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Old 01-22-2017, 06:37 AM   #1
zablas
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Linux Mint vs Lubuntu for an old laptop


So I'm absolutely new to Linux. I've heard many great things about this OS and I've decided that I want to try it out before getting on my main desktop. So I have this old laptop that is more than 10 years old with 1gb RAM, 60gb HDD, an integrated intel graphics card and some intel core duo processor. Yes I get it, it's very very old. It's currently running Windows XP. So I've been searching for these "lightweight" Linux distros and I've come to the conclusion that I'm either going to install Lubuntu or Linux Mint but I can't decide which one. So could any of You recommend which one should I go for? Thank You in advance!
 
Old 01-22-2017, 02:00 PM   #2
wagscat123
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Your processor may make a difference too - and also keep in mind you may be old enough to be in 32-bit territory. Even if you have a 64-bit processor, keep in mind that you may want to use a 32-bit image as it uses less resources. You're not in bad shape though - I have a 2005 1.25 GB 160 GB in the corner filling the room with Pandora's classical station with Ubuntu MATE as I type.

Ubuntu is debating on dropping 64-bit support, so if you pick Lubuntu, the 16.04 LTS (supported til 2019 for Lubuntu) may be the best in case Ubuntu kills it off on an intermediate release you won't be stranded on a release with only 9 months of support.

Mint is always based on Ubuntu LTS, so you ought to go for the latest one with the desktop you want (18.1 XFCE/MATE is still beta, so download 18), and any release will have support until 2021. But bear in mind Mint doesn't have an LXDE edition, so you'll want to go with XFCE or MATE, neither of which all that bad with a gig of RAM, depending on how ancient your processor is.

Debian and especially Slackware never fail you, but may be a bit much for a newbie, although there's plenty of Slackers on this forum that could guide you through those if you really wanted. Fedora has light DEs, if you like beta rolling distros there's openSUSE's Tumbleweed, although its polished Leap is 64-bit only. CentOS is also 64-bit only, unless you want to run a half-dead release from like 2010 (don't). Puppy is out there too, and if you have a notecard CD, Damn Small Linux might make you chuckle.

I would personally go with Mint MATE/XFCE or Ubuntu MATE/Xubuntu/Lubuntu. But Linux distros are like an almost endless buffet, you can research and try some Live DVDs/Thumbdrives and find out which you like.

Last edited by wagscat123; 01-22-2017 at 02:01 PM.
 
Old 01-22-2017, 02:12 PM   #3
beachboy2
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zablas,

Welcome to LQ,

One obvious lightweight Linux distro for old hardware is antiX-16 which is based on Debian:
http://antix.mepis.org/index.php?title=Main_Page

Download the 32 bit antiX-16.1_386-full.iso:
http://antix.mepis.org/index.php?tit...Page#Downloads

https://download.tuxfamily.org/antix...FAQ/index.html

To enable wifi after installation:

Menu > Control Centre > Network > Network Interfaces (ceni) > wlan0 > follow wizard and give SSID/network name and wifi password.

Last edited by beachboy2; 01-22-2017 at 02:25 PM.
 
Old 01-22-2017, 02:22 PM   #4
Keruskerfuerst
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For such a computer, you should use an distro with lightweight GUI.

Last edited by Keruskerfuerst; 01-23-2017 at 03:56 AM.
 
Old 01-22-2017, 02:31 PM   #5
pholland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wagscat123 View Post
....
I would personally go with Mint MATE/XFCE or Ubuntu MATE/Xubuntu/Lubuntu. ....
I would make the same selection. And I'd go with the 32-bit version for a machine with less than 4 GB of ram.

You might also look at the 50 free replacements for Windows XP sticky in this newbie forum.

Getting the OS to recognize the machine's wireless card may be the hardest part of the installation. For example, Mint does not support Broadcom wireless cards out of the box. That was my biggest problem, but I got it solved.

Good luck.
 
Old 01-22-2017, 02:32 PM   #6
273
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Linux Mint comes in an LXDE version also. Linux Mint usually has slightly better support for things like playing DVDs and, I think, some wireless devices but otherwise there's not going to be much difference between Lubuntu and Linux Mint LXDE.
 
Old 01-22-2017, 04:27 PM   #7
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10 year old laptop = Xfce 32bit (while one still can)
 
Old 01-22-2017, 05:01 PM   #8
Rickkkk
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Hey Zablas - as I've mentioned in other threads, resurrecting old (OK, antique) laptops has always been a bit of a hobby of mine. The one you're describing isn't that old ... I've just recently gotten rid of a couple of 1998 era machines :-)

I would stay away from large, big packaged distros like Ubuntu or its derivatives. Pick something that is inherently lightweight. Puppy Linux comes to mind, but make sure to read up on the various flavours of Puppy - some folks are unhappy with the fact that most of them run exclusively as the "root" user (Administrator for Windows users ...). OR, you could take the route I prefer and pick a distro that lets you install a minimal, command line only based system, and build it up from there. I've been using Arch Linux like this since around 2008 and it's still my go-to distro for that flexibility. Arch does require some investment in time and learning, however, so many find it isn't an ideal choice for a first foray into Linux.

Whatever distro you decide on, previous advice here concerning choosing a lightweight Desktop Environment is important. The DE will be the determining factor in how you're system performs. I would suggest LXDE : a good balance between minimal and functional. Slightly more bloated is XFCE, but still preferable by a longshot to something like Gnome, which I would avoid at all costs on a laptop with 1 GB RAM.

Have fun and feel free to get back to us with any questions.
 
Old 01-22-2017, 05:40 PM   #9
zablas
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Thank You ALL for the tips. I'll probably be trying something with Linux Mint then. Question. I've done some research and found out about LXDE and XFCE. I saw a video of someone installing LXDE on Mint with a simple sudo command. Can you do that on XFCE as well? If yes, which one should I prefer? LXDE or XFCE? (Yes yes, might be a dumb question but as I said, I'm absolutely new to Linux)
 
Old 01-22-2017, 05:43 PM   #10
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Yes, both can be installed after installation and they can coexist and you can choose between them at login. I prefer XFCE as it seems a little more configurable to me but I get the impression LXDE uses slightly less resources.
 
Old 01-22-2017, 05:56 PM   #11
Rickkkk
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LXDE is definitely lighter and faster than XFCE and you especially notice the difference on older or more limited hardware. I would go with LXDE. As mentioned by 273 here above, however, it is WAY more stripped down than XFCE, so you have to progressively add what you need once you realize you need it. For example, LXDE comes with a file manager (PCManFM) and a terminal emulator (LXTerminal) .. and little else. Useful packages to add are leafpad (a lightweight text editor) and xarchiver (for extracting archives). You'll probably also want to add your favourite browser if required.

Cheers :-)
 
Old 01-22-2017, 06:09 PM   #12
zablas
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Oh that's really nice actually. Last question. I've noticed that Mint 18.1 XFCE is currently in Beta but Mint 18 XFCE is officially out. So let's say I install 18 and later on when 18.1 comes out I want to install it. I've noticed that you can do it through something called "System Upgrade". Can I really do that? What happens what 19 comes out? Will it also be through System Upgrade?
 
Old 01-22-2017, 06:13 PM   #13
Rickkkk
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I'll let a Mint user take that question. I'm an Arch user - Arch is a rolling release distro, so I have little experience with "version" or "updates" when it comes to the system.
 
Old 01-22-2017, 06:44 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zablas View Post
Oh that's really nice actually. Last question. I've noticed that Mint 18.1 XFCE is currently in Beta but Mint 18 XFCE is officially out. So let's say I install 18 and later on when 18.1 comes out I want to install it. I've noticed that you can do it through something called "System Upgrade". Can I really do that? What happens what 19 comes out? Will it also be through System Upgrade?
I just installed it yesterday. That's about right, there "should be" an upgrade path to non-beta release, but in the end, if the ISO never changes it don't mattter what it is labeled.
The first indication of an impending upgrade path with be the notification of an mintupdate package "upgrade".
When you install that, then the upgrade path to non-beta should be shown.

Whether this is shown to the user, or you have to dig, say "an edit "menu" item/entry, it won't be difficult and the upgrade instructions are always direct from Clem himself, usually posted in Releases and Announcements

Seems a gander at http://blog.linuxmint.com/?p=3195 may help with this discussion?
 
Old 01-22-2017, 06:50 PM   #15
wagscat123
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So Mint comes out with a major new version every two years, based on the Ubuntu LTS. Mint 18.x, the current series that started with Mint 18, is completely based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. All releases in the Mint 18.x series will be supported until April 2021. The Mint 19.x series will start with Mint 19 in Spring of 2018, based on Ubuntu 18.04, although Mint users on 18.x will still be supported until 2021.

Each minor release of Mint, 18.1, 18.2, comes roughly every 6 months, and is based on the major Mint release with a few packages near the surface updated.

Upgrading from Mint 18 to 18.1 once the XFCE is stable is both trivial and easy. Since the kernel and most low level packages are the same between minor releases, an upgrade between 18 and 18.1 is about the safest upgrades get.

I've never tried adding LXDE to Mint, although it probably involves adding a PPA and Meta package. It probably isn't as polished on Mint as other DEs are.

Last edited by wagscat123; 01-22-2017 at 06:51 PM.
 
  


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