the dual boot). But longer term a live CD is a support tool, not a good primary copy of Linux.

Quote:

I tried Open Office under Windows. Where it did not utterly trash the operating system, it rarely read RTF, saved DOC files with random corruptions and what it did to tables could not be undone! Others confirmed my experience.
That hasn't matched my experience nor my family's experience with Open Office. I rarely use MS Word and find it totally intimidating. It seems to be designed for use only by people whose primary tool is a word processor. I use a wide variety of software tool types a small amount each and need tools that are effective for occasional use. The word processor in OO is little more approachable for getting something done without a ton of preparation.

Most members of my family use a word processor much more and knew MS Word well before ever seeing OO. They often use OO. They dislike OO just because it is different from MS Office and they learned MS Office first. They don't find OO to be worse against any objective standards. None of us have found OO unreliable compared to MS (as you described). It's all about UI differences.

Quote:

These machines will NOT be networking at this time nor going online. They will be firmly offline until I ‘get’ Linux and where I have room to connect. I need to know the OS before I worry about comms.
I don't think that is a good idea either. Most Linux distributions assume access to the internet almost as much as a Windows install does. Getting the right display driver installed might be tricky without internet access. Getting the mix of applications you want may be tricky without the internet.

Don't think of internet on Linux as something extra you need to learn that might distract you from other aspects of learning Linux or that might be easier to approach after learning other aspects of Linux. Rather, think of not having the internet as that kind of distraction and extra requirement for learning. You can install, configure and use Linux without the internet, but that will require some extra knowledge that is better left for after you learn the basics.

rokytnji 10-24-2010 04:36 PM

Quote:

The first is a 5 year old 1.7GB Athlon XP shuttle box – which has been excellent – with 60GB HD in two partitions and 256MB RAM. This one I want to run as a basic multi-media machine to play MP’s, MOV files and basic wordprocessing. Frankly, I want to have a basic desktop to play with the OS and get ‘under the skin’ of Linux
http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=antix

Quote:

The second machine I wish to get up and running is a P75 with 500MB HD and 8MB RAM (though I can get EDO RAM easily enough but I do not want to go beyond 32MB as I am emulating hardware in use in the East.)
http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=damnsmall

onebuck 10-24-2010 04:49 PM

Hi,

Welcome to LQ!

My first suggestion to you is to trim your requests. It is very difficult for us to help you with multiple requests within a thread. Especially long winded!

I suggest that you look at 'How to Ask Questions the Smart Way' so in the future your queries provide information that will aid us in diagnosis of the problem or address your needs.

You could use a LiveCD from 'The LiveCD List' to boot the machine of choice to test drive or then configure and format the drive. If you plan on using the drive for multiple systems then partition the drive for your needs. Then format with the filesystem of choice. Most LiveCD do have the means to install.

I would suggest that you look at using the best choice system to work with. You could use a VM (Virtual Machine) to host a client. That client could be a GNU/Linux of your choice. I prefer Slackware! Nothing saying the Laptop can't be used to dual boot or VM. Your choice, look at 'Virtual'.

As for the 'shuttle box, bump the ram to the max and work with the GNU/Linux of choice.

Just a few links to aid you to gaining some understanding;

1
Linux Documentation Project
2
Rute Tutorial & Exposition
3
Linux Command Guide
4
Bash Beginners Guide
5
Bash Reference Manual
6
Advanced Bash-Scripting Guide
7
Linux Newbie Admin Guide
8
LinuxSelfHelp
9
Getting Started with Linux

The above links and others can be found at 'Slackware-Links'. More than just Slackware® links!

johnsfine 10-24-2010 05:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rokytnji (Post 4137912)

I just watched the Antix YouTube video that I found (a few clicks later) from that link you posted. It is at:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGe0K...eature=related

I was very impressed. I didn't expect a Linux GUI would work that well on a machine as short of ram as the video claimed.

I had heard quite a lot about the existence and purpose of Antix, because I've been using Mepis for a while. But I never tried Antix nor even looked at a video, so I assumed it was more limited.

I still wouldn't try to learn Linux on a machine with just 256MB of ram. But that video sure makes Antix look like a good choice if that were what you needed to do.

I've been very slow to discard several of the "pile of scrap" vintage computers lying around my house. So if I find some free time, I might even install Antix on one.

Jedinovice 10-25-2010 01:44 AM

rokytnji - Many thanks for the links. I will investigate.

Onebuck - thanks for the link. I shall read with interest.

Arochester - many thanks for the feedback. Again. I shall view with interest.

Please everyone - think "What can we do to implement Linux and apps on FAR EASTERN, under powered machines where you can't say to the locals "Oh, buy another 3MB RAM" when it's a month's wages. Let's think older renderings of S/W perhaps? You know, someone has a P133, do you stick on Windows 95 and Office 7. I've done that many a time for users here in the UK. Surely likewise is possible with Linux?

Silverback, Many thanks for your help. "PS:- Linux users are very agressive when it comes to Linux so just bear/ignore them" Yeah. I have universally found Linux users... intense. :-)

The irony I find is that at least in past, Linux users were bug about "Ahh, you can run Linux with a far smaller footprint than Windows" and then when I talk to such users they tell me I need a ruddy rack server to run it on. Eh? :-)

Thanks again to everyone. I will be getting more RAM and reading up.

arochester 10-25-2010 05:24 AM

Quote:

"What can we do to implement Linux and apps on FAR EASTERN, under powered machines where you can't say to the locals "
Ask? I for one have a few bits of old RAM lying around...

TobiSGD 10-25-2010 06:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jedinovice (Post 4138217)
Let's think older renderings of S/W perhaps? You know, someone has a P133, do you stick on Windows 95 and Office 7. I've done that many a time for users here in the UK. Surely likewise is possible with Linux?

Of course that is possible. The problem is that old versions of software often are no longer maintained. So they get no security-updates and you will be rendered vulnerable.
Quote:

The irony I find is that at least in past, Linux users were bug about "Ahh, you can run Linux with a far smaller footprint than Windows" and then when I talk to such users they tell me I need a ruddy rack server to run it on. Eh? :-)
Oh, you can run Linux in a small footprint, the problem here is the definition of small. Even older and cheaper embedded devices have at least 32 MB RAM nowadays and the 8 MB of your Pentium rack are even to small to work comfortable on Windows 95 (which is 15 years old now). You don't need a rackserver, but a minimum of system rquirements should be fullfilled.
Take a look http://www.connochaetos.org/wiki/dok...d=connochaetos, the website of the former Deli Linux, which was aimed at very low hardware specs and see the comment with the reason for the new start of the OS.

fbobraga 10-25-2010 07:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jedinovice (Post 4137770)
The first is a 5 year old 1.7GB Athlon XP shuttle box – which has been excellent – with 60GB HD in two partitions and 256MB RAM.

With 256MB of RAM, all of nowadays "lightweight" distros will run fine in this machine - in a old laptop of mine (a P3 700MHz 256MB) run (well) it: http://crunchbanglinux.org/downloads/statler/alpha-02/ - I recommend it: after boot, it consumes less than 60MB of RAM - with this distro, I can ran normally even firefox

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jedinovice (Post 4137770)
The second machine I wish to get up and running is a P75 with 500MB HD and 8MB RAM

Nothing maintained nowadays will run relatively well with less than 128MB of RAM

onebuck 10-25-2010 07:56 AM

Hi,

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jedinovice (Post 4138217)
<snip>

Onebuck - thanks for the link. I shall read with interest.
<snip>

Your Welcome!

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jedinovice (Post 4138217)
Please everyone - think "What can we do to implement Linux and apps on FAR EASTERN, under powered machines where you can't say to the locals "Oh, buy another 3MB RAM" when it's a month's wages. Let's think older renderings of S/W perhaps? You know, someone has a P133, do you stick on Windows 95 and Office 7. I've done that many a time for users here in the UK. Surely likewise is possible with Linux?
<snip>

If you plan on attempting to use modern GNU/Linux then expect that answer. You could always roll back to earlier versions to implement on such machines. It will depend on the circa for the equipment. If we use the P133, example then you should roll back to circa 1999 for a GNU/Linux with a light desktop. Slackware 8.2 could be used but again light environment on that footprint.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jedinovice (Post 4138217)
The irony I find is that at least in past, Linux users were bug about "Ahh, you can run Linux with a far smaller footprint than Windows" and then when I talk to such users they tell me I need a ruddy rack server to run it on. Eh? :-)

Thanks again to everyone. I will be getting more RAM and reading up.

GNU/Linux has always tried to keep a smaller footprint but with improvements some growth is expected. Whoever you are talking to may only look at things from that perspective. I know loads of people who just want to work with small footprint machines, trim things to minimalist point. Sometimes that task can be a learning experience.
Of course things will work with more CPU cores, large memory and massive storage for a server application but if you are using a SOHO then keep things to a minimum or fit to the requirements. That's why GNU/Linux can be utilized or fitted to your needs as compared to other operating systems.

:hattip:


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