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Thread: Old Pentium M Processor - Any Distros?

  1. #1
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    Question Old Pentium M Processor - Any Distros?

    Hi guys,

    I apologise in advance if this is a stupid question or has been posted before

    My Dad gave me an old laptop (Dell Inspiron D800 running with a Pentium M processor, it has 512MB of RAM and a 30GB hard drive) to try and get running somewhat well again. XP Home runs like a slug on it.


    I've installed Lubuntu 12.04 (which runs like a dream) because of it's old kernel but I'm very aware of:

    a) It is only supported until October 2013

    and

    b) If I upgrade it will also upgrade the kernel resulting in a kernel panic.

    Are there any distros out there that won't result in kernel panic on a Pentium M processor, that will run on only 512MB RAM and that are also suitable for the beginner user.

    I've looked and it seems to be a bit of minefield.

    I've heard of "kernel pinning" and "fake PAE" but I'm not sure of their effectiveness and the "fake PAE" route also seems quite confusing to implement.

    Many thanks guys!
    Last edited by punk4rock; June 4th, 2013 at 12:52 PM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Old Pentium M Processor - Any Distros?

    You could have a look at Puppy Linux - very light but fully featured.
    http://puppylinux.org/main/Overview%...%20Started.htm

  3. #3
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    Re: Old Pentium M Processor - Any Distros?

    Quote Originally Posted by Megaptera View Post
    You could have a look at Puppy Linux - very light but fully featured.
    http://puppylinux.org/main/Overview%...%20Started.htm
    I'd thought about Puppy but I've heard it's a bit tricky to install to hard disk (correct me if I'm wrong).

    Also does anyone know if the current version of Debian (7.0 "Wheezy") would support the Pentium M processor? <-- scratch this, Wheezy looks like it uses 3.2 kernel which is on par with Lubuntu 12.04

    Thanks!
    Last edited by punk4rock; June 4th, 2013 at 02:53 PM. Reason: Typos for days!

  4. #4
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    Re: Old Pentium M Processor - Any Distros?

    Crunchbang & Manjaro Openbox will run fine on it. If Openbox is not to your linking install xfce (or lxde) as xfce minimal install without all the extra crap is light enough, I've done it on crunchbang just to test.

    I would however suggest you get the RAM up to 1GB or more. This will make a big difference with any distro

    For manjaro download the i686 image and for crunchbang download the 32-bit Waldorf for Older PCs (non PAE), you won't have to worry about future kernel updates etc.

    http://crunchbang.org/download
    http://sourceforge.net/projects/manj...release/0.8.6/

    They are both nice distros for that laptop and I've tried both on my old laptop which has a Celeron M based cpu (non-pae) but I upgraded my RAM, 512MB will work though.
    Last edited by mips; June 4th, 2013 at 04:26 PM.

  5. #5
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    Re: Old Pentium M Processor - Any Distros?

    Quote Originally Posted by punk4rock View Post
    Also does anyone know if the current version of Debian (7.0 "Wheezy") would support the Pentium M processor?
    See my post above about Crunchbang which is Debian 7 (Wheezy) and they have a version available with non-pae kernel.

  6. #6
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    Re: Old Pentium M Processor - Any Distros?

    Pentium M has PAE capability, it only lacks the PAE flag. Therefore it is possible to use fake-PAE. I have prepared a way to install it. See the following link

    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Lubuntu-fake-PAE

    Lubuntu is the ultra-light-weight flavour of Ubuntu. I have an IBM Thinkpad T42 with Pentium M and it works very well with Lubuntu 13.04 installed with fake-PAE.

    Edit: I can help you try it
    Last edited by sudodus; June 4th, 2013 at 04:48 PM.

  7. #7
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    Re: Old Pentium M Processor - Any Distros?

    Quote Originally Posted by mips View Post
    Crunchbang & Manjaro Openbox will run fine on it. If Openbox is not to your linking install xfce (or lxde) as xfce minimal install without all the extra crap is light enough, I've done it on crunchbang just to test.
    I think Crunchbang would be too confusing for them (I love it though )

    Manjaro looks good but I don't know if I have enough experience with Arch to help my sister out if she runs into any trouble...

    Quote Originally Posted by sudodus View Post
    Pentium M has PAE capability, it only lacks the PAE flag. Therefore it is possible to use fake-PAE. I have prepared a way to install it. See the following link

    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Lubuntu-fake-PAE

    Lubuntu is the ultra-light-weight flavour of Ubuntu. I have an IBM Thinkpad T42 with Pentium M and it works very well with Lubuntu 13.04 installed with fake-PAE.

    Edit: I can help you try it
    I've heard of this but it looks really confusing (obvious noob is obvious haha) I wouldn't want to take up any more of your time.

    I think I'll give Debian + LXDE a whirl and see how that goes.

    Thanks again guys
    Last edited by punk4rock; June 4th, 2013 at 05:49 PM.

  8. #8
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    Re: Old Pentium M Processor - Any Distros?

    Quote Originally Posted by punk4rock View Post
    I think Crunchbang would be too confusing for them (I love it though )
    Well install xfce or lxde for them...

  9. #9
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    Re: Old Pentium M Processor - Any Distros?

    Quote Originally Posted by mips View Post
    Well install xfce or lxde for them...
    I didn't think of that, thanks

  10. #10
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    Re: Old Pentium M Processor - Any Distros?

    Quote Originally Posted by punk4rock View Post
    I think Crunchbang would be too confusing for them (I love it though )

    Manjaro looks good but I don't know if I have enough experience with Arch to help my sister out if she runs into any trouble...



    I've heard of this but it looks really confusing (obvious noob is obvious haha) I wouldn't want to take up any more of your time.

    I think I'll give Debian + LXDE a whirl and see how that goes.

    Thanks again guys
    The advantage with Lubuntu is that it is ready to run for multimedia and web browsing, and it is easy to add software.

    My experience of Debian stable is that it is much harder to get these typical end user tasks running. So what you save avoiding fake-PAE is lost in installing and configuring software.

    There are several distros that are based on Debian testing, for example Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE), that have multimedia and web software on par with the Ubuntu flavours, but (I'm citing LMDE's own web page)

    4. How does LMDE compare to the Ubuntu-based editions?

    Pros:

    • You don’t need to ever re-install the system. New versions of software and updates are continuously brought to you.
    • It’s faster and more responsive than Ubuntu-based editions.

    Cons:

    • LMDE requires a deeper knowledge and experience with Linux, dpkg and APT.
    • Debian is a less user-friendly/desktop-ready base than Ubuntu. Expect some rough edges.
    • No EFI, GPT or secureBoot support.

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