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Old 03-01-2005, 07:47 AM   #1
miffy
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Question Which flavour linux for old laptop?


Hello there,

Iíve been given an old laptop on one of those ďif you can fix it, you can keep itĒ sorta deals Ė itís a Compaq Armida 1590DT

Iíve had all sorts of hassle getting into the bios and things like that, but finally reached a stage where I can install something on it. As itís only got 32Mb RAM and about 4 or 6 Gb hard drive, I think the processorís about 266mhz, but I canít really remember! So itís Windows 95, maybe 98. . . or I was thinking Iíd rather try something linux-y.

All itíll be used for is word-processing, pretty much. My girlfriend works nights and has a college course days Ė itíd be handy if she could take the laptop with her to work, tap away on, and type up essays and the like. . .

Iíve almost no experience with linux (other than having played with Mandrake for a month or so) but Iím feeling fairly gung-ho about this. . . my question is Ė given the low (32mb) RAM and almost as limited drive size, what flavour of linux would actually work on it? And would it be fairly easy to install / use?

Many thanks to anyone able to advise me!
 
Old 03-01-2005, 08:12 AM   #2
cadj
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vector linux would be great, it has AbiWord wich is a great wordprocessor
 
Old 03-01-2005, 08:44 AM   #3
theYinYeti
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I use Mandrake9.1 on my Toshiba. See here:
http://yves.gablin.club.fr/pc/linux....rdware/t300cds

Yves.
 
Old 03-01-2005, 08:50 AM   #4
Stealth870
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Hey, you're almost in the same situation this guy had!

I'd go Damn Small Linux. Whole thing is only 50MB, has Firefox and a lot of nice main progs you may need, including a word processor.
 
Old 03-02-2005, 10:16 AM   #5
miffy
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Blimey - yep, sounds dangerously like the same situation. . . here's hoping I don't have the same experience as he did! I've not got net access at home so I have to try and sneak all this over my work web connection!

I'm downloading vector at the moment, and if I get away with doing that without being sacked, I'm sure I can grab DSL as well. . .

Many thanks to all!
 
Old 03-02-2005, 10:48 AM   #6
mjjzf
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Yes, Vector is great for this, like I suggested here.
 
Old 03-03-2005, 10:26 AM   #7
miffy
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Hello again!

I think Iím making progress Ė but still not quite there yet!

I downloaded DSL and put it onto a CD (Waste of a CD, really Ė amazing that itís so small!). It ran just fine from the CD, seemed to recognise all the bits and pieces in the laptop, magic Ė this was the first time Iíd actually seen the laptop running any operating system at all, so very nice!

It has an option to install onto the hard drive, which I thought Iíd try. Install seemed to go okay, it sorta reformatted part of the drive linux-stylee, but thatís fine by me as Iíve no idea whatís on there anyway Ė Iíve never been able to read anything from it. . . It then went through a fairly friendly install, but when I remove the CD and try to boot from the hard drive, it completely freaks! I should have written down the errors, but didnít have much time this morning and there were too many of them! Essentially, it seems to have a problem with the drive Ė says things like :

Warning - /proc/partitions does not exist
And
Unable to mount hda1 (and same for hda2, cd, etc)

I did the logical thing and switched it off and had a cigerette. . . when I turned it back on, it seemed to flit past these errors, and this time stopped at asking :
Box login :

(Iíd type something random and press <enter>)
password :
login incorrect

All this is news to me, Ďcos I didnít know I had a login or password! Oh, also, when it asks me these things, it puts the text off the bottom of the screen Ė it only comes into view when I press <enter> a few times to scroll it up.


Ho hum, next thing I did was pop vector on a CD and try that. I think that vector sounds as though it might be a bit more smooth (if I can get it running on a 32Mb RAM system) it sounds like it has more & better applications, although I only really need a word-processor).

Vector has a very friendly installation system, but I didnít get very far with it. It finds a linux partition on the hard drive and says itís only 8Mb (??!!) It then wants to split this in two, both bits of which are much too small.

I think that maybe what I need to do is to have a clean start with the hard drive. Iíve never been sure that itís not dodgy somehow, and Iíve no idea whatís on it. I think the laptop had NT installed on it before, but it couldnít boot anything.

Does this sound like the right thing to do? And, if so, is there anything on a bootable CD (like DSL? Or the Vector install) which will reformat my entire hard drive, and partition it into a linux bit and a linux-swap bit (I think thatís what it needs, no?)?

Sorry about the long post, but I wanted to explain properly, and - Iím stuck!
 
Old 03-03-2005, 01:04 PM   #8
Stealth870
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Hmmm...the best program I've seen for partition stuff is qtparted, which comes in the SystemRescue CD (http://www.sysresccd.org/download.en.php) a nice little 110MB distro that you'd probably want to keep handy. Just check out your partitions, shrink, format, do w/e with em (even supports NTFS) and you can try reinstalling...
 
Old 03-07-2005, 04:58 AM   #9
miffy
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That's great. . . it worked!

I took your advice, tried qtparted, which was brilliant, and eventually (after most of the weekend!) managed to install DSL - which is now running nicely. . .

There's one or two things I need to iron out (like - I'm not sure I've got a swap partition!) - but at least I've got the thing running, something that didn't look possible a couple of weeks ago when I was trying to install WinNT on it. . . Many thanks to all!
 
Old 03-07-2005, 07:19 AM   #10
Stealth870
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Well, I think swap partitions are only if the distro needs some more memory to work with. Seeing as how DSL is so small, I wouldnt think it would, even if your comp is slow. If everything is working as it is, you shouldn't worry about it. If things slow down to much for ya, jsut fire up that good ol' qtparted and check your partitions, you should see one in swap format. If not just do the necessary changes.
 
Old 02-10-2011, 01:16 PM   #11
GopherBaroque
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Old Laptop distros compared

I know this particular thread is old, but people who stumble upon it may be interested in :

Seven Linux distros fight over one old ThinkPad
"www . desktoplinux . com / articles / AT8654567451 . html"

and possibly:

A Linux Distribution for an Old Laptop
"www . linuxforums . org / articles / a-linux-distribution-for-an-old-laptop_116 . html"
 
Old 02-10-2011, 05:10 PM   #12
Fred Caro
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DSL on old laptop

One thing I wonder about is the word processor and how compatible it might be with others, Abiword is small, basic and will works with M. word (not 2007 perhaps), I can't speak for the one that comes with DSL. A swap partition would be easier than a Ram upgrade, I think.

Fred.
 
  


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