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Best GNU/Linux OS option for an old machine

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#1
I have a HP Pavilion 7935 with a 1.3GHz Athlon, 512MB memory, and a 40GB IDE HDD. It was designed for XP, but the previous user installed Windows 2000 on it. When I got it, I put XP Pro on there and it was absolutely unusable with the stock 128MB memory. So, I upgraded to 512MB and wha-la, it's still unusable. Firefox will max out the CPU to 100% and it's still incredibly slow while doing easy things such as opening the start menu, exploring files, etc. I'm not really sure what's wrong with it, I mean, it was designed for XP when it only had 128MB of RAM, it should be acting fine with four times that amount.


So now I'm inquiring as to what "alternative operating system" would work best on it. But, there are some requirements:
  • It has to support my wireless adapter or I'll have no internet access.
  • It must be able to be installed by way of CD (CD Writer only, no DVD drive) or possibly though USB.
  • Doesn't have to be too fancy, I'm mainly looking for speed and a lighter browser than FF.

I was looking into Debian but the only one I've ever used was Ubuntu 9.10 and that was only for about 10 minutes, so it's basically up to you guys.
 
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#2
If you havn't ever installed a linux OS I suggest Ubuntu. It's highly compatible with most drivers, extremely lite, and almost everything an older PC would be good for(web/email/solitare).

It's CD size small and quite low on resources, also it's well supported so alot of development does happen.


Edit, you could try U-Lite which was Ubuntulite at one point, just not supported.

http://u-lite.org/
 
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#3
U-Lite seems to be just right, thanks man. Congrats on your 4000th post too :toast:
 
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#4
Hi,
if you are new to linux I suggest Linux Mint. Its based on Ubuntu, but has some nicer features and great community. It will run fine with 512mb, exspecially if you want to tweak it a bit.

MEPIS is another distro I like, runs very well on 512mb.

The best you could do is installing an Archlinux distro (or the simplified, but less customizable, version, Chakra). It couldrequire some learning tho.

I dont love Ulite, but that's simply cause I dont like Openbox.

Why don't you jst grab a 1GB usb per or a cd-rw and try all of them? :rolleyes:

PS: have a look at distrowatch.com
 

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#5
I would go with Ubuntu. Boot up the LiveCD and see how it does, do the install if it works well.
 
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#6
Hi,
if you are new to linux I suggest Linux Mint. Its based on Ubuntu, but has some nicer features and great community. It will run fine with 512mb, exspecially if you want to tweak it a bit.

MEPIS is another distro I like, runs very well on 512mb.

The best you could do is installing an Archlinux distro (or the simplified, but less customizable, version, Chakra). It couldrequire some learning tho.

I dont love Ulite, but that's simply cause I dont like Openbox.

Why don't you jst grab a 1GB usb per or a cd-rw and try all of them? :rolleyes:

PS: have a look at distrowatch.com
Well that was a thought of mine, to try out different versions of Linux on there to see what I like best and to learn about them. I'm going to try out U-Lite first though. What's Openbox?
 
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#7
Well that was a thought of mine, to try out different versions of Linux on there to see what I like best and to learn about them. I'm going to try out U-Lite first though. What's Openbox?
Its the window manager. Just google and you will find everything. I personally prefer KWin, and for lower end hardware, Enlightement.
In fact, i forgot to mention elive (wich uses enlightement) in the previous list of distros... give it a try. The latest version was released a couple weeks ago, and looks great. Its mainly a LiveCD, but can be installed on HD too... however last time I checked this required you to pay 15$. Worth it though.
 
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#8
Meanwhile, at SJ's house:





Trying to boot U-Lite 0.8 Beta 2. What's going on here?
 
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#9
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#10
Thanks man, never figured 4000th post would be a Linux recommendation.


Does U-Lite need Ubuntu installed first?
 

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#11
is the CDROM drive on the primary IDE channel, and the hard drive on the secondary IDE channel

if so try swapping them around
 

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#12
oops sorry about the double post, chromium doesn't like this forum and gets stuck when i click the quick post button
 
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#13
Well, I just put Ubuntu 9.10 on there. I ran the Live CD and it was pretty smooth, so I went ahead and did a full install. I'll post up the end results in a bit when it's all done.

A question: It seems that a better 10.XX version is going to come out shortly. When it does, and if I want to upgrade, will it treat the new one as like a service pack and update or will I have to do a full re-install?


Also... 1500 posts! :rockout:
 

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#14
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#15

DirectorC

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#16
Ah, that's awesome. Well I'm in the process right now of trying to get the driver set up for my wireless adapter. Hopefully it will work :/
It should. Linux doesn't suck as much as it used to.

Maybe 10.04 has the driver in the kernel already. I had that with my current craptastic wireless adapter (and the driver actually wouldn't work on Ubuntu) and the next Ubuntu version out it detected and connected automatically.
 
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#17
Ah well what would you know, it got the receiver working by itself. I had the driver on a USB stick all ready to go too. I'm actually posting from the machine right now. The internet is pretty slow as I'm about 40 ft away from the router right now and Firefox is still taking up 90-100% of the CPU, even with just one tab. Anyone know of any extremely light browsers that will run on Ubuntu? Anyways, the upside is that the general computing aspect is about 50% faster than before.
 

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#18
Maybe Opera, but most likely Chrome.
 

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#19
i like netsurf at the moment for a light browser

arora is another good one, based on webkit so its nice and fast
 

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#20
I like this Arora, nice looking little browser I'd never heard of.
 
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#21
I like this Arora, nice looking little browser I'd never heard of.
What part of preferences would I look in to get this fixed?

 

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#22
Hm that is odd. The tmp folder shouldn't have any permissions that keep you from putting files there. In the mean time, put your DLs elsewhere.

EXE file won't work in Linux though. :slap: Go to the Apps / package manager in Ubuntu and search for Arora, there is most likely a package.
 
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#23
Hm that is odd. The tmp folder shouldn't have any permissions that keep you from putting files there. In the mean time, put your DLs elsewhere.

EXE file won't work in Linux though. :slap: Go to the Apps / package manager in Ubuntu and search for Arora, there is most likely a package.
I ended up just getting Chrome, they added some nice support for Linux. But, the CPU is still maxing out. I don't think there's any way around it, the Athlon is just a POS.
 

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#24
Ancient CPU is ancient.
 
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#25
Ancient CPU is ancient.
Well I wouldn't be doing any of this if I hadn't got a somewhat nice 16" CRT for $6 today. More or less just something to play with. I'm sure sooner or later it's going to the yard sale or it will make a few last friends (baseball bat, firecrackers, sledgehammer, etc.)