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Old 12-27-2005, 06:53 PM   #1
Taigrr
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Learning Linux on little RAM.


Hey, my first post here! =D Yay! Anyway, was going to set up Linux on an old Pentium II, 266, with a whopping 80 megs of RAM! Obviously, this is crap. Anyway, I was curious what i'd want to put on it, that would work really well, and still be able to use some applications and stuff. Do something other than collect dust, like it would as a server. I want to poke, prod, experiment and learn, not just set it up and stare at it. I looked into Ubuntu, but I have so little memory, it wouldn't work. So any help is greately appreciated. Thanks! =D
 
Old 12-27-2005, 07:15 PM   #2
Poetics
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I'm a huge fan of Slackware. There are many offshoots of Slack (ZipSlack, others) that will work flawlessly on small systems.

Do not use KDE or Gnome -- they require far more than 80mb RAM; I'm having a blast with Fluxbox, though there are other lightweight WMs out there (IceWM, et cetera).

I dove into Linux using Slackware and have never regretted it. I have learned more since than I think I could have with any other distro. With no wizards, no built-in 'helpers' (which tend to hinder instead!), you get to learn how to do everything yourself. No better way to get a handle on just what you can do with Linux.

Check it out!
 
Old 12-27-2005, 07:29 PM   #3
amosf
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80 meg is fine. You can even run kde on 64meg, tho you need to turn off a lot of the jpg backgrounds and textures. But with a light wm, a 266 with 80 meg would be a nice enough little machine. Run kmail and firefox fine. OOo1 does run on systems like that, but takes a long time to load and tends to stall a bit. Best job is a server. I use boxes like that for print and mp3 servers and routers and stuff...
 
Old 12-27-2005, 07:38 PM   #4
shuuhen
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I'm sure Debian or Gentoo would run on that machine, assuming your hard drive is big enough. As long as you have a big enough hard drive for Linux, you can use swap. Gentoo runs nicely on my PowerBook 3400 which only has 80 MB RAM and a 1 MB video system. I'm even using Gnome (although Fluxbox would be a lot faster).

Debian might be easier to install and would take less time. I think that MEPIS would install on your machine, which would be a very easy distro to install. Gentoo is awesome, but it would take a long time to do installs, updates, etc.
 
Old 12-27-2005, 07:47 PM   #5
gunnix
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Well I think that machine should run pretty well actually.

I suggest you try arch linux on it. (debian testing is also good)
www.archlinux.org , get the 0.7.1 iso (not 0.7.0 )

I have written some articles which might help you:

lightweight linux desktop: http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...d.php?t=395426

lightweight linux applications: http://users.skynet.be/six/gpure/tech/linux/apps.htm

Installing debian, on the way I do it on old and new computers: http://users.skynet.be/six/gpure/tech/linux/debian.html
 
Old 12-27-2005, 10:51 PM   #6
Taigrr
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I've got a fourty gig harddrive. Just a question. I heard that "Swap" was hard on hard drives. That it killed them much faster.. I don't really want that to happen, because I can always use it as a slave and get that much more room on this computer.. So, is that true? I don't completely understand it. Except that maybe the sectors could go bad after all the data being placed and removed over and over..

Last edited by Taigrr; 12-27-2005 at 10:52 PM.
 
Old 12-27-2005, 11:34 PM   #7
Poetics
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Think it through -- that's like saying every email server has to replace harddrives at a frightening rate

I wouldn't think that'll be a problem unless you got some horrific no-name brand.
 
Old 12-27-2005, 11:51 PM   #8
Taigrr
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Okay, well! I think i'll go with Slackware. I decided that if I just create a partition, I can try many diffrent versions. So Slackware is up first - Says four ISO files, so i'll start downloading those. Any hints or tips, or troubles you ran into or anything? Could use all the help I can get, hahaha..
 
Old 12-27-2005, 11:54 PM   #9
2damncommon
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Since no one else has suggested it yet (in this thread) I am going to suggest you take a look at Vector Linux. It is made specifically for older computers and it is based on Slackware Linux.
Straight Slackware would be generally better if you like getting your hands dirty.
Do not say your computer is crap. I plan on installing lots of stuff on my 486 DEC PC with 32MB of RAM.

Last edited by 2damncommon; 12-28-2005 at 01:55 AM.
 
Old 12-28-2005, 12:02 AM   #10
shuuhen
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Every OS that I know of has something like swap. I think Windows calls it a page file, Mac OS 9 and earlier call it virtual memory, but it all is basically some of your hard drive being used as memory.

You also have an incredible amount of program specific temporary files on many of those operating systems. Preferences, caches, etc.

Turning on your computer is actually one of the greater causes of wear and tear on drives. The main thing you want to think about is running disk maintenance regularly.
 
  


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