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Old 11-29-2005, 10:14 PM   #1
Registered: Nov 2005
Location: Lakes Entrance, Vic, AU
Posts: 31

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Question Switching from Windows: Simple, Speedy, Sleek Linux?

I currently run heavily customised Windows 98 and XP installations, since I don't like unnecessary CPU and HDD wastage. I'm switching everything over to Linux, but all the distros I've come across come with all these damn packages that eat up the HDD space.

I've tried Mandrake before, but on a 300MHz it took way too long to start, and the GUI was horribly cluttered. Not to mention the size--something like 3Gb! On a 200MHz machine with 64Mb RAM, a tweaked 98 has a 100Mb footprint (though it can go lower), and can boot in under 30 seconds, and XP on a 3GHz, 1Gb RAM, starts in around 40, though it takes up 1Gb of hard drive space.

I remove all the unnecessary utilites and services, along with the clutter from the start menu, desktop and HDD. The result is a nice, clean interface into which I can install programs of my choice to meet my needs when necessary.

I'm after a simple Linux environment like that. Something that boots quick, has minimal system requirements, and doesn't waste processing on needless desktop elements--a basic taskbar, quicklaunch [small icons, click & drag link adding), Start equivalent, maybe sometime similar to the system tray... that's all I need.

There are countless other threads about Linux distros for old computers, but they still leave so many questions unanswered. What is it that makes the bulkier distros so CPU intensive, so excessively overweight?

Can I strip it back, get rid of most of the programs, install a different shell and have it run on a 75-200MHz machine as fast as, or faster than, (and of course more stable than) Windows 98, with a footprint of 50-100Mb (excluding swap space, of course)? What bits would I need to keep for it to run properly?

Simple and fast, but not butt ugly. Is that too much to ask?

Old 11-29-2005, 10:33 PM   #2
Registered: Mar 2004
Location: everett
Distribution: slak
Posts: 61

Rep: Reputation: 15
well, Making it start fast if tricky, Ive gotten slackware down to 45 seconds (power button to login) on a k6-266 @ 233mhz. No X windows though. If you use xvfm or something it shouldnt be too hard to swing X also. Look in your .rc files (/etc/rc.d/ in slack) and strip everything you can live without, mainly hotplug and ldconfig (killing ldconfig could be bad, I'm not sure though). You could also turn off ssh and othe network services.

Foot print I can help you much on though, exept to say win95 @ 75ish mb is still good lookin to me. Smallest ive ever gotten a graphical slackware install working on was a 1.5 gb, with KDE and room to spare, so im sure you could do it in 600mb or so at most.

If you pull it off with a package based system, post the complete list of packages so other people can use it too, I know it would be usefull to me. (too bad I just fried (as in trying to make popcorn on it) that old 486 75mhz chip, hehe 5v 18amps straight)

A premade one to try is DSL, its a live cd, but it can be run from the HD. Its 50mb.

Well, have fun, hope you can find something.


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