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Thread: Operating systems for really, really old computers

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  1. #1
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    Red face Re: MiniLinux

    Here's some suggestions in order of their size (as a compressed image rather than install or memory requirements according to free -m). Most run on x86 hardware and are graphical.

    Not Linux but worth mentioning
    (<2Mb?) Contiki
    (<2Mb) QNX Floppy demo
    (<2Mb) KolibriOS (based on MenuetOS) a GUI OS
    (<2Mb) Balder (based on FreeDOS)
    (~11Mb) FreeDOS + OpenGEM (4.4Mb) - DOS compatible GUI
    (~23Mb) ReactOS - Windows compatible but still in alpha
    (~30Mb) KolibriOS CD version (based on MenuetOS) a GUI OS
    (<50Mb) DamnSmall BSD - based on FreeBSD, but with Fluxbox
    (<100Mb) Milax - Solaris live CD

    Unknown size
    Deb-Ice netinstall

    Special mention
    INX Command line Ubuntu designed for usability.

    Under 50Mb
    Distros under 50Mb fit onto a MiniCD or sometimes floppy disks (usually 1.44Mb each). Best in category: Damn Small Linux.

    (<1Mb) muLinux
    (~3Mb) BasicLinux - Slackware 4 + X + e-mail + presentation
    (~3Mb) Mungkie - (aka 2diskXwin)
    (~4Mb) Blueflops - 2 floppy graphical web browser
    (8.9Mb) Geexbox (Media Center only)
    (10Mb) Tiny Core - Linux 2.6 kernel, Busybox, Tiny X, Fltk, and Jwm
    (12Mb) Grey Cat Linux - Slackware based with IceWM
    (<20Mb) TINY
    (~25Mb) SliTaz with JWM
    (29Mb) LinuxConsole Micro - GUI IceWM
    (<50Mb) DamnSmallLinux - based on Knoppix, but with JWM and Fluxbox
    (44Mb) Jinx - with Opera 9, Flash, Textmaker and Planmaker.
    (<50Mb) Austrumi - A business card size bootable live CD Linux distribution based on Slackware.
    (<50Mb) MeanPup -A live distro based on Puppy
    (<50Mb) Mitrax -A live distro based on Slackware
    (<50Mb) Luit - XFCE and ROXFile

    Under 128Mb
    Best in category: Puppy Linux.

    (80Mb) LiMP - Linux Media Player turns your PC into a jukebox.
    (<100Mb) NimbleX sub100 - Slackware based with KDE (or 69Mb with no GTK or multimedia)
    (<100Mb) Puppy Linux - live with JWM (see also eBoxPup, IcePup, LitePup, MiniPup, PizzaPup, SafePup, SurfPup and XPuppyPro)
    (82Mb) KioskCD - web browser only
    (84Mb) DamnSmallLinux-Not - distro using Knoppix hardware recognition with Abiword and Gnumeric.
    (<128Mb) DeLi - Desktop Light
    (<128Mb) SLAX Popcorn Edition- A smaller version of SLAX with Xfce
    (<128Mb) FeatherLinux - Knoppix based distro with Fluxbox

    Under 256Mb
    Best in category: Ubuntu GTK1.2 Remix.

    (177Mb) TinyMe - based on pcLinuxOS, but with Openbox
    (182Mb) Kurumin 6 Light - Knoppix based, with KDE
    (183Mb) WebConverger Mini based on Debian Live
    (187Mb) Ubuntu GTK1.2 Remix - Ubuntu Hardy Heron for sub 300Mhz PCs
    (200Mb) NimbleX - Slackware based with Enlightenment, IceWM, JWM, Fluxbox
    (~200Mb) PUD - based on Ubuntu
    (~200Mb) Slax - Distro based on Slackware using KDE
    (223Mb) TinyFlux - based on TinyMe, with Fluxbox
    (230Mb) Kanotix CpxMini, Kanotix, but with Fluxbox
    (241Mb) Wolvix Cub
    (<250Mb) Featherweight- based on Feather Linux, but with KDE
    (<256Mb) Flash Linux- Gentoo-based, initially designed to run off of a 256Mb USB key.

    Under 700Mb
    Distros under 700Mb fit onto most CD-Rs. These should still run in 128Mb RAM on a Pentium III level machine. Best in category: Crunchbang.

    (278Mb) AliXe - Slax based with Xfce
    (273Mb) Icebuntu - Ubuntu + IceWM (live cd username is ubuntu)
    (293Mb) Draco Linux - SLiM login manager + Fluxbox + Xfce
    (300Mb) Fluxbuntu - Ubuntu 7.10 based with Fluxbox
    (319Mb) WebConverger Maxi based on Debian live
    (410Mb) AntiX - MEPIS based with Fluxbox
    (440Mb) TheLittleDebian - Spanish
    (551Mb) Kanotix Lite with KDE
    (614Mb) SaxenOS 1 - with EDE
    (626Mb) MEPISLite - MEPIS based with KDE
    (633Mb) Crunchbang - Ubuntu with Openbox (and Conky!)
    (662Mb) eLive - Debian based with Enlightenment
    (673Mb) SOAD - OpenSUSE 11 with Enlightenment 17
    (693Mb) MoonOS - Debian with Enlightenment 17 or LXDE
    (696Mb) OzOS - Xubuntu (or Debian) + e17
    (699Mb) SAM - A LiveCD based on PCLinuxOS, but with Xfce.

    Intermediate Users
    Ubuntu minimal install
    Debian minimal install

    Popular Ubuntu Forum topics

    Old/crappy pc/laptop users, come chat and share here!
    Low Resource Distro?
    Oldest computer you've installed Linux on
    Debian rocks on 32 MB RAM

    Community Resources

    The lightest window managers and here
    As Light as Possible Ubuntu Forum Social Group
    Old Computer Users Ubuntu Forum Social Group
    Mini Linux Blog
    Linux Distribution testing - on old computers Blog
    Lightweight Linux Blog
    Last edited by darrelljon; March 1st, 2009 at 07:16 PM. Reason: Added MoonOS

  2. #2
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    Xubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope

    Re: Operating systems for really, really old computers

    Where do fluxbuntu and xubuntu come in on this scale?

  3. #3
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    Kubuntu Development Release

    Re: Operating systems for really, really old computers

    Quote Originally Posted by WarholsGhost View Post
    Where do fluxbuntu and xubuntu come in on this scale?
    First, darrelljon, nice listing. I might add a few to this list :
    1. Slackware, several distros in your list are based on it ...
    2. What about an Ubuntu minimal install ?


    Fluxbuntu is now in Beta testing (the betas are NOT public atm) with a planned release hopefully in sync with ubuntu 7.10

    It will weigh in very close to the "under 256 Mb" (alternate install disk)

    The primary advantage of fluxbuntu is compatibility to the Ubuntu repos.

    Often this is the greatest disadvantage with a number of these distros is the relatively small repos potential lack of security updates. Fluxbuntu will have a significant edge here ...

    EDIT: Last I looked ELive is Debian, there are two Ubuntu distros with e17 : geubuntu and elubuntu

    Elive is a complete operating system for your computer. It's the perfect choice for replacing your proprietary, high-cost system. It is built on top of Debian GNU/Linux and customized to meet your needs for a complete operating system while still offering the user eye-candy, with minimal hardware requirements.
    Last edited by bodhi.zazen; October 15th, 2007 at 04:22 AM.
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  4. #4
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    Re: Operating systems for really, really old computers

    Quote Originally Posted by WarholsGhost View Post
    Where do fluxbuntu and xubuntu come in on this scale?
    Just a note on Fluxbuntu. I read the fluxbuntu review on tuxmachines and although it is only 300Mb image, it seems to struggle with 256Mb RAM let alone 128Mb RAM (which I'd like to be the threshold for inclusion). Is this true, because the website suggests as little as 64Mb RAM, and should it go on the list?
    Last edited by darrelljon; October 28th, 2007 at 01:56 PM.

  5. #5

    Re: Operating systems for really, really old computers

    Quote Originally Posted by darrelljon View Post
    Just a note on Fluxbuntu. I read the fluxbuntu review on tuxmachines and although it is only 300Mb image, it seems to struggle with 256Mb RAM let alone 128Mb RAM (which I'd like to be the threshold for inclusion). Is this true, because the website suggests as little as 64Mb RAM, and should it go on the list?
    I would put it on the list. I put Fluxbuntu on a 450Mhz K6-2 with 256Mb and memory usage was less than 128Mb. I know a lot of the bugs are still being ironed out, but it's very polished and quite impressive.

    A lot of folks are pinning their installation experiences and system profiles on here ...

    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=581033
    Last edited by K.Mandla; October 29th, 2007 at 01:25 AM.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Operating systems for really, really old computers

    As I understand it, Fluxbuntu is still in alpha development, and Xubuntu isn't as fast/lightweight as any of these, even including SAM which is the biggest.

  7. #7
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    Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

    Re: Operating systems for really, really old computers

    How about adding floppy based distributions? Or would that make the list too large?
    http://www.linuxlinks.com/Distributions/Floppy/

  8. #8
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    Re: Operating systems for really, really old computers

    If any had a remotely friendly graphical desktop environment with a few graphical apps, I'd consider it. This is quite a tall order for floppy based distros and only KolibriOS really manages it.

  9. #9

    Re: Operating systems for really, really old computers

    http://www.minix3.org/

    Minix3 is probably worth mentioning, although it's not really Linux either, and it might take some very specific hardware to install. I've tried on a couple of computers but had no luck. Looks like the ISO is around 300Mb.
    Ubuntu user #7247 :: Linux user #409907
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  10. #10
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    Re: Operating systems for really, really old computers

    Fixed eLive from "Ubuntu based" to "Debian based", ta.
    Minix looks quite daunting for average users from the screenshots. Is it even stable yet?
    Slackware is 3Gb.
    Ubuntu minimal install looks good, but is more a customisation of Ubuntu (that can't be specifically downloaded) than a ready made distro.
    I'd like to add the 2 floppy Basic Linux (but can't find screenshots of it anywhere), KolbriOS CD version and a compilation of FreeDOS+OpenGEM Complete perhaps (but can't find it anywhere).
    Last edited by darrelljon; October 15th, 2007 at 10:35 AM.

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