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Old 10-25-2010, 07:54 AM   #16
Jedinovice
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^^^
Thanks guys. This is the sort of answer I was after.

Please note – I have NO INTENTION of putting either machines on the internet. If I wanted an internet Linux box I would go for a full blown new PC. I have a Windows 7 laptop that carries out that task. I am not trying to replicate that.

So I don't care about security updates. Both boxes are about learning about installation, the CLI and running basic office apps. Nothing more. So using older renderings of apps is fine. My security solution is, "Keep 'em off the web.' I'll be installing and reformatting a lot anyway as I learn, I know. Later on I can expand and shape.

I am used to using a minimal GUI interface and actually LOATH desktops that are too colourful and clever. Vista and Windows 7 make me shudder. I was fine with the Windows 95 interface. I hate todays 'Web look' when anything could be a link, a button, a bit of art, an icon... who knows anymore?

I am realistic about what both machines can achieve. They will not video editing, running Oracle, playing 3D games, operating as a server... This is about tasting Linux and learning what I can do on potential 3rd world tech. When I am happy I can run an office app or two THEN I can upgrade RAM and expand as I wish. Yes the P75 needs some EDO RAM. No worries. (Besides, I was once video editing very happily on a P133 under Windows 95. Come on. Linux can surely do as well? :-) )

Let me taste first! Lemme use older tech and prove Linux's value. Then I may fully convert. The way to the dark side is by small steps. :-)

>If you plan on attempting to use modern GNU/Linux then expect that answer.

I have explicitly said otherwise! I want Linus to match my hardware NOT the other way around.

This info is helpful. The range of choice is satisfying.

Cheers!
 
Old 10-25-2010, 08:42 AM   #17
onebuck
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Hi,

If you want to learn in that manner then look at 'ftp://slackware.mirrors.tds.net/pub/slackware/' or 'http://ftp.osuosl.org/pub/slackware/'. For the lower class machines I would use 8.1 to 10.2, note that these early versions will use a floppy based install. Most hardware of the era that you wish to use doesn't support CDROM booting. You could look at 'sbootmgr/' to hopefully boot that media on early machines when attempting a CDROM install.

Be sure to look at the 'Slackware-HOWTO' and CHANGES_AND_HINTS.TXT (11.0 and on). You will find other documentation on the install CD/DVD media for the version that may be useful to understand things.

Just a few more useful links;

Slackware® Essentials
Slackware® Basics
Linux Documentation Project
Rute Tutorial & Exposition
Linux Command Guide
Bash Reference Manual
Advanced Bash-Scripting Guide
Linux Newbie Admin Guide
LinuxSelfHelp
Getting Started with Linux
Virtualiation- Top 10

The above links and others can be found at 'Slackware-Links'. More than just Slackware® links!
 
Old 10-25-2010, 11:29 AM   #18
arochester
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Spotted! A comment about this posting on a blog

"Old hardware a handicap? Au contraire!" - http://kmandla.wordpress.com/2010/10...-au-contraire/
 
Old 10-25-2010, 12:32 PM   #19
onebuck
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Hi,

When I'm speaking about low-end, it would be the class of machines you presented. P133 would be a low end unit as compared to todays processors. I'm not saying you can't use that class but to use a modern distribution, most require at least 256MB memory & 10-20GB storage. Then if you expect to run 'X', the underpowered machine would be slow as molasses.

If you're going to do nothing more than 'cli' & scripting then do as I suggested previously.

Look at the text file README.txt on most GNU/Linux or do a Google.
In the referenced link http://kmandla.wordpress.com/2010/10...-au-contraire/: they are speaking of a 1.7 Ghz clocked machine with 256MB. I agree it will work but don't expect much performance from it.
 
Old 10-25-2010, 01:38 PM   #20
johnsfine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arochester View Post
Spotted! A comment about this posting on a blog
I see I was the person that blogger quoted to disagree with.

The view there about what makes a good learning environment (challenging and unforgiving) seems surprisingly popular here as well, but is totally wrong.

I've learned (or tried to) many things (including my first few attempts at Linux) in challenging unforgiving environments. A beginner would find himself making ten overlapping mistakes at once and can't figure out how to correct any one of them because the other nine get in the way of diagnosing or understanding any one mistake.

A good learning environment is one that lets you focus on one aspect of the topic at a time and get a good understanding of it and use it as a tool in reaching later aspects of the topic.

For an OS, that means you want an obvious GUI that lets you do what you want to do intuitively before you've had time to learn how. You also need easy to navigate documentation that tells you what a beginner needs to know for basic activities (rather than typical Linux documentation that is a disorganized pile of advanced details where an expert can look up the hardest 10% of a topic he already 90% knows).

For Linux, the above is Mepis 7 or 8.0 but not on a machine with just 256MB of ram (also not Mepis 8.5 unfortunately).
 
Old 10-25-2010, 01:47 PM   #21
Jedinovice
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Guys, there's no need to get in a tiz! I said I would get more RAM in on the Athlon.

Lemme play a bit. There are many variants of Linex. I'll try a few.

No hassle. I got time.
 
Old 10-25-2010, 01:58 PM   #22
johnsfine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jedinovice View Post
Guys, there's no need to get in a tiz!
Sorry. I was reacting to the "challenging and unforgiving is best for a beginner" sentiment posted in that blog and many other places. I wasn't arguing (any more) with your plan or decisions.
 
Old 10-25-2010, 03:25 PM   #23
salasi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jedinovice View Post
Oh, please tell me you can change the screen colours in the GUI!!
You can the screen colours in the GUI. Well, I don't know what you mean by 'the GUI' as there is quite a choice of GUIs, including none, but most of the GUIs give you a choice of many things.

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.)
...which may be a case for none (no gui)... You should, at some time, do some learning of the commend line, at the very least as a way to deal with problems when things go wrong, but it may not be the right place to start, for you.

Quote:
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.
...which is good...

Quote:
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.
The bigger problem is likely to be 'foreign' file formats. At times, there are file formats, which are important in the real world, which are undocumented, or the originator of which does not stick to the documentation (or, what is documented is a version with significant differences from the version that is actually in use). This, with all respect, must make things difficult for the OO team (&, in some circumstances, GO-OO will deal with these things better than OO).

So, the first question is, do you still experience problems if you stick to OO's native file formats?

There should be no possibility of OO trashing the operating system.

Quote:
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?
Abiword would be an alternative (I'd guess you will hate kword, as it takes a semi-DTP approach, and I get the impression that this would be exactly what you don't want), but it is simpler, lighter and probably even less good at importing .doc files than GO-OO.

Quote:
I am used to using a minimal GUI interface and actually LOATH desktops that are too colourful and clever.
You do have that choice; if you were to go for something like Windowmaker or one of the *boxes (and LXDE is a derivative of one of the, eg, Openbox-type things), you'll get simple, dumb (dumb-ish) and fast on a particular standard of hardware. XFCE is moderately small, moderately fast and relatively unfussy, but even that will be slow on very low spec hardware. At what point does the slowness of the kit inhibit your learning? I'll leave you to decide that.

Quote:
Let me taste first!
Yeah, sure, but don't come back with 'I'm using a P75/8M and it is so slow that I can't learn. Linux is useless.' That would be pointless.

Even when I was using a P75, it had more like 24M ram. Win 3.11 didn't run well on that little ram running simulation programs, but then it didn't run well with more ram, either. A contemporary Linux distro ran adequately with anything above 16M, but this was not running programs of any great sophistication, so that isn't really a like-for-like comparison. Currently, I have open a browser with a memory footprint of 230M (roughly 90 tabs open); try doing that with 8M ram and the system will more-or-less die (slow down to a speed that is, roughly, geological) whatever productivity argument that you could come up with for doing that.
 
Old 10-26-2010, 03:17 AM   #24
mrreality13
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i cant believe no one recommended puppy-if i missed it sorry-as to athlon 1.7 with 256 ram thats plenty for all light weight distros

just my 2cents
ps:lubuntu runs great on m my p3@950 mhz with 256

Last edited by mrreality13; 10-26-2010 at 03:19 AM.
 
Old 10-26-2010, 04:09 AM   #25
Jedinovice
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H Salasi,

Man thanks for your feedback. Very good of you and great answers to my questions. I admit that my experience of OO on Windows (not just on my PC but others) was so traumatic I swore 'never again!' But I think Linux maybe another matter. I am willing to give it another try under Linux. Abiword looks good. I like, when I have time (which currently is never) to do some fiction writing so I want a writer's wordprocessor – small, clean, focused on text. So you are absolutely right about not wanting a DTP approach.

I am not disturbed by slow performance. Believe me. I enjoy pushing an old machine and seeing what it can do even if it is sluggish. Frankly, if it's faster than a typewriter it's fine! :-) I am NOT trying to have my cake and eat it! I know when you work with limited hardware there is a speed payoff. Many times I have been happy to pay the price.

Bear in mind I will be starting off with the Athlon and then seeing how I can push the P75 – if it's possible. BIOS limits the HD to 500MB which is the main problem. RAM is NOT a problem. I can EXPAND. That's OK. When I said 8MB I just meant that was it's *current* config.

I have read around and concluded that, for the Athlon at least, slackware is the way to go, I have read the instruction docs and it's not TOO scary for me as I am familiar with partitioning, swap files (and partitions) and a good part of the jargon. Noteverythign is yet clear, but I have a slackware fan at work who speaks english as opposed to techie. I have installed Windows NT4 and that's bad enough I can tell you. I have set up dual boot OS's before and pushed Windows 95 into a 386 and Windows 3.0 on an XT. I ENJOY mucking around at a low level and making computers do what people tell me they shouldn't! I then find I can work 'miracles' on other people's machines showing them they CAN do things on their hardware after all. It's done me well especially with the extremely poor. This is my latest challenge!

I am used to Regedit in Windows, various .ini files, fdisk, etc. I have set up users in Windows NT4 at home. I have had exposure to UNIX @ Uni. In my job I am configuring data systems with hundreds of config files, building SQL and Oracle DB's from scripts, loads of .ini and XML files – it's a pain being almost entirely manual. I am effectively in charge of setting up data sets for testing for my team at work. So working at a low level, non-GUI install is FINE. I gotta learn some new jargon but I have had to learnt the basics of pathology in my job as well as the S/W as well as DB's. That's why I've given up writing for now. I am always having do dive into something techie instead. I gather the pace of life out east is slower and my wife promises me non-techie time when I am out there. For now, though, I gotta learn.

I'll work up on the slackware install on the Athlon – proving I can get my XP functionality on the same hardware base. Then I can expand RAM, start again, build up the system, then see, with experience, what miracles I can do on the P75. If I can. If not, c'est la vi.

Frankly, though, I would rather be writing but you get paid for Linux installs in the East and not writing. Plus, I often end up helping neighbours out with their computer issues. I want to be ready for both Windows and Linux out East. Believe me, my research makes it clear that "knowledge of Linux installations" (that means CLI and fdisk guys) is what is wanted.

It's been a (nice) battle here in the office between Ubuntu fans and slackware but, reading the material here – thanks guys – Slackware has to be the way forward for me. Possible DSL on the P75 but will see.

I'm happy I know what my next step is.

Cheers guys. And don't sweat the RAM in either machine. I can expand and I am willing to learn the lmits, reformat, expand and try aagin. Trust me, I've done all of this from DOS 1 (yup - I used DOS 1 on an ACT sirius with a 10MB HD) to Windows 30/3.1 to 95/98. NT4, 2000, etc. I've had to set up keyboard drivers in DOS and non-unicode codes pages in Windows. I've done config.sys and autoexec files in bot Windows 9x kernals AND Nt kernals. I've done fiddly! I swear!

I hope that reassures! I get the RAM issues. Don't sweat it. I'll expand as needed. Promise.
 
Old 10-26-2010, 02:07 PM   #26
Ubunoob001
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jedinovice View Post
H Salasi,

Man thanks for your feedback. Very good of you and great answers to my questions. I admit that my experience of OO on Windows (not just on my PC but others) was so traumatic I swore 'never again!' But I think Linux maybe another matter. I am willing to give it another try under Linux. Abiword looks good. I like, when I have time (which currently is never) to do some fiction writing so I want a writer's wordprocessor – small, clean, focused on text. So you are absolutely right about not wanting a DTP approach.

I am not disturbed by slow performance. Believe me. I enjoy pushing an old machine and seeing what it can do even if it is sluggish. Frankly, if it's faster than a typewriter it's fine! :-) I am NOT trying to have my cake and eat it! I know when you work with limited hardware there is a speed payoff. Many times I have been happy to pay the price.

Bear in mind I will be starting off with the Athlon and then seeing how I can push the P75 – if it's possible. BIOS limits the HD to 500MB which is the main problem. RAM is NOT a problem. I can EXPAND. That's OK. When I said 8MB I just meant that was it's *current* config.

I have read around and concluded that, for the Athlon at least, slackware is the way to go, I have read the instruction docs and it's not TOO scary for me as I am familiar with partitioning, swap files (and partitions) and a good part of the jargon. Noteverythign is yet clear, but I have a slackware fan at work who speaks english as opposed to techie. I have installed Windows NT4 and that's bad enough I can tell you. I have set up dual boot OS's before and pushed Windows 95 into a 386 and Windows 3.0 on an XT. I ENJOY mucking around at a low level and making computers do what people tell me they shouldn't! I then find I can work 'miracles' on other people's machines showing them they CAN do things on their hardware after all. It's done me well especially with the extremely poor. This is my latest challenge!

I am used to Regedit in Windows, various .ini files, fdisk, etc. I have set up users in Windows NT4 at home. I have had exposure to UNIX @ Uni. In my job I am configuring data systems with hundreds of config files, building SQL and Oracle DB's from scripts, loads of .ini and XML files – it's a pain being almost entirely manual. I am effectively in charge of setting up data sets for testing for my team at work. So working at a low level, non-GUI install is FINE. I gotta learn some new jargon but I have had to learnt the basics of pathology in my job as well as the S/W as well as DB's. That's why I've given up writing for now. I am always having do dive into something techie instead. I gather the pace of life out east is slower and my wife promises me non-techie time when I am out there. For now, though, I gotta learn.

I'll work up on the slackware install on the Athlon – proving I can get my XP functionality on the same hardware base. Then I can expand RAM, start again, build up the system, then see, with experience, what miracles I can do on the P75. If I can. If not, c'est la vi.

Frankly, though, I would rather be writing but you get paid for Linux installs in the East and not writing. Plus, I often end up helping neighbours out with their computer issues. I want to be ready for both Windows and Linux out East. Believe me, my research makes it clear that "knowledge of Linux installations" (that means CLI and fdisk guys) is what is wanted.

It's been a (nice) battle here in the office between Ubuntu fans and slackware but, reading the material here – thanks guys – Slackware has to be the way forward for me. Possible DSL on the P75 but will see.

I'm happy I know what my next step is.

Cheers guys. And don't sweat the RAM in either machine. I can expand and I am willing to learn the lmits, reformat, expand and try aagin. Trust me, I've done all of this from DOS 1 (yup - I used DOS 1 on an ACT sirius with a 10MB HD) to Windows 30/3.1 to 95/98. NT4, 2000, etc. I've had to set up keyboard drivers in DOS and non-unicode codes pages in Windows. I've done config.sys and autoexec files in bot Windows 9x kernals AND Nt kernals. I've done fiddly! I swear!

I hope that reassures! I get the RAM issues. Don't sweat it. I'll expand as needed. Promise.
JediNovice,
I too am a newbie to linux. No one (or very few people) here will be frustrated with you not understanding something, or even having to "hold your hand" some. This is a great community as you can see by the responses to your post. Total newbies are welcome (as I am/was!) Just remember you must be willing to learn to help us help you.

1. Firstly, please read again. This will help you form questions that are succinct and easy to understand. This will help us all save time arriving at a solution that is helpful to you.


If you would like further assistance, I would recommend you re-word your question in a format as outlined in the link. You might get more specific recommendations that way. Good Luck!

Ubu

Last edited by Ubunoob001; 10-26-2010 at 02:26 PM.
 
Old 10-26-2010, 06:14 PM   #27
DavidMcCann
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With 256MB, you can run Absolute, CrunchBang, Puppy, Slitaz, Vector Light, or Zenwalk. Many will give you the Abiword word processor and Gnumeric spreadsheet instead of OpenOffice, as they take up less space. But there's nothing wrong with OpenOffice; all the computers at Google are running it!

8MB is almost impossible, even without a GUI. Damn Small Linux will just work, but they recommend 16MB. With a GUI, it requires 16 and recommends 24.
 
Old 10-26-2010, 08:06 PM   #28
KoldWar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnsfine View Post
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.




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.


Pfft. Seriously? A machine that is underpowered is not a problem. Once you get into WMs (like openbox) nearly nothing is a problem. And of course, there are always the tilers.

Lightweight programs are not slow on low-end machines. Thunar and pcmanfm
are in my opinion much better than Nautilus or Dolphin. There's always MC if you want to use console. I run on a 1.6 ghz athlon and my system is a lot faster than my friend's C2D running Ubuntu.

I suggest crunchbang or antix for a lightweight distro. Then when you want to customize, something like Arch(woot) or gentoo or even LFS will be you choice.
 
Old 10-27-2010, 02:53 AM   #29
Jedinovice
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Thanks again for the all the info. As I say, I am now, in part, in the hands of a slackware fan at work now which is going to help.

Time permitting (this year is a nightmare!) I plan to try my hand out on the Athlon.

Koldwar – your information sounds great. As I say, I am interested in what I can do on a minimal machine. Partly it's the romantic in me – there's soemthign in seeing a machine pushed to obsolesence given new life – and because I want to be prepared for Eastern PC's that go one far longer than in the West. But what are 'WM's?

I have plenty of EDO RAM I can stick in the P75. I kept it at 8MB for a minimum Windows install deliberately for reasons I'm not going into now! But I can up it to 32MB easy. But the BIOS limits me to a 500MB HD.

Ubu – I promise not to write war and peace in the future! I was posting initially a tale to explain EXACTLY where I was coming from – expecting degrees of "you wana do what?!!!" and trying to head it off a bit. As you can see I dud get a degree of "You wanna do waht" anyway.

Now the shock in the forum seems to be receding I will be asking much more succient and pointed questions in the future. Rest assured, I won't be writing reams again.

Thanks again to everyone. This has all been helpful.
 
Old 10-27-2010, 04:59 AM   #30
brianL
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Hasn't anybody suggested Tiny Core Linux? Can't get much smaller than that.
 
  


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