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Old 04-21-2013, 09:03 AM   #1
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Post Best Lightweight Server OS

My dad has some windows server on his old PC and its being really slow (opening files, the explorere window takes forever, IE takes forever) so he is thinking of putting just a regular operating system in there such as Win7 however I don't think it'll run we'll. He has a Pentium 4 2.53ghz, 1GB of memory and 2 hard drives. He doesn't want XP because he says its too slow (although I really don't think it's that slow) so I recommended linux however he say linux doesn't have the applications he wants to use. (I'm almost sure they do)

I am looking for a widely supported linux OS that can run on old PCs (no puppy linux) but also used for servers. Debain seems pretty good however If its out there I would want something more lightweight, something with LXDE. I know you can install LXDE in Debain but the default LXDE UI looks ugly IMO. Do you guys know of any OS's that fit this desc? It doesn't have to be extremely user friendly, my dad will learn how to use it. (He used to use DOS)
Old 04-21-2013, 09:46 AM   #2
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Alright so actually something like Lubuntu would be okay, it doesn't necessarily have to be a server OS.
Old 04-21-2013, 10:01 AM   #3
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The question is, what is he DOING with this computer? A Pentium 4 can run any version of Windows, even 8, but the 1 gig of RAM might be a bottleneck, depending what it's used for. Why does he need a "server"? What is he serving? Any Linux with a lightweight desktop will work, but he may be right about the applications, depending what he's running. He's wrong about Windows XP, it was designed to run on 300mhz processors in 64MB of RAM, originally, so that's not the issue. If he's running a server version with a lot of services running, he may simply not have enough memory to avoid a huge amount of swapping, which I suspect is the problem.
Old 04-21-2013, 10:47 AM   #4
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For applications, tell him to look here

A Pentium 4 and 1GB of memory will be fine with any Linux, although not KDE with all the special effects going. I'm no fan of LXDE, but Mate and Xfce are not very heavyweight and if he goes back to DOS (like me!) he might like them. Try Mint for Mate, SalineOS for Xfce: both have large repositories.
Old 04-21-2013, 11:17 AM   #5
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What are "the applications he wants to use"? Without knowing that fact, it is difficult to recommend whether or not Linux will be a good solution for him.

To answer your question, Debian is an excellent choice for a server OS. Most people find a GUI interface (such as LXDE) is not necessary on a server.
Old 04-21-2013, 11:56 AM   #6
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Here are some distros that you can download and test live session. They are all available in light weight flavor. Here is the list

CrunchBang (#!)------------------------->
Sabayon --------------------------------> (Download the 86 version with Xfce or MATE)
Vector Linux ---------------------------> (Get the light family. Installer is semi graphic here though)
Fedora (LXDE looks good there)---------->

Good luck to you.
Old 04-21-2013, 09:30 PM   #7
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Thanks for all of your help, I will look into all of the OS's listed. I asked him what kind programs e wants to run and he said program that uses for his work, he uses certain programs to edit like panels and stuff from worksites (also those signs with the orange text that are used at construction areas). And then he likes having server because he just likes it I guess (idk why). He says he will see if win7 works and then if not be will give a linux a try.

Edit: sorry guys but I don't think I will "let" my dad try out Linux. I think Windows 7 will run fine like someone else has said. I don't understand why people complain how Windows 7 is "heavy" and all of this stuff yet it runs on a Pentium 4 PC. A P4 3ghz (2GB of memory) can even run Windows 8 so windows 7 should be fine I'm guessing (unless win8 is more lightweight). The PC my dad has is 2.53ghz and 1GB of memory...idk I will just see how everything works out. If win7 doesn't work there is always XP.

Last edited by Altiris; 04-21-2013 at 09:46 PM.
Old 04-22-2013, 12:51 AM   #8
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You may find the RAM is a bit of a bottleneck, especially if he's editing images.
Old 04-22-2013, 01:20 PM   #9
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I would think it would only be a few $$$ to max out the RAM on that machine.

I like Win 7 much better than Win XP, both can be stripped of extras and run pretty fast.

I would still try to get him on a Linux Distro, you could start him on Live CDs, I think he would like it a lot better than Windows eventually.
Old 04-23-2013, 05:58 AM   #10
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Incase he does try out a linux distro, I would use either: Debain Wheezy (With MATE installed, is MATE faster than GNOME 2?), Fedora (lxde, looks alright), and then Crunchbang. I am not sure whether to use the default environment for debain or MATE (with personal appearance MATE is fresking fast as heck which is why id want to put it on debain).

What do you guys think? I sort of want to stay away from anything not Ubuntu/Debain based or distros that don't use the apt update or dpjk (however you spell it) package manager simply so that he has the most software/support). Fedora is an exception.
Old 04-23-2013, 03:52 PM   #11
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I think the use of the server would be first consideration. Then a suggestion might be formed.

Since this is his Dad's computer, we have to suggest not to mess with it. This is not the way to win points with Dad.

Then only safe solution may be to attempt a virtual machine to see if it might work.


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