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Linux - Laptop and Netbook Having a problem installing or configuring Linux on your laptop? Need help running Linux on your netbook? This forum is for you. This forum is for any topics relating to Linux and either traditional laptops or netbooks (such as the Asus EEE PC, Everex CloudBook or MSI Wind).


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Old 09-09-2007, 03:32 PM   #1
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Unhappy What to install on a 500MHz Sony VAIO with 128Mb RAM?

Hello all,

I am new to LINUX - I have a small amount of experience at work, plus a 1 day course (although I have a large amount of experience with computers in general). I'd like to become more familiar with LINUX, after which I can apply the knowledge at work.

I have an old Sony VAIO 500MHz laptop, with 128Mb RAM. If I could install a version of LINUX on this laptop, and ideally get it working faster than it currently does with Windows XP, I could resurrect the laptop as a useful one and thus get to use LINUX in the evenings after work at my leisure.

I'd be grateful if some of you could give me advice on what would be best to install? I found an old thread from last year that suggested that installing the 'server' package of UBUNTU and then installing Fluxbox might work well. Would this still be the best plan? Also, I have a Netgear wireless PCMCIA card, if I could get that working too it would be a major bonus.

Thanks for your help,

Old 09-09-2007, 03:39 PM   #2
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Cross Linux from Scratch
Old 09-09-2007, 08:33 PM   #3
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Damn Small Linux

Damn Small Linux is designed for older systems. I have heard of it being run on much less powerful computers than yours. I have not had any personal experience with it.
Old 09-09-2007, 08:43 PM   #4
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Honestly any version of linux would do fine on that machine. Is it upgradeable to 256M ? If so it might be worth the small cost it would be to do so. We run Linux on a 700mhx Toshiba LT and a 800mhz / 256 meg VAIO with no problems. Choose the best Lunix distro for you. Of the two distros I am familiar with (Slackware and CentOS) I would suggest CentOS.

good luck!
Old 09-11-2007, 03:04 AM   #5
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Thanks all. I have just been reading up on CLFS - I might try that because it would be a useful learning experience as well as having other benefits. How long do you think it will take me to build a system up? If its going to take too long (like weeks and weeks of evenings and weekends) I'll probably go for some of the other suggestions instead.

Old 09-11-2007, 07:14 AM   #6
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Well, CLFS will definitely force you to learn! I did Linux from Scratch a few years back and it was an experience. Took a while too.

If you'd rather experiment with some other distros, Damn Small (DSL), and Puppy are good. I've an old 633 mHz Celeron with Puppy on it, and it really flies even on that old box.
Old 09-11-2007, 12:41 PM   #7
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You could also give Debian a shot. The base install is pretty light and should work OK.

I have an old 800mhz Crusoe-based laptop with 128mb, myself. The issue with older laptops (and desktops for that matter) isn't really distro-specific -- it's more of an X problem. X itself can take up a lot of memory (even if you're using a lightweight window manager). Add Firefox 2.0 + to the machine and you're really pushing your 128mb of RAM.
Old 09-11-2007, 04:05 PM   #8
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Thanks. I've started with DSL - I'm writing this on the laptop using DSL now. It's running very well, even running from the live CD.

I think I'll stick to this for a bit then maybe look at CLFS when I get the time.


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