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Old 03-03-2007, 07:13 PM   #1
Lord Minx
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Good Distribution for Old Machine (800Mhz Intel Celeron, 64 MB RAM)


I wasn't sure where I should put this thread ("It's about Distros, so maybe it should go there. On the other hand, it's also a pretty general question. Or maybe Hardware?"), so I just put it here, as I'm a complete newbie, both to this board and Linux in general.

Anyway, I've been reading up on Linux the last month or so, tried out a few Live-Cds (Ubuntu, Knoppix, Puppy Linux, Damn Small Linux, ...) and even managed to install Ubuntu on my PC as a dual-boot with XP. (Yay!) So after this "achievement", I've been thinking about using some Linux distribution for my other PC, which is the one I'm using to surf the net. But the thing is old as hell and I have only vague knowledge of what is actually in there.

Right now, it's comfortably running Windows ME (Which was already installed when I bought it years ago.) and it looks like it might continue to do so for a while, but I'd really like to try and install some Linux distribution on it. On another forum, the local Linux-Heads recommended Puppy Linux or Damn Small Linux for an old machine like mine, but when I tried their Live-Cds, neither really worked well. (Puppy looked nice but froze when I tried to configure the internet connection and DSL looked extremly crappy in a "Your graphics card isn't supported"-kinda way and also froze at some point.) Now, maybe those were more issues with using Live-Cds in a Low RAM enviroment (Just guessing, I'm not really all that computer-savy.), but either way, I'm looking for some way to run Linux on that crappy box, so I thought I'd ask here.

Btw.: If possible, I'd prefer something with a GUI. While I probably could learn to use command line exclusively, I don't really want to and there are other people using this box who most certainly don't want that. Doesn't have to be flashy (After all, I'm used to basic Windows ME.) but it should be, well, not eye-cancer-inducing.

Thanks in advance!

M
 
Old 03-03-2007, 07:24 PM   #2
dxqcanada
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For GUI I would suggest you try to find some more RAM.
Your processor is fine ...
Don't know about your graphics card but it should do OK if you got more RAM.

I run a PIII 700 laptop with 192MB RAM and I have no problems with KDE.
I was running XFCE4 when I only had 64MB RAM ... though I was running very lite apps.

... you might want to take a look into Xubuntu ... I think is uses XFCE4.


Note: I have only used Gentoo on older machines.

Last edited by dxqcanada; 03-03-2007 at 07:25 PM.
 
Old 03-03-2007, 07:34 PM   #3
petersum
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Hey, don't put it down! A 800 Celeron is almost as fast as a 2gig P4, really! But you'll need a lot more memory. SDRAM is getting hard to find these days but if you can get your hands on at least 256 Megs then you are up and running on almost all distros.
I am using a 550 Celeron for Internet usage. I use "Slax Standard Edition" and really, I couldn't be happier!
I run a website krelay.com so I'm ftp'ing as well as browsing, and I don't notice the lack of processor speed simply because the Internet isn't that fast anyway!
 
Old 03-03-2007, 07:42 PM   #4
jacook
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Upgrade the RAM would be my suggestion to at least 128MB

Vector Linux
http://www.vectorlinux.com/

DSL
http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/

Puppy Linux
http://www.puppylinux.org/user/viewpage.php?page_id=3

Slackware
http://www.slackware.com/

SLAX Live CD
http://www.slax.org/

BeaFanatIX
http://bea.cabarel.com/

Elive:
http://www.elivecd.org/

Deli
http://delili.lens.hl-users.com/

Luit Linux
http://luitlinux.sarovar.org/
 
Old 03-03-2007, 07:43 PM   #5
Lord Minx
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*takes notes*

Get more RAM...
Look into Xubuntu...
Look into SLAX...

Ok, that sounds good so far.

It's interesting: This whole thing makes me wonder how my crappy box manages to run a relatively ok-looking ME and even Firefox (Even though it doesn't meet the Prereqs.) and a few other Apps, and yet Linux GUIs seem to have larger problems with my lack of RAM. Do they tend to need more then Windows ME?

Will download and burn a SLAX or Xubuntu Lice CD ASAP, though.

M
 
Old 03-03-2007, 09:34 PM   #6
dxqcanada
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We are not saying that you could not run GUI on 64MB ...

There are many different Window Managers / Desktop Managers for Linux. Some are leaner than others.

It would be the same response in a Windows Forum if you asked to run Windows XP on the laptop you stated ... we would all say get more RAM.

The PIII 700MHz laptop that I have can run GUI just on 64MB.

Windows ME is not as demanding as the newer Windows OS's.


A number of Linux Distro's install a Window Manager with almost every optional package ... an these can start consuming a lot of memory.


Since I use Gentoo I installed KDE on the 64MB laptop with only the packages that I needed ... which reduced the memory requirements. If I installed KDE with every package it would have slowed down too much.

Window Managers come in all flavors and some of the major ones have options to be very media oriented ... this is the same as if we were talking about XP or Vista (especially !!!)
 
Old 03-03-2007, 10:08 PM   #7
rickh
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There are many light distros to choose from, and I think it's best that you spend some time investigating what feels right to you. Picking a distro is a philosophical and personal choice. None is distinctively superior to the others in any technical sense, but some are specifically engineered to run on very modest equipment.

Here is a list to supplement the one jacook left above. When one looks interesting, check out the home page, and google around for independent reviews.

Last edited by rickh; 03-03-2007 at 10:10 PM.
 
Old 03-03-2007, 11:11 PM   #8
SlowCoder
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petersum
Hey, don't put it down! A 800 Celeron is almost as fast as a 2gig P4, really! But you'll need a lot more memory. SDRAM is getting hard to find these days but if you can get your hands on at least 256 Megs then you are up and running on almost all distros.
I am using a 550 Celeron for Internet usage. I use "Slax Standard Edition" and really, I couldn't be happier!
I run a website krelay.com so I'm ftp'ing as well as browsing, and I don't notice the lack of processor speed simply because the Internet isn't that fast anyway!
Hahaha! You were joking about the 800Mhz Celeron/2GHz P4 comparison, right?

I do agree that more RAM is needed. You can't expect the newest OS's to run on 64MB RAM effectively with GUIs, whether they're Linux or Windows. I don't think it should be much trouble finding some new SDRAM, either. I was on Newegg.com today and saw some old 400MHz SDRAM.

My current Linux configuration is a Fedora 5 on a P3/933MHz with old 133MHz RAM, 256MB total. It works fine for goofing around.

Recently downloaded Ubuntu, which is a flavor that is aimed to be a user desktop, which, by default does not have any services running in the background to eat your memory. I started the Ubuntu LiveCD on another Celeron 500MHz with 128MB RAM, and it ran ok. Not the best performance, as expected for the hardware, but doable.

P.S. Today I ordered parts for a new Linux computer I'm building; P4 3.4GHz with 1GB RAM. Just want to get a new rig going, as most of the hardware I've been using has been hand-me-downs, and I'm ready to get serious!
 
Old 03-04-2007, 04:58 AM   #9
Lord Minx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dxqcanada
Since I use Gentoo I installed KDE on the 64MB laptop with only the packages that I needed ... which reduced the memory requirements. If I installed KDE with every package it would have slowed down too much.

Window Managers come in all flavors and some of the major ones have options to be very media oriented ... this is the same as if we were talking about XP or Vista (especially !!!)
Woah, I didn't mean to say something like "Linux Sucks". I was just suprised that even Distros I'd have expected to come with very lean Window Managers (Puppy, DSL) were too much for my crappy box. If if you say that they too are more like XP then ME, RAM-wise, then I understand that, of course.

And yeah, I'll investigate the Distros mentioned, thanks guys. (And try to get more RAM. Been meaning to register on Ebay anyway. )

M
 
Old 03-04-2007, 05:16 AM   #10
kernel_geek
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I would recommend slackware, it probably runs on the zx spectrum . Althought it does have quite a difficult insstaller. You may find this hard if your a newbie.
 
Old 03-04-2007, 05:50 AM   #11
General Failure
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kernel_geek
I would recommend slackware, it probably runs on the zx spectrum .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Minx
makes me wonder how my crappy box manages to run a relatively ok-looking ME and even Firefox (Even though it doesn't meet the Prereqs.)
It actually does. From mozilla.com:
---------------------------------------------
Linux Minimum System Requirements
* 233 Mhz processor
* 64 MB of RAM
* 50 MB of free disk space
* Linux kernel 2.2.14 (with glibc 2.3.2, XFree86-3.3.6, gtk+2.0, fontconfig/xft and libstdc++5)

Mozilla Recommends
* 500 Mhz processor
* 256 MB of RAM
* 100 MB of free disk space
* a modern Linux distribution
---------------------------------------------
Yeah, give the box enough RAM and it will run...
 
Old 03-04-2007, 06:56 AM   #12
AwesomeMachine
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If you put three NICs in that machine it would make a great firewall. You can check out Smoothwall on Google.com.
 
Old 03-04-2007, 07:14 AM   #13
kernel_geek
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icops better imo
 
Old 03-04-2007, 08:24 AM   #14
Walton
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Another suggestion would be to install an older version of the linux of your choice, if you can find one somewhere. I first started with Mandrake 8.1 (now called Mandriva) on a Celeron 667mhz and 64 Mb ram. And the performance of that was what has kept me playing with linux ever since.

I'm still very much a newbie to linux as I run dual boot with Win98 and old habits die hard.

What first attracted me to Mandriva was that it was advertised as "the most complete distro" and I believe this is still true even now, Mandriva ships with more than 4Gb of packages you can install. This is crucial to me as I only have dialup internet and can't afford to go downloading huge packages.

The second thing that attracted me was a very easy to use GUI installer, crucial for a newbie.

I've updated my computer bit by bit over the years and updated my mandriva as well and all* of my hardware has always been supported straight out of the box, no hunting for drivers and asking people how to install them.

*except for internal modems - buy an external one and save yourself a lot of pain.

And a relatively cheap way to try many different distros - www.linuxcentral.com - that's where all of mine have come from.

Cheers,

Andrew.
 
Old 03-04-2007, 09:11 PM   #15
petersum
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In reply to SlowCoder, no I wasn't joking. A P3 type celeron, that is upto 933Mhz, really is faster than a 2gig Celeron and almost as fast as the P4. In fact for many uses, any Celeron is faster than the equivalent Pentium as the cache, although less, is faster! Only on intensive graphics applications will you notice a slow down on celerons. The P4 is slower than the P3 because of poor design.
Another point is that the bus speed of SDRAM is 100 or 133Mhz so the 400Mhz stuff you have seen isn't SDRAM!
 
  


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