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Thread: Ancient laptop

  1. #1
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    Ancient laptop

    Hi,

    I've been using Ubuntu since Warty on my stationary computers, but I've never actually owned a laptop. Now though, I may get one. I don't know the model, but let's just assume it's ancient, it runs XP and that is something I plan to fix.

    I also have a 120gb SSD lying around, though I've no idea if it's possible to install it.

    Anyway, which light-weight distro do you suggest, and more importantly 'why'?
    Maybe Chrome Os is an option?

    I'll be using the laptop (if I get it) for very basic things, wordprocessing probably with Google Docs while streaming music to my headphones, Web browsing and watching the occasional youtube clip. I doubt I'll play any but the simplest of games on it or run anything with wine.

    Anything in particular I should be aware of when it comes to laptop hardware and Linux, I seem to remember this was sometimes problematic some years ago?

  2. #2
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    Re: Ancient laptop

    Last edited by Trumusiate; October 17th, 2012 at 09:16 AM. Reason: deleye

  3. #3
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    Re: Ancient laptop

    Quote Originally Posted by Bo Rosén View Post
    Anyway, which light-weight distro do you suggest, and more importantly 'why'?
    Hi,
    I have some experience in installing linux on ancient machines and I can assure you that Lubuntu is the way to go. Obviously you have to specify the amount or ram that the laptop will possess... hint: 512MB is really the minimum to do the things that you want to do.

    Lubuntu is a very light-weight OS and its interface is really faster (and lighter) than xFCE (Xubuntu).

    Yes, laptop are generally more problematic than desktop pc's, but when dealing with old ones there are only minor issues.

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    Re: Ancient laptop

    Quote Originally Posted by Trumusiate View Post
    hint: 512MB is really the minimum to do the things that you want to do.
    I may well decide to cough up for some more ram if it has less than one gig, we'll see. Obviously, I can't be more specific in my questions (or you in answering them) until I know the make and model of the laptop.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trumusiate View Post
    Yes, laptop are generally more problematic than desktop pc's, but when dealing with old ones there are only minor issues.
    That's good to hear. Not an issue here, but I remember something about 'soft-modems' a few ages ago, as well as graphics problems (intel?). This was many years ago though.

  5. #5
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    Re: Ancient laptop

    Quote Originally Posted by Bo Rosén View Post
    I may well decide to cough up for some more ram if it has less than one gig, we'll see. Obviously, I can't be more specific in my questions (or you in answering them) until I know the make and model of the laptop.
    I think it will be the right thing to do. As an example, I bought a notebook for my mom, a Dell 5000, that comes with 512MB of ram. I installed Xubuntu, and it was quite usable. Two weeks ago, with an "investment" of 24 euros on Amazon, I bought 1Gb and the notebook speed is now absolutely perfect for quite everything you may want to do with it.


    Quote Originally Posted by Bo Rosén View Post
    That's good to hear. Not an issue here, but I remember something about 'soft-modems' a few ages ago, as well as graphics problems (intel?). This was many years ago though.
    Soft modems were a nightmare! I had a problem with a notebook a bunch of years ago and I had to buy a driver for it... nowadays you don't have to use a modem (or maybe you have to reach internet through a phone call?) but an ethernet card. Graphics problems are generally not a problem at all: just choose a notebook and try to find information about its hardware specs.

  6. #6
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    Re: Ancient laptop

    Quote Originally Posted by Trumusiate View Post
    I bought 1Gb and the notebook speed is now absolutely perfect for quite everything you may want to do with it.
    I suspect more ram is the best 'bang for the buck' you can get when you want to get more juice out of an old laptop (or most any old computer).

    I'm also holding my thumbs for that SSD I have.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trumusiate View Post
    Soft modems were a nightmare! I had a problem with a notebook a bunch of years ago and I had to buy a driver for it... nowadays you don't have to use a modem (or maybe you have to reach internet through a phone call?) but an ethernet card.
    I remember the rather annoyed posts here about the soft-modems. I have decent broadband here so I'll probably get a wifi dongle (or maybe I'll get one with the laptop), but will make do with an ethernet cable till then.
    Long gone are the days of modems (for most Swedes anyway), I remember the hassle I had installing my first one, an internal 2400 bps in win 3.1
    I had no idea what I was doing and didn't understand a word of the 'instructions'.

    Things have progressed a bit since then, fortunately.

  7. #7
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    Re: Ancient laptop

    Quote Originally Posted by Bo Rosén View Post
    Long gone are the days of modems (for most Swedes anyway), I remember the hassle I had installing my first one, an internal 2400 bps in win 3.1
    I had no idea what I was doing and didn't understand a word of the 'instructions'.

    Things have progressed a bit since then, fortunately.
    Absolutely!
    I can clearly remember my first web-adventure with a 14.4kbps..
    The American Robotics 56.6 was my secret dream at that time

  8. #8
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    Re: Ancient laptop

    Depending on how ancient, you may have a problem with SSD. Older notebooks will likely have IDE hard drives. Most SSDs are SATA. I have a 2002 vintage thinkpad that works quite well with openSUSE - it doesn't like the newer Ubuntu installer for whatever reason. The only problem I have is power management, it won't suspend. Well, it'll suspend but it won't wake up. I'm not a huge Intel fanboi but for trouble free notebooks Intel seems to be the safe choice.

  9. #9
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    Re: Ancient laptop

    in my opinion, windows would be better for that. but if u want a linux distro, i think ubuntu is the best. can you give me any info on the laptop

  10. #10
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    Re: Ancient laptop

    Quote Originally Posted by kurt18947 View Post
    Depending on how ancient, you may have a problem with SSD. Older notebooks will likely have IDE hard drives.
    This is what I assumed. Being able to use the SSD would just be an extra bonus, not something I'm counting on

    Quote Originally Posted by kurt18947 View Post
    I'm not a huge Intel fanboi but for trouble free notebooks Intel seems to be the safe choice.
    I've no idea what make it is. This is something I'm getting for free so I'll just have to see what I can do with it when I get it (likely tomorrow)

    First thing I'll do is open it up and check the drive and start cleaning it, I very much doubt anyone has opened it since it was put together in the factory.

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