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Old 09-06-2014, 05:32 AM   #1
sidharthlinux
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Post Choosing a distro for my old pc


I'm planning to revive my old p.c-
(512 MB RAM,500 Mhz semdron processor,asus motherboard)

I basically want an OS which is fast in every action, be it opening/closing files,deleting,copy/paste,installation,etc.

Previously I had win.XP,which, after years of usage, was too slow to respond to keyboard or mouse inputs and often the screen would get 'stuck' for a long time.Someone said it was because of viruses,then i installed an antivirus, which only worsened the situation.

The only heavy applications that I run are MATLAB,circuit simulators and other edu. softwares.

I dont care to lose some visual effects,colourful appearance,etc. to gain better performance.(even if looks like win.95, its o.k)

So , which in your opinion could be the best linux distro that fits my requirements ..................?
.
.
.
.
.

(Also mention me if my demands are too high !)
 
Old 09-06-2014, 05:44 AM   #2
jdkaye
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This link will take you to a list of distros for "Old Computers". Have a look and make your choice.
jdk
 
Old 09-06-2014, 07:24 AM   #3
s.verma
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MATLAB is available for Linux, but you have to check for other circuit simulators, whether they are available or not.
 
Old 09-06-2014, 09:10 AM   #4
wpeckham
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Old PC

I have older PCs with fewer resources that do OK. You will want a current, maintstream distro without a lot of animation and 3-d graphic desktop toys to slow it down.

VSIDO may do, but I would go with something like Debian with fluxbox, xfce, or lxde. Lubuntu and Mint are not to my taste and I find them slow, but one may do well for you. All are thinner, smaller, faster than things like Fedora, CentOS, or Ubuntu yet with huge repositories and all of the packages you might need.

(VSIDO/Fedora for more cutting-edge stuff, the others are a bit more conservative. CentOS is VERY conservative, at the level of RHEL.)

Bottom line, do not load the world and do not go with the biggest name. Pick one that is thin and supports what you need and get started. They are all pretty good.
 
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Old 09-06-2014, 09:27 AM   #5
William S. Rupert
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Got some good idea with these topic. Will be waiting for more suggestion
 
Old 09-06-2014, 09:38 AM   #6
NGIB
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No distro will make an older slower computer fast. A slimmer lighter distro will make it run as good as it will run though. Try out the link provided by jdkaye as it will be a great starting point...
 
Old 09-06-2014, 10:01 AM   #7
jross
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Being able to try different distros before installing them is a great feature with linux. You can just boot into the CD and get a feel for how it works, and doing that is probably giving you a worst case scenario since it will be slower than an actual install. So, make sure and take advantage of that and try different ones.

I would recommend you put Lubuntu (14.04) on your list to try. The big advantage is that it is so widely used and therefore a good base of support. Also, the ease of installation and software.
 
Old 09-06-2014, 12:01 PM   #8
DavidMcCann
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I'm a bit puzzled by a "500MHZ Semdron" — do you mean a 1500MHz Sempron? I'd suggest Salix (Xfce version) or Antix MX. Both will run on slower and smaller computers than that and both are very stable: see the reviews on this site.

The LXDE interface in Lubuntu is not much smaller than Xfce and a bit spartan when it comes to configuration tools.

MATLAB is available in Linux, as are circuit simulators and similar stuff:
http://linuxappfinder.com/scientific...ing/electrical
 
Old 09-06-2014, 01:14 PM   #9
rnturn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sidharthlinux View Post
I'm planning to revive my old p.c-
(512 MB RAM,500 Mhz semdron processor,asus motherboard)

I basically want an OS which is fast in every action, be it opening/closing files,deleting,copy/paste,installation,etc.
With only 512MB and a 500MHz processor you'll want to stay away from the larger desktop environments like Gnome and KDE regardless of the distribution you eventually decide upon. Xfce is supposed to be pretty lightweight. Heck, even Enlightenment is zippy compared to Gnome and KDE if you disable the goofy eye candy.

As for a specific distribution? Almost any should work so long as you are careful with what you install. Avoiding anything Gnome- and KDE-based during the installation will help a lot though it can be tricky. Pick the wrong package and all the dependencies could force those memory hog desktop environments to get installed. Then, one day, you'll accidentally execute run a KDE program that drags the system to its knees when all the requisite libraries use up all available memory. You should be able to start out with a text-only system and then carefully add graphical tools. You can do a lot with a basic X11 installation and the venerable 'xterm' to run the other tools you want (the MatLabs, etc.)

(I have an old system that runs at 200MHz and only has 128MB of RAM -- and that was an upgrade from 92MB -- and it'll run X11 software like xterms, Emacs, etc. just fine though I do offload the graphics stuff by pointing DISPLAY to an X server on a beefier PC but not because of the basic system being too slow. It's because the only graphics card I could get for this old system -- an ancient ISA unaccelerated VGA adapter from Trident -- doesn't have enough onboard memory for X11. For CLI-based work the system is plenty fast.)

Plan on creating a bunch of swap space. With only 500MB I'd start with, perhaps, 2GB and see how it goes. If things are still tight memory-wise, add another 2GB on a second drive and set them to the same priority to enable striping of the swap space. (It's better than nothing.) If you can, try to create your swap partitions in the middle of the disk to minimize head movement when swapping. (Ah... the tricks we used to use in the old days when slow computers were all we had.)

I'd suggest seeing if you can find more memory for the system but I suspect the type of memory you need is now pricy due to being harder to find, partly because it may not even be manufactured any more and partly from people hunting it down to do exactly what you're doing (keeping an old system alive). It almost a collector's item.

Good luck. Projects like this really force you to learn a lot about the innards of your system and how it uses resources. You'll have fun even though you might want to tear your hair out from time to time.

--
Rick
 
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Old 09-06-2014, 03:30 PM   #10
wpeckham
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pupless

I have seen mention of Puppy Linux here. Three of my favorit small-linux tools are TinyCore, Puppy Linux, and DSL (Damn Small Linux) and they are all great tools. But in this case you need something that will support the full range of mathlab and associated tools, and those minimal distributions are NOT likely to do the job for you.

I do advise you to check them out, they are fun, useful, and show amazing power in a very small package. I just think you need a bit more for your purpose.
 
  


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