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Old 01-04-2005, 10:12 AM   #1
nerfball
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Registered: Nov 2004
Location: North Carolina
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Leanest distro for older laptop?


Hey guys, happy new year!

I have an older IBM Thinkpad 600E. I want to employ it to help me when I go back to school in a couple weeks. I am currently running XP on it, but it's agonizingly slow.

I want to try a Linux solution to see if I can make better use of it. What distro would run the fastest on an older machine like that? All I would need would be a standard suite of office applications and wireless functionality. Also, if I do get Linux running on the laptop, how hard would it be to interface with printers on the campus if they are running a Windows network that is not friendly to Linux clients? Will standard IP printing work? I'm a newbie of course, so forgive the ignorance.

Thanks.

Last edited by nerfball; 01-04-2005 at 10:17 AM.
 
Old 01-04-2005, 11:09 AM   #2
justin_p
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try debian. If it is too slow you could always try Vector. It has some great tools. Not sure about how it is with ACPI. Take a look at their website, www.vectorlinux.com
 
Old 01-04-2005, 11:19 AM   #3
nerfball
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Another consideration would be the power management features. This laptop currently gets about an hour of battery life running XP, could I expect about the same or better when I get Linux on there?
 
Old 01-04-2005, 11:30 AM   #4
justin_p
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you should get better with linux. Search in the foruns for whatever distro you pick and see how to set up the pwoer management features.
 
Old 01-04-2005, 12:18 PM   #5
halo14
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I second Vector... it's Slackware based, so it's fast.. and it has a nice package management tool.. and it's default desktop with Vector 4.3 is Fluxbox with ROX filer so you get desktop icons.. I'm running it on an old Toshiba Satellite 315CDT...

Pentium MMX 200MHz
32 MB RAM
3 GB HD

and it runs pretty decend...i'm not sure what your hardware specs are.. but I assure you that Vector will run good as anything else (probably better)

Also, depending on how big the HD is, you could even go with Slackware.. I'm running slackware-current on my good notebook and desktop.. and it rocks... super fast... and I always do a FULL install...

Good luck!

P.S. - happy birthday to nerfball =)
 
Old 01-04-2005, 12:34 PM   #6
nerfball
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Thanks for the birthday wish!

I'm downloading a Vector 4.3 .iso as we speak. I'll give it a shot tonight. Like I said, it's going to be a school computer, all I need is an office suite of apps and good wireless networking and power management.

The laptop spec are:

Pentium II 366mhz
198mb RAM
6gb HDD

XP the resource hog takes forever to boot and getting around in it is just painful.

How would I handle printing through these distros? Keeping in mind that the college will probably have a Windows Domain network.
 
Old 01-04-2005, 01:43 PM   #7
mjjzf
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With that PC, you should be well-off with Vector. You could probably install Slackware on it while leaving out Gnome and KDE desktop environments, since they won't run very well on it.
But Vector is easier to run, and it's probably the best bet.
 
Old 01-04-2005, 01:55 PM   #8
saxophobe
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Hey Nerfball!

I have this same model laptop, with similar specs and am currently looking for a good distro to use. Here are the ones I have had success with, but run some what slow:

Live CDs:

DamnSmall 0.7.1- very fast, but not alot of apps
Knoppix 3.3 HD install - more apps, but slower
SimplyMepis - Good, but slow
Gnoppix - would not boot due to 2.6 kernel issues

Full HD installs:

Red Hat 9.0 - fastest of the slow
Fedora Core 1 - good but slow
Mandrake 8.0, 9.0 - both pretty slow

Anyway, I have also tried to install Gentoo 2004 and LFS, but I was unable to get these installed properly due to my limited knowledge and a heat issue with my laptop; if run for a significant length of time, the CD-ROM drive will stop reading.

Here are the distros I am currently considering:

Blag
BeatrIX
Feather

If anyone else has any input on these with respect to the IBM TP 600E, I would be interested in hearing what they have to say!

Thanks to all!

sax
 
Old 01-04-2005, 02:06 PM   #9
halo14
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cool.. I'm sure you'll be happy with Vector... and on that 192 MB of RAM it should be blisteringly fast!! (in ratio to other Desktop Evironments)

As for printing... I'm sure it's not too hard, thought I couldn't say for sure because I have not yet in the year of using linux printed anything from linux :P

My school doesn't print anything anyways, we are paperless, and instead hand everything in in PDF format to our student folders on the server. Which is great because of linux having built in export to PDF functionality..

Vector does not include OpenOffice, but it does include AbiWord which works great and unless you need to be formatting special banners and crap, it works great. I love it, especially on older hardware. I'm not sure if it includes a spreadsheet or not.. but I'm sure you could use vecpkg to download one if needed..

Good luck, and let us know how you come out..
 
Old 01-05-2005, 05:31 PM   #10
nerfball
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I'm using a Linksys Wireless G adapter on the laptop: WPC54GS

Will Vector have support for this card? I tired running Knoppix 3.7 (from the CD) and it told me the card was unsupported. I can't really go ahead with the install of Vector (or another distro) until I make sure I can use this card. It's kind of the point of having the laptop, it being wireless and I would rather not have to buy another wireless notebook adapter.
 
Old 01-05-2005, 06:07 PM   #11
esteeven
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Put Debian Sarge on it. I have the same laptop and it's great ---- *the power management works*. I have just upgraded to Sid and all is well.
 
Old 01-05-2005, 07:41 PM   #12
Electro
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You can try to find the driver on the CD or ask Linksys for the Linux version. If you can not find a driver for Linux and you have an ethernet connection in the notebook computer, you can use a wired to wireless bridge. The bridge is not OS dependent and it does not need a power source, but it gets the power from the ethernet connection. Also it does not take up processor usage when WEP or WPA is enabled. All you need to do is setup the ethernet device and setup the bridge using a web browser. The bridge will handle WEP and WPA encryption while your notebook computer will be handling TCP and UDP packets.
 
Old 01-06-2005, 01:55 AM   #13
Shade
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For that card, you'll have to use ndiswrapper -- it uses the winXP drivers and translates them into linux speak... Sort of

You'll need the kernel source installed and configured, and the windows XP drivers.

I suggest you first burn the vector iso, then a small cd (or put it on a usb stick) the kernel source and ndiswrapper source. I'm not sure whether vector includes the kernel source by default, but I'd bet they have a package you can install with a simple:
installpkg kernel-source<version>.tgz

You'll also need gcc (development platform) to compile the driver.

ndsiwrapper.sourceforge.net

Some distributions include ndiswrapper on the install, but none that would be practical for your application.

Vector is definitely the best choice, I've had it running on everything from a p1 100 laptop to my athlon 2200XP+ and it *is* what they claim it to be... fast, lean, and easy to use.

It's also the first distro I really felt was useful, and what brought me to slackware.

Samba will handle your network printing, and you may be able to configure CUPS to handle it as well. I'm not sure; I have not ventured deeply into mixed networks and printing. This might be the hard part of your setup, though.

--Shade
 
Old 01-06-2005, 07:16 AM   #14
nerfball
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Hey Shade, thanks for the good reply and info. I understand your instructions but I'm going to have to figure out how to do all that, I'm way to new at this still. I have downloaded and burned the Vector .iso, the wireless connectivity was my main concern before attemtping an install.
 
Old 01-06-2005, 09:22 PM   #15
Shade
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No problem, nerfball. I'm just letting you know that your particular card is not going to work "out of the box" with any distro

--Shade
 
  


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