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Hi, I tried to install Ubuntu onto an older Dell laptop with 256RAM. It gave me error saying that I only had "253" and needed 256 or it would not load properly - which it did not. I tried installing Xubuntu and got the same error. I've had problems loading software from the CD upon startup but Ubuntu and Xubuntu have software that loads and it starts fine. My questions is, is there a Linux system that operates on less then 256 RAM and has the same type of program to help load from the CD on reboot.
There is a distinction between the RAM requirements of a Linux installer and the RAM requirements of the system it installs. Look for a smaller installer. For example Debian gives you a choice between a GUI installer and a command line installer. The CLI installer is smaller.
Other distributions that I know of which have a small installer are Damn Small Linux and Slackware.
Then once you get a working installer you have to install a small system which will perform reasonably well in your limited space. Choose small versions of programs such as abiword for a word processor, xfce for a window manager, and so on.
Go and use the alternate installs. They work with 64MB of ram. I used it before and it isn't too hard to understand. You should be using Xubuntu on that system because it runs better in that area. Ubuntu needs far more hardware requirements than Xubuntu. But again, if you want ubuntu, use the alternate install for it. You can find it on the server as well.
Try using the alternate install disc, it will allow you to install using a text based installer instead of the graphical one.
With only 256 MB of RAM you may want to look into Xubuntu instead, it uses the Xfce desktop environment, which is better suited to lower spec machines. http://www.xubuntu.org/about You can also do
sudo apt-get install xubuntu-desktop
to install the Xubuntu desktop from a normal Ubuntu install.
Normal ubuntu install includes the minimal install I mentioned. You would just make sure that you typed "cli" for command line system when the CD is in, then don't select a lot of software. Enter the above command from claudius and you'll have X and XFCE up and running in no time at all.
The alternate install CD allows you to perform certain specialist installations of Ubuntu. It provides for the following situations:
* setting up automated deployments;
* upgrading from older installations without network access;
* LVM and/or RAID partitioning;
* installs on systems with less than about 256MB of RAM (although note that low-memory systems may not be able to run a full desktop environment reasonably).
In the event that you encounter a bug using the alternate installer, please file a bug on the debian-installer package.