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Playing with Little Distros

Posted 01-25-2009 at 12:18 AM by SrDorothy

I've spent the past week to 10 days trying out different small linux distros...not all of them by a long shot! Just checking to see what might run best on older computers...and the answer seems to be that it depends on the computer. For an all-around distro, I like Puppy 4.0 for moderately old machines--not for the really old ones. Out of the box it does great at networking, and flash and java work fine for viewing flash videos and doing jigsaw puzzles on I have to admit it makes me feel a little nervous running as root all the time...

Another distro I like, not the smallest but a much lighter one than any form of Ubuntu I've come across, is Mepis. I wanted to upgrade from 6.5 to 7.x and was surprised when flash didn't work in that version. So I downgraded to 6.5.02 and it worked great! ...and then I did pkg updates, oh well--there went my flash! After a few days, I reinstalled, and I will update a few pkgs at a time --being careful NOT to upgrade flash. This distro works really well with moderately old computers, not the oldest as far as I can tell.

More about the little distros I tried later...
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  1. Old Comment
    I keep a Puppy CD just for system recovery. I play with Linuses too, and on ocassion, I have been known to really blow up a release or two (death by a thousand tweaks). I pop in the Puppy CD and it boots very quickly. Then I can start mounting partitions and start troubleshooting.

    Have you tried DSL? I didn't like it, but that's just a matter of taste. Nothing wrong with the distro.

    I would be very interested in other small Linux distros you might have tried. I like to dabble too, and I could use some more ideas.
    Posted 02-18-2009 at 10:41 AM by SA_Ron SA_Ron is offline
  2. Old Comment

    Little distros...

    Originally Posted by SA_Ron View Comment
    Have you tried DSL? I didn't like it, but that's just a matter of taste. Nothing wrong with the distro.

    I would be very interested in other small Linux distros you might have tried. I like to dabble too, and I could use some more ideas.
    Thanks for commenting...sorry i'm so slow! I get distracted and don't make it back too often.

    I haven't given DSL a fair try yet: at the time I tried it I didn't know really how to access what was in it, never mind add anything. Now a fellow Linux group person has given me a book and disk from 2008, so I will perhaps have time to try it this summer. Meanwhile, see my 5/3/09 post on Mepis--a good distro for medium-wt computers.
    Posted 05-03-2009 at 11:00 PM by SrDorothy SrDorothy is offline
  3. Old Comment
    I’m unclear as to what a “moderately old machine” is. IMO your article would be more useful if you listed the hardware you used and which distro was used with it.
    Posted 05-05-2009 at 03:16 PM by win_to_lin_migrant win_to_lin_migrant is offline
  4. Old Comment
    Sorry about that--I'm kind of new to this and didn't think about particulars. The "moderately old" computers are from the year 2000-2005 or thereabouts, were running Win 98 when I installed Linux (some dual boot, some just Linux), and I believe most have Intel Celeron processors--it took me a long time to realize how slow Celerons were and to make a better processor a part of the decision when buying a computer. They usually have about 20 gb hdds and between 128 and 256 MB RAM. I put Mepis 6.5 on those, and they run fine. The really old ones were Dells, more like 1998, Celeron processors, 6 gb hdds, and probably started life with 64 MB RAM, but I'd added more...and then not too long ago I decided to get rid of them. Those really only ran well with a small distro, of which Puppy is my favorite.

    I've stuck with Mepis 6.5 because the later versions (and maybe this is just my lack of know-how) don't really do the multimedia thing well. A more experienced person might be able to 'fix' it but not me (so far 8^). Mepis does a fine job of connecting to the network and getting me access to my files on our server, connecting to the Internet, etc. It does a fairly lousy job (again maybe my lack of know-how) of finding networked printers.

    Puppy 4.30 is pretty amazing: it actually discovered what I think is a winmodem (software modem) in a desktop I recently put it on (another one of those ancient Dells that someone put more memory on)...and was able to use it to connect to the Internet. It also connects nicely to a wired or wireless network, and does the Samba shares well too (i.e. accessing files on a server).

    And I can actually install a printer using the Cups web interface; impossible with Mepis (for me anyway).

    Well...hope that helps; although I hope you've had some fun yourself trying more distros by now! I'll try to remember about the hardware from now on.
    Posted 11-02-2009 at 10:23 PM by SrDorothy SrDorothy is offline
  5. Old Comment

    Puppy is the Ultimate distro!

    In July I downloaded Puppy Linux. Since then I kicked all other Linux to the curb, they are superfluous.

    Puppy is the only fully featured distro that runs equally well on old and new machines alike. Now I can focus on getting things done instead of wasting time on multiple distros.

    Puppy also has the penultimate community, no other forum even comes close. Once you post there you'll know you wasted your time on LQ.

    The Puppy Linux Wiki (with my input) is coming along nicely too!
    Posted 11-03-2009 at 05:59 AM by win_to_lin_migrant win_to_lin_migrant is offline
  6. Old Comment
    Yep, I tried DSL once more and for me it is NOT the right one. I agree that Puppy is the best, at least for a small distro! I would like to figure out Ubuntu networking and give it a good try, but so far haven't done it.
    Posted 11-22-2009 at 07:01 PM by SrDorothy SrDorothy is offline
  7. Old Comment

    Thanks for your tutorial!

    Originally Posted by win_to_lin_migrant View Comment
    See below for how I did networking in Ubuntu:
    Setup a Peer to Peer Home Network with Point & Click
    Yikes! I don't come here often enough, obviously! Maybe I need to subscribe to my own blog

    Thanks, win_to_lin_migrant, for your post on networking. I'm only now seeing it. Meanwhile, Most of our 14 or so networked computers are running Ubuntu 10.04 (a dream come true!) while I am personally still lagging behind with 9.10 (a year behind at this point!). We are setting up a new server, and finally the Connect to Server function under Places seems to work for us. It never did before, we could only connect via the command line and then set it up in fstab. Nothing wrong with that, for sure...but before I figured that out I spent a lot of time bashing my head against the wall. But it's all fun...
    Posted 10-08-2010 at 11:57 AM by SrDorothy SrDorothy is offline


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