Best distro for my old hardware (more than just a few years)
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Best distro for my old hardware (more than just a few years)
Hi there! I was just wondering what would be the best linux distro for my really old hardware. It has 64mb of ram, a 533mhz processor and a 4mb *i think* video card. I have it sitting in my basement and want to make it of some use. It runs windows 98se. I have tried damn small Linux and puppy Linux but nether will bring me to a desktop. I got tinycore to run but I was looking for something with a little more functionality. That's where you guys come in. I'm willing to try many different distros as long as they can be run from a live cd or flash drive. (I use flash drives currently for tests along with a floppy that enables USB booting on this old thing). Any suggestions are appreciated!
Check out Damn Small Linux. It's been a really long time since I used it, but it's a functional Linux distro with Firefox and a few other apps pre-installed, and it all fits inside of 50 MB. You can build it out from there, but it's really really lightweight.
You could try Vector light, I'm not sure it will work on hardware that old but it's fairly small. http://vectorlinux.com/
What was wrong with DSL and puppy though? (I mean, do you know why it didn't get you to a desktop?)
Damn Small is what I would typically recommend for something this old so it may be easier to find out why that didn't work than it would be to find something else that will.
Ah I forgot to ask, what amount of functionality do you need?
Tinycore with a few added packages can do quite a bit, so you might want to set up tinycore with the extensions you need to do whatever it is you do with this machine, and use that. A little bit more work than a distro that is ready to use out-of-the-box, but it helps keep things tiny
Most modern distros won't run on 64mb of ram and still have a functioning desktop. your best bet would be older versions, most older versions don't have security updates. Damsmall linux is now obsolete but is still available for download, puppy 4.12 retro might work with a harddrive install instead of a fugal install. Slackware 10.2 using a light weight window manager is another possibility and I think it still has security updates. Siltaz may work.
The posts got mixed up there... Anyways I'm just looking for the baisics. Web based mainly. I can't get to the computer now so I will tell you exactly where it fewzes tomorrow. I'n the meantime keep throwing suggestions at me!
Edit: I found wary puppy which is designed for older hardware. I think I'll try it out tommorow
Last edited by mmtt22; 10-04-2011 at 12:59 AM.
Reason: Wanted to add in something I missed
Most Puppy versions will not run on anything with less than 128MB of RAM. I would recommend not to go for a distro that runs from RAM (like Tinycore, DSL, Slitaz or Puppy), it doesn't make sense to take away even more of the RAM with a filesystem in it. Go for one of the distros that are aimed at older hardware or should have at least no problems with running on it, like antiX, Connochaetos or Vector.
Or you go for one of the mainstream distros with a WM instead of a DE. I would recommend Debian or Slackware for that. Slackware comes with Fluxbox by default, Debian can be very simply built up from a minimal install to use one (and other lightweight software).
Keep in mind that in any way you will not be able to run Firefox or Open-/Libreoffice on a machine like that, it also will help to speed up that machine significantly if you have the possibility to add more RAM.
Last edited by TobiSGD; 10-04-2011 at 11:31 AM.
Reason: fixed typos
IIRC, the 533mhz-era PCs run PC133 SDRAM, and you can actually still get those. Staples has them in 128Mb configuration for only $15.99 each. You should also have 2 RAM slots which will allow you jump your RAM up to 256Mb total. That would definitely expand your choices of distros, although you still may want to stick with a lightweight DE for performance.
Ok so I tested wary puppy and antiX. Wary booted but I gave up trying to open a program because it was so slow. Next I booted up antiX base distro and it ran decently. I'm still not decided though. Right now I'm seeing what all I can make tinycore do. I did tinker with antiX also. I want to experiment with them all since I'm not installing them quite yet.
Also I might consider buying more ram as Mr . Bill suggested.
Wait that last one confused me. So I shouldn't us xfce because I don't have enough ram? Or the other way around?
I believe TobiSGD was saying 64MB will probably not be enough for XFCE to run properly, for 64MB you may want to look instead to Blackbox (http://blackboxwm.sourceforge.net/BlackboxWiki), not much in the way of perks but it uses a very small amount of memory and with a bit of tweaking you can get it to look fairly good.