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Old 11-21-2004, 01:58 PM   #1
TChumley
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Registered: Nov 2004
Location: Plano, TX
Distribution: Debian 3.0
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New distro on Old computer


Another quick newbie question that is somewhat related to my last one...

One of our IT guys here at work says that installing very new versions of most distros onto old computers is usually not a good idea. He didn't have time to explain this theory so he just left me hanging. Is he maybe refering to lack of HD space or RAM? Is this line of thought sound? Thoughts?

A little background: Someone else offered me a new copy of Suse 9.1 he is not using. That is what prompted the comment in the first place.

My computers:

Dell Inspiron 3000 Notebook
Pentium 200
80 MB Ram
2.1 GB HD (Linux)

K6/2 300 PC
Diamond Viper 550
64 MB Ram
4.5 GB IDE HD (Linux)

P-II 450 PC
Canopus Spectra 2500
128 MB RAM
9.1 GB U2W SCSI HD (Win98)
4.5 GB U2W SCSI HD (Linux)

Yes I know it looks like an antique collection!
 
Old 11-21-2004, 02:04 PM   #2
david_ross
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Registered: Mar 2003
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It depends what you want to do. Like most new systems the programs tend to be fatter and require more resources as they are capable of much more.

Installing a light distro such as slackware shouldn't cause a problem especially if you don't need a graphical environment. If you want to run a full desktop with Mozilla and OpenOffice then I'm afraid you won't have much luck.
 
Old 11-21-2004, 02:06 PM   #3
Tinkster
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The theory (and quite rightfully in most cases) is that
the more modern (user-friendly?) distros will run heaps
of stuff for your convenience which becomes quite in-
convenient if you're short on RAM.

I'd suggest something minimalistic, e.g. Slackware 7
(or maybe a recent slack if you don't try to head for
Gnome or KDE but rather a slim WM).


Cheers,
Tink
 
Old 11-21-2004, 02:17 PM   #4
Mystified
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I installed Mandrake 10 on a P3, 350mhz (approximately) with 64 mbs of ram and a 6 GB hard drive that also had Win 98 on it. I used Gnome for my desktop. Sure it was slow but it worked.
 
Old 11-21-2004, 02:37 PM   #5
TChumley
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Registered: Nov 2004
Location: Plano, TX
Distribution: Debian 3.0
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Thanks for the replies.

My intended usage is:

Notebook - mostly just surfing (Firefox?) or playing pass the time games.

K6/2 300 - MP3 Player

PII-450 - My main computer. I can't mess with the Win98 drive because too much of what I need is on it, but I plan to do most of my Learning Linux stuff on the other HD.
 
Old 11-21-2004, 04:29 PM   #6
Zuggy
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Location: Pocatello, Idaho, USA
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I felt lazy so I didn't read everyone's replies, sorry if this is repeated. Most new distros won't run on older hardware because they have bloated software. The desktop enviroments KDE and GNOME require at least 128MB RAM to run smoothly and OpenOffice needs at least 192MB.

However not all is lost. Try VectorLinux. I run it on the laptop below with no problems and It's up to date. In fact it has a 2.6 series kernel. It's based on Slackware 9.1. It's not impossible to run a new linux distro, you just have to find one where the developers took the time to make it light and fast.

PS the current version of VL is 4.3. 5.0 is just starting testing and probably shouldn't be tried by the faint of heart. You can also try Damn Small Linux.
 
Old 11-22-2004, 04:08 AM   #7
theYinYeti
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I have equivalent hardware (see "What can you do in Linux that you can't do in Windows" thread). And I always use the most recent distribution I can, because the most bugs will be fixed in the old features. And new features... if I don't want them, I don't use them!

Just choose the window manager, the file manager, the web browser, the mail client... according to the PC's power.

Yves.
 
Old 11-22-2004, 09:18 AM   #8
allforcarrie
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just run a live distro....
 
Old 11-22-2004, 09:44 AM   #9
JaseP
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A live distro might be a good choice, but many of them are geared to run on newer models. If you can find one that doesn't use Gnome or KDE as its GUI, then you might be in luck. There are several light window managers out there that are very accomodating to dated systems.
 
Old 11-22-2004, 10:06 AM   #10
TChumley
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Registered: Nov 2004
Location: Plano, TX
Distribution: Debian 3.0
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Ok. I actually got Debian 3.1 (Sarge) running on the K6/2 machine with Fluxbox. It actually works pretty good and is relatively fast for such an old machine. I just need to sort out the sound issues and find a decent MP3 player and that one will be set! Thanks for all the support!
 
Old 11-22-2004, 10:17 AM   #11
powdered_finn
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Location: Eire
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Hi Tommy, I hope you get your comp run smoothly.

I have an old PII with 64 RAM and I could not get any of the newest distros (even with fluxbox) to work efficiently - SuSE no way, Slack 10 was intolerably sluggish, yoper 2.1 was coughing like me granpa and Knoppix 3.6 would just take ages to start, if at all. But I didn't try Debian...

p_finn
 
Old 11-22-2004, 03:47 PM   #12
Zuggy
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Quote:
Originally posted by allforcarrie
just run a live distro....
I found this live distro based ob Fedora Core 2 called Berry Linux. They have a light version that runs FluxBox as the window manager. I'm downlaoding it now.
 
Old 11-23-2004, 03:40 AM   #13
theYinYeti
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Note that contrary to popular belief (probably because fluxbox *is* popular), fluxbox is not one of the lightest window managers. IceWM, fvwm, and Matchbox are lighter and very good, not even speaking of Ion, Ratpoison, and others that are lighter but you probably don't want to try.

Yves.
 
Old 11-23-2004, 11:25 AM   #14
Zuggy
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I personally love IceWM. Here's a good introduction to it.
 
Old 11-23-2004, 11:51 AM   #15
TChumley
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Registered: Nov 2004
Location: Plano, TX
Distribution: Debian 3.0
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Quote:
Originally posted by theYinYeti
Note that contrary to popular belief (probably because fluxbox *is* popular), fluxbox is not one of the lightest window managers. IceWM, fvwm, and Matchbox are lighter and very good, not even speaking of Ion, Ratpoison, and others that are lighter but you probably don't want to try.

Yves.
Being a complete Newbie, I have no preferences yet. I will probably try several before I settle on one. I got fluxbox because, as you said, it has a Reputation for being a Lite window manager. I will probably give the others a try as soon as I get the sound issues straightened out.

Thanks for the info.
 
  


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