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Old 09-22-2005, 02:42 PM   #1
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Question Newb seeking good distro for security +

Hello to all,

Could anyone give me some information as to what type of distro I should use for a 486. I've been using windows for quite some time, but for about 8 years have been struggling to cross the great divide into Linux. For the distro I'm looking for I'd like something that is good for security, user friendly, and although it may have graphics still stays true to the command line and all that linux is about.

One note I don't just have one 486 I have two. Plus, I have two other systems a (this is kind of sad, but I am trying to apply what I've learned over the years finally) 266 mhz (it's a celeron) system and some type of e machine my mom gave me (which once again is kind of sad because one it's my mom and two you'll soon find out). The e machine is faster than all my machines (I don't know the speed on it, but it's not even a 500mhz system I'm almost sure of it) and it runs XP(I don't use this puter and part of the reason is from what I understand XP sucks (but what do I truly know about XP)). The others run 98. This is the version of windows I've been into for quite some time and yes I've used and know how to walk around DOS fairly well. Now, I said all of this, not to boar any of you and hopefully I haven't, but instead to tell you what type of environment I've been working in.

The last things I want to say is that one I'm looking to network all 4 of my systems to learn penetration testing and even play some war games if friends come over (or so that I can ( in a secured fashion) do the same with fellow "hackers", in the positive sense, online. The last thing I'll mention is that I'm looking at SuSe, Slackware, Knoppix, and maybe Redhat. Perhaps, someone could breakdown each of these and how they would or wouldn't benefit me. Or maybe someone could say whatever they think or perhaps know would be helpful. One last thing if you know of a good distro please keep in mind that I'm using old hardware. I plan to start everything on the 486's then move to the 266 and even faster emachine.
Finally, please tell me where I can get the distro- online, mail order, store
(I live in the U.S.).

Well, that's about it. I'm looking for some info on a good distro that will fit my 486's, interest in security, large but small knowledge of linux, and interest in both penetration testing, and war games. Thanx to everyone who stuck this thread out. I'll take any info you can give.

Fellow linux enthusiast,

Look for those binary numbers in the nite sky.

Last edited by digital_nite; 09-22-2005 at 02:44 PM.
Old 09-22-2005, 03:24 PM   #2
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Of the distros you've listed, only Slackware is likely to install without issue - many distributions now assume/require a minimum of a Pentium I or equivalent. You may also find that Debian still supports 486.

Security software is also likely be problematic on a 486 - firewalling, SELinux etc. impose an overhead on every operation. On machines with a 500MHz processor or higher these aren't significant enough to be noticable. Similarly, the standard graphical interfaces require higher than a 400MHz processor, and at least 128MB RAM to run comfortably.

"Which distribution" questions are always contentious, so I'll just say that the all of the main distributions are freely downloadable and allow for command-line only installations, and Google will also turn up companies who will sell you the CDs by mail-order if you are restricted to a slower connection.
Old 09-22-2005, 04:16 PM   #3
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A few things to get you started.

You are not going to be able to run a GUI on that 486. You might be able to run fluxbox or similar windows mgr but it will still be slow. You might consider that the power supply, fans etc. are old and they are going to die.

If you live in the US you can get a PII now for nothing. Do yourself a favor and get yourself a PII 400 or better. So that you can at least use the machine. Go down to your local salvation army. They have PIIs for $20. That 486 will no doubt have ISA network cards, video cards etc. You will have to manually set them up.
Old 09-22-2005, 04:36 PM   #4
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Are some similar questions I have asked about 486's.


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