[SOLVED] Selecting a linux distro for an old laptop (IBM ThinkPad R40)
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Up until a few years ago I was running Slackware 10.2 (Linux 2.4) on a 80MHz 80486, with 32M of memory, and used it for all my research notes, using console (jed editor), and Kwrite on fvwm display manager. It did not visibly use swap until I had loaded 2 or 5 X-Win programs. (It had 64M but could only see 32M, probably because of a screwdriver that got dropped in it)
Your computer resources are adequate.
My new machine is running Slackware 10.2, Linux 2.4, on a 1.6GHz Athlon, with 256M, but I find that Linux 2.6 with KDE bogs it down due to useless things like desktop search.
You can still get Linux 2.4 and it will work fine for any note taking and office work,
and it is not so bloated as the newer stuff, which will be much easier on you if you are executing off a low-bandwidth storage device.
Is this really a question of what distro to use, or is it about what X-windows GUI is going to satisfy your tastes. Small, fast, and plain, lead you to fvwm, twm, etc., gnome has more features, while I think KDE will load the machine the most.
Slackware has installation methods all the way back to floppies (and I did several installations that way before I got this new booting cdrom drive).
It can run slackware Linux off a booting cdrom.
It comes with source for everything so you can custom build kernel to your machine, cutting its size dramatically.
If you do not have CD-ROM, and no HD, then running off a mem-stick is going to get stale real quick. I would suggest getting any size HD in there, the used computer stores have them for $10.
Here is a post taken from the linked Blog..."It is hard to install debian testing on to a netbook with wireless, but it is worth the effort"
After all we are on the newbie forum.
LOL, that doesnt really say much about gnome running on a major distro @ 85MB.
It might be in the newbie forum, but the OPs has -"Distribution: Lots mainly Ubuntu". I'd guess they arent that new. Even if they are, a debian based distro would be easier for a ubuntu user to work with.
Wireless can be a pain, but not all ThinkPad R40s even have wireless-
Detailed specifications - ThinkPad R40
# Actiontec 802.11b wireless LAN on selected models
# High Rate Dual-band 802.11a/b Wireless on selected models
# Cisco Aironet Wireless 802.11b on selected models
OK, then start an office application on that and you will see it massively swapping. Something running with 85MB after boot is not the same as something running in the use case, here with a word-processor.
I can only second what snowpine has written, lower your sights on the optical part and concentrate on the task you want to get done. Besides the optical part you also have to consider that it is better to use a lightweight application for your tasks, like Abiword instead of Open/Libre Office.
I dont think you would get 'massive swapping'. I havent tried with gnome, I'm not a gnome user and its not installed on any of the boxxen aroudn here.
I do have a Debian Xfce 6.0.1a install, and it boots at 65-70MB or RAM use, and jumped up to 85-90MB when I opened a document in OO.writer. So I would guess that the 85MB @ RAM gnome debian would jump to 105-110MB of RAM use with OO.writer open. If the document was long or complicated enough it would start swapping, but it shouldnt with just OO.writer open.
Not that I would suggest using OO.writer, or gnome debian on a 128MB RAM system, even if it would work. Debian Xfce is pushing it already, but with abiword it should stay under 128MB of RAM use (well, 120-127MB of RAM really, sahred video will steal 1-8MB), even with farily long documents.
Last edited by cascade9; 06-18-2011 at 12:52 AM.