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i have an old Dell Dimension 2400 Intel® Pentium(R) 4 CPU 2.80GHz with 500Mb of memory. And rather than it gathering dust Id like to breathe some new life into it by installing some form of Linux. (It would need to be better and quicker than just using win XP)
Its uses will be the following:
Browsing the web - It would use a broadband dongle from '3' so needs to be compatible with that.
Listening to MP3's
What would you all recommend to use which wouldn't slow the machine down so much it feels like wading through treacle?
Any distro should be able to run well on that machine, as long as you don't choose one of the heavier desktop environments, like KDE 4, Gnome 3 or Unity. So anything with XFCE 4, LXDE, Enlightenment or one of the many window managers will be good for that machine.
Regarding the internet dongle,
a broadband dongle from '3'
tells us nothing about the hardware, I don't even know what '3' is, may be a local internet provider in your country.
So, if you are new to Linux I would recommend to go with SalineOS (Debian based, XFCE), Bodhi (Ubuntu based, Enlightenment), wattOS (Ubuntu based, LXDE) or Crunchbang (Debian based, XFCE or Openbox).
The '3' dongle is a USB modem. Huawei E156G On Three telecom, so the operating system would need to have native support for one of those as it would'nt be able to access the net to download any drivers until it is enabled.
The Huawei E156G is compatible to Linux, all you need is the wvdial program and the configuration posted here.
I don't know which of those distributions I named has wvdial installed by default, so may be another member can help here.
Distribution: Debian Wheezy, Jessie, Sid/Experimental, playing with LFS.
I have Debian Squeeze Gnome running on a 10 year old Dell Optiplex Pentium 4 3.2GHz with 1GB RAM, it is used for Internet, Video streaming, downloads and Music streaming. I got it about 2 years ago and it has never had any issues. Squeeze will run with as little as 256MB RAM
You stated that you want use the system for image editing. That means that you need every MB of RAM you can spare for that task. I would think that loading a system into RAM, like Puppy does, will not be the thing you want, since it will cause a loss of free RAM compared to a conventionally installed system.
1. WattOS. This is a respin of Ubuntu, so you get the advantage of the Ubuntu repository. It uses LXDE (but is more configurable than the official Lubuntu) and requires just 192MB, so you've got plenty of free memory.
2. Vector Standard takes up a little more memory (256MB minimum suggested) and has Xfce. Being based on Slackware, it's very reliable.
Thanks for all your replies.
I tried the WattOs and it was really quick, however the network manager it uses did not have mobile broadband support. You could however replace that with one that did, but only if you already had internet connection. As mobile broadband is my only link to the net, this was pretty useless.
I then tried an XFCE version of Mint, which kept freezing, do I ditched that one and Tried an LXDE version of Mint which runs fairly quick and has all the bits I require right out of the box. MP3 support, mobile broadband support etc etc