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Old 07-20-2008, 03:37 AM   #1
Registered: Apr 2003
Location: Wisconsin
Distribution: Switched to regualr Ubuntu, because I don't like KDE4, at all. Looks like vista on crack.....
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Distro for a box with 40MB of ram....with some kind of gui.....

Just want to set up an old win98 box/40MB of ram with a simple gui/WM for web browsing, email, printing, simple office tasks. I've played around with puppy and DSL, they both say they need 64MB of ram, the same with vector.

Anyone have any luck with any particular distro with such a small amount of ram ?

Thanks much...

Old 07-20-2008, 04:27 AM   #2
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Slackware + WindowMaker, Fluxbox or XFCE. Not sure if XFCE runs/how smoothly it runs with 40MB of RAM, but it's the lightest of the ones that resemble Windows/Gnome/KDE desktop environments; the lighter ones are usually more..well, they just differ from the mainstream by their outlooks, as you'll notice. I personally like WindowMaker and Fluxbox, though there are a lot of good choices outside them too. Slackware's install CD set/DVD includes many choices, and if you're not short on disk space, you can install them all if you like; if you leave KDE out which you will with that amount of RAM, the rest shouldn't eat too much disk space, so install them all, test them and remove those you don't like.

I'd say almost any distro does, the thing that most consumes your RAM is X and the desktop environment/window manager you run on it. KDE and Gnome run a lot of background processes and consume a lot of RAM, so they're probably out of question. See (do a web search) a list of modern window managers, most of them are easily available for any distribution you pick up - and most of them consume fairly small amount of RAM overall, so they're good in that manner. And as long as you have gtk/qt libraries installed, you can run any program you like, as long as they don't depend on too many KDE/Gnome libraries (if they do, you'll need to install those, which usually ends up installing the whole suites...sadly) Anyway picking up a distribution isn't usually the problem, installing it in a way that it doesn't use the memory-hogging software is; replacing the default desktop with a lighter one, not running so many unneeded background processes, ...

All in all, Slackware stands out as a good one if you ask me. Not everybody likes it, so you are just going to have to try it out to see if it's for your or not.
Old 07-20-2008, 04:28 AM   #3
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Did 'puppy' install at all? 'Xubuntu' might just work; it depends on how the installer is set up. Otherwise search for small or 'lightweight' distros with windows (or with X).

I think the general recommended RAM for running Linux + X is 64M, but I did run with ICEWM on 48M a long time ago; that was already pushing things though and I didn't have to run many programs at once to get the disk-swapping happening.
Old 07-20-2008, 11:18 AM   #4
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I seem to remember a similar post where someone ended up installing Fluxbuntu but it was still very very slow. It may be worth a try, though.
Old 07-21-2008, 04:31 PM   #5
Registered: Jul 2004
Location: Boston, MA
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have you looked on might be a *really* minimal distro that you can use whose profile you can find there.

The bigger the kernel (hardware support) and the more sophisticated the gui wrapper (kde, gnome, xfce, fluxbox, blackbox, windowmaker) and applications(web, email, office), the more memory you will consume. A heads up, other than a text-mode web browser, your system will become unusable swapping ram onto disk, not to mention other office productivity applications. And don't consider running both at the same time. Firefox frequently has a real memory footprint of around 100MB and anything other than a command-line text editor will take about the same, as well.


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