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Old 05-14-2010, 08:08 PM   #1
vdogvictor
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Good distro for 6 year old laptops?


Hi everyone, I haven't been using linux so much for the past few years. But, when I was offered some free old laptops from work I figured putting linux on them would be a better idea then letting them struggle to use windows. So I downloaded Ubuntu and did a standard installation, and to my surprise, it struggled! (by struggled, I mean the installation went fine, but using it was irritatingly slow and unresponsive.

I plan to give some of the laptops to friends that aren't too technical, so would xubuntu be a significantly lighter load on these machines? What about any other distros?

An average spec for these machines would be:

PIII 1066MHz
256/512MB RAM
20GB HDD

Lastly, another concern is the Cisco PCMCIA wireless cards they are using. Ubuntu installed it hassle free, but I'm afraid that installing it manually might get beyond my current linux skills.
 
Old 05-14-2010, 08:15 PM   #2
sycamorex
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I'm not sure if xubuntu would help the case. *buntu generally does not belong to the most lightweight distros. If you've got a few of those laptops, you can first try to install different distros on them to see which one works best. My recommendations would be: slackware (with XFCE or Fluxbox), Arch (or Archbang). They might need some configuration (I'm not sure about your wifi - it might work out of the box). If you find them too heavy, try puppy linux - that's VERY light.
 
Old 05-14-2010, 08:30 PM   #3
vdogvictor
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The main reason I chose a ubuntu is just because it is the most popular distro and would be the easiest for people I give the laptops to to find tutorials on and such. Or with any luck, not even need a tutorial or have any problems.

Slackware would be out of the question for any of them, that much I know. I hadn't heard of Archbang, I'm going to download that now. (even though I haven't been using linux a whole lot lately, the few times I have installed it I ended up using Arch)

Would any other distro with lots of GUIs and good package management run well on this hardware? What about running an outdated version of a distro, that was released around the time this hardware was standard?
 
Old 05-14-2010, 08:41 PM   #4
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Hi Victor, the minimum system requirements for Ubuntu are well documented: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/In...emRequirements

As you can see, the hardware in question is just about the bare minimum, not a good choice if performance is your goal.

Xubuntu is somewhat lighter than Ubuntu, and I've heard good things about Lubuntu (though not had a chance to try it yet personally). They use the Xfce and LXDE desktop environments, respectively, rather than the Gnome environment used by Ubuntu.

Ubuntu has the reputation as being one of the "heaviest" Linux distros--all that "user friendliness" comes at a performance cost. If you're willing to explore beyond the Ubuntu family, you'll find a whole universe of options: Puppy, SliTaz, CrunchBang, AntiX, just to name a few of my favorites off the top of my head. You'll find that "Lightweight Linux Distros" is a very frequently asked question, and a little Google and forum searching will yield some good discussions of the topic. Good luck!
 
Old 05-14-2010, 08:43 PM   #5
vdogvictor
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Okay, I am going to try the following 3 distros:

Archbang
Crunchbang
Fedora Core LXDE Spin

Thanks for your help. I'll let you know how it goes. Any other suggestions are of course more than welcome!
 
Old 05-14-2010, 08:47 PM   #6
vdogvictor
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowpine View Post
Hi Victor, the minimum system requirements for Ubuntu are well documented: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/In...emRequirements

As you can see, the hardware in question is just about the bare minimum, not a good choice if performance is your goal.

Xubuntu is somewhat lighter than Ubuntu, and I've heard good things about Lubuntu (though not had a chance to try it yet personally). They use the Xfce and LXDE desktop environments, respectively, rather than the Gnome environment used by Ubuntu.

Ubuntu has the reputation as being one of the "heaviest" Linux distros--all that "user friendliness" comes at a performance cost. If you're willing to explore beyond the Ubuntu family, you'll find a whole universe of options: Puppy, SliTaz, CrunchBang, AntiX, just to name a few of my favorites off the top of my head. You'll find that "Lightweight Linux Distros" is a very frequently asked question, and a little Google and forum searching will yield some good discussions of the topic. Good luck!
Thanks, I've been reading up since posting here.

I'll probably add Lubuntu and Xubuntu to the list too. I guess I'll see what happens.

I guess I was too excited to get started on this and assumed any old linux would run on it. I still have trouble reminding myself that "bleeding edge" hardware when i first learned about PCs is no longer as capable as it once was!
 
Old 05-14-2010, 09:26 PM   #7
jefro
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Puppy or one of the pup clones.

That laptop isn't at all bad. The memory is a bit low.

Could try haiku-os.
 
Old 05-14-2010, 09:45 PM   #8
craigevil
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Debian it runs Ok on my kids OLPC XO, and it only has 256mb ram and the processor runs at 500mgz, much less than the laptops you have.
 
Old 06-01-2010, 08:25 AM   #9
vdogvictor
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I ended up going with Linux Mint 8 Fluxbox CE. I already set up and gave away two of them. I figure all they need is a browser and pidgin, so drag n drop desktop icons are an acceptable loss. Out of the box the wifi, sound, and video worked. Even the difference between fluxbox and LXDE/XFCE linux mints was noticable. I probably could have tweaked those versions to not start things like the bluetooth daemon at startup, but it just wasn't worth the effort when Fluxbox CE worked with basically no hassles.
 
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Old 06-01-2010, 08:27 AM   #10
linus72
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Fluxbox is a good choice in any distro
 
Old 06-02-2010, 02:35 AM   #11
cola
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Debian may be a choice.
 
Old 06-02-2010, 02:50 AM   #12
ahzthecat
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I have a laptop with very similar specs. Ubuntu was good in earlier versions, but since Hardy its been too much for the ol box to run comfortably. I had very good results from VectorLight 6.0...configuation was easy, and am running Debian 5.04 on my machine now. Slack and Slack-based distros (Zenwalk) were very problematic on my machine, Sabayon was too resource intensive. Puppy is fun too, but I haven`t used it in a while. Lots out there to choose from, eh? Have fun!
 
Old 06-02-2010, 05:41 AM   #13
colintivy
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I have a simliar laptop with Hardy aboard installed clean when it came out, I have not updated 6 monthly since and am contemplating 10.04.1 when it comes out. Hardy works acceptably apart from a few unsupported peripherals like Canon Scanner. If 10.04 is too much for it I plan to try Mint 9 when it settles.

colintivy
 
  


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