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Distribution: Mandriva One 2007, openSuSE 10.2, FC6, Ubuntu 6.10
How to run linux on an old pc?
I need some help.
I have an old pc HP Vectra (PIII 400 MHz, 128 MB RAM)
I've installed a Knoppix 3.8. But, It run soooooooo slow on this system. It need more than 3 min even 5 min to start an OpenOffice. When I used win xp, it need less than min to start ms-word. Now I've removed my knoppix and back to my Xp "pirated edition".Would someone like to give some solution?
Do you mean you used Knoppix as a live CD or you installed it to the HD? The LiveCD will be slow, you don't have a lot of RAM and it's probably a slow CD-rom anyway. On the HD, it will have a very bloated kernel that will slow down your old machine.
A few things to try:
1) Try running a lighter weight distro like Xubuntu or Damn Small Linux.
2) Try installing Debian (text install only), then build your system from the ground up using apt-get.
3) Try recompiling your kernel. If in doubt, leave it out. It might take you a few tries to get the right things compiled in, but it'll provide a noticable difference on your old machine. (At least it did on my old Celeron 400MHz, 256MB ram).
4) Use lightweight applications instead of memory hogs like OpenOffice. You'll have a bit better luck with Abiword and Gnumeric...
OpenOffice is a great app but it also consumes a great deal of resources. As pljvaldez indicated, I think you've got 4 conditions that are responsible for the poor performance: relatively little RAM, an app that's a resource hog, a fairly slow CPU, and you are running 100% off the CD rather than the hard drive. All of those things will add up to slow performance.
Assuming that you have the space on your hard drive, you might also want to consider setting up your PC as a dual boot system. Using a lighter-weight distro and installing Linux to the hard drive should both yield some performance gains, as would increasing the amount of RAM. Overall though, given that new CPU's run about 8 times faster than your PIII, realistically it won't be capable of lightning speed. That's not meant as criticism, and older machines can be perfectly good desktops (I've got a PIII 600Mz with 256Mg RAM, and it's fine)
Lastly, I'll also recommend Abiword - it's a great application
I'd try Vector Linux too, but it "really" does not matter which one you choose; the main things, wich which you can prevent slowdowns, are
1) don't use heavy desktop environments (KDE, Gnome), prefer console and/or light desktop things (maybe XFCE, Fluxbox etc.)
2) If you have a possibility to do so, at some point try compiling your own kernel, leaving unneeded stuff out (like support for > 4GB RAM in your case, as an example)
3) Disable unneeded services. Most distributions will surely have some services that start during boot process that take time, that you don't need. Less services to start is less time to boot.
4) Especially on GUI side, try to pick up light versions/alternatives of apps. OpenOffice sure is great, but it's heavy, so try alternatives (AbiWord? Not sure if it's lighter, though) if you can. It spares your nerves.
You don't need to go that minimal with a PIII400!
I have a PII350, and I run Mandriva 2007 on it: the newer OpenOffice2 is a lot faster than previous versions: it opens in less than 30s.
Just don't use KDE with so little memory, maybe not even Gnome. I use Ion3 (wonderfull after redefining keybindings to more usual values, unusable with default ones) but this is maybe a little too minimal. I've always found IceWM to be a good tradeoff: familiar, but still lean: it is even lighter on resources than the well known Fluxbox.
On my "real" computers I have used several live distro's but brought back to life an old box to learn the basics. I could not install Ubuntu or knoppix but was able to HD install DSL (Damn Small Linux).
AMD K6 @ 333mhz
FIC VA-503A Motherboard
64 Megs RAM (PC100 SD)
4GB Hard Drive (Completly Blank)
Things run very quickly from command line but the GUI (I think its kde) bogs down due to the miniscule ammount of ram. My intent is to download from the internet the packages (programs) that I wanted to test (which would have automatically installed with a diffrent distro).
If you intend to USE this computer, I'd reccomend spending a few bucks to increase the RAM...but if your just dabbling to get your feet wet, install DSL to hard drive and accept that the "bogging down" is a hardware issue rather than software related.