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Choosing Linux distro for old laptop

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  • matt1027
    I would like a recommendation on a Linux distro for an old laptop. It s an IBM Thinkpad T20, Pentium III processor, 256MB Ram, about 12GB Hard Drive, so I
    Message 1 of 21 , Feb 3, 2011
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      I would like a recommendation on a Linux distro for an old laptop.

      It's an IBM Thinkpad T20, Pentium III processor, 256MB Ram, about
      12GB Hard Drive, so I don't have a huge amount of space to work
      with. It does have a DVD drive for installation.

      I want to use the computer to open documents and files that come from
      untrusted sources.

      The laptop has Mandriva 2006 on it right now and OpenOffice from that
      time won't open the .docx document that I want to check out. So it
      would be a good time to just upgrade the whole operating system and
      get the most recent OpenOffice in the process.

      Besides opening questionable files I might also check email on
      it. That's probably about it.

      Any recommendations would be appreciated.

      Thanks,
      Matt
    • Chris Becker
      ... Look up info on the latest puppy linux. Although it is designed to be run from CD-ROM or a flashdrive, I always found a full installation of the OS
      Message 2 of 21 , Feb 3, 2011
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        > I would like a recommendation on a Linux distro for an old laptop.

        Look up info on the latest puppy linux. Although it is designed to be
        run from CD-ROM or a flashdrive, I always found a full installation
        of the OS worked well for my older laptops.

        >
        > It's an IBM Thinkpad T20, Pentium III processor, 256MB Ram, about
        > 12GB Hard Drive, so I don't have a huge amount of space to work
        > with. It does have a DVD drive for installation.

        Specifically, I ran V 4.2 on an old Toshiba that had the same
        processor and ~ram as the one you mention, and it worked really well.>

        > I want to use the computer to open documents and files that come from
        > untrusted sources. The laptop has Mandriva 2006 on it right now and OpenOffice from that
        > time won't open the .docx document that I want to check out. So it
        > would be a good time to just upgrade the whole operating system and
        > get the most recent OpenOffice in the process.

        I'm not sure what the latest office software is (used to be abiword
        and gnumeric), but there were always version that came pre-outfitted
        with the latest open office, and there were also install packages for
        open office.

        Their Long term support project (Wary puppy) has an install package
        for 3.1.1, which I think supported .docx?

        >
        >
        > Besides opening questionable files I might also check email on
        > it. That's probably about it.

        Wireless was sometimes a chore (getting the driver for an old pci
        card) installed and trying to get support for wpa2 enterprise
        access... but wired was hassle-free. Might not be a problem with
        newer versions(5.+) which are based off of Ubuntu 10.04.
        >
        > Any recommendations would be appreciated.


        >
        > Thanks,
        > Matt
        >
        >
      • thad_floryan
        ... The OP stated the laptop is running Mandriva 2006 presently; if it ain t broke, don t fix it. :-) The issue seems to only be the fact the older Open
        Message 3 of 21 , Feb 3, 2011
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          --- In linux@yahoogroups.com, Chris Becker <usabecker@...> wrote:
          >
          > > I would like a recommendation on a Linux distro for an old laptop.
          >
          > Look up info on the latest puppy linux. Although it is designed to be
          > run from CD-ROM or a flashdrive, I always found a full installation
          > of the OS worked well for my older laptops.

          The OP stated the laptop is running Mandriva 2006 presently; if it
          ain't broke, don't fix it. :-)

          The issue seems to only be the fact the older Open Office cannot read
          the *.docx files the OP wishes to read. Per this:

          <http://www.openoffice.org/dev_docs/features/3.0/>

          it would seem that all one needs to do is uninstall the older OO and
          simply download/install the latest version (3.2.1 is what I have) per
          the information here (for version 3.2.1 for all Linux distros):

          <http://download.openoffice.org/other.html>

          since it's unlikely the repositories for Mandriva 2006 have been
          updated to the latest/greatest of anything.

          There's nothing wrong with running older distro versions. My main
          Linux laptop is running Redhat 9 from circa 2003 and my Ubuntu laptop
          is running 8.04.3 LTS (which was updated yesterday and today) which
          still works perfectly well. In fact, Open Office was updated today for
          that 8.04.3 release -- unfortunately the wankers are years behind and
          that "update" is version 2.4. Idiots. Now I have to uninstall it and
          download the newest from the above URL.
        • Chris
          Sent from a Windows® Mobile device ... From: thad_floryan Sent: Thursday, February 03, 2011 6:53 PM To: linux@yahoogroups.com Subject:
          Message 4 of 21 , Feb 3, 2011
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            Sent from a Windows® Mobile device

            -----Original Message-----
            From: thad_floryan <thad@...>
            Sent: Thursday, February 03, 2011 6:53 PM
            To: linux@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [linux] Re: Choosing Linux distro for old laptop

            -The OP stated the laptop is running Mandriva 2006
            _pesently; if it
            _ain't broke, don't fix it. :-)
            _
            _The issue seems to only be the fact the older Open Office
            _cannot read
            _the *.docx files the OP wishes to read. Per this:
            _
            _<http://www.openoffice.org/dev_docs/features/3.0/>
            _
            _it would seem that all one needs to do is uninstall the _
            _older OO and
            _simply download/install the latest version (3.2.1 is what I
            _have) per the information here (for version 3.2.1 for all
            _Linux distros):

            True, but he did mention wanting to upgrade. And a lightweight distro suited to his requirements without any extras could be super snappy on that machine.

            Nonetheless, I tend to agree with you. If its doing ok, no need to make extra work for ones self. :)

            [The entire original message is not included]
          • Alexandru Fira
              I would suggest either Crunchbang or Mepis Antix. Open Office would have to be installed via command line.   Mandriva is way too heavy and slow for that
            Message 5 of 21 , Feb 3, 2011
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                I would suggest either Crunchbang or Mepis Antix. Open Office would have to be installed via command line.
                Mandriva is way too heavy and slow for that one.

                                                                              Alex

              Phone number: 004-0364412643

              Mobile phone number: 004-0770607699

              Messenger ID: firaalexandru

              Skype ID: alexfiracluj














              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • thad_floryan
              ... Believe it or not, Googling lightweight linux for old laptop (without the quotes) returns some interesting hits. Here s sn interesting article found in
              Message 6 of 21 , Feb 3, 2011
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                --- In linux@yahoogroups.com, Chris <usabecker@...> wrote:
                > [...]
                > True, but he did mention wanting to upgrade. And a lightweight
                > distro suited to his requirements without any extras could be super
                > snappy on that machine.

                Believe it or not, Googling "lightweight linux for old laptop" (without
                the quotes) returns some interesting hits.

                Here's sn interesting article found in the above search:

                "What's the best lightweight Linux distro?"
                at <http://www.tuxradar.com/content/whats-best-lightweight-linux-distro>.

                :-)

                I hadn't heard of "Lubuntu" (Lightweight Ubuntu) before. The summary
                there about it is:

                " Lubuntu is definitely one to watch for the future. With the backing
                " of Canonical, it'll have the developer resources to make the other
                " lite distro projects rather jealous.
                "
                " Our verdict: Although it looks nothing like Ubuntu, this is one to
                " keep an eye on as it moves towards a stable release. 6/10.

                > Nonetheless, I tend to agree with you. If its doing ok, no need to
                > make extra work for ones self. :)

                That was my point -- life is too short.

                :-)
              • thad_floryan
                ... More info about Lubuntu here . Download it here .
                Message 7 of 21 , Feb 3, 2011
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                  --- In linux@yahoogroups.com, "thad_floryan" <thad@...> wrote:
                  > [...]
                  > Here's sn interesting article found in the above search:
                  >
                  > "What's the best lightweight Linux distro?"
                  > at <http://www.tuxradar.com/content/whats-best-lightweight-linux-distro>.
                  >
                  > [...]
                  >
                  > I hadn't heard of "Lubuntu" (Lightweight Ubuntu) before.
                  > [...]

                  More info about Lubuntu here <http://lubuntu.net/>.

                  Download it here <http://people.ubuntu.com/~gilir/lubuntu-10.10.iso>.
                • Alexandru Fira
                    Sincerelly, I like Slitaz a lot but I did not want to use it, as it does not have ADSL PPPoE built in, or, at least, I cannot configure it.           
                  Message 8 of 21 , Feb 4, 2011
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                      Sincerelly, I like Slitaz a lot but I did not want to use it, as it does not have ADSL PPPoE built in, or, at least, I cannot configure it. 
                                                                      Alex

                    Phone number: 004-0364412643

                    Mobile phone number: 004-0770607699

                    Messenger ID: firaalexandru

                    Skype ID: alexfiracluj





















                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • matt1027
                    ... Hi guys, Thanks to everyone for all suggestions and comments. I have been reading it all and thinking about it. When I have some time I definitely want to
                    Message 9 of 21 , Feb 4, 2011
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                      At 07:53 PM 2/3/2011, you wrote:
                      >The issue seems to only be the fact the older Open Office cannot read
                      >the *.docx files the OP wishes to read. Per this:
                      >
                      ><<http://www.openoffice.org/dev_docs/features/3.0/>http://www.openoffice.org/dev_docs/features/3.0/>
                      >
                      >it would seem that all one needs to do is uninstall the older OO and
                      >simply download/install the latest version (3.2.1 is what I have) per
                      >the information here (for version 3.2.1 for all Linux distros):


                      Hi guys,

                      Thanks to everyone for all suggestions and comments. I have been
                      reading it all and thinking about it.

                      When I have some time I definitely want to try something more
                      lightweight and quicker. For now it seems like a good idea to
                      upgrade Open Office.

                      From OpenOffice.org I downloaded the Linux, 32-bit, Intel, RPM
                      file. (Is that the right one for IBM ThinkPad T20, Pentium III and
                      Mandriva 2006?)

                      The actual file name is: OOo_3.3.0_Linux_x86_install-rpm-wJRE_en-US.tar.gz

                      The file is now in a download folder and I'm thinking I need to
                      extract it and probably move it to /bin or something (or move it
                      first and then extract it).

                      I have Rpmdrake to uninstall the old OpenOffice (actually version
                      1.1.5) and install the new version. But here's what concerns me, the
                      old programs that show up as being able to be installed have names like:

                      OpenOffice.org-1.1.5-2.2.20060mdk
                      OpenOffice.org-|10n-en-1.1.5-2.2.20060mdk

                      The programs I need to uninstall have names like:

                      OpenOffice.org-1.1.5-2mdk
                      OpenOffice.org-help-en-1.1.5-2mdk
                      OpenOffice.org-|10n-en-1.1.5-2mdk

                      They look like special Mandriva versions of Open Office. Is this
                      generic Linux installation set going to work or do I need a special
                      Mandriva version.

                      Would it be better to run some kind of installation command from the
                      command line instead of using Rpmdrake? Would it be good to
                      uninstall OpenOffice first anyway. That is pretty much of a
                      no-brainer with Rpmdrake.

                      Any specific instructions would be greatly appreciated.

                      Thanks again,
                      Matt



                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Al Thompson
                      ... Uninstall your present version of OO. Extract the OOo_3.3.0_Linux_x86_install-rpm-wJRE_en-US.tar.gz file into a directory, which will result in a directory
                      Message 10 of 21 , Feb 5, 2011
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                        matt1027 wrote:
                        >
                        >
                        > >From OpenOffice.org I downloaded the Linux, 32-bit, Intel, RPM
                        > file. (Is that the right one for IBM ThinkPad T20, Pentium III and
                        > Mandriva 2006?)
                        >
                        > The actual file name is: OOo_3.3.0_Linux_x86_install-rpm-wJRE_en-US.tar.gz
                        >
                        > The file is now in a download folder and I'm thinking I need to
                        > extract it and probably move it to /bin or something (or move it
                        > first and then extract it).
                        >
                        > I have Rpmdrake to uninstall the old OpenOffice (actually version
                        > 1.1.5) and install the new version. But here's what concerns me, the
                        > old programs that show up as being able to be installed have names like:
                        >
                        > OpenOffice.org-1.1.5-2.2.20060mdk
                        > OpenOffice.org-|10n-en-1.1.5-2.2.20060mdk
                        >
                        > The programs I need to uninstall have names like:
                        >
                        > OpenOffice.org-1.1.5-2mdk
                        > OpenOffice.org-help-en-1.1.5-2mdk
                        > OpenOffice.org-|10n-en-1.1.5-2mdk
                        >
                        > They look like special Mandriva versions of Open Office. Is this
                        > generic Linux installation set going to work or do I need a special
                        > Mandriva version.
                        >
                        > Would it be better to run some kind of installation command from the
                        > command line instead of using Rpmdrake? Would it be good to
                        > uninstall OpenOffice first anyway. That is pretty much of a
                        > no-brainer with Rpmdrake.
                        >
                        > Any specific instructions would be greatly appreciated.
                        >

                        Uninstall your present version of OO.

                        Extract the OOo_3.3.0_Linux_x86_install-rpm-wJRE_en-US.tar.gz file into
                        a directory, which will result in a directory called:
                        file:///home/al/Download/Build/OOO330_m20_native_packed-1_en-US.9567.
                        Go into that directory, SU, then run ./setup.

                        It's just about that easy. I just installed it on two different FC7
                        machines without incident.



                        --


                        Check out the website I've been cobbling together. It will never be done, but it's a start:
                        http://lateralforce.no-ip.org


                        My blog, with commentary on a variety of things, including audio, mixing, equipment, etc, is at:
                        http://audioandmore.wordpress.com


                        Staat heißt das kälteste aller kalten Ungeheuer. Kalt lügt es auch;
                        und diese Lüge kriecht aus seinem Munde: 'Ich, der Staat, bin das Volk.'
                        - [Friedrich Nietzsche]
                      • matt1027
                        ... The installation went perfectly and I am very happy to learn how to work with that kind of installation set rpm. But OpenOffice was nowhere to be found,
                        Message 11 of 21 , Feb 5, 2011
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                          At 04:56 AM 2/5/2011, you wrote:
                          >Uninstall your present version of OO.
                          >
                          >Extract the OOo_3.3.0_Linux_x86_install-rpm-wJRE_en-US.tar.gz file into
                          >a directory, which will result in a directory called:
                          ><file:///home/al/Download/Build/OOO330_m20_native_packed-1_en-US.9567.>file:///home/al/Download/Build/OOO330_m20_native_packed-1_en-US.9567.
                          >
                          >Go into that directory, SU, then run ./setup.


                          The installation went perfectly and I am very happy to learn how to
                          work with that kind of installation set rpm. But OpenOffice was
                          nowhere to be found, not under applications in the KDE desktop list
                          or as available under Rpmdrake.

                          Finally found out how to start from command line: soffice -writer

                          And it started right up and tried to go through the first-time
                          welcome/registration setup process and then quit. Running it in a
                          terminal window showed:

                          /usr/bin/soffice: Line 120: 4369 Segmentation fault "$sd_prog/$sd_binary" "$@"


                          In the process of getting to that I had read the Readme folder for OO
                          and found this:

                          System Requirements:
                          Linux Kernel Version 2.6.18 or higher
                          gtk version 2.10.4 or higher
                          glibc2 version 2.5 or higher

                          From what I can tell, I have:
                          Kernel - 2.6.12-12mdk
                          gtk - all I could find was a folder /etc/gtk-2.0
                          glibc2 - could not find that anywhere (not sure if I missed it or if
                          I don't have it)

                          Spent a long time trying to find the previous version of OO (3.2.1),
                          with lesser requirements, on the OO website I finally found this page
                          with source code:

                          http://download.openoffice.org/source/3.2.1_source.html

                          and found this

                          http://www.linuxfromscratch.org/blfs/view/cvs/xsoft/openoffice.html

                          It really seems strange that OO would not have previous versions
                          readily available for download.

                          But I'm thinking at this point it might be best to upgrade to a newer
                          version of Linux. I would probably try a live CD version of one of
                          the lightweight and quicker versions like Lubuntu and see if
                          everything works like internet and sound, etc. and then install to disk.

                          Any thoughts or recommendations on all this? Any thoughts about what
                          I should be looking for and checking out when I run a live CD?

                          Thanks again,
                          Matt





                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • Al Thompson
                          ... I would say that a lot of it is personal preference. Go to distrowatch, and read the blurbs on each one and see if anything strikes your fancy. Someone
                          Message 12 of 21 , Feb 5, 2011
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                            matt1027 wrote:
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > >From what I can tell, I have:
                            > Kernel - 2.6.12-12mdk
                            > gtk - all I could find was a folder /etc/gtk-2.0
                            > glibc2 - could not find that anywhere (not sure if I missed it or if
                            > I don't have it)
                            > ........
                            > But I'm thinking at this point it might be best to upgrade to a newer
                            > version of Linux. I would probably try a live CD version of one of
                            > the lightweight and quicker versions like Lubuntu and see if
                            > everything works like internet and sound, etc. and then install to disk.
                            >
                            > Any thoughts or recommendations on all this? Any thoughts about what
                            > I should be looking for and checking out when I run a live CD?
                            >

                            I would say that a lot of it is personal preference. Go to distrowatch,
                            and read the blurbs on each one and see if anything strikes your fancy.
                            Someone here can give you the URL, I'm sure. I'm not home right now,
                            and don't have my bookmark file here.


                            --


                            Check out the website I've been cobbling together. It will never be done, but it's a start:
                            http://lateralforce.no-ip.org


                            My blog, with commentary on a variety of things, including audio, mixing, equipment, etc, is at:
                            http://audioandmore.wordpress.com


                            Staat heißt das kälteste aller kalten Ungeheuer. Kalt lügt es auch;
                            und diese Lüge kriecht aus seinem Munde: 'Ich, der Staat, bin das Volk.'
                            - [Friedrich Nietzsche]
                          • Scott
                            ... -- Scott Robbins PGP keyID EB3467D6 ( 1B48 077D 66F6 9DB0 FDC2 A409 FA54 EB34 67D6 ) gpg --keyserver pgp.mit.edu --recv-keys
                            Message 13 of 21 , Feb 5, 2011
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                              On Sat, Feb 05, 2011 at 09:19:54PM -0500, Al Thompson wrote:
                              > matt1027 wrote:
                              > >
                              > >
                              > >
                              > > ........
                              > > Any thoughts or recommendations on all this? Any thoughts about what
                              > > I should be looking for and checking out when I run a live CD?
                              > >
                              >
                              > I would say that a lot of it is personal preference. Go to distrowatch,
                              > and read the blurbs on each one and see if anything strikes your fancy.
                              > Someone here can give you the URL, I'm sure. I'm not home right now,
                              > and don't have my bookmark file here.

                              <http://www.distrowatch.com>


                              --
                              Scott Robbins
                              PGP keyID EB3467D6
                              ( 1B48 077D 66F6 9DB0 FDC2 A409 FA54 EB34 67D6 )
                              gpg --keyserver pgp.mit.edu --recv-keys EB3467D6


                              Giles: This one?
                              Buffy: Amethyst.
                              Giles: Used for?
                              Buffy: Breath mints?
                              Giles: Charm bags, money spells and for cleansing one's aura.
                              Buffy: Okay, so how do you know if one's aura's dirty? Somebody
                              comes by with a finger and writes 'wash me' on it?
                            • alanna roe
                              i do feel the need to stick in my two cents here... i think it s not necessarily just about what distro you run, but what software you run as well.. a little
                              Message 14 of 21 , Feb 6, 2011
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                                i do feel the need to stick in my two cents here... i think it's not
                                necessarily just about what distro you run, but what software you run
                                as well..

                                a little backstory: i have a netbook, an acer aspire that i've had for
                                about two years now. 1.6ghz dual-core atom processor, 160gb hd, and
                                1gb ram. pretty decently powerful little machine, and i loved the fact
                                that i could stick it in my purse, yet come home and hook it up to
                                external mon/kb/mouse and have pretty much a desktop-ish system. now
                                for the first year i had it, i had the original winxp on it, cause i
                                was too lazy to get around to installing linux. i know, i know.. about
                                a year ago, i finally dropped in ubuntu from a usb stick, everything
                                worked right out of the box, all is wonderful. with a gig of ram, it
                                ran gnome desktop perfectly and easily. on a machine with the
                                resources, gnome is really a decently nice desktop.

                                a few weeks ago tho, the usb 2.0 controller on the mobo burned out,
                                and frying a bunch of content on my terabyte drive in the process. i
                                have to say that that was the fsck from hell. and falling back on usb
                                1.1? no way i want to take 1.5 hours to transfer a gigabyte of data.
                                since i practically live and die on usb drives (having over a terabyte
                                of media will do that), this won't do. so, being a poor geek, i found
                                a $90 dell laptop on craigslist. 1.4ghz single core pentium m, and
                                only 40gb hd and 512m ram. kind of a step down, but at least it runs
                                full speed usb.

                                only trouble, is that gnome and all it's many processes doesn't like
                                running on only 1/2gb of memory; it leaves little room for anything
                                else, like firefox, transmission, pidgin and especially mplayer, and
                                all too many times i lost control of the system to cpu thrash and had
                                to powerbutton. so what to do? what i used to do, run fluxbox. so i
                                reinstalled flux, set up my fluxbox configs, and restarted my session
                                and picked fluxbox. and voila, now that i run a pure fluxbox
                                environment with lxpanel (borrowed from lxde), my machine couldn't be
                                happier, and i have plenty of power left over for running firefox AND
                                transmission AND pidgin AND mplayer. and this is still on ubuntu, a
                                distro with a reputation for being resource-greedy.

                                funny thing is, i don't miss gnome desktop all that much. i mean, it's
                                nice, and i like the integrationand automation to a degree, but i've
                                run linux since redhat 5.1 back in 1999, back when you had to struggle
                                to configure xfree86 to get it to run, or mount media manually, long
                                before the days of udev, and gvfs and fuse and all that. i'm used to
                                configuring my session by hand, by editing a .xsession or .xinitrc, or
                                in the current case, ~/.fluxbox/startup, and having total say over
                                what runs on my desktop and what doesn't run on my desktop. my desktop
                                session is proudly hand-crafted and truly mine, and fits me to a tee.

                                moral of the story, is you can pick a lightweight distro, but that's
                                not the only option. even with a "heavyweight" distro like
                                fedora/debian/ubuntu, you can have a lean and efficient environment.
                                and not just fluxbox, but also blackbox, windowmaker, or even just run
                                a manual desktop session with metacity as your window manager
                                (metacity is really pretty light, it's the other parts of gnome that
                                stuff your system resources)

                                oh, and this business of running linux on an older system? well, how
                                much older? thing is, even if you're broke like me, with a little
                                digging and a little discernment you can get a decent 1ghz+ system for
                                little money, and leave the really old stuff to the people who
                                actually enjoy legacy hardware. :)

                                --
                                @-}-- alanna
                              • matt1027
                                ... Hi Alanna, Thanks for the two cents. Very interesting and informative. I think your right about getting something a little more modern and leaving the
                                Message 15 of 21 , Feb 10, 2011
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                                  At 04:05 AM 2/6/2011, you wrote:
                                  > i do feel the need to stick in my two cents here... i think it's not
                                  >necessarily just about what distro you run, but what software you run
                                  >as well..

                                  >moral of the story, is you can pick a lightweight distro, but that's
                                  >not the only option. even with a "heavyweight" distro like
                                  >fedora/debian/ubuntu, you can have a lean and efficient environment.
                                  >and not just fluxbox, but also blackbox, windowmaker, or even just run
                                  >a manual desktop session with metacity as your window manager
                                  >(metacity is really pretty light, it's the other parts of gnome that
                                  >stuff your system resources)
                                  >
                                  >oh, and this business of running linux on an older system? well, how
                                  >much older? thing is, even if you're broke like me, with a little
                                  >digging and a little discernment you can get a decent 1ghz+ system for
                                  >little money, and leave the really old stuff to the people who
                                  >actually enjoy legacy hardware. :)


                                  Hi Alanna,

                                  Thanks for the two cents. Very interesting and informative.

                                  I think your right about getting something a little more modern and
                                  leaving the really old stuff to the museum curators. :-) And I like
                                  the idea of maybe running a major distro (for the various benefits
                                  that come with that) but using a lightweight desktop environment to
                                  keep things as fast as possible.

                                  I had this IBM Thinkpad T20 that I had been using back in 2005 and
                                  thought it would be a good machine to open documents or files that I
                                  didn't fully trust and didn't want to risk opening on my desktop. It
                                  is a Pentium III, 700MHz, so it's not too bad. I think the weakest
                                  thing is 256MB Ram.

                                  I'm trying different things right now.

                                  Antix didn't run from the LiveCD. I saw an error about BIOS not up to date.

                                  Lubuntu Didn't run too great from CD.

                                  Unity Linux worked well and I liked it but kind of slow.

                                  I'm installing Absolute Linux right now. If it isn't any faster than
                                  Unity I think I will go ahead and try Puppy. It will just take more
                                  work getting the programs that I want.

                                  Thanks,
                                  Matt
                                • thad_floryan
                                  ... That s not that bad. I had one Fedora Core 2 system running an instance of asterisk (VoIP system) with a 600MHz CPU and 256MB RAM. I added another 256Mb
                                  Message 16 of 21 , Feb 10, 2011
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                                    --- In linux@yahoogroups.com, matt1027 <box1027@...> wrote:
                                    > [...]
                                    > I had this IBM Thinkpad T20 that I had been using back in 2005 and
                                    > thought it would be a good machine to open documents or files that I
                                    > didn't fully trust and didn't want to risk opening on my desktop.
                                    > It is a Pentium III, 700MHz, so it's not too bad. I think the
                                    > weakest thing is 256MB Ram.

                                    That's not that bad. I had one Fedora Core 2 system running an
                                    instance of asterisk (VoIP system) with a 600MHz CPU and 256MB RAM.
                                    I added another 256Mb (for 512MB) RAM last year and it still works
                                    fine. I have another really old Linux desktop running with only 64MB
                                    RAM (without X) and I did a lot of development with that system back
                                    in the 1990s; it, too, still boots and runs fine. :-)

                                    > [...]
                                    > Lubuntu Didn't run too great from CD.

                                    No distro really "runs great" from CD, but I downloaded the Lubuntu
                                    version 10.10 ISO this past Sunday (Feb. 6) and booted it up on a
                                    1GHz 512MB RAM Dell laptop and it ran "OK" from the CD. I was really
                                    surprised audio worked and even more surprised with the bundled
                                    browser "Chromium" working so well on that laptop. I may buy another
                                    512MB module and install Lubuntu permanently on that laptop (it's an
                                    old Latitude C610 circa early 2000s).
                                  • thad_floryan
                                    ... For something even more perverse, the first UNIX system I bought for my personal use was an AT&T 3B1 (aka UNIXpc aka PC 7300). I still have 3 of them
                                    Message 17 of 21 , Feb 10, 2011
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                                      --- In linux@yahoogroups.com, "thad_floryan" <thad@...> wrote:
                                      > [...]
                                      > I have another really old Linux desktop running with only 64MB
                                      > RAM (without X) and I did a lot of development with that system back
                                      > in the 1990s; it, too, still boots and runs fine. :-)
                                      > [...]

                                      For something even more perverse, the first UNIX system I bought for my
                                      personal use was an AT&T 3B1 (aka UNIXpc aka PC 7300). I still have 3
                                      of them because the VoicePower cards are still to this day featureful
                                      beyond belief.

                                      I don't recall the default RAM size but the maximum was 4MB. The CPU
                                      was a Motorola 68010. The system ran a full AT&T UNIX SV 5.2. Some
                                      pictures of what these look like are here:

                                      <http://unixpc.taronga.com/3b1.gif>
                                      <http://www.omahug.org/vcf40/v20.jpg>
                                      <http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e6/Att-3b1.JPG>
                                      <http://www.old-computers.com/museum/photos/Att_UnixPC_System_s1.jpg>

                                      motherboard:
                                      <http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4112/5097215206_91e39b90b9.jpg>

                                      One of mine that I showed off at a 1980s West Coast Computer Faire in
                                      San Francisco was simultaneously running gcc, Emacs, and asteroids (a
                                      graphics game). A 1200 baud modem was built in (AT&T, natch :-) and
                                      I had both Ethernet and StarLAN cards in mine; these few pages from
                                      the O'Reilly book "Managing uucp and Usenet" show my StarLAN setup:

                                      <http://thadlabs.com/FILES/OR_Mng_uucp+Usenet.pdf>
                                    • roro
                                      ... no live image is going to work worth a darn on 256mb ram. for something like that, you really need at 1gb, since you re running the entire filesystem out
                                      Message 18 of 21 , Feb 10, 2011
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                                        On Thu, Feb 10, 2011 at 19:32, matt1027 <box1027@...> wrote:

                                        > Thanks for the two cents. Very interesting and informative.
                                        >
                                        > I think your right about getting something a little more modern and
                                        > leaving the really old stuff to the museum curators. :-) And I like
                                        > the idea of maybe running a major distro (for the various benefits
                                        > that come with that) but using a lightweight desktop environment to
                                        > keep things as fast as possible.
                                        >
                                        > I had this IBM Thinkpad T20 that I had been using back in 2005 and
                                        > thought it would be a good machine to open documents or files that I
                                        > didn't fully trust and didn't want to risk opening on my desktop. It
                                        > is a Pentium III, 700MHz, so it's not too bad. I think the weakest
                                        > thing is 256MB Ram.
                                        >
                                        > I'm trying different things right now.
                                        >
                                        > Antix didn't run from the LiveCD. I saw an error about BIOS not up to date.
                                        >
                                        > Lubuntu Didn't run too great from CD.
                                        >
                                        > Unity Linux worked well and I liked it but kind of slow.
                                        >
                                        > I'm installing Absolute Linux right now. If it isn't any faster than
                                        > Unity I think I will go ahead and try Puppy. It will just take more
                                        > work getting the programs that I want.

                                        no live image is going to work worth a darn on 256mb ram. for
                                        something like that, you really need at 1gb, since you're running the
                                        entire filesystem out of ram, and still need to have enough left for
                                        actual operation. on a low-ram machine, you're better off just trying
                                        an installation and changing it if you don't like it.

                                        rule number one, you can never have too much ram. find out how much
                                        ram your machine can support, then go out and shop prices for ram.
                                        right now, ram is cheap, so it's not hard to get. for example, a local
                                        electronics retailer is selling reconditioned 512mb sodimms for $5
                                        each, and as soon as the snow melts some, i'm getting me a couple for
                                        this dell.

                                        also, why not just try debian? it's fairly lean, has a top-notch
                                        package management system, and is flexible enough to be as "heavy" or
                                        as "light" a system as you require.. and they just released 6.0
                                        "squeeze" (debian names their releases after characters from the "toy
                                        story" movies, eg, "sarge", "woody", "buzz", etc..)

                                        @-}-- alanna
                                      • thad_floryan
                                        ... I almost forgot about these pictures I took a year or so ago illustrating an article I posted to Usenet s comp.dcom.telecom group. A StarLAN NAU is a
                                        Message 19 of 21 , Feb 10, 2011
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                                          --- In linux@yahoogroups.com, "thad_floryan" <thad@...> wrote:
                                          > [...]
                                          > One of mine that I showed off at a 1980s West Coast Computer Faire in
                                          > San Francisco was simultaneously running gcc, Emacs, and asteroids (a
                                          > graphics game). A 1200 baud modem was built in (AT&T, natch :-) and
                                          > I had both Ethernet and StarLAN cards in mine; these few pages from
                                          > the O'Reilly book "Managing uucp and Usenet" show my StarLAN setup:
                                          >
                                          > <http://thadlabs.com/FILES/OR_Mng_uucp+Usenet.pdf>

                                          I almost forgot about these pictures I took a year or so ago illustrating
                                          an article I posted to Usenet's comp.dcom.telecom group.

                                          A StarLAN NAU is a Network Access Unit with a StarLAN port and two EIA
                                          RS-232 ports. I had (and still do) have about 10 NAUs that were used to
                                          connect modems and other serial devices to the network, even computers
                                          without a network port such as my Amigas and I believe even my C64. :-)

                                          A StarLAN NEU is a Network Extension Unit but I used mine as a hub.

                                          Here are the pictures:

                                          <http://thadlabs.com/PIX/StarLAN_NAU_front.jpg>
                                          <http://thadlabs.com/PIX/StarLAN_NAU_rear.jpg>
                                          <http://thadlabs.com/PIX/StarLAN_NEU_hub.jpg>

                                          StarLAN is/was a real Ethernet developed by AT&T and Hewlett-Packard
                                          (note the MAC address on the "NAU_rear" photo) and it could be both
                                          "starred" (hence StarLAN) and daisy-chained. In today's parlance its
                                          designation would be 1BaseT. Its advantage was it could use all the
                                          existing telephone wiring (CAT 3) for data communication -- an immense
                                          cost savings for large companies.

                                          I liked it because I could put all my modems such as my Telebit T2500
                                          Trailblazers and Hayes 56K modems on the 'Net for use with computers
                                          on my LAN. It also was handy to interface computers I had with only
                                          a RS-232 console port and no graphics.

                                          Today I use Central Data Ethernet RS-232 adapters and one of my
                                          SheevaPlugs serves as a tftp boot server for them (among many other
                                          things):

                                          <http://thadlabs.com/PIX/Etherlite_EL-2.jpg>

                                          Central Data was acquired by DigiCom circa 1996 but the product is
                                          the same and with support for all Linux and UNIX systems today:

                                          <http://www.digi.com/support/productdetl.jsp?pid=2003&osvid=0&tp=1>

                                          Scroll through the "Please select an Operating System" pulldown at
                                          the above URL for a list of supported OSs.
                                        • rstrebendt
                                          ... That brings back memories. Back when the typical desktop setup at work was a dumb terminal connected by a dedicated cable to a mainframe, I talked my
                                          Message 20 of 21 , Feb 12, 2011
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                                            --- In linux@yahoogroups.com, "thad_floryan" <thad@...> wrote:

                                            > For something even more perverse, the first UNIX system I bought
                                            > for my
                                            > personal use was an AT&T 3B1 (aka UNIXpc aka PC 7300).

                                            That brings back memories. Back when the typical desktop setup at work was a dumb terminal connected by a dedicated cable to a mainframe, I talked my management into letting me replace the terminal with a 3B1 (which was really not a part of the 3B line of computers). It really came in handy when a visiting customer I was working with discovered that they had all forgotten to bring a copy of their test suite to our lab to run on our new machine -- the test suite was still sitting on a computer in Paris, France. After a few phone calls and an FTP request on their machine, I dialed up their phone number (on a modem in the Comp Center modem pool) and FTP'd the test suite (for about 4 hours). I have always wondered what the bill for that phone call looked like!

                                            > I don't recall the default RAM size but the maximum was 4MB.

                                            If I recall correctly, there were two max sizes, depending on the hardware installed. The smaller one was 4MB, but you could, if you had the right mother board, cram 16MB onto it.

                                            Eventually my 3B1 was replaced with a Solaris box, then we were all forced to switch over to PCs (but us engineers got to keep our Sun boxes and to use real Email instead of LookOut! [officially known as Outlook, as in "Outlook is hosed again."])

                                            Rich Strebendt
                                          • thad_floryan
                                            ... Uh, that would be news to the manufacturer, Convergent Technologies, in San Jose CA. I had access to a lot of their development gear and had two of
                                            Message 21 of 21 , Feb 12, 2011
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                                              --- In linux@yahoogroups.com, "rstrebendt" <restrebendt@...> wrote:
                                              > --- In linux@yahoogroups.com, "thad_floryan" <thad@> wrote:
                                              > > [...]
                                              > > I don't recall the default RAM size but the maximum was 4MB.
                                              >
                                              > If I recall correctly, there were two max sizes, depending on the
                                              > hardware installed. The smaller one was 4MB, but you could, if you
                                              > had the right mother board, cram 16MB onto it.

                                              Uh, that would be news to the manufacturer, Convergent Technologies,
                                              in San Jose CA. I had access to a lot of their "development gear" and
                                              had two of their Color 3B1 systems using an MC68020 chip instead of
                                              the MC68010.

                                              I also had a lot of experimental systems in tower and other oddball
                                              cases, along with Convergent Miniframes and MightyFrames running CTIX,
                                              their version of AT&T's System V. I got rid of a ton of that stuff a
                                              few years ago by calling 1-800-GOT-JUNK -- I simply ran out of space
                                              in my garage.

                                              I also modded a bunch of the 3B1's using a WD2010 chip (instead of the
                                              stock WD1010 chip) for larger and more disk drives and organized a
                                              world-wide sale of those chips for people everywhere. Google Groups'
                                              archive of comp.sys.3b1 would reveal all that as would the 3" notebook
                                              on my bookshelf with all the invoices and other info in it. The max
                                              capacity with the WD2010 chip for the 3B1 is/was two 190MB disks. Yes,
                                              that's megabytes. The largest config sold by AT&T was a single 80MB
                                              disk.

                                              I also have two copies of the (huge) "Reference Manual" with all the
                                              schematics and ROM codes for the 3B1. 4MB RAM is clearly the physical
                                              maximum for the motherboard; I don't know (and never recall reading
                                              about anyone) using an expansion card to exceed 4MB, but I'm not going
                                              to say it's impossible. :-)

                                              What's interesting is the renewed interest with more people posting in
                                              Usenet's comp.sys.3b1 with one guy in the UK having developed a 3B1
                                              emulator per this latest posting dated 9-FEB-2011:

                                              <http://groups.google.com/group/comp.sys.3b1/browse_frm/thread/4f2f13ecac412add#>

                                              It'd be kinda fun to run all my 3B1 software in Linux using that
                                              emulator. :-)






                                              >
                                              > Eventually my 3B1 was replaced with a Solaris box, then we were all forced to switch over to PCs (but us engineers got to keep our Sun boxes and to use real Email instead of LookOut! [officially known as Outlook, as in "Outlook is hosed again."])
                                              >
                                              > Rich Strebendt
                                              >
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