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-   -   What distro is best for an older laptop? (

cayzar 05-18-2006 09:40 AM

What distro is best for an older laptop?
I am having trouble with Mandriva but can't seem to get any help on it so what other distro would be as powerful in features that will work on an Asus 28600 with 128 ram which I may be able to increase to almost 200, and a 20 gig hdd.

I loaded unbunto. It was nice I reaally liked it but it seemed to lack alot.

I would GREATLY apriciate some advice on this as I want this laptop to be Linux not windows.


EclipseAgent 05-18-2006 09:43 AM

I think the Search Funtion is the best distro.

sonnik 05-19-2006 03:58 AM

Fedora Core perhaps?

cayzar 05-23-2006 12:07 PM

I tried Mandriva, Fedore 5, ubuntu, suse 10.1, on this little laptop and mandrive would not even load the others loaded but it took hours and they ran like molasses. I wiped it and put windows back on.
I grabbed another laptop it has a transmeta chip in it about 600mhz but posts as a '1 giga pro' i ghz processor and it has almost 400 mgs of pc133 ram.

Mandrive actually danes to load but still pooches. Fedore and the rest run very, very slow. Ubuntu had a little pick up to it.

I am looking for a distro that won't pooch out but will play dvd's and burn cd's and surf the net and word process without any performance issues.
Windows can do it and Linux is thousands of times more supirior.


statguy 05-23-2006 01:31 PM

FWIW, I have installed slackware successfully on even smaller laptops (a Toshiba Tecra 740 with 166 MHz and 80 Mb and an IBM Thinkpad 365 with even less memory). I actually compiled R (a statistics package and language) from source on the Toshiba. I used XFCE for the window manager on these machines.

You may have to get the DVD stuff working by hand, but if you don't mind getting your hands dirty ...

vees 05-23-2006 08:22 PM


Originally Posted by EclipseAgent
I think the Search Funtion is the best distro.

Depends how old your laptop is. Kinda old? Then Debian is lean and powerful. If your laptop is really old, try the absolutely fantastic Damn Small Linux (make sure to include the so called myDSL extentions to make full use of DSL capabilities).

sonnik 05-24-2006 01:47 AM

Which flavor of Windows did you put on that ran faster than any Linux?

This is really unusual. I'm wondering if the processors in the laptops in question have a throttle on them (SpeedStep or something like that). On early mobile Pentium III's, you could set this to a static level in BIOS. An 'Applet' in Windows may be able to override this.

See if everything is normal in BIOS. It's really unusual that Linux will run slower than Windows, unless you're using a somewhat older flavor of Windows.

cayzar 05-24-2006 11:30 AM

Thank you everyone I will try these.

Sonnik in response to your windows question, it was win 2000. BUT let me say I am not praising win over lin.

I was using an asus 28600 850 with almost 200 in mem. Mandrive would not load, suse did but you had to wait qn eternity between each mouse click. umbuntu actually ran but really hesitant. the screen refreshes were like looking at still frame photography.
Red hat 9 ran very slow but the best.
I scrapped the ausus project loaded win2k and gave it ot my daughter for cd's and school.
I am know using the wifes laptop, an ecs (model? not in front of me at the moment and I can't remember right off the top of my head) with a trans meta 1 giga pro, but the actual speed is somehting like 600 - 650, and almost 400 in ram.

Mandrive, suse, all loaded but ran like molasses. Red hat runs pretty good but some hesitation.

I thought I would give aLiux a try and Gentoo as well as theier websights reported very litte hardware needs.

I had win 200 on this laptop and it played dvd's and some games fine. I would like to be able to do the same with Linux, and I would think Linux would do it smoother and better, which always used to be the case but I must say I am a little shocked that windows is doing better ont his older hardware.
I would MUCH RATHER it be linux.

I need dvd viewing, cd burning, word processing with openoffice, net, email, some low end older games (not reall important on this one) and viewing VERY LARGE docs, and auto config samba (as I suck at setting samba up).

Can mandrive be slimmed considerably and still do this? Or Fedora? (I am a red hat lover, but will use anything that works well on this).

Thanks in advance everyone.

cayzar 05-24-2006 11:45 AM

I did load slack on the asus and it was very slow.
I have not loaded it on the ecs yet. I will try that.
Does slack have dvd viewing and cd burning biult in or do you have to add it?

vees 05-29-2006 05:41 PM


Originally Posted by cayzar

Can mandrive be slimmed considerably and still do this? Or Fedora? (I am a red hat lover, but will use anything that works well on this).

Sure. you just need to kill all the non-needed services, unload not-needed modules and run something fast like fluxbox on your desktop.

However, if I may, as a former long-time Mandrake/Mandriva user I can only urge you to drop it and switch to Debian. I did this 18 month ago and I am in heaven! Sure, there are some new ways of getting things done which you need to get used to, but that is no big deal. However, you get a vastly superior distro and the choice of 18000+ applications. And Debian is way faster out of the box.

think about it!



wini_g 05-29-2006 05:43 PM

Vectorlinux should give you all you need IMO :)

cayzar 05-30-2006 08:16 AM

I am using the ECS now. I loaded ubuntu on it and it runs but slow. The
ECS is a 600mhz processor but it is a transmeta and is billed at running the eqivalent of a 1ghz. I have almost 400 in ram.
I tried gentoo but was ver, very, slow and I could not get the install running. Alinux ran the best so far but the install sucks. Great gui though.

I will try vector and debian.

Forgive me, I am a newbie, but how do I unload a module and unneeded services? How do I know what ones are unneeded?
I have consulted how to's in the past but they helpfulness is very limited as I have found they are written by programmers for programmers and the lingo is alien to me. Some, though, are pretty clear and helpful.

Is vector maintained? Will it run the multimedia?

I tried installing an app in aLinux, an rpm which it says it can handle, and according to kpackage it installed ok but darned if I can find an icon to run it. It didn't put one in the program list and I searched the drive acording to the file list in kpackage, and found nothing. AARRGGGHHHH!!!

I love linux and several years ago used mandrake for a long time before switching to red hat, (Used all the auto config'd stuff) but this is getting frustrating.
I want a linux box instead of windows to do all my stuff on. Oh well I guess it's all an edgucation, right?

I noticed debian was 14 cd's, I am assuming it does not nessesarily load all 14 (unless you tell it to) I alony have 30 gig and am trying to get away from the bloat.

Anyway, sorry for the venting and thanks alot for your help. I will try to debian and vector tried out this week.

rickh 05-30-2006 09:47 AM


I noticed debian was 14 cd's...
Debian, installed correctly, is one, 100MB .iso. Get it here. Yes, you do want Tesing (Etch), not Stable (Sarge).

For a description of a light, quick set-up, read post #32 on this thread.

wini_g 05-30-2006 10:20 AM

Lets try again ... when someone recommends something I think a google about the recommendation is appropiate & not a question of does it really excist .. .

Yes Vector is mainatined - there will be a new Standard edition based on Slack 10.1 soon.

As its Slack based it does not use rpm but tgz packages - ... is great e.g. for finding them.

& with Vector U dont need all the command line service unloading etc - there is a GUI - sorry Im in a bit of a mood.

Your system IMO is not soo low end - 200 of RAM is plenty.

cayzar 05-30-2006 10:26 AM


Not quite sure how to take your comment, sounds a little like an insult. Don't know whay I did to provoke it. If I am worng then forgive the response. I DO APRICIATE THE HELP.

Regaurdless it might comfort you to know I went ot google after responding and looked it up and now have the iso, and install and admin man printed to try it out tonight.

Thanks for the help.

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