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Old 03-30-2006, 04:31 AM   #1
Registered: Nov 2004
Location: Sweden
Distribution: SUSE 11.2
Posts: 52

Rep: Reputation: 15
Suggestion needed: squeezing the best out of a relatively old laptop


I am hoping to receive one of Apple's new laptops MacBook in some time, so the time has come for me to decide what to do with the one I am using now. I have been running Debian sid on this laptop for about two years now, and it hasn't been too smooth I have to say. I wasn't an expert user anyways, so I guess I cant really complain.

Now, since I'll already have a laptop which will handle all the multimedia mambo-jumbo and entertaintment, that gives me the option to wipe out the whole system on this one, and redesign the system. I am now using a Compaq Evo N160 laptop (just reminding again) with PIII M1.2Ghz processor, 256MB-RAM and 8MB (probably shared) VGA card. Now it's an old computer, who's not supposed to deal with any multimedia, "not no more!" (yes, I love Pulp Fiction).

The possible uses I can think of today for the computer is XAMPP (Apache server, MYSQL ..), Matlab, Maple, and of course webbrowser and mail program wouldnt hurt either. I'd like to have squezze the best performance out of it, while keeping it relatively simple and clean. But of course another criteria is the compatibility with the old hardware on this machine..

A friend of mine constantly tells me to switch to Crux while I ponder on the idea of installing Slackware or Gentoo (or something similar). What I'd like to ask is, how accurate those distos are, towards my aim? How would you compare those three, and possibly other similar distro.s..?

Thanks in advance, regards..

Last edited by Andramalech; 03-30-2006 at 04:33 AM.
Old 03-30-2006, 04:50 AM   #2
Registered: Oct 2003
Location: the Netherlands
Distribution: Arch Linux, Ubuntu server
Posts: 145

Rep: Reputation: 15
I know Gentoo will allow you easily install a base system without any graphical stuff, but compiling on an old system can take a little while (...). There are ways to speed up compiling though, like installing ccache (there are excellent guides on this). Or simply start a stage3 install an go from there. That will give you a fresh install within an hour or so.

A 'server' install of Ubuntu will also give you a not so graphical system, leaving you with a prompt and no X windows at the end (like Gentoo will). Slack will easily accomplish the same thing. Arch linux could also be an option.

If you feel daring, you could try LFS. It will allow you to select only the packages you need and want, keeping load at an absolute minimum.

You could of course try Gentoo, Slack, Ubuntu, Crux or any other distro that springs to mind and see which one you like and suites your needs.


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