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Thread: Need advice for a light flavor of Ubuntu for an old laptop

  1. #1
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    Need advice for a light flavor of Ubuntu for an old laptop

    As I type this, I am running Ubuntu 8.04 on my Compaq Presario 700US laptop which has the following specs:

    AMD Duron 900MHZ
    256MB Memory
    Compaq Twister video card which I think is really an S3 Trident. 16MB shared memory
    20GB HD.

    To give a little history of what this laptop runs, it came with Compaq's stripped down version of XP which ran smoothly. However I wasn't satisfied with XP home, so I installed XP pro, which ran horribly. It runs Compaq's tweaked version of XP just fine, however it nearly goes comatose if you try running an untampered installation of XP.

    I installed Ubuntu on it a couple weeks ago and love it. It recognized every piece of hardware in the laptop; even the volume buttons which not even XP pro recognized. It also flawlessly connected to my WPA secured wireless network with no issues. There is one problem, however. Even though the laptop is running Ubuntu better than it did XP pro, it's still painfully slow. It's just too heavy for this laptop to handle. I have been looking at the different lighter flavors of Ubuntu. I'm trying to find a good balance of features and a small footprint. So far from what I have read, Fluxbuntu is the lightest you can get. However I see that it's still on 7.10 and I know that Ubuntu doesn't have good WPA wireless support until 8.04. So unless someone can tell me how I can get WPA working on 7.10, Fluxbuntu won't meet my needs. I know there's a couple other light versions out there such as Xubuntu and Kubuntu. Does anyone have any advice they could give me? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    -grubby is offline May the Ubuntu Be With You!
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    Re: Need advice for a light flavor of Ubuntu for an old laptop

    Xubuntu should do fine on that hardware. Btw, Kubuntu is not a "light" version of Ubuntu

  3. #3
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    Re: Need advice for a light flavor of Ubuntu for an old laptop

    fluxbuntu.
    www.distrowatch.com, here you find a lot more.

    A problem i see is a sis driver, so read first about this.

  4. #4
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    Re: Need advice for a light flavor of Ubuntu for an old laptop

    Quote Originally Posted by nathangrubb View Post
    Xubuntu should do fine on that hardware. Btw, Kubuntu is not a "light" version of Ubuntu
    I guess I threw that in there since I understand that KDE is a less system demanding environment than Gnome. Or am I wrong on that?

    So I have Xubuntu and Fluxbuntu suggested so far. I'll look into those two versions. I'll have to do some extra research on Fluxbuntu due to my needs for WPA, or I could wait till they make it for 8.04. I guess my next question would be alternative apps. As much as I love Firefox, it's kind of slow. I know about Opera, and I heard of another browser, but forgot the name. And I don't even want to try opening up OpenOffice on this thing. Right now I'm running Banshee for music and it seems to be fairly responsive despite Ubuntu being slow.

    Any other advice on app alternatives as well as more OS suggestions would be appreciated.

  5. #5
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    Re: Need advice for a light flavor of Ubuntu for an old laptop

    Iv always found kubuntu to be slower than ubuntu actually, might just be me!

    Iv got Xubuntu running smoothly on a 700mhz P3 with 256mb memory, it'll easily fit on a 20G hdd. Id recommend Xubuntu, its exactly what it was made for.

    Opera's cool, but most apps, to some extent, run as fast as the OS. So try firefox. That laptop isn't that bad as far as linux running laptops go, try running Xubuntu with firefox and openoffice, it might not be that bad and untill you try, you'll never know.
    Linux registered user #451339.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Need advice for a light flavor of Ubuntu for an old laptop

    Quote Originally Posted by Phastor View Post
    I'll have to do some extra research on Fluxbuntu due to my needs for WPA, or I could wait till they make it for 8.04.
    Hi Phastor, you can upgrade Fluxbuntu from 7.10 to 8.04 by following these directions: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=807113

    The problem with Fluxbuntu is that the project basically seems to be abandoned, so it is not being updated and there is no support. If you are up to the challenge, it is definitely the swiftest of the 'buntus. However, I think Xubuntu should run well on your hardware, too. Xubuntu is easy to use and well-supported.

    Let us know more about your wireless issues, and perhaps we can give you some tips. There are workarounds for various problems. Good luck!
    Last edited by snowpine; June 23rd, 2008 at 03:23 PM.

  7. #7
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    Re: Need advice for a light flavor of Ubuntu for an old laptop

    Quote Originally Posted by Phastor View Post
    I guess my next question would be alternative apps. As much as I love Firefox, it's kind of slow. I know about Opera, and I heard of another browser, but forgot the name. And I don't even want to try opening up OpenOffice on this thing.
    The browser that comes with Fluxbuntu is called kazehakase. It is pretty fast (if you turn off the auto-complete in the preferences) in theory, but in practice, I prefer Firefox because of the Adblock plugin. Nothing speeds up a browser like not having to load all those ads! You could also check out swiftfox.

    I am running openoffice just fine on a P3 with 256mb ram. It takes it a little while to get started, but no problems otherwise. Abiword and gnumeric are lightweight alternatives, and in fact are included in Xubuntu.

  8. #8
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    Re: Need advice for a light flavor of Ubuntu for an old laptop

    I have an even older compaq ES500 wtih a Pentium 3/650 and have no trouble running any variety of ubuntu, although it does have 512MB memory, not 256. Memory is pretty reasonably priced, maybe some more will help. As another poster suggested, check your video drivers too. If it is running in VESA or mode it will make any system seem slow.
    There are no dumb questions, just dumb answers.

  9. #9
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    Re: Need advice for a light flavor of Ubuntu for an old laptop

    I recommend Gebuntu

    dracayr

  10. #10
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    Re: Need advice for a light flavor of Ubuntu for an old laptop

    did you try one version behind 8.04 i mean 7.10 it can work perfect on such a machine.
    but if you still want 8.04 then Xubuntu 8.04

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