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1,000_naymes 07-12-2006 12:19 PM

Linux/GUI suggestions for Panasonic toughbook CF-71
Hello, I recently purchased a Panasonic toughbook CF-71 with the following basic stats:
  • 64 MB main mem
  • 2.5 MB vid mem
  • 10 GB HD
  • Pentium II @ 366 MHz
I have not yet cracked open the case for the vid card brand to see what it supports, but will if pointed in the direction of a potential GUI.

I am interested in a Linux-based GUI setup because I plan to do both computational analysis and office-type work.

I have looked at the "Linux suggestions for laptops" web site and the toughbook CF-71 was not listed, but I can kind of guess where to look based on the CF-72 listing. I am thinking about installing an older ver of Slackware followed by an older ver of dropline GNOME (based on older CPU). Any comments/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!!

pljvaldez 07-12-2006 12:40 PM

I would also check out tuxmobil and

I've never been big on installing old stuff because you don't get security updates. I would recommend installing something newer with a lightweight desktop, then recompile your kernel and cut out the extra hardware support you don't need. Haven't used Slack in quite a while so I'm not sure how to trim it down.

But I've installed Debian Sarge on an old Celeron 400MHz laptop with 96MB RAM and it worked okay. I just did a base install which results in a text only interface. Then aptitude install x-window-system-core icewm icepref iceme to get a lightweight window manager (icewm -- but you could do whatever is your favorite, windowmaker, fluxbox, etc). Then use light apps like abiword and gnumeric instead of openoffice, etc. Then you'll be able to have a newer distro with security updates and whatnot. It won't be blazing fast, but you'll find recompiling your kernel will help a lot. Only put in what you need and it should be usable.

1,000_naymes 07-12-2006 01:35 PM

Hello, thank you! After reviewing this info I've decided to try out a few Live CDs including Santa Fe (Debian-based, as you likely know), puppy, & Morphix. I think I'll take your suggestion to start easy and keep security issues in mind. There is so much I want to do w/ this machine, but my budget (and hence power) was limited when I bought it. Thanks again!

zborgerd 07-12-2006 01:37 PM

The main limitation is probably the RAM. If you had 256 MB of RAM, you could probably get away with running just about any popular desktop.

However, like pljvaldez indicated, a lightweight DE or window manager is the best choice. Maybe Fluxbox, IceWM, or even XFCE (which is actually quite powerful).

I am a Dropline developer, and don't think it's a good idea to install an older version of GNOME. None of those builds were intended for Slackware 10.2 or 11.0, and are missing a lot of the modern bugfixes of the recent releases (not to mention features). Security should be more of a priority. Besides... There is no difference between the CPU requirements of today's i686 Dropline desktop and the Dropline desktop of 3 years ago (when it was built by the previous maintainer). If you're not going to install a modern GNOME desktop (whether it is Dropline, Freerock, Gware, or something else with security updates and bugfixes), then you're best off sticking with one of the other environments that comes with a stock Slackware 10.2 installation (like XFCE), rather than installing a really old version of GNOME that wasn't made for a modern build of Slackware.

pljvaldez 07-12-2006 01:46 PM

I actually haven't ever heard of Santa Fe Linux. The site seems to be down. But looking at distrowatch, it seems like it has KDE as the desktop which will be too heavy for the machine. Try Damn Small Linux. Puppy should also be fine. Looks like Morphix has a couple of lightweight iso's you could try.

1,000_naymes 07-12-2006 07:21 PM

Thank you both. I ran puppy and Morphix, and puppy from Morphix, at work this afternoon. They are both amazingly fun and easy to use. Because I didn't have to partition anything or allocate any files, I felt a little like I was cheating, but they are both great distros. I ran out of time before I could locate a good copy of DSL.

In any case, I am not sure how these small distros will work for my computational needs (need to test interaction w/ other progs), but I was very impressed w/ them. Tomorrow I will try out Slackware 10.2 on the machine and see how it runs. Santa Fe is too large due for my RAM to KDE 3.0and so as beautiful as it is I have decided not to use it. Have a nice night, thank you again!

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