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senick 03-02-2013 08:29 AM

Best distro for faithful old PC
Hi, I have several versions of Ubuntu running various machines. One is our first (and still going strong) Dell Dimension L800r. Pentium III Coppermine, 512mb RAM. I've got Lubuntu 12.04 running OK but it's a tad slow. I know, I know, but it's too good to chuck!

Anyone got any bright ideas of distros that would be better? Want to use for occasional surfing, home networking etc, so must keep abreast of security.

I realise this PC is never going to be blistering, but interested what others like. I have Wary Puppy on CD but prefer just to use that for tinkering with files and partitions.

Thanks for reading, and any suggestions!

snowpine 03-02-2013 08:37 AM

It's a slow computer, but AntiX might give you a hair more speed.

Another option is to use a faster computer as your websurfing machine, and find a specific purpose for your Dell that doesn't require fast hardware. Here are some project ideas:

If you are going to attempt websurfing on such old hardware, you can get a big perceived performance boost by installing such extensions as: adblock, flashblock, noscript, etc. to stop modern web pages from loading their bloated garbage. :)

goumba 03-02-2013 08:54 AM

If you're used to Ubuntu, go with Debian. You'll see a speed increase there, and you'll have all the package management stuff you're used to. As well, follow snowpine's suggestions to stop the heavy stuff from being loaded by the browser.

Ibis 03-02-2013 10:36 AM

I got a computer like this one (Pentium III, 640MB RAM) and I use Debian xfce without problems. I suggest you go to debian if you're already familiar with ubuntu.

DavidMcCann 03-02-2013 12:42 PM

If you liked Lubuntu, look at ZorinOS Light. It's lighter, although still using LXDE, and recommends a Pentium II and 128MB.

For Xfce, look at Vector Standard. That recommends a Pentium Pro and 256MB.

If you liked KDE before the bloating, there's Trinity from Exe Linux.

PS My Pentium M Thinkpad is still going strong, although it takes its time booting.

senick 03-02-2013 12:44 PM

Thanks for these suggestions - I already use adblock, flashblock, noscript, they do help, I agree. Surfing experience isn't too bad

Just wondering why debian would have an advantage over Ubuntu, given that's what Ubuntu is based on? Would like to understand that.

I should have mentioned, I was using Ubuntu 10.04 which definitely ran quicker, but obviously it's coming up to retirement.

rokytnji 03-02-2013 01:23 PM


Just wondering why debian would have an advantage over Ubuntu, given that's what Ubuntu is based on? Would like to understand that.
Less cruft running in a Debian install than a Ubuntu install. Ubuntu throws the kitchen sink in for running processes.

I run Antix on 64bit and 32bit gear because of that. Lubuntu don't even come close to 55MB of ram to a idling desktop after a bootup.
But I know everyone has their fav distro that can be tweaked to run light. Kinda like girls I guess. ;)


$ cat /etc/
Welcome to antiX. Powered by Debian Testing

JWJones 03-02-2013 01:34 PM

Debian with LXDE would be leaner and faster than Lubuntu, while still keeping you in the realm of familiarity.

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