See also the first two parts of the listing if you are looking for discussion regarding some other distribution (here and here).
K. Mandla has succeeded in something I thought would be impossible: he has installed Crux on a P100 with 16 Mb RAM. Read his Success! IceWM 1.2.36 and Xorg 7.3 at 100Mhz/16Mb and the later Some minor improvents if you want to boldly install Linux where no Penguin has lived before.
When I bought my Toshiba laptop in 1997 it came with 8 Mb of RAM but late I upgraded it to the maximum of 40 Mb. 8 Mb were just not enough for Netscape and Windows95. I have not used the computer for some time, but I might return to it some day. I think the last OS I ínstalled on it was Minix3. Or maybe Slackware 11.0? When I get back to Helsinki, I just have to try something new with my trustworthy laptop.
Here are my favourite Linux software catalogues:
A good rule to remember is: if you don't know how to compile some application from sources, you probably should not even try to compile it.
As there was no package available for Vector Linux or Slackware, I first installed fltk2 after which installing Dillo from the source code presented no problems. The magical words ./configure, make, su, make install were needed for compiling and installing the browser.
Dillo is not the fanciest web browser available but it is really lightweight and good enough for simple web pages. I'm looking forward to the next release!
The Linux From Scratch community is pleased to announce the release of LFS Version 6.4. This release includes numerous changes to LFS-6.3 (including update to Linux-184.108.40.206, GCC-4.3.2, Glibc-2.8) and security fixes. It also includes a large amount of editorial work on the explanatory material throughout the book, improving both the clarity and accuracy of the text.You can read the book online or download the current stable version here.
The minimal requirements are really low:
- 486SX processor or better
- 5 MB of RAM
- 8 MB for hard disk installation
- modem or ISDN card for Internet dial-out)
Ttylinux is not meant for novice users, but if you are an experienced user you might like to try building a custom system based on this minimalistic distribution.
Linux From Scratch would be even more hard core solution. But the documentation is excellent and I think I might have enough time some weekend to build my own minimal system from the sources. But it is another thing to have a minimal system and a usable system installed in an old computer I would have for this experiment. A usable desktop would take some more evenings and a couple of weeks reading Beyond Linux from Scratch.
You can read the documentation for building your own system online. There is also a LiveCD available to be used as the host system when building LFS.
Newbies should probably choose some of the more mainstream distributions even when installing Linux on an old computer. After some experience with installing and using Linux, it is much easier to solve to possible problems presented by some niche distributions.
- Ultimate Edition
- BSDnexus (all BSDs)
Many newbies don't realize they should probably send their questions to the relevant discussion forum instead of posting only to the Ubuntu Forum's discussions for other distributions. Usually the more knowledgeable users can be found in the right forum.
The following is a pretty random selection of the discussion forums for the most important distributions.
Elive is based on Debian. Its minimal requirements are very minimal: a 100 Mhz CPU and 64 MB of RAM. To be honest, the minimum recommended hardware is 300 Mhz and 128 Mb of RAM. Still, nothing fancy is needed for running Elive.
For the first time I installed E17 that still is in development. But what an experience it is! It looks nicer than ever, the eye candy is not disturbing but adds value to the user experience. I even like the way Enlightenment is configured when first run. After I learned how to turn off the desktop icons I was extremely happy with Enlightenment.
One of the features I like is the way users can download and install new themes and wallpapers. Even the animated wallpapers don't disturb me, the just look great. At the moment Enlightenment seems to be the prettiest desktop available. Furthermore, it is usable and it's got all the functionality I want my desktop environment to have. And it is lightweight enough for my 1.99 GHz CPU.
If you like KDE4's looks but otherwise it is not up to your standards, you might like this one. It is still prerelease, but it seems to be a lot more stable and usable than KDE4 is at the moment. Of course window managers like Openbox can be tweaked to look great, too, but Enlightenment looks perfect out of the box. You don't need to spend hours looking for pretty themes and installing third party panels and other plugins to make a lightweight window manager as usable as Enlightenment is.
It's good to be back!
During the last week, I have noticed I can move most of my short notices about interesting new distributions or sites to Delicious. It certainly is a better platform for this kind of short notes. I warmly recommend you to subscribe my notes in Delicious, if you are a registered user. You'll find the necessary links in the column to the right.
Now that I decided to post in this blog, I might as well remind you of another blog worth reading if you are interested in using Linux on old computers: Linux Distribution testing - on old computers.
Openbox is one of the more popular lightweight window managers. It can be used as a standalone solution or as a component of the LXDE, the Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment. The default look of Openbox is rather minimalistic, but it is a good basis for building a custom desktop.
The default look of openSUSE's openbox
Fortunately, the internet is full of resources and tutorials for customizing the look and feel of Openbox. Here are some of the more informative pages I've found:
- Openbox documentation
- Openbox FAQ
- Urukrama's Openbox guide
- Openbox in Ubuntu Wiki
- HOW-TO: Install, Customize, and Configure Openbox (lots of options)
- Configuring Openbox V2
- Kmandla's Feisty Openbox on 1Ghz Pentium III, start to finish
Themes for Openbox can of course be found in the usual sources. See, for example, the following:
Can you recommend some other sites?