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GranPaSmurf 07-29-2012 09:57 AM

Linux Lite? for an old Dell desktop
Mostly as a learning experience I put Kubuntu on an old Dell machine. Dell Optiplex GL 150. Just to give you an idea, the board maxes out at 512 RAM. It works, but it's like slogging through quicksand.
So, I fiddled with it, learned a bit about it, and now I am wondering if a 'lite linux' is available.
About all I use it for is monitoring weather websites.
I would like to reformat drive and install a Linux flavor that might run on this old machine.
Can you guide me?

273 07-29-2012 10:03 AM

I would think most distributions would work on that machine, provided you select a light desktop environment like XFCE or LXDE. Something like Xubuntu or Linux Mint XFCE version would be an easy choice but you could put straight Debian on it or something like Slackware if you're feeling more adventurous.

snowday 07-29-2012 10:07 AM

No reinstall is necessary. You can get a big speed boost with:


sudo apt-get install lubuntu-desktkop
Then log out and choose the lightweight "LXDE" desktop from your login screen. Linux cannot magically turn your old Pentium 3 computer into a speed demon, but using a lightweight interface such as LXDE might allow you to do some basic web surfing. :)

GranPaSmurf 07-29-2012 10:11 AM

which is 'lite-est'?
Wow, thanks for the quick reply!
Forgive me if my questions reveal just how much 'newbie' I am.
Are you saying that with the Kubuntu I already have installed, I can select a 'desktop' that is minimal?
I don't mind going the full format / install route, in fact, such projects are always valuable learning experiences.
I just did a quick glance at the Linux Mint site, they don't seem to tout it being a 'lite' Linux.

273 07-29-2012 10:15 AM

snowpine gives the quicker, easier solution. If you had half the RAM you do then things might be different but as it is the distribution is not what makes Linux "light" it's the desktop environment you choose to run. If you do as snowpine says you should see an increase in performance.
Linux Mint isn't a particularly light distro, neither are the Ubuntu ones, but using a desktop environment like LXDE or XFCE they can be made to work better on older hardware.

GranPaSmurf 07-29-2012 10:16 AM

got it!
Again, thanks for the quick reply.
I am a week or so away from attacking that machine again. I will let you know the results. (I gotta' get some new TB SATA drives & Win 7 installed in my big development machine before I decide to expand my Linux horizons further)
Thanks again, you guys are great!

DavidMcCann 07-29-2012 11:36 AM

KDE is best experienced with 1GB of memory and a dual-core processor: you've got half the RAM and a Pentium III! But I have an old IBM Thinkpad that's just as slow and it works fine. For something light, easy, and belonging to the Debian family (like Ubuntu), I'd recommend the Xfce version of Mint (not Xubuntu). If you want something that's lighter still, Swift and AntiX are very good.

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