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Old 05-16-2009, 10:54 AM   #1
Zenara25
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What's the best distro for newbie on an old computer 256MB ram 433 celeron


I'm looking at 4 distros right now.
Puppy Linux (1 minutes boot time installed), the rest are 2 and a half minute boot time installed. MoonOs 2 LXDE, Linux Mint 6 Fluxbox CE, and Crunchbang.

Fluxbuntu takes 4 minutes to boot up installed on the computer so I'm not interested in that one.

In order of most important to least important.

1. ease of overall use
2. ease and choice of package/program installs
3. speed on an old computer
4. ease of distro install with 98se dual boot

I'm able to quickly try them out installed on a spare hard drive and they all seem fine to me but this computer is going to a friend who has never used linux before.

Any thoughts and suggestions much appreciated. Thanks
 
Old 05-16-2009, 11:11 AM   #2
Disillusionist
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Have you tried Xubuntu?

This is supposed to be customised for lower end machines, whilst still being easy to use.

Not used it myself, but it might be worth a shot.

If speed and disk space is more important, you could always use DSL (Damn Small Linux)
 
Old 05-16-2009, 11:16 AM   #3
Zenara25
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Yes I forgot to mention I tried Xubuntu. It also takes 2 and a half minutes to startup. But it just feels slower than the others. I think it's based on XFCE. I also tried MoonOs 2 XFCE it was pretty slow. But the MoonOs 2 LXDE one is fast.

DSL just doesn't feel like a complete distro to me.

I have a 15GB hard drive for maybe dual booting 98SE and one linux distro.

Last edited by Zenara25; 05-19-2009 at 05:42 PM.
 
Old 05-16-2009, 11:22 AM   #4
CouchMaster
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So if puppy works, and it boots in 60 seconds - what more could you want?
 
Old 05-16-2009, 11:51 AM   #5
Disillusionist
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I have just downloaded and installed Puppy on a Virtual Machine.

I can't believe that I haven't tried it before.

OK, you probably want to ensure that you go through the configuration phase before you pass it to a complete newbie, but it's pretty straight forward.

Puppy would get my vote
 
Old 05-16-2009, 11:54 AM   #6
ajlewis2
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I tried Puppy maybe a year ago and loved it except for it running as root. I don't recall if there was a firewall, either. Is there a way to run it as a separate user these days?
 
Old 05-16-2009, 12:04 PM   #7
Zenara25
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So does puppy have good choices of packages/programs? I don't use linux myself (once in a while I use VMware on my mac and boot up Ubuntu to play with briefly) so that's why I'm asking of course.
 
Old 05-16-2009, 12:18 PM   #8
dezza
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Every distribution has a point of no return where the most clever newbie will have to go to Google.

I always recommend distributions with the most effective documentations and a good wiki is also a great thing.

Gentoo, ArchLinux is the 2 distributions I would say is easiest to install, simply because of the great documentation and wiki. You would honestly be surprised on how much you are guided into and how many options you have to take that further, but ArchLinux has the best packagesystem by far ..

You can keep trying out one LiveCD or GNOME/KDE-based distribution after the other, but you will always end up in a corner where there's no point-and-click solution, therefore I hope that as many as possible would like to try a distribution which is not as hard as Debian to install for a newcommer because of a far better documentation than the old-school Debian manuals, most people say that they've learned far more by just installing Gentoo, ArchLinux, Debian, FreeBSD or another clean distribution on one day than using these GNOME/KDE-based distros in daily use.
 
Old 05-19-2009, 06:02 PM   #9
Zenara25
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It was close between Puppy, MoonOs 2 LXDE and Xubuntu with LXDE.

I decided to go with Xubuntu and installed LXDE.

It is much faster than all the others listed above except puppy. It boots in 1 minute 15 seconds with LXDE which is fast on this old computer. Firefox starts in 15 seconds and Abiword in 10 seconds. I went with this distro becuase it had all the things I was looking for.

I tried many different ones for fun. Knoppix, gOS, Linux Mint Fluxbox CE, Fluxbuntu, PcLinuxOs, Zenwalk, Antix, U-Lite, Dream Linux, Vector Light, DSL, Crunchbang (my favorite out of this list).

Linux Mint LXDE CE might be a good choice when it comes out.
 
Old 05-23-2009, 03:06 PM   #10
edwardp
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May I ask how long it takes for the LXDE/Xubuntu desktop to appear after logging in?

I tried Xubuntu (straight Xubuntu with XFCE) on an older machine, the "alternate" installation image installed fine, it rebooted after installation and the first login was fine. At the second login, the user shouldn't have to wait 1/2 hour for the desktop to appear.

I had this same problem on a second machine, which is considerably faster than the older machine. Repeated the above process, waited 10 minutes after the second login, no desktop.

I put Mandriva back on them, they now have a dual-architecture install image for low-memory systems which uses LXDE as the default desktop. Works perfectly on both systems and I get a desktop within seconds after login.

Last edited by edwardp; 05-23-2009 at 03:37 PM.
 
Old 05-24-2009, 08:02 AM   #11
Zenara25
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I have Xubuntu with LXDE autologin and go straight to the desktop on boot.

But if I logout and log back in it takes about only about 4-5 seconds.

I used the regular .iso not the alternate. I did the install when I had only 192mb ram. Then upgraded to 256mb afterwards.

On the Xubuntu site the regular .iso requires 128mb to install (live cd 192mb). Alternate .iso needs 64mb to install. But it's unclear if it will actually run on 64mb. It will run on 128mb ram.

Last edited by Zenara25; 05-24-2009 at 08:18 AM.
 
Old 05-24-2009, 08:44 AM   #12
edwardp
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On the two systems that this occurred on, one has an AMD K6-2 (500 MHz) with 768Mb of memory, which is more than sufficient. The other system is a bit slower, an Intel Pentium/MMX (166 Mhz) with 256Mb of memory.

I could understand having -some- issues on the Pentium because of the slow CPU and to a lesser extent the memory, but not on the K-6.

It is because of this, that I am hesitant to try any of the Ubuntu distros again.
 
Old 05-24-2009, 08:53 AM   #13
linus72
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You tried Tinycore yet? ( http://www.tinycorelinux.com/ )
It rocks and runs fast, and 256 should be good enough easy.
It's got all kinds of apps that you can either restore or not-it's basically the new DSL, just alot more powerful and much more stable, has heavy dev going on now and new releases frequently.
It runs great off USB( http://multidistro.com/downloads/off...icialusbs.html )
and the install is easy 'cept your gonna have to setup grub/lilo manually to dualboot win98
( http://www.tinycorelinux.com/install.html )
So, check it out...
 
Old 05-24-2009, 09:11 AM   #14
veerain
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How about Knoppix distribution
 
Old 05-24-2009, 09:19 PM   #15
Zenara25
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Try the regular Xubuntu .iso download. Not the "alternate" one. If you do try it let us know if it worked.
 
  


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