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*** Need some advice on how to proceed: I have a Dell laptop about 6 years old, barely running win98 (very unstable) with 128 RAM. It really needs a re-install of an OS but I do not have original win98 disks so am considering LINUX (openSUSE).
Can I completely replace the win98 OS with Linux or should I try to have dual OS? And should I use an older version of Linux (may require less of the hardware & RAM), and if so, does anyone know where I can download old version?
Also, if anyone has installed Linux "over" or with win98, what problems might I expect?
THANKS for any help you guys might offer! I am REALLY new to this (as if u can't tell).
Not to rain on musicman_ace's parade, but I doubt that it will have enogh power to run Ubantu. Damn small would be a much better choice for such low level hardware specs.
I have in the past installed Linux over a number of windows variants, and the only ones that gave me any greif at all where the NT based ones (NT, 2k, XP ect). 9x should be a doddle to dispose of, though I don't sugest it unless you are *absolulty* sure you won't be needing any windows apps, in general win 9x plays nicer with linux in dual boots than new versions of windows (I sugest using GRUB over lilo though).
If you do chose to dispose of windows, I would fomat(and partition) the whole drive with linux native file systems (such as efs2) as apposed to trying to install on the existing FAT. Even dual booting, a good partition to shrink the existing windows drive, and making a new linux native drive. Also, if you go down the partitioning route, make some swap, you'll need it.
As for older versions, unles you are running on hardware from last century the newest versions of most things will still work, but you will have to make some choices based on your hardware, for instance chosing flux box over KDE as your windows manager, or no window manager at all (I've done this before on a 486, just X with a command shell, it's an experiance). Also, as I said before Ubantu probibly just won't work, but DSL will even though they have the same kernel and version of X windows.
I run Debian on my 6 year old Dell laptop.. I'm lucky in that I have 512MB of RAM though, and the top of the line CPU from that time..
A Debian Etch base install then add a lightweight window manager like Fluxbox, or fvwm95 (to give you that familiar windows 95 style desktop), might work well for you. You can choose your window manager from the Graphical login screen in Debian, so you could install several different desktops/window managers and try them out till you find one you like.
in case you are wondering what the heck we are talking about with all this window manager stuff.. heres a site with descriptions of a bunch of different window managers and screenshots.. http://xwinman.org/index.php you cam browse through and see if something catches your eye..
KDE and GNOME are the two main Linux Desktops, but installing and running KDE or GNOME on older hardware would be like installing Windows XP or Vista on your laptop then complaining because the GUI is to bloated for your harware causing it to run slow. the neat part about Linux is the underlying OS is the same but you can dress it up with no GUI, a minimal GUI or a GUI with all sorts of fancy 3D effects(new hardware only with 3D card need apply).
Alternatively, you can always use a Live CD such as Knoppix before actually doing a permanent install. A Live CD is a full fledged Linux system that runs entirely off a CD. Just burn it to a CD blank, put it into your PC, and reboot. (Note that in your BIOS boot sequence, the CD must appear above the hard drive in the sequence). No data will be written to your hard drive, and if you need to return to using Windows, just shutdown, remove the Live CD, and you're back to your original setup.