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Old 01-03-2007, 11:39 PM   #1
orwellus
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What is a good linux for really old pc


Hello:

I have a really old PC (about ten years old) that has 64MB ram in the BIOS but has up to 4GB in the regular system. Currently the PC has Win98 installed. I've been looking for a good linux to replace Win98 but the only Linux I've been able to get to work is Damn Small Linux (which I'm not overly impressed with). I also, can't seem to uninstall Win98 on the PC either so that's another problem. I have tried some other version of Linux like some of the Puppies, and Feather Linux but can't seem to get them to load on the PC. So any other good small Linux's out there that may work on an old PC. Utilimately, I would like to find a good linux that I can install premanetly, but as I said I can't seem to get rid of Win98. So I don't know, any help would be appreciated.
 
Old 01-03-2007, 11:49 PM   #2
PatrickNew
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Gettng rid of windows is relatively easy - you copy any files you want to keep off and then you wipe the partition clean. I don't think Windows comes with an uninstall button, but you can easily just delete everything. You say you've tried DSL, Feather, and Puppy, but did you try them all as live-CD's? Just remember that you take a bit of a performance hit when you run from live-cd.

If you feel up to the challenge you could try to install Slackware - you can get it heavily customised and minimalistic. However, slack is probably the least (new) user friendly distro in existence. Gentoo may be an option for you - it has a relatively steep learning curve, but it produces a very optimized system. I don't think you'll get any more lightweight than DSL though. Going Gentoo or Slack will be trading a low learning curve for performance.
 
Old 01-03-2007, 11:51 PM   #3
rickh
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BeaFanatIX
 
Old 01-04-2007, 12:56 AM   #4
luiz1
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Try Ubuntu,
dont try Gentoo, for two reasons

1. All the software you install into a Gentoo system has to be compiled, since this is an old computer it would take a long time to compile anything.

2. Gentoo is for experianced Linux users; in the past I've had to edit fstab file to be able to access my cd-drive.

The reason you should try Ubuntu is that it uses binaries( therfore no need for compilation)
Ubuntu downloads software and resolves dependencies automaticaly with one command
$aptitude install package_to_install

No need to look for packages on the web or nothing
Now my personal favorite is Gentoo, but in your situation I would install ubuntu. (Kubuntu if you like KDE instead of GNOME)
 
Old 01-04-2007, 01:06 AM   #5
PatrickNew
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I love Ubuntu myself, but if he's looking in a DSL type weight class, he probably doesn't want a full distro. However, if you want the convenience and usability of Ubuntu, give FluxUbuntu a try. I don't think it's as well developed as the other *Ubuntus, but it is more lightweight, and has a solid Ubuntu base. 64mb of ram would be rough on a system running full KDE or GNOME.
 
Old 01-04-2007, 01:23 AM   #6
Zmyrgel
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Vectorlinux comes to mind as that is fast, lightweight linux distro and it's based on Slackware... just my 2 euros
 
Old 01-04-2007, 01:26 AM   #7
Electro
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Pentium II is about 10 years old (80686 or i686). An 80386 (i386) is about 15 years old. How old is the computer really or a better question what Intel or AMD model is it.

Running KDE with only 64 MB of RAM will be very, very sluggish. I suggest iceWM or XFce4 with ROX.

I suggest Ubuntu port named Xubuntu if you want to go the binary package route.

Quote:
Originally Posted by luiz1
1. All the software you install into a Gentoo system has to be compiled, since this is an old computer it would take a long time to compile anything.
Gentoo can be installed on another system like in a virtual machine (VMware) and then copied to the old computer. Another way to speed up the process is using distcc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by luiz1
2. Gentoo is for experianced Linux users; in the past I've had to edit fstab file to be able to access my cd-drive.
You have to do that anyways. Gentoo developers just gives you an example. Also Slackware is the same thing.
 
Old 01-04-2007, 01:27 AM   #8
Wim Sturkenboom
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orwellus, maybe you can post a better description of the problems that you have with the distro's that you tried and don't want to work. We can try to help you sorting them out.

You definitely have to look at the lightweight distro's (as you're doing)

The only Ubuntu version that might work properly is XUbuntu (never heard of fluxbuntu but might work as well). In that case I suggest 6.06 (Dapper) for 2 reasons:
* lighter than 6.10
* long term support

PS Use the alternate CD, not the live one as the latter probably will not boot on your system.
 
Old 01-04-2007, 01:30 AM   #9
rnturn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orwellus
Hello:

I have a really old PC (about ten years old) that has 64MB ram in the BIOS but has up to 4GB in the regular system. Currently the PC has Win98 installed. I've been looking for a good linux to replace Win98 but the only Linux I've been able to get to work is Damn Small Linux (which I'm not overly impressed with).
64MB in the BIOS? If you have 64MB you can run Linux on the system (though probably not while running the X Windows system unless you are very patient and have beaucoup swap space).

Up to 4GB in the regular system? Does that mean a 4GB hard disk? That will probably be you biggest problem.

I still have some old systems hanging out on the network: an old Supermicro P5MMA98 motherboard that's running Red Hat 8, as well as an ancient IBM P100 desktop system and an old Dell Optiplex P166 both running SuSE 9.0 (or is it 9.1?). Running Linux installers on older systems seem to be the biggest problem nowadays. SUSE 10.2's installer gripes if you don't have at least 256MB of RAM. The system that's running RH8 only has 76MB of RAM and two 2GB disks in it so a very basic Linux system can run with very few resources. Then there's the problem of not being able to boot from a CD on older systems. Or not even having a CD drive. (Installing across a network is your friend in those cases.)

Quote:
I also, can't seem to uninstall Win98 on the PC either so that's another problem.
Well, you could make a bootable floppy with a copy of FDISK on it. You know what to do then. :-)

Quote:
I have tried some other version of Linux like some of the Puppies, and Feather Linux but can't seem to get them to load on the PC. So any other good small Linux's out there that may work on an old PC. Utilimately, I would like to find a good linux that I can install premanetly, but as I said I can't seem to get rid of Win98. So I don't know, any help would be appreciated.
You didn't tell us what the load problems were. No bootable CD? Not enough memory? Insufficient disk space?

I'm not up to speed on many of the so-called "small" Linuxes (there's so many now) but I recall Slackware being pretty small provided you tailored out a lot of software. In general, initially, install only the barest system you can manage. Heck, I'd forego X altogether until a base system is up and running. (My first Linux distribution was Slack and no X. Partly due to space considerations but also because X configuration was pretty dicey at the time and I was afraid of frying my monitor.) Then add in additional software as needed or space allows. Avoid the graphical installers if you can. They're resource hogs. Pretty but hogs.

--
Rick
 
Old 01-04-2007, 01:30 AM   #10
PatrickNew
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I ran across FluxUbuntu on the web and it appeared to be quite new, but it is probably relatively stable since, correct me if I'm wrong, all the *Ubuntus are just different package sets of Ubuntu.
 
Old 01-04-2007, 01:34 AM   #11
orwellus
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Wow that was quick. Thank you for all the replies. I guess I should have been more clear I haven't tried to install anything yet, and have just tried to run Live CD's on the PC. What has happened is I will boot from the CD, and in case of Puppy the normal boot screen will come up (Usually something like "Welcome to Puppy"), and then it will start to load, and just stop, and then nothing after that. And I have waited for it start again, but gave up after a half an hour. I am interest in what PatrickNew suggested. I will admit I am bit new, but how would I wipe the partician exactly? I'm not really worried about losing windows or anything, but before I go that route, I think I will look at a couple of the of your suggestion. Fluxubuntu and BeaFanix. PatrickNew was on the money when he said I'm not looking for a full disto yet, maybe when I move onto the installation process. Thanks again.
 
Old 01-04-2007, 01:45 AM   #12
PatrickNew
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Perhaps look into XUbuntu as well. As I understand it, FluxUbuntu is a bit lighter than XUbuntu, but xUbuntu is more stable and has more people working on it. I don't know much about BeaFanix, but I've heard good things. With only 64 Mb of RAM, you will see a good bit of improvement between the installed versions and the LiveCD versions, because LiveCD's have to hold a lot of extra data in memory, since they don't write to the hard drive. What speed is the processor?

As far as wiping the partition, the best way is to download the GParted Live CD. It's like Partition Magic, but IMHO better (and free). This gives you a very pretty tool for deleting/resizing and otherwise altering partitions. Get whatever you want to keep off the harddrive, then toss in the GParted liveCD (which is quite lightweight, don't worry) and the program will pop right up. Just click on the partition you have for windows and hit delete, then apply. But be warned - that is the point of no return. (Unless you kept the windows install disc).
 
Old 01-04-2007, 02:24 AM   #13
orwellus
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Thanks again every one. Okay I give Gparted a try. I already have a back up for windows, so if I screw up I don't think it will be to big of a deal.
 
Old 04-30-2011, 10:40 AM   #14
jayaprakash
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It is a long time since I posted anything in the forum. Maybe it is time to rectify the lapse. I do have a problem (though not as serious). I have an old Acer 501 DX ( a Pentium II MMX @ 266 MHz with 64 Mb ram and 10 GB hard disk and an on board dial up ) But my dial up was too slow to be of any real use. So I tried a USB network adapter ( a Davicon 9601 equivalent). I had both win 2000 and Slackware ( dual boot) ( first 10.0 and later 11.0) installed. Both ran fine. Later I upgraded to Win XP and it too ran well. But unfortunately Slackware 10 and 11 use kernel 2.4 which does not have native support for Davicon USB network adapters.Trying to upgrade to kernel 2.6.25 ( the earliest with support for Davicon USB network adapter) did not work. I did notice puppy ( first 4 and then 5) were fast on my virtual machine with 64 Mb ram ( a Pentium 3 GHz dual core monster with 2 GB ram). tried puppy5 on the Acer 501. It worked well for some time. It has support for Davicon USB network adapter. But it is getting sluggish. No changes to the files. ( I have not used that system much). It takes a long time even to open a text file. Funny thing is downloading from puppy repositories is very fast ( I have a 512 Kb broadband connection). But anything else in the browser is too slow.Any advice about improving puppy for this system or any other Distro ( with tweaks if neccssary).
 
  


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