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Old 02-07-2013, 10:09 PM   #1
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linux os for my p4 1.23 ghz with 256mb ram

hey guys,

m having a desktop(P4 1.23 Ghz and 256 RAM) in spare an old one and m thinking to use it as a firewall n i want to code one in c/c++(it should support necessary libraries or able to install them later and a c/c++ compiler)and this is all that this system will be doing so any old linux OS that fits my need and compatible with that old configuration??? thanks
Old 02-08-2013, 12:43 AM   #2
John VV
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CentOS 5.9 will install but will be dead slow with only 256 meg ram

but for a "firewall " ?
do a text only install .Do not install the Gnome desktop

Mozilla seamonkey is currently using 219 meg of ram as i type this

if you can boost it to 512 it would be better

I have 6.3 installed on a 12 year old P4 cpu box but have 1 gig ram
and it runs fine
and i know for a fact 5.9 will run fine with 512 meg ram
Old 02-08-2013, 01:28 AM   #3
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Debian will be fine. Use dnsmasq and a few other little tools. It can run in less than 32mb without much tweaking. After all, these cheap home router does it, so why not a P4. Mine have 256mb and with some more software, I never go over 40% usage.
Old 02-08-2013, 01:59 AM   #4
Philip Lacroix
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Hi! There are new and up-to-date Linux distributions that will run smoothly on your machine. Some of them will install by default a lighter desktop environment; for example, Lubuntu has LXde, Xubuntu has Xfce. This could be the easiest way.

In my case I have been using Debian on even older machines. I usually install the base system and skip the other proposed tasks, then I add what I need: if I want a GUI I install Xorg, xdm or slim, then Xfce or a window manager like fluxbox, which is even lighter (you can have your system up and running with 50MB RAM and less). All depends on how much you feel comfortable using package managers and other system administration tools (but debian's apt is really powerful and has also a graphical and a semi graphical front end).

As a firewall you might consider arno-iptables-firewall: it is a powerful script firewall and has a straightforward tool for the most common configurations, including NAT. If you have special needs, there's a very well commented configuration file.

Last edited by Philip Lacroix; 02-08-2013 at 02:37 AM.
Old 02-08-2013, 02:14 AM   #5
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Slackware !!
Old 02-08-2013, 09:17 AM   #6
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I had Debian Squeeze on a P4 until a flood killed it. I had a gig of RAM and ran a full Gnome 2 desktop with little issues. Granted, it was a 2.8GHz P4, but with some tweaking and a lighter desktop you should be fine.
Old 02-11-2013, 01:22 AM   #7
Philip Lacroix
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Originally Posted by whizje View Post
Slackware !!

@exgenome: I think Slackware actually deserves to be mentioned as a possible solution for your PC. Just don't run it with KDE, which uses quite a lot of resources. Use Xfce instead, or fluxbox, blackbox, window-maker... If you are not so new to Linux you will not have so much trouble to get it running. And when it's done, the system is rock solid and has all the necessary stuff for developers, right out-of-the-box.
If an example can be useful, to keep the footprint low I log in with xdm and start fluxbox: the used memory is about 72MB. I removed kde-plasma and other packages I don't need (being careful not to brake dependencies); probably one could do better and make the system even lighter.

Anyway, Slackware is a great distribution and helps you to know Linux better.

Kind regards,

Last edited by Philip Lacroix; 02-11-2013 at 01:30 AM.
Old 02-11-2013, 03:29 AM   #8
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I'd advise running a GUI on the machine, instead connect via ssh from another machine, unless you want to develop a GUI firewall application (although, really, since you're just going to wind up hooking into the netfilter stuff in the kernel, what's wrong with iptables or one of its graphical front-ends?). You should be able to pick up more RAM for that box dirt cheap, and I'd recommend upgrading to 512 MB or 1 GB if at all possible. Doing that would allow you to run just about any distribution except for those using very resource-hungry GUIs. Personally, I like Arch Linux (has a very similar feel to Slackware, but is rolling release), but the other suggestions given here are all good.
Old 02-11-2013, 07:53 PM   #9
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Old 02-14-2013, 10:08 AM   #10
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@john VV i have downloaded centOS 5.6 but how do i do text only install??
any text only OS would be ok with me!! thanks
@Elv13 which debain version u talking about??
Old 02-14-2013, 10:17 AM   #11
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Pentium 4's are a power-hungry choice for a 24/7 firewall. Since value of your old P4 is close to zero, the cost-effective solution would be something like a Raspberry Pi or Sheevaplug, or even just a plain old router with built-in firewall features, which will quickly pay for themselves in power saving.

If someone else pays your electric bill then disregard.
Old 02-15-2013, 03:57 AM   #12
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@snowpine hi there, m using p4 for a firewall to learn plus i have it in spare n m not planning to use it 24/7. But thanks i didnt know it consumes that much power!!

i also have problem installing Slackware 14.0 x86 Install ISO disc 1 (A/AP/E/F/L/N/Y, bootable installer, kernels, testing/, Slackbook)

it say, there was a falat error attempting to install /var/log/mount/slackware/a/cups-1.5.4-i486-2.txz. the package may be corrupt, the installation media may be bad. one of the drives may be full, or something else has caused the package unable to be read without error. you may hit enter to continue.

n when i hit enter it hangs at some package. help.


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