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WhiteMage 08-24-2009 08:52 PM

Small OS
I've searched through the forums and have found a number of answers to this question and have narrowed down my choices to the following:

Minix 3
Damn Small Linux
Tiny Core Linux

The computer I wish to put a new OS has the following specs:

400 MHz Processor
4 GB Harddrive

I actually have Linux Mint, Open Solaris, and Arch Linux CDs that I've burnt, but Linux Mint and Open Solaris require 512 MB minimum and Arch Linux requires 128 MB minimum. I've also seen Puppy Linux suggested, but that also requires 128 MB minimum, and I remember Slackware and Ubuntu didn't meet the minimum requirements (I think they used too much harddrive space).

I would like to have an OS that is:
Up to date (not abandoned by the author/s)
Has a GUI
Is easy to install and use
1 GB maximum on the harddrive
And meets the minimum requirements of my computer's specs

What would be nice is being able to just install a core OS with a GUI. Then being able to easily select what packages/programs I want on the OS. Then I could install what other programs I want on the OS (for example, Opera over Firefox, etc.).

So which OS (I say OS instead of Linux Distro, since Minix is not Linux-based) would you suggest from the 3 I have posted? Or what other one would you suggest? Is it possible for ArchLinux to run on this machine smoothly (and if so, what would you suggest for how I partition the available memory)?

Thanks in advance. On a side note, what are some good anti-virus software for Linux? Or is it not needed or already included?

linus72 08-24-2009 09:04 PM

welcome to LQ WhiteMage!

thats a cool name

I would think DSL hd install would run fastest, but alas DSL is all but dead..

Tinycore requires a minim um of 48mb to boot and loads apps to ram...not a good choice..
unless* see end

never messed with minninx...

um...a minimal net-install of Debian install with fluxbox or similar light window manager..

slackware 12.2 with fluxbox should run on it and just install only what you need./
I got slack down to 2.3 gb with xfce andmany apps

Icebuntu has an alpha release finally....

*tinycore can be de-compressed and installed like a full hd install
apps will have to be updated manually though...

you gotta extract the tinycore.gz into a partition and hook it up

icebuntu might be best bet...

i92guboj 08-24-2009 09:09 PM

I know it's not what you were asking, but, is there any chance that you can increase the amount of ram? If you can find some old simm sticks (or whatever that box uses) at least up to 128, your options will increase drastically. You can try to look at distrowatch if you haven't already:

linus72 08-24-2009 09:30 PM

Another option is to install a non-X OS like
grml, finnix, debian live standard or similar and learn the command line...?

learn all the basic "in the dark" stuff and thenyou 'll know alot more about linux too.

grml small and medium both come with non-X web browsers and all kinds of non-X apps too..
heres app lists for grml-small

and medium

I also sufggest you get a daily build of SID unstable
as it's up to date

jefro 08-24-2009 09:48 PM

Basic linux BL3 should work.

See also

WhiteMage 08-24-2009 10:55 PM

linus72, thanks. I can't believe DSL is dead? That's unfortunate. Icebuntu looks nice, but I couldn't find the minimum system requirements on the site? I would like to learn the command line on Linux more with a non-X OS, but I was kinda planning this to be a kind of "guest" computer out in the living room. For people that stay over, they could access the internet, download files, edit text documents, etc. and a GUI would be nicer if I have younger visiters.

i92guboj, thanks for the link, I didn't know you could search for old computers on distrowatch. I looked into upgrading the RAM, but because the computer is so old, the RAM sticks are pretty expensive for some reason (or at least are not what I would pay for them for being such a crappy computer).

jefro, thanks BasicLinux looks nice, but it looks like it is somewhat dying with broken links, etc. Is it still active? I guess it doesn't really matter, but it'd just be nice to have a more active OS for older computers, but seems like a pipe dream.

i92guboj 08-24-2009 11:03 PM

You can always roll your own, however if you haven't previous experience it might take some time to get it working. A good option for that is lfs, and if ram usage is critical I also suggest to use a 2.4 kernel. They continue being updated and maintained.

However, this solution will require you to invest quite some time in updates, which is a thing to consider.

windtalker10 08-24-2009 11:29 PM

If you can get gparted or something to boot and run you might be able to make a 128 mb swap partition as your first partition and the rest / for your install.
You'll have the 128 megs of swap as well as the 64 megs of ram for memory then.

jolphil 08-25-2009 08:24 AM

Unless I missed it, I would add Puppy Linux to the batch...

WhiteMage 09-09-2009 01:01 AM

So in the end, I ended up trying a bunch and finally decided with:

Vector Linux 6.0 Light Edition.

It runs perfectly, was easy to setup, and has the look, feel, and benefits of a modern OS on a crappy computer.

I have 2 new questions though:

1) Clicking the mouse seems to sensitive. Like, I have to left click a menu really fast. If I do it at normal speed or slowly, it pops open and then leaves. How would I change the mouse click sensitivity? In /etc/X11/xorg.conf?

2) I've been an Opera fanboy for many years and was happy to see Opera available as a default install if desired. It runs, but is a bit sluggish compared with Dillo. What settings would you suggest turning off in Opera so that my experience is better?

Thanks again.

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