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Old 03-16-2014, 11:44 AM   #1
onebuck
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Minimal/Optimized Gnu/Linux Distributions that can be used with Older hardware(XP)


Hi,

Sadly, with Micrsoft Xp support expiring next month, I have noticed a lot of threads lately requesting help with XP systems in need of a good Gnu/Linux. Members should realize that this hardware is considered 'Legacy'. Not all modern Gnu/Linux will satisfactorily meet the expectations or revival of Legacy/older hardware.

Thankful, new & old Gnu/Linux users have options to hopefully aid in extending the life of older hardware. Most times a user can boost things by increasing their memory size(footprint) to the maximum allowed on the old equipment.

One thing a user must realize is that the older Xp hardware can be at least decade old hardware. Most of the web is now dependent on java/flash to enhance your web experience. With new browser like 'Firefox' one will place heavy CPU & memory loads on older hardware. Add to this for a user who expects a Desktop Environment/Window Manager to perform at today's speed on older hardware. One should select a small DE or WM when using a slower single core CPU along with small memory footprints.

Note: Do not expect your Old Xp to be revived to the equivalent of a modern system. Even with Gnu/Linux there will be limitations on 'Legacy Hardware'. I have installed a modern Slackware Gnu/Linux on 'Legacy Hardware'. But I did know to use max memory along with a small Window Manager' to have a working system with limited operations. Also tweaking the installation to allow functionality.

For new and old users this list from Linux Distribution General section of SlackwareŽ-Links may aid in selection;
Quote:
Minimal/Optimized Gnu/Linux Distributions:

Minimal/Light Weight:
Puppy Linux <- 'Puppy really is small, the live-CD typically being 85MB, yet there really is a complete set of GUI applications. Being so small, Puppy usually loads completely into RAM, which accounts for the incredible speed.'

Simplicity Linux <- 'Simplicity Linux is a Puppy Linux derivative with LXDE as the default desktop environment. It comes in four editions: Obsidian, Netbook, Desktop and Media. The Netbook edition features cloud-based software, the Desktop flavour offers a collection of general-purpose software, and the Media variant is designed to provide "lounge" PC users with easy access to their media.

Linux Mint <- 'The purpose of Linux Mint is to produce a modern, elegant and comfortable operating system which is both powerful and easy to use.'

antiX <- 'antiX is a fast, lightweight and easy to install linux live CD distribution based on Debian Testing for Intel-AMD x86 compatible systems. antiX offers users the "antiX Magic" in an environment suitable for old computers. So don't throw away that old computer yet! The goal of antiX is to provide a light, but fully functional and flexible free operating system for both newcomers and experienced users of Linux. It should run on most computers, ranging from 64MB old PII 266 systems with pre-configured 128MB swap to the latest powerful boxes. 128MB RAM is recommended minimum for antiX. The installer needs minimum 2.2GB hard disk size. antiX can also be used as a fast-booting rescue cd. At the moment antiX-13 "Luddite" comes as a full distro (c690MB), a base distro (c400MB) and a core-libre distro (c135MB) for 32 bit and 64 bit computers. For those who wish to have total control over the install, use antiX-core and build up. Present released antiX-13.2-full version, 05 November 2013: isos and md5sum files available 'Luddite'

Tiny Core Linux <- 'Tiny Core Linux is a 12 MB graphical Linux desktop. It is based on a recent Linux kernel, BusyBox, Tiny X, Fltk, and Flwm. The core runs entirely in memory and boots very quickly. The user has complete control over which applications and/or additional hardware to have supported, be it for a desktop, a nettop, an appliance or server; selectable from the project's online repository.'

VectorLinux <- 'VectorLinux is a small, fast, Intel based Linux operating system for PC style computers. The creators of VectorLinux had a single credo: keep it simple, keep it small and let the end user decide what their operating system is going to be. What has evolved from this concept is perhaps the best little Linux operating system available anywhere.' + 'VectorLinux 7.0 "Light'

Lubuntu <- 'Lubuntu is a fast, lightweight and energy-saving variant of Ubuntu using the LXDE (Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment) desktop. It is intended to have low-resource system requirements and is designed primarily for netbooks, mobile devices and older PCs.'

Damn Small Linux <- 'Damn Small Linux is a business card size (50MB) live CD Linux distribution. Despite its minuscule size it strives to have a functional and easy to use desktop. Damn Small Linux has a nearly complete desktop, including XMMS (MP3, and MPEG), FTP client, links-hacked web browser, spreadsheet, email, spellcheck (US English), a word-processor, three editors (Nedit, nVi, Zile [emacs clone]), Xpdf, Worker (file manager), Naim (AIM, ICQ, IRC), VNCviwer, SSH/SCP server and client, DHCP client, PPP, PPPoE, a web server, calculator, Fluxbox window manager, system monitoring apps, USB support, and soon it will have PCMCIA support as well. If you like Damn Small Linux you can install it on your hard drive. Because all the applications are small and light it makes a very good choice for older hardware.'

CrunchBang Linux <- 'CrunchBang Linux is an Debian-based distribution featuring the light-weight Openbox window manager and GTK+ applications. The distribution has been built from a minimal Debian system and customized to offer a good balance of speed and functionality. CrunchBang Linux is currently available as a live CD; however, the best performance is achieved by installing it to a hard disk.'

ArchBang Linux <- 'ArchBang Linux is a lightweight distribution based on Arch Linux. Using the Openbox window manager, it is fast, up-to-date and suitable for both desktop and portable systems.'
CDlinux <- 'CDlinux is a compact Linux mini-distribution. It ships with an up-to-date version of the Linux kernel, X.Org, Xfce window manager, and many popular applications. It has good internationalization and locale support, and is highly user-configurable.' + 'Based on Slackware' + 'Older but still useful'

CRUX <- 'CRUX is a lightweight, i686-optimised Linux distribution targeted at experienced Linux users. The primary focus of this distribution is "keep it simple", which is reflected in a simple tar.gz-based package system, BSD-style initscripts, and a relatively small collection of trimmed packages. The secondary focus is utilization of new Linux features and recent tools and libraries.'

Linux Lite <- 'Linux Lite is a beginner-friendly Linux distribution based on Ubuntu LTS and featuring the Xfce desktop.'

Optimized:

Salix <- 'Salix is a Slackware-based Linux distribution that is simple, fast, easy to use and compatible with Slackware Linux. Optimised for desktop use, Salix OS features one application per task, custom package repositories, advanced package management with dependency support, localised system administration tools and innovative artwork.'

Slackel <- 'Slackel is a Linux distribution and live CD based on Slackware Linux and Salix OS. It is fully compatible with both. It uses the current version of Slackware and the latest version of the KDE desktop. The Slackel disc images are offered in two different forms - installation and live.'

EasyPeasy <- 'EasyPeasy (formerly Ubuntu Eee) is an Ubuntu-based distribution for netbooks. It uses Ubuntu Netbook Remix graphical user interface and includes open source as well as proprietary software.'

Bodhi Linux <- 'Bodhi Linux is an Ubuntu-based distribution for the desktop featuring the elegant and lightweight Enlightenment window manager. The project, which integrates and pre-configures the very latest builds of Enlightenment directly from the project's development repository, offers modularity, high level of customisation, and choice of themes. The default Bodhi system is light -- the only pre-installed applications are Midori, LXTerminal, EFM (Enlightenment File Manager), Leafpad and Synaptic -- but more software is available via AppCenter, a web-based software installation tool.'

Alpine Linux <- 'Alpine Linux is a community developed operating system designed for x86 routers, firewalls, VPNs, VoIP boxes and servers. It was designed with security in mind; it has proactive security features like PaX and SSP that prevent security holes in the software to be exploited. The C library used is uClibc and the base tools are all in BusyBox. Those are normally found in embedded systems and are smaller than the tools found in GNU/Linux systems.'

Leeenux <- 'Leeenux is an Ubuntu-based commercial Linux distribution tailored to netbooks. Several editions, depending on the user interface are available; these include Unity 2D, MATE and LXDE desktop environments.'
All the above links are from SlackwareŽ-Links . More than just Slackware links!

Hope this helps.
 
Old 03-16-2014, 12:03 PM   #2
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Personally I'm of the opinion that in most cases it's not worth the bother of trying to install Linux on ancient hardware and it's better to replace it with newer hardware.
By this I don't mean that I have anything against playing with Linux on 15 year old machines for fun but that somebody who has an old 10 year old machine running XP would, budget allowing of course, be best served finding a cheap second-hand 5 year old machine and installing Linux on that.
I'm a little cautious about posting the above in threads raised by newbies though as it may seem unhelpful and I realise that for some people any hardware could be prohibitively expensive.
What do others think?
 
Old 03-16-2014, 12:18 PM   #3
onebuck
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Member Response

Hi,

I feel that using older hardware may be the only options for some members. Not everyone has the option to rebuild/re-purpose/replace their present hardware with even a 5 year old(newer) system.

LQ is a world community and not everyone can afford to replace their current hardware with newer units. At one point I would re-cycle XP based hardware for individuals who could not afford to purchase any hardware. I no longer do this, personal reasons.

Remember that not everyone in this world have the luxury of the newest hardware available, let alone purchase 5 year old hardware!
 
Old 03-16-2014, 12:47 PM   #4
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Like I said, I realise that for some members a newer machine may be prohibitively expensive but if it isn't then is it something worth pointing out?
Whilst somebody with very few resources is likely to be happy that their system works enough to go on the internet and edit the odd office document slowly others may be very disappointed to find Flash doesn't work and it takes and age to do anything.

Last edited by 273; 03-16-2014 at 06:44 PM. Reason: Typo: changed "hat" to "that".
 
Old 03-16-2014, 06:15 PM   #5
roy_lt_69
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I suspect if you took a poll of users of Linuxquestions you will find that a good number are running Linux on relatively old systems (>10yrs old).
I myself have an old 2GHz P4 with 512MB, and a 40GB HDD running Bodhi Linux right next to me as I type using a newer i5 with 6GB ram running Slackware 14.1.

Not to mention I also have an old Atom netbook also running Bodhi sitting next to my bed for those times when I cannot sleep.

Maybe we should take a poll to see how many users are running on old systems: <2yrs, 2-5yrs, 5-10yrs, 10-15yrs, 15-20, over 20yrs.

Last edited by roy_lt_69; 03-16-2014 at 06:20 PM. Reason: Suggestion for possible poll.
 
Old 03-16-2014, 06:35 PM   #6
EDDY1
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It would help if you post system specs, so that you can get an idea of what might work.
 
Old 03-16-2014, 06:43 PM   #7
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The EEE I'm typing this on isn't exactly new. However, it is slow and whilst it allowed me to edit my CV and search for jobs when I was without any other PC I would not recommend it to anyone who's not patient.
My point being that it is entirely possible to run Linux on older systems but it can generally mean using distros that are less easy to install and use and once you go past a certain age means that, for example, using Adobe Flash means compromising security and using an old vulnerable version. None of this is a good introduction to Linux and I am not convinced that for a new user wanting to change from XP it is good to recommend any of this. If somebody cannot use a newer machine then I absolutely think that all possible help should be given. Similarly if somebody wants to use an older machine as a challenge. However, if somebody has an old XP machine then, unfortunately, it may well just be that it is too old to use for the tasks they wish to use it for.
To use an analogy: I have a friend with three classic British cars from the 1970's but he quickly found he could not use any of them to commute as they were simply too unreliable (not to mention they're not fuel efficient) to use daily so he now uses a newer but still cheap and second-hand car to commute.
 
Old 03-16-2014, 07:21 PM   #8
onebuck
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Hi,

The sky is falling... the sky is falling... the sky is falling....

No different than saying it is bad option to attempt to use older distribution on older hardware. Simple browser will allow a user to gain access to the web. It does not guarantee that user will have a great experience as compared to modern equipment. I get real tired of people who stand on their soap box and say that to implement something on older hardware is just asking for issues. If you do not have a car or other modes of transportation then you should learn to walk. No different than telling someone to use older Gnu/Linux to get their system functional.

Heck, if you want to be secure then use Lynx or links from the cli instead of wanting that fancy GUI. Most black hats or script kiddies do not want limited user computers but the masses who's computers can be used to do their real harm. Simple security will generally prevent someone from causing issues with your system. Good passwords and common sense will prevent problems for most. If someone can social engineer you then you do deserve to be harmed. Social engineering can be done to someone who uses XP. So providing a user with a list of usable Gnu/Linux on older hardware is harmful??? Think not!!

Again, Chicken Little's of the world, put up with your own BS and not spread 'FUD'.
 
Old 03-16-2014, 07:31 PM   #9
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I don't know what I typed to provoke such a post but since this is your thread I'll leave it.
 
Old 03-16-2014, 09:56 PM   #10
rokytnji
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I have converted some senior citizen life long XP users with

http://www.smartestcomputing.us.com/...2-puppy-linux/

I mod and help out at this Mac/Windows Forum and found for clueless XP users with limited XP gear.
This was the easiest out of the box system for someone who has never delved into Linux and if
they wish to move on later to something more beefier.

They can now that they have got their hands soiled and gained a little experience.
There are some happy campers in that forum who have moved on from Carolina 1.2 XFCE Puppy Linux
to AntiX.

But Carolina was like their Ubuntu initiation from Windows to Linux. Pendrives auto mount onto the desktop.
Partitions on internal drive auto show and can be mounted like in Windows.

Package manager has skype and other Windows like apps.

The key is too make it easy for the transition for a point and click user who does not give a crap about command line.
When they ask me about using AntiX like I do. I just point them without fear because now they have messed with Linux file structure
and are ready to understand https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFW...KlXW5uE9opXukQ

I teach them to use youtube since RTFM or man vlc just makes their eyes glaze over and they become lost.
That forum was me as the only Linux user and I was made a mod because of that.
Now I have a little gang of users that jump in when someone asks timidly about "what is linux. Is it crackware? I heard it has no hard ware support?"

My converts jump in. Talk about how everything works out of the box. It's simple. Sing my praises.
Quote:
Just had to install 98 on a gig so I could update the BIOS.
Linux is much easier to deal with.
Of coarse, rokytnji has been a BIG help.
Quote:
Mrs Bond, it may or may not surprise you, but I also am female and 76 yrs "young"....but with the upcoming obsolescence of XP support, I'm sort of feeling "old". <sm>. SO, if I can do it, so can you! Have had great help with fellow members, especially Shay and rokytnji.
Quote:
rokytnji, I suspect you are the "expert on board" Woodworker alludes to above
Even though I am just a shady tree biker linux user. Attitude speaking to someone afeared of new things should be (IMHO) the arm around the shoulder when they freak out
and whisper, 'It's cool. I know how you feel. If we don't know the answer. My search kung foo may bail us out on your problem.
It takes time to switch from driving a car to a motorbike. So make some coffee and by the time you pour a cup. I should have a answer or one of my converts will."

For real picky,rude, anal users with atitude. I tell them to go to Best Buy and break out the credit card for Windows 8.1.
I only deal with sincere willing to learn seniors. In my spare time I come here and learn new tricks myself.

Anyhows, Long soapbox over rant over. That is what I am doing for migrating XP users who wish to keep their equipment.
Some as old from 70's to 80's. On fixed incomes. My youngest is a kid who still lives at home with is parents.
He is the hardest one to support being more expectant because he is more computer savvy.

Quote I like "Don't try to dazzle me with Jargon. I am just a little old lady/man and you take for granted
I speak geek. KISS is all I know in Geek speak"

Last edited by rokytnji; 03-16-2014 at 10:05 PM.
 
Old 08-07-2014, 10:06 PM   #11
Rava
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Exclamation

Just my 2 cents on that:

Quote:
Originally Posted by onebuck View Post
With new browser like 'Firefox' one will place heavy CPU & memory loads on older hardware. Add to this for a user who expects a Desktop Environment/Window Manager to perform at today's speed on older hardware.
I encourage everyone to check out the optimized Firefox variant Pale Moon...

On my single Core 1,2GHz with 1,2 MB RAM (shared with the GPU,that is) and slow internal harddrive, it made a huge difference in performance!
Also, by using the Add-On "Suspend Tab" the overall performance of pale Moon (and me thinks, of all of Linux) speeds up even more.
But be aware: by using "Suspend Tab" "older", suspended tabs need to be reloaded, and that sure takes time every time you click on a suspended tab...

But your whole Linux and your Pale Moon gets a speed boost... And in my book, when that's wanted and needed, I happily live with the pause and need for reloading suspended tabs.
(And again: be aware these tabs "load", but are just swapped from a local suspended "copy", what you see is the "old" tab, not a probably changed recent one (even when it seems like it gets loaded from the web), you need to manually reload the tab to see/get the actual recent version of that webpage...)

=========================

Quote:
Originally Posted by rokytnji View Post
For real picky,rude, anal users with atitude. I tell them to go to Best Buy and break out the credit card for Windows 8.1.
I only deal with sincere willing to learn seniors. In my spare time I come here and learn new tricks myself.
(I try not to be picky, rude or anal with computing (or anything RL, to be honest, to the best of my abilities, that is... since no one [Aside from Jesus or Buddha and some others </digress> ] is perfect.
In my book, such picky, rude and/or anal behaviour is rude (duh!), plain boring, trollish and very kindergarten style...

Back to the topic:
I don't like the general idea of the GUI of Wind. 8... (I know there are ways to get Wind. 8 to have the look and feel of XP or Wind 7...)



When running Linux, I use / love XFCe...



When running XP (only without networking due to security) or Wind.7 (also usually without networking, also due to security) I also use a tweak that enables Wind. to have several Desktops, just like most Linux GUI's use by default... :P

Modern powerful OS with the classical desktop (Wind: Up to 7) and the ability to run dozens of programs at a time... and all cluttered together on just one darn desktop is so... *shrug* what to say here and not getting rude?
Non Practical?

It's like, when you have a Linux *whatever* server that has no X (for better performance), locally locally logging in to edit/tweak/update stuff and only log in to one single console...

Last edited by Rava; 08-07-2014 at 10:23 PM.
 
Old 08-07-2014, 10:22 PM   #12
Rava
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Unhappy

Sorry folks.... my bad, I did not intend to double post... (Having too many tabs open from the same forum can result in such .... errors... :P)

Anyhow, can I delete this post? Or can only admins/mods do so?

Be it as it may, just ignore this post, pwetty pwease!

Last edited by Rava; 08-07-2014 at 10:25 PM.
 
  


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