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Lightweight linux distro needed for ancient computer

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September 28, 2012 2:52:17 PM

Like the title says I need a lightweight linux distro, the computer in question is a laptop Dell D600 with a pentium M (1.6ghz) processor and 1gb of ram. The hard drive is almost completely dead work so I will just use a usb drive for now. I only have a 1gb drive the purpose of this laptop is just simple browsing (I am hoping to get youtube working on it but I am fairly sure that that is to strenuous for this hardware. It will be in the hands of a 6 year old (shudders~) so he won't be needed to install anything. Though he complains about not having minecraft, so even though I am 99% sure it won't run I still have to try it -.-

TL:D R, I know the laptops crap but what would you guys suggest in the way of easy to setup lightweight linux distros? I also have windows xp but I think a linux distro would run better on such an aging laptop.
a b 5 Linux
September 28, 2012 3:32:32 PM

Your limiting factor in this case is HDD size, 1gb is really not enough for a modern distrobution. Also openbox (or similiar light weight) based window manager would be a nice fit, runs really great with older hardware.

At home, I have an old laptop with a celeron 1.6ghz and 512mb of ram running crunchbang linux from a 8gb flash drive. It runs just fine and even plays movies over wifi.

If you can, buy a larger flash drive to install linux to, 8gb drive costs <$10. If not you will be limited to something like 'puppy linux', or 'damn small linux' that can fit onto a 1gb drive.
September 28, 2012 3:52:04 PM

Oh yeah definitely going to upgrade the size of the usb, might buy a replacement drive just so I don't have to worry about the recipient breaking the thing off when trying to set it down (He is only 6 after all)

I also have a few dvds and such, I was thinking of just using a bootable linux dvd and using the USB as an external storage of sort for whatever extra he might need. And that way the pc would boot if he happens to remove the usb and it wouldn't cause catastrophic failure due to the removal of said usb :) 

Just curious, have you ran windows xp on your system? Kinda wondering if thats an option before getting into linux.

Edit: well glad to see a comparable system can atleast do some video playback
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a b 5 Linux
September 28, 2012 7:37:19 PM
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Yes, the computer came with windows XP, it ran fine. I remember playing quake III+mods and various n64 games via project64.

And yes, running live from a dvd is an option but will be vastly slower due to dvds having lower read speeds and the requirement of sequential reads.
If you are worried about pulling the drive out while the system is on, maybe look for a microusb drive that sits more flush http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=20-171-...
a b 5 Linux
September 29, 2012 10:10:00 PM

mouse24 said:
Like the title says I need a lightweight linux distro, the computer in question is a laptop Dell D600 with a pentium M (1.6ghz) processor and 1gb of ram. The hard drive is almost completely dead work so I will just use a usb drive for now. . .

TL:D R, I know the laptops crap but what would you guys suggest in the way of easy to setup lightweight linux distros? I also have windows xp but I think a linux distro would run better on such an aging laptop.


I came across ULTILEX a couple years ago and it runs fine in such a scenario as yours; you have our choice of three distros, too! Suggest trying Slax first, though.
Here -- http://ultilex.linux-bg.org/
September 30, 2012 7:45:01 AM

:hello: 
Any live USB disk with persistence will work for just simple browseing. I would recommend Xubuntu as it is meant for this, but I have found that sometimes Kubuntu runs better on older systems.

http://www.linuxliveusb.com/en/download

I am currently writing this message from a laptop that doesn't have a hard drive and runs off a 2gb Xubuntu live USB w/ persistence. runs great, hard to break, i dont have to be careful with it, and It doesnt get viruses. And if the worst happens; it only takes 5 minutes to start over from scratch.
October 2, 2012 11:23:57 AM

Xubuntu is a strong recommendation if you get a bigger stick. Kubuntu is a bad recommendation (it's beautiful but it couldn't be farther from 'lightweight'). Bodhi is also pretty awesome (still Ubuntu-based but using Enlightenment 17 GUI). From an educational perspective, might be good for him to also have access to Windows for more transferable computing skills? Just a thought. Obviously Linux is also an excellent thing for him to learn! If you use Bodhi, it's good to (re)configure a few keyboard shortcuts first so it matches Windows better. Then he's learning keyboard shortcuts for two operating systems! ;-)
a b 5 Linux
October 4, 2012 12:22:52 AM

Addendum

I recall having a D610 that would allow only a hard drive of 80 gigs or less to be recognized. Geeks.com has an 80GB 2.5" IDE hdd available now, FYI.

Absolute is another viable choice in distros to install. See distrowatch.
October 5, 2012 7:03:49 AM

You can do a netinstall of Debian and forsake any software you don't want on the thing. If you go with LXDE and 32 bit, it would certainly be fairly performant, I've had LXDE Wheezy with 32 bit running on an ancient pentium 3 with marginal workability. It took a custom kernel config to forsake some instruction sets it was missing.

If you want to have fun, you can get a shell only system running with Arch. The beginners guide is straighforward and if you have the thing booting to shell pacman is smoothe in installing DEs and general software that you might need.
March 30, 2013 4:05:35 AM

Hello !

If you search a lightweight and modern Linux distribution,
you can try Lxpup. It's based with Puppy Linux, but it uses LXDE, and updated softwares.
The latest beta, begin to use Gslapt.
lxpup.weebly.com

Cordially,
March 30, 2013 6:44:05 AM

This is an old thread. I just ended up putting windows on a USB drive once I got it to detect it (can't remember how...). I did try out puppy linux, can't remember the results of that, ended up reverting to windows for ease of use.
March 30, 2013 10:03:05 AM

mouse24 said:
This is an old thread. I just ended up putting windows on a USB drive once I got it to detect it (can't remember how...). I did try out puppy linux, can't remember the results of that, ended up reverting to windows for ease of use.


Okay, sorry I mounted this old thread.
If one day you encounter a problem, I hope that these alternatives may be useful.

Cordially,

!