Demonic_angel

Best Linux

19 posts in this topic

I have an old Desktop that lags a bit too much for my liking with XP. I have heard that Linux is good at giving old computers new life and was wondering which Linux system everyone would recommend. I also intend on buying a new laptop and if Linux is any good I may use it as my primary OS. But here is my problem.

I have an old PC.

20 gig hard drive

128 MB or so of ram

AMD k-6 500 Mg hertz processor

Compaq.

I have tried running Xubuntu from a live CD but had to run it in SAFE GRAPHICS mode. Every time i tried to boot it normally my screen would go dark with box saying OUT OF RANGE on it. A friend of mine let me borrow a SimplyMepis 6.0 disc and that wouldn't run in any mode.

The only thing i have found that might help is i downloaded and burned the wrong version of Xubuntu (Intel not AMD) so I'm thinking bout trying that one (the AMD version) first but if anyone has any advice on a better Linux version or a way around my monitor prob please let me know.

All help and advice is appreciated.

Thanx

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That's far from a "POS" computer. It's a very capable machine.

I'd stay away from Ubuntu or any of its variants on that computer - from my experience, Xubuntu runs much slower than a Debian install with an apt-get to install Xfce. I definitely recommend Xfce for a nice mix of eye candy and speed. It runs fast even on my laptop with a 180MHz Cyrix and 48MB RAM. If you only install what you need and don't add on bloat, Debian can be a very fast and stable distro. I recommend using the net install CD to get only the base system running then use apt-get to add in more software. On my new Linux desktop, this has created a very fast experience.

Check out the Debian website and Wiki. The QuickInstall guide should work well for your needs.

www.debian.org

wiki.debian.org

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It runs fast even on my laptop with a 180MHz Cyrix and 48MB RAM.

Wow, it's good to know that other people out there push their "trash" hardware into modern usage too! I use Debian on my parallel port control testbed, which is a 486-66 with 32 MB RAM.

If you find XFCE too slow and want to go even lighter, give Fluxbox a try. It's definitely a window manager that won't get in your way.

As mentioned, though, a K6-2 500 MHz system isn't half bad. If you want a pretty big improvement in the graphical Linux experience, throw in a better video card, like a PCI GeForce 2/4 or something -- let the graphics card handle the graphics. 128 MB RAM is fine for a system that's not going to do anything too hardcore, like virtual machines.

Debian's a very nice distro, especially the package management. It's pretty easy to pick up. Before switching mainly to Debian, I used to use Slackware -- the package management was my sole reason for switching. Slackware is pretty solid, and definitely stable, but you'll end up compiling a lot of the programs you use, which is actually a pretty good learning experience (it was more of one for me than Gentoo was).

And yes, definitely use the netinst CD...I usually use the netinst-businesscard CD, so that the files placed on the hard disk during install are as current as possible.

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It runs fast even on my laptop with a 180MHz Cyrix and 48MB RAM.

Wow, it's good to know that other people out there push their "trash" hardware into modern usage too! I use Debian on my parallel port control testbed, which is a 486-66 with 32 MB RAM.

Oh yeah. I'm all about the old hardware. Got 10 old computers sitting in my garage that I'm looking to turn into a computing cluster. I take any chance I get to grab some more equipment. Even on the way to FIRST Robotics meetings, I'll look for computers sitting lonely by a bin of trash. Just this week I was offered a desktop machine from a friend who thought it was "old". I gladly took it off her hands and made it my new main Linux workstation. 1.7GHz P4, 128 memory, 40GB HDD - a very good computer. Runs just as fast for daily use as my Windows XP box with a 3.4GHz P4 with 1GB memory, and will be even faster when my eBayed RAM upgrade arrives.

If you find XFCE too slow and want to go even lighter, give Fluxbox a try. It's definitely a window manager that won't get in your way.

As mentioned, though, a K6-2 500 MHz system isn't half bad. If you want a pretty big improvement in the graphical Linux experience, throw in a better video card, like a PCI GeForce 2/4 or something -- let the graphics card handle the graphics. 128 MB RAM is fine for a system that's not going to do anything too hardcore, like virtual machines.

Debian's a very nice distro, especially the package management. It's pretty easy to pick up. Before switching mainly to Debian, I used to use Slackware -- the package management was my sole reason for switching. Slackware is pretty solid, and definitely stable, but you'll end up compiling a lot of the programs you use, which is actually a pretty good learning experience (it was more of one for me than Gentoo was).

And yes, definitely use the netinst CD...I usually use the netinst-businesscard CD, so that the files placed on the hard disk during install are as current as possible.

I absolutely agree with this.

The best part about Debian is aptitude. To be able to type "sudo apt-get install abiword" and have a program downloaded, installed, configured properly, and even integrated into my menus is simply amazing. That is one killing point Debian has over most other Linux distros, Mac, and even Windows. I used Slackware as my first distro and found it quite stable albeit a bit confusing. I tried Debian about 2 years later and loved it. Everything seamless, integrated, stable, fast, easy - it's beautiful and Just Works.

Be wary that on the install CD, when it asks what to install, choosing "Desktop Environment" will install KDE for you, something you don't want. Just install the base system and apt-get your way to a desktop by following guides in the Debian Wiki.

Edited by Tyler
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Ok scratch that i actually have 256 MB ram. I forgot a friend gave me some.

This vector Linux and xfce sounds like something i need to look up more.

I have a couple of questions (if you don't feel like answering don't worry bout it i will google it later.)

Does xfce come with a GUI?

Am i going to have program alot (I'm not bad but i have never used linux before.)

Is it customizable? I admit the main reason for trying linux is because i heard you could make like transparent windows and junk which i just can't help but try out.

Anyway, those i will find out later if no one wants to explain, but i do need help on this one.

Like i have said before, for some reason every time i tried a diff linux on my comp the screen blacks and pulls up a small box with

out of range

h 50mg hertz

v 80mg hertz

Check Pc Settings?

Floating up and down. Anyone know about that?

THanx for the advice

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Xfce is a Desktop environment, so yes, it 'comes' with a GUI.

Program a lot? Nope. You just need to know typical commands.

Customizable? Way more than Windows XP/Vista or Mac OSX. But customization is not always easy. This is where commands will come in handy. Also, for the transparent windows... I think you're talking about 'Beryl'. Might want to check that out.

I'm not sure about the monitor problem though. Maybe someone else could help out with that.

Maybe graphics card related?

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I'd add my vote for Xubuntu (Ubuntu with XFCE gui).... it's what I use on my POS machines.

Can be downloaded from:

http://www.xubuntu.org/

Cheers,

Mungewell.

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I have already downloaded Xubuntu

it was the only one to work but it had to be in something called safe graphics mode and VGA (?) I ran it from a live CD.

and i had only six icons and point and click menus.

But no the graphics card checks it runs XP beautifully and no one on the ubuntu site has expressed problems with it ( the graphics card not being able to handle it.) Ofcours i recently, few days ago, found out i downloaded the wrong version of Xubuntu ( i got the one for Intel machines and i have AMD) not sure if that will matter but I'm gonna give it a shot.

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I'm going to say Fluxbuntu. Its a super light Ubuntu derivative. They took alot of the bulk out. Small, fast and uses Fluxbox + Rox so its easy to use and really really nice looking.

http://fluxbuntu.org/js.html

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Linux talks a big game with shit hardware, 9-10 times you get a better result using shit like win98 or 95 than any linux distro could shovel with real task performance.. Let the flames begin, and let the only Linux/unix distro to ever work right is XBMC on a modded xbox 1

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Are you mad? Linux is a much more robust system than 95 or 98 ever was...

I would agree with you as a simple desktop machine...

But as a server that runs on older hardware, you cannot go past linux at all.

However, i run my distro's almost entirely from command line, which without

a GUI providing overheads, it will run a lot faster than 95 or 98.

I myself would recommend slack, if a task cant be done from a command line you

shouldnt be asking your computer to do it.

Ninja

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hello fellow community members.

for an i686 cpu, i HIGHLY recommend Arch linux.

/end rant

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...if a task cant be done from a command line you shouldnt be asking your computer to do it.

Ninja

Despite the fact that this is just wrong let me say, just because you can do something a certain way doesn't mean you should. If nothing else a graphical window manager is a great way to have a ton of terminals open at the same time allowing you to view a lot of stuff at once.

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There are quite a few distros that would run well on that hardware. Check out: Puppy Linux, Damn Small Linux, Wolvix, Frugalware, or SLAX. All of them are rather lightweight and should work great. Of course if you really want to learn Linux and get under the hood, there is always the mighty Slackware.

Edited by eldiablo
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Ill second ElDiablo. Slackware is the shiznit. Its a very robust system, and i found it great to tinker with.

Livingded> ill admit i favour a gui nowadays, but i find it very lax that a lot of admins these days can

only work with gui environments, and most seem to have forgotten about the mighty command line.

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Like i have said before, for some reason every time i tried a diff linux on my comp the screen blacks and pulls up a small box with

out of range

h 50mg hertz

v 80mg hertz

Check Pc Settings?

Floating up and down. Anyone know about that?

THanx for the advice

This happens because your video settings aren't within the range your monitor can handle. You'll need to lookup your monitors specs and find out the max horizontal and vertical sync/refresh rates. Basically, your monitor is giving you an error that 50mhz horiziontal and 80 mhz vertical can't be displayed properly. To get out of the gui hit ctrl+alt+backspace . To adjust the horizontal sync and vertical refresh you have to edit your /etc/X11/xorg.conf file.

Look for a section that looks something like this:

Section "Monitor"
Identifier "Monitor0"
VendorName "Monitor Vendor"
ModelName "Monitor Model"
HorizSync 30.0 - 130.0 # Safe for LCD's
VertRefresh 50.0 - 100.0 # Safe for LCD's and most CRT's.
EndSection

Change the numbers to reflect those found in your monitors documentation. Save. Restart the gui with startx.

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Knoppix is good, and has great hardware support. Works better on old computers than new ones. ^_^

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Knoppix is good, and has great hardware support. Works better on old computers than new ones. ^_^

Knoppix is a LiveCD though. Its not specifically made to be installed to disk.

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