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Old 05-24-2005, 05:01 PM   #1
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Registered: May 2005
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Question What distro for old PC

I have an old Dell PC that I want to set up as a Internet gateway. No user interaction, just as a gateway to the Internet and running Squid proxy, and possibly as a file server. It is a Dell Dimension 4200, 233 MHz Pentium II, 160 MB Ram, Nvidia Riva TNT graphics board, a 3Com Ethernet NIC, and a 3Com 3C410 HomeConnect (HomePNA) NIC.

I am worried about the hardware compatibility of the old and slow processor and, mostly, a compatible driver for the 3Com 3C410 HomeConnect (HomePNA) NIC. This is required as I run a home network where one of the PCs is in a room with no LAN connection and I do not want to pay for a wireless network at this time.

I will be connecting to the Internet via Verizon DSL using a Westell 2200 DSL modem. I will need to setup this PC to share the internet connection or to use a routing protocol. My other PCs are all MS Windows XP.

I don't want a lot of fancy stuff in the distribution, just something simple.

I would appreciate any and all suggestions as to which distribution would support this configuration.


Old 05-24-2005, 05:32 PM   #2
Registered: Jun 2004
Location: Scotland
Distribution: Anything that'll install...
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You can find out whether the NIC is supported at the ndiswrapper wiki.

AFAIK, your other hardware is old, slow, but shouldn't give you any problems. Just about any distro will run it. Read up on lightweight window managers/desktops such as XFCE or Fluxbox - KDE will craaawl on your box!
Old 05-24-2005, 06:56 PM   #3
Registered: Apr 2005
Location: Minnesota
Distribution: slackware
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For finding old computer distros I would recomend They have a search parameter specially for old/slow computers. Then you can check out the descriptions and homepages for information
Old 05-31-2005, 04:39 PM   #4
Registered: May 2005
Location: Switzerland
Distribution: Ubuntu
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[Sorry, I misread the first post and posted some stuff not belonging here - edited it out]

But anyway: Why not do a Debian Sarge server install? Easy configurable, and runs prefectly - you can change it into a gateway any time you want. I had that installation on a Pentium 233 MMX with 64 MB RAM - no troubles.

A nice start might also be tinysofa classic - a minimal server distribution easily maintainable and configurable via apt-get.

And while we're at it: OpenBSD makes great servers/gateways/routers/anything, has a small footprint, is highly configurable - but requires some reading...


Last edited by MoonMind; 05-31-2005 at 04:48 PM.


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