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Old 02-18-2010, 05:58 PM   #1
idiot96
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Best distro for wireless video streaming on old laptop with fussy PCMCIA wireless car


I have a celeron 366 laptop with 192MB RAM but a big hard drive (60GB). I want to use it primarily as an internet TV/radio now, but all versions of windows are just unusably slow.

There are a number of threads on linux distros for old hardware, but many focus on a small footprint, which is not necessary here. My main concerns are that my wireless card seems very fussy (Dlink DWL 650+) and I need it to use WPA2, and because my main use for this laptop will be for streamed audio and video, distros hardware compatibility and performance is very important.

I'm reasonably techie, but don't have a lot of time on my hands to learn my way around trickier distros, and am completely new to Linux.

My laptop doesn't have a CD, and doesn't boot from USB, so will need to be an install. My floppy is also broken, which makes any install a real mission, so don't want to play with different distros if I can avoid it.

For all the above reasons, hoping your expertise can help.

Thanks

Full hardware spec

IBM thinkpad 240, Celeron 366, with 192MB RAM, containing
Neomagic MagicGraph128XD graphics - apparently "Works perfectly with the NeoMagic Framebuffer Driver in the Kernel 2.6.12 using the following configuration (Debian GNU/Linux "etch" defaults): " according to ThinkWiki, and
ES1946 Solo audio, which again "is supported by the snd-es1938 kernel module. " according to ThinkWiki

PCMCIA wireless card - Dlink DWL G650+
 
Old 02-19-2010, 11:36 AM   #2
rweaver
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I've not used that card since the early 2k's but as I recall redhat worked well with it (and centos now by proxy) and so did debian although it may require a bit of modifications to some files to get it to behave nicely I'd imagine most modern distributions support it fairly well.

Keep in mind though this isn't going to be a fast computer no matter what you do, even in "It's day" it wasn't fast, it was a celery and celery isn't the best of processors (it even makes a poor snack).

I would recommend avoiding a gui if at all possible to keep the maximum resources free for whatever application you're using to do the streaming.
 
Old 02-19-2010, 11:50 AM   #3
reed9
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It's actually difficult to tell whether the wireless will work out of the box just by brand and model name. The key is to find out the actually wireless chipset.

From what I could find on the old web, it looks likely that this will be as follows
Code:
03:00.0 Network controller: Texas Instruments ACX 111 54Mbps Wireless Interface
	Subsystem: D-Link System Inc DWL-G650+ AirPlusG+ CardBus Wireless LAN
There is a linux driver for this card, the acx110/acx111. From this page, it lists the G650+ as using the acx100, though, which would be better, since it looks like the acx111 might not support WPA. Or worse case scenario, you would have to use ndiswrapper and the windows driver.

Personally, I would recommend Linux Mint 8 Fluxbox edition, for a lightweight but pretty new user friendly distro. When I tested it, the baseline RAM use was around 100MB.
 
Old 02-19-2010, 03:11 PM   #4
snowpine
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Forget about streaming video on those ancient specs (in my opinion). You'll have better luck downloading first and then watching the file from your hard disk. (but even then...) A better option is an inexpensive second hand computer with better specs. Not sure where you live, but here in New York, you can get a pretty good used Pentium 4 for under $100.

That being said, the easiest way to install, given your constraints, may be to move the drive to another computer with a working CD drive (or USB boot capability) for install purposes, then move it back to the thinkpad.

On my older hardware (I've got a couple of pentium 3's lying around), I find that video performance with CentOS is a little better than with the "modern" distros like Ubuntu, Fedora, etc.

Good luck!
 
  


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