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Old 03-04-2018, 04:58 PM   #1
f0b_t3st4
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Lightweight programming distro


Hello, fellow developpers!

I am now looking for a distro to use for learning programming, you know, some caclulators and simple programs. I'm not using it for anything else. I mean when I boot my PC I just want to use it to program, it can have some goodies like a tetris game or or a chess game or something to have some fun from time to time but it's not necesary. And I need it to be lightweight because the computer I'm using is as powerful as a potatoe.


The only requirements are:
  • It has to have a desktop, doesn't need to look cool, or be HD, it could be just like a Win95 desktop. It would be nice to be able to change the background
  • It has to have some office tools like a calculator
  • It has to have some compilers or to be able to download them from the internet.
  • As little HDD space required as possible. I can make a partition anything smaller than 15G.
  • x86, my RAM is 512M (remember I'm just practicing), 1.73GHz CPU, so anything that requires less or equal to that.
  • It can have whatever else, but it's not necesary

Those specifications are the maximum limits.

So you see I'm looking for some minimalistic distro here hahah.

Thank you very much in advance, and have a very nice day!
 
Old 03-06-2018, 09:56 PM   #2
Mill J
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What is your current Linux Distro and Skills?

When I started out, I used Puppy Linux for programming, the Tahrpup version to be exact, it uses the ubuntu repository so you can install almost any app you want. One big plus for me was they bundled all the c++ dev tools needed, into one file that I could mount/unmount at any time.

You might also be interested in AntiX Linux, this is a minimal distro based on Debian.
 
Old 03-06-2018, 10:21 PM   #3
Turbocapitalist
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f0b_t3st4 View Post
  • x86, my RAM is 512M (remember I'm just practicing), 1.73GHz CPU, so anything that requires less or equal to that.
I'd say most any distro would be fine but that you'd save the most RAM by swapping out the default desktop environment for just a window manager. Myself, I really preferred FVWM when I did that kind of thing all the time. Customizing FVWM is a little difficult to get familiar with, but it's doable once you find the right configuration files to change. Take plain FVWM and look at that. Then take a highly customized setup like the one provided by the package FVWM-crystal and look at that.

There are other window managers that are more popular, such as Openbox. Likewise there are others that are smaller, like Oroborus which might be the smallest.

Your average desktop applications are going to consume massive amounts of RAM, however. So you'll either do without or look for alternatives that you can tolerate.

As for writing your calculator application, I'd say look at Qt. But since there are already so many to choose from, I'd say look at those first to see if any are close enough. Using the package manager, it's easy enough to install/uninstall. One of the most convenient and useful calculators is bc. What kind of calculator are you looking for?
 
Old 03-07-2018, 02:18 AM   #4
ondoho
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thing is, GNU/Linux is an IDE - so what you're really asking for is "a lightweight distro".
ok, i'm exaggerating a little. not all distros come with developer tools installed by default (but surely they can be installed on any distro).
a lightweight archlinux install might be suitable. or manjaro.
 
Old 03-07-2018, 02:23 AM   #5
jlinkels
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512 MB RAM is something you find on the Raspberry Pi. A few generations ago. This amount of RAM really limits the performance of your computer.

I would recommend LXDE as DE. Definitely. It is basic, but not limited. It has a low resource footprint. It runs on 512 MB RAM.

A "tiny" distro is not really needed.

However, you should make no assumptions about using a modern web browser. It won't work on 512MB RAM and a DE. Lightweight browsers exist, but lack most of the capabilities of Firefox or Chrome. Which are really OS-es in a browser. Resource hogs. So you would be limited to the use of a lightweight browser. Just to look up programming tutorials, forums and howto's. Usually those site do no require too much bells and whistles. And if they do, you might be looking at the wrong pages.

You could always buy a modern Raspberry Pi. Which has more resources than what you mention.

jlinkels
 
Old 03-07-2018, 03:54 AM   #6
hazel
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For looking up literature on the web, you can use links. It's lightweight and perfectly OK for browsing text-based sites. For an IDE, I would recommend geany. For a basic desktop, fluxbox. Any Linux distro will have those in its repository.

Debian-based distros have a useful package called build-essential, which gives you all the Linux build tools:gcc, binutils, make, pkgconfig, important headers and so on.

The only integrated desktop environment you are going to be able run on that machine is lxde. It comes with the usual tools so you will have a calculator, a file manager and so on. But you would do much better to use fluxbox and install any desktop tools you need separately.
 
Old 03-07-2018, 10:52 AM   #7
f0b_t3st4
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mill J View Post
What is your current Linux Distro and Skills?

When I started out, I used Puppy Linux for programming, the Tahrpup version to be exact, it uses the ubuntu repository so you can install almost any app you want. One big plus for me was they bundled all the c++ dev tools needed, into one file that I could mount/unmount at any time.

You might also be interested in AntiX Linux, this is a minimal distro based on Debian.
I am currently using SLiTaz (I think it stands for Super Light Taz). I found it myself.
I know all the basic commands to download, unpack, and install apps and packages, but I do not know anything about different parameters or options you can set to each command.
If you meant programming skills, well, I'm programming in UE4 with some friends (this is a startup of a new company we want to create when we have money), so I would say not too bad C++ skills. Oh and I'm also following Lena151's reversing tutorial and an assembly language tutorial.
So I'm still learning, but it is not hard for me to spend hours or even days reading documentation to learn how to use things better if it's necessary. I mostly just try to do things and when I run into an error, I google it, and if someone in the forums say something that I don't know what it means, or how to do it I google that and repeat the procces until I know how to do it exactly.
Oh and also I have done all the software part of the installation of SARndbox, a VR/AR program/toy for learning geology and that's how I learned most of the app instalation process and then tried installind things myself at home.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Turbocapitalist View Post
I'd say most any distro would be fine but that you'd save the most RAM by swapping out the default desktop environment for just a window manager. Myself, I really preferred FVWM when I did that kind of thing all the time. Customizing FVWM is a little difficult to get familiar with, but it's doable once you find the right configuration files to change. Take plain FVWM and look at that. Then take a highly customized setup like the one provided by the package FVWM-crystal and look at that.

There are other window managers that are more popular, such as Openbox. Likewise there are others that are smaller, like Oroborus which might be the smallest.

Your average desktop applications are going to consume massive amounts of RAM, however. So you'll either do without or look for alternatives that you can tolerate.

As for writing your calculator application, I'd say look at Qt. But since there are already so many to choose from, I'd say look at those first to see if any are close enough. Using the package manager, it's easy enough to install/uninstall. One of the most convenient and useful calculators is bc. What kind of calculator are you looking for?

Well, as I said higher in this post, I already installed SLiTaz, and it (for me) weights 400mb, now installing something myself.
I think when I get better at using Linux, maybe one or two years later from now, I will make a lightweight distro with as many development tools as possible for those who are searching for the same as me. At least I think I will be able...


Quote:
Originally Posted by ondoho View Post
thing is, GNU/Linux is an IDE - so what you're really asking for is "a lightweight distro".
ok, i'm exaggerating a little. not all distros come with developer tools installed by default (but surely they can be installed on any distro).
a lightweight archlinux install might be suitable. or manjaro.
Yes, I indeed tried ArchLinux first, but I don't remember what exactly was the error I got, so I changed to SLiTaz (literaly just Googled "lightest linux distro")

Quote:
Originally Posted by jlinkels View Post
512 MB RAM is something you find on the Raspberry Pi. A few generations ago. This amount of RAM really limits the performance of your computer.

I would recommend LXDE as DE. Definitely. It is basic, but not limited. It has a low resource footprint. It runs on 512 MB RAM.

A "tiny" distro is not really needed.

However, you should make no assumptions about using a modern web browser. It won't work on 512MB RAM and a DE. Lightweight browsers exist, but lack most of the capabilities of Firefox or Chrome. Which are really OS-es in a browser. Resource hogs. So you would be limited to the use of a lightweight browser. Just to look up programming tutorials, forums and howto's. Usually those site do no require too much bells and whistles. And if they do, you might be looking at the wrong pages.

You could always buy a modern Raspberry Pi. Which has more resources than what you mention.

jlinkels
Well, as I said, I want to do just calculators, or maybe something that looks like a game but with no 3D graphics, so I don't think 512Mb of RAM is needed to make arithmetic calculations. I may try to make more sophisticated calculators able to calculate
Hyp, Tan, Syn, higher power roots like fourth roots, or even the things we are learning in school about analytic geometry or solving equations. Or even writing schedule files and reading them as in a calendary app. Anything that makes me think and learn a bit more. I won't try and generate 25600 star systems as I tried with the other PC (4GB RAM, 1.7 GHz) because it froze and got so hot and I had to manually shut it down... Anyways, if a light OS doesn't work I'll try something else. Now, I'm testing if it works.
SLiTaz works marvel in my computer, I yet havent tried compiling anything, I was just installing a compiler right now.

Next is internet conection...I have absolutely no problem on browsing the internet in text mode, I even enjoy it; for me it's easier to read the important information, plus, no ads.
BUT it doesn't matter as it's a laptop and it can only have internet connection with a USB router or by cable and I don't really need internet connection for compiling code. I hope.


Quote:
Originally Posted by hazel View Post
For looking up literature on the web, you can use links. It's lightweight and perfectly OK for browsing text-based sites. For an IDE, I would recommend geany. For a basic desktop, fluxbox. Any Linux distro will have those in its repository.

Debian-based distros have a useful package called build-essential, which gives you all the Linux build tools:gcc, binutils, make, pkgconfig, important headers and so on.

The only integrated desktop environment you are going to be able run on that machine is lxde. It comes with the usual tools so you will have a calculator, a file manager and so on. But you would do much better to use fluxbox and install any desktop tools you need separately.
Hey, thanks! I already have installed an OS but if I need to install an even lighter OS I'll do it. I've never done that, but as I said higher up, I have absolutely no problem on reading and reading and reading until I know how to do it even if it takes me days. (This weekend and start of the week I've learned how to partition a disk, how to have more than four partitions, what the different partition types are and how to install different OS's (I started using live CD's then wanted to actually install an OS in my PC, I ended up trying 6 live CD's, and installing a few) so I'm completely confident I can do it if I need to.



Thank you all very much for replying so fast! Have a nice day!
 
Old 03-07-2018, 11:56 AM   #8
hazel
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You don't need to install a different distro just to get a different desktop.If your distro's default desktop is too demanding for your hardware, install fluxbox alongside it and use that in preference.
 
Old 03-08-2018, 12:09 PM   #9
DavidMcCann
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I have a 15-year-old laptop with a 1.6 GHz processor which happily runs the Xfce desktop. I'm currently running Xubuntu which idles at 190 MB. That should leave you enough to write and test programs.
 
Old 03-08-2018, 12:17 PM   #10
Turbocapitalist
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hazel View Post
You don't need to install a different distro just to get a different desktop.If your distro's default desktop is too demanding for your hardware, install fluxbox alongside it and use that in preference.
Indeed. That's an important tip. One can always add, remove, or reconfigure programs on one distro until it becomes exactly like another distro. Or just stop part way along the transition and have a custom-tailored system that meets every need comfortably.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 03-08-2018, 03:43 PM   #11
ChuangTzu
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turbocapitalist View Post
Indeed. That's an important tip. One can always add, remove, or reconfigure programs on one distro until it becomes exactly like another distro. Or just stop part way along the transition and have a custom-tailored system that meets every need comfortably.
ahem, one could also (carefully) borrow configs from a liveCD and setup the same or similar thing on current distro.
 
Old 03-09-2018, 03:39 AM   #12
YesItsMe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f0b_t3st4 View Post
So you see I'm looking for some minimalistic distro here hahah.
Tried Void?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ondoho View Post
thing is, GNU/Linux is an IDE
No, it's not.
 
Old 03-09-2018, 03:42 AM   #13
Turbocapitalist
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YesItsMe View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by ondoho 
thing is, GNU/Linux is an IDE
No, it's not.
Then you're using it wrong.

Yes, of course there are dedicated IDE packages like Geany, Eclipse, or Netbeans but really the whole OS, if you are familiar with even some of the tools available via the shell, functions just as well if not better.
 
Old 03-09-2018, 03:46 AM   #14
YesItsMe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turbocapitalist View Post
really the whole OS (...) functions just as well if not better.
If you consider "an IDE" to exclusively consist of "a text editor, a debugger and a compiler", you might be right (but then GNU/Linux is really bloated for "an IDE"). If you want what the English Wikipedia considers to be "more modern IDE features" like code completion, syntax highlighting etc., you're (mostly) out of luck without installing actual IDEs.
 
Old 03-09-2018, 04:39 PM   #15
jefro
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I'd think you'd need to have an IDE to get any amount of work produced. The things you'd need as part of a development platform would take a lot of resources. Slitaz is great for what it is but not sure you could do much more than simple command line editor work on it.

You really need to buy a used better system or at least more ram.

As I recall you can go even more minimal with Menuetos.
 
  


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