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View Full Version : Distro's for old computers - feedback from users



Camuflage
April 24th, 2011, 02:18 PM
Hey guys, i'm just looking around for different feedback about distros for old computers.
Have some of you already tried some of the following distro's? What is your feedback about it?

Absolute Linux
antiX
ConnochaetOS
GALPon MiniNo
Legacy OS
LinuxConsole
Lubuntu
PapugLinux
Puppy Linux
Quirky
SliTaz GNU/Linux
Tiny Core Linux
TinyMe
Toutou Linux
Unity Linux
VectorLinux
wattOS

Give points from 0 (being less) to 5 (being the maximum score) to the distro's according to:

-Installation
-Visual
-Support
-Repository
-Configuration

And other points can be added if you considerer them important.

Why did i selected only this list? Well this are considered the active distro's actually for old computers, some others have been discontinued or are dormant (like DSL). So, let's stick for the active ones by now.

I'm not considering a specific system specs, just old computers, with RAM up to 512 Mb or less, pentium IV or less

The main idea is to gather feedback about your personal experiencies while giving back life to the oldies you have.

Thanks for you feedback.

wojox
April 24th, 2011, 02:28 PM
System specs would have helped.

No Arch Linux?

SliTaz would be my choice. Easy to install and configure. Super light weight.

Tiny Core is all right.

snowpine
April 24th, 2011, 02:37 PM
"Old computers" means different things to different people. I have fond memories of my TI-99-4A. ;)

So please share your system specs if you would like a specific recommendation. Without knowing your processor, RAM, etc. the best I can say is: "This has been discussed many times before; use the Search feature." Good luck! :)

ps Off the top of my head, your list is missing Ubuntu Minimal, Debian, Slackware, Arch, CentOS, and CrunchBang. :(

Camuflage
April 24th, 2011, 02:48 PM
Topic mesage updated.


I'm not considering a specific system specs, just old computers, with RAM up to 512 Mb or less, pentium IV or less

The main idea is to gather feedback about your personal experiencies while giving back life to the oldies you have.

snowpine
April 24th, 2011, 02:57 PM
I'm not considering a specific system specs, just old computers, with RAM up to 512 Mb or less, pentium IV or less

Ubuntu should run fine on a Pentium 4 with 512mb RAM.

If you need help installing Linux on a specific computer, I'm happy to assist in any way possible.

For general discussion I suggest reading the many existing threads on the topic such as: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=478237

Also if you're looking for others to share their experiences with Linux on old hardware, why not share yours? Ubuntu Forums is a two-way street. It seems you have your own opinions on the topic; I am interested to read them. :)

frankbooth
April 24th, 2011, 03:00 PM
Lubuntu (http://lubuntu.net/)
Very lightweight version of Ubuntu, using LXDE as desktop enviornment.
I'm running Lubuntu 10.10 on my netbook (ASUS EEE 1001PX) and it's very fast and smooth.

Installation: 5/5 (same installer as Ubuntu, very easy)

Visual: 3/5 (average, nothing fancy)

Support: 5/5 (Ubuntu has a great community)

Repository: 5/5 (same as Ubuntu)

Configuration: 2/5 (don't expect to be able to configure much unless you're familiar with Linux)

Camuflage
April 24th, 2011, 03:53 PM
Ubuntu should run fine on a Pentium 4 with 512mb RAM.

If you need help installing Linux on a specific computer, I'm happy to assist in any way possible.

For general discussion I suggest reading the many existing threads on the topic such as: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=478237

Also if you're looking for others to share their experiences with Linux on old hardware, why not share yours? Ubuntu Forums is a two-way street. It seems you have your own opinions on the topic; I am interested to read them. :)

I'm just interested to have feedback on the distro's i've suggested. Something like frankbooth posted uppon.

snowpine
April 24th, 2011, 04:01 PM
I'm just interested to have feedback on the distro's i've suggested. Something like frankbooth posted uppon.

Homework assignment?

Camuflage
April 24th, 2011, 04:17 PM
Not at all, truly.
Just divulging other distro's available and trying to "hear" feedback and different experiences with them.

mips
April 24th, 2011, 04:49 PM
Arch.

But with that said upgrading your ram to 1GB plus which is cheap makes a huge improvement in your experience.

I have a old HP nx6110 laptop with a 1.4GHz Celeron CPU of which I upgraded the ram to 1.25GB and it flies with Arch+Openbox+Tint2. I can run Ubuntu on it but I prefer Arch & Openbox is much lighter, even LXDE will give you a good experience.

snowpine
April 24th, 2011, 04:58 PM
Fair enough, so here is my answer: Any of the Top 10 distros (Ubuntu, Debian, Arch, Slackware, etc) with a lightweight windows manager such as Openbox, Fluxbox, Icewm, etc.

The major, popular distributions tend to have the best support, largest communities, and biggest software repositories. All of them are capable of running on a Pentium 4 with 512mb RAM if you use a lightweight WM and choose your applications carefully.

Since this is Ubuntu Forums I will give "Ubuntu minimal install" a "5" for "Support."

Claus7
April 24th, 2011, 05:01 PM
Hello,

I had installed in an old laptop ( being 7 years old more or less) the xubuntu os just a year or so ago. The user is absolutely content with the result. The user wanted something lightweight as the resources available were very limited.

My contribution is that with xubuntu you can use most of what ubuntu offers in a more lightweight package. Yet, I guess that you can find even more lighter options.

The choice is yours,
Regards!

oldos2er
April 24th, 2011, 07:47 PM
I used to be somewhat enamored with Vector, but haven't tried it lately. They offer a few different versions; standard which uses xfce, SOHO which I think they charge for, and light which they claim can run in as little as 64MB RAM.

It used to be based on Slackware, but whether that's still the case or not, I don't know. The forum folks there are just as polite and helpful as the ones here, but their forum is quite small and nowhere near as active as Ubuntu's. I think I stopped using it because the 64-bit version they offered at the time was just not supported with enough packages, compared to Ubuntu, to keep me interested. But if you've older 32-bit hardware, that won't matter.

I see they have a couple LiveCD offerings now.

earthpigg
April 24th, 2011, 09:08 PM
this is all going to depend on the skill level of the person that will be installing/configuring the system, and the skill level of the persont that will be using the system.

techy people all around: Arch sets the highest bar, so may as well be considered 5/5 in all categories.

non-techy all around: Lubuntu sets the highest bar, so may as well be considered 5/5 in all categories.

Once you start mixing highly technical people on the install/configure side with non-techys on the user side, answers start varying more. I can see Puppy being the ideal answer in some cases, for example.

The "Arch may as well be considered 5/5 for certain users" clause is why you see zillions of posts extolling its virtues - for some people, it is indeed the best distribution in every category for every use scenario. An assumption necessary for that conclusion is that Arch's wonderful wiki ought to be considered a part of the distribution.

Lubuntu, by contrast, has phenomenal screencasts (http://lubuntu.net/search/node/screencast) - that, too, ought to be considered a part of the distribution.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to your question.

Instead, one would be better off describing their exact situation and soliciting advice from there.

Duncan J Murray
April 24th, 2011, 11:28 PM
I just installed Linux Mint Debian Edition on a dual-core Pentium III with 512 MB ram.
After start-up it takes up 120MB RAM, and has all the bells and whistles you could need! It could be snappier, though, and I'd imagine the XFCE edition would be easier.

Installation: 2/5 I had problems, but mainly because of a combination of an old motherboard, and only a CD drive on the system.

Visual: 5/5 looks good.

Support: 3/5 Linux Mint Debian Edition is in its infancy, but I imagine a larger group will form

Repository: 5/5 same as debian

Configuration: 5/5 not sure what this question is...

D

P1C0
April 24th, 2011, 11:36 PM
Damn Small Linux on a 32MB - 166MHz machine, using a LiveCD. I don't remember if I had also installed the OS, cause it's been months since I discovered that old pc in the basement and played with it.

coolbrook
April 25th, 2011, 12:20 AM
I believe, at this time, that Vector is the best option for low spec systems, if you want a blend performance and default installation of a fully featured distro.

NormanFLinux
April 25th, 2011, 12:50 AM
Linux Mint. Surprisingly, LM GNOME is superb on old hardware with weak graphics cards and not enough RAM.

ugm6hr
April 25th, 2011, 07:43 PM
Austrumi is actively developed. Slackware-based with FVWM.
Installation: N/A I ran from USB on an old work computer with a dead HD
Visual: 5/5 better than any other "light" distro. In fact, I'd like to know how to replicate!
Support: 1/5 Mainly in Latvian - English support is less good
Repository: 5/5 Slackware
Configuration: ?

Puppy
Installation: 4/5
Visual: 3/5
Support: 4/5
Repository: ? I never used it
Configuration: ?

DSL
Installation: 3/5
Visual: 2/5
Support: 4/5
Repository: ? I never used it
Configuration: ?

claracc
April 26th, 2011, 10:29 PM
I have just installed ubuntu 10.04.02 in a 10 years old laptop pentium III, 1GHz, 512 MB RAM from which, 64 MB go for the sis 630/730 graphics card. The HD is 20 GB. The complete installation took for one hour and the operating system takes 2,5 GB in the HD.

The system works well except the video streaming from web pages is in slow motion and chopped(I think the sis 630/730 graphics card is the guilty), also, when synaptic is working, the system goes slow.

For surfing the web I have installed firefox 4, it is very quick although it takes a lot of cpu too.

So my points are for ubuntu 10.04.02 gnome:

Installation: 4/5
Visual: 3/5
Support: 5/5
Repository: 4/5
Configuration: 3/5

coolbrook
April 26th, 2011, 11:29 PM
The system works well except the video streaming from web pages is in slow motion and chopped(I think the sis 630/730 graphics card is the guilty),

That is the same onboard device that I'm using right now. SIS 630/730, using 64 MB from 1 GB RAM, P-III 1.4 GHz.

john_spiral
April 27th, 2011, 11:13 PM
my vote for Slitaz, no need to touch the terminal to get the baby configured.

I've got YouTube stuttering on a 333mhz machine. Not much else besides tinycore can match that.

wizard10000
April 28th, 2011, 12:09 AM
I'm a big fan of Vector Light for older hardware.

K_45
April 28th, 2011, 01:30 AM
Debian. One of the huge advantages it has are its packaging system. The netinst will allow you to pick what you want for the system you installing it on. I'd also say its one of the most stable distro's.

cipherboy_loc
April 28th, 2011, 02:05 AM
I didn't read through all of the posts, but INX might be added to the list:
http://inx.maincontent.net/

It is a purely CLI OS.


Cipherboy

K.Mandla
April 28th, 2011, 03:09 AM
Arch (http://www.archlinux.org/)/ConnochaetOS (http://www.connochaetos.de/wiki/mainpage). Debian (http://debian.org). Crux (http://crux.nu). Not necessarily in that order. ;)

doorknob60
April 28th, 2011, 05:18 AM
Probably mentioned about 10 other times in this thread, but I'll say it too, Arch, assuming it's not extremely old (not i686) like an AMD K6 or Pentium I.
-Installation - Hard to give it a score, for me it's easy and quick, but you have to know what you're doing or follow the Wiki; 4/5? I don't know, it's not hard to figure out
-Visual - N/A, No visuals by default
-Support - 5/5, the Wiki is extremely good, and the forums and IRC are usually helpful too, just check the Wiki first, it's probably there :)
-Repository - 5/5, Pacman has most things, literally everything else is in AUR
-Configuration - N/A, There is no default configurations

-Speed, 5/5, faster than any other "prebuilt" distro. You might be able to get similar speeds by building an Ubuntu or Debian system from scratch, but whenever you get a default set of packages and configurations, things are bound to be a little slower