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> Help Me Find The Distro. To Fit My Needs.
muskgrave
post Apr 28 2004, 09:17 AM
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Hello!
I recently got an older laptop (P166, 32mb ram, 2gb HD) and was looking for a small efficient version of linux that will give me an office suite and internet browser. I really don't need any networking tools or games or anything of the sort. I am also very very linux-retarded and need something thats fairly laden with jolly candy-like buttons...

any recommendations?

Also this laptop does not have a cd-rom drive so if there is something that I can copy to the hard drive from my desktop using a laptop HD adapter that would be very very helpful.

Thanks!
dlv
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Jim
post Apr 28 2004, 09:43 AM
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Ok, as for coppying from the Desktop to the tap-top that might be difficult because linux needs its own special hard drive partitions in there own custom format. Windows uses fat32 and NTFS file systems wile Linux uses ext2 and ext3. So odds are it would be fairly difficult to get it copied over.

Now a network install is possible, but someone else will have to help you with that since its over my head.

As for recomendations. I would recoment Red Hat 7.2 or Mandrake 7.2. They are a little outdated yes, but they are going to run better on the old machine. Both come standard with a nice GUI (graphical user interface) so you will get lots of candy if you catch my drift. The only thing is, those are both iso (CD) based releases, but I am sure you can find a slimmed down floppy release.

Suprisingly enough, one of the best distros to try to use might be Gentoo (some one back me up here) because the packets for the install are all downloaded as you go. Now, for this we would need two things, a working internet connection (it would almost have to be highspeed, or the install would take a week) and something to get you a linux command line. How to do that with out a CD-Rom to get your started I don't know, it was just an idea.

So, unless someone knows an easy way to do a network instal, I would probably recomend you just to a Manrake or RedHat 7.2 stripped down install from floppy. I will try to see if I can dig up a mirror that has those on it.


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--Jim Lester
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Pizentios
post Apr 28 2004, 11:08 AM
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Hey,

i would recommend Open BSD, for one simple reason. With BSD you can make a bootable floppy, then install from the internet. It's actually really slick. The only problem that you would have with BSD is that it's kinda alittle command line intensive until you get your gui up and running. So for that simple reason i would actually recommend Slackware 9.1, you can install from somthing called zipslack, it installs right onto your dos file system, and i think it only takes somthing like 100MB for the "base" file system, anything after that ofcourse will eat up more space. Or you can do a floppy install. The only problem with doing the floppy install, is that there is only two packages that are still small enough to fit on a floppy. However, these two packages are the ones that you really need. Package A, which is the base file system, which includes your command prompt and a few basic communications programs. The other one package "N", is all the networking stuff, which would allow you to ftp and get any other software that you want...but once again, it'll be all command prompt until you download and install the gui. Another option is Peanut Linux. The download is only 340mb, and that's including a gui. however, it won't fit on a floppy. Ofcourse you could download any of these flavors of linux and do a network install like lest0039 suggested. here's a link on how to do a network install for slackware:

Slackware Network Install - this artical is a little outdated, but just replace Slackware 3.5 for Slackware 9.1

Anyways, i am sure if you google for "Network Install <insert flavor here>" that you'll find more articals like the one that i listed above.

Good Luck!

-Pizentios


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muskgrave
post Apr 28 2004, 12:14 PM
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WEll I looked up the network installation guide and it's expecting me to mount the cd on my linux application server...I don't have any other linux machines. Would it be possible to create a 250mb partition on the end of the 2gb hard drive, copy the installation data to it, then boot with a floppy in my laptop and install to the first partition? I could probably then use partition magic to remove the 250mb partition and stretch the primary partition perhaps...Once I do that I'll just image the drive with ghost. Is this a workable solution?

dlv
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Termina
post Apr 28 2004, 12:52 PM
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For such an old system, I wouldn't recommend Redhat nor Mandrake.

Their basic GUI would be far out of your range, and I doubt you want to resort to the command line.

So...

This might solve your problem:
http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/

DSL is a 50mb ISO. It comes with alot of software/web browsers/word proccessing stuff (even games like pacman happy.gif). I personally keep a buisness card CD-R of it in my wallet at all times.

Here's how you can install it with no CD-Rom drive (you'll need another computer and 2 blank floppies though).
http://damnsmalllinux.org/cgi-bin/forums/i...ct=ST;f=11;t=78

The GUI is very basic (FluxBox), which won't drain your resources, while letting you use graphical applications.

After you boot up (if you have a net connection):
'sudo dpkg-restore'

This is based off of debian, so you also get apt-get (apt-get update && apt-get upgrade)

Rightclick to access the menu. After you do the hd-install, you can go to the "got the bandwith?" option, and get firefox.


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Pizentios
post Apr 28 2004, 01:03 PM
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i am sure there's a way to mount the install disk over a network from a windows box...just share the drive...that should work, if it doesn't i am sure the net has some info on the subject, just google for it.

as far as creating another partition and installing from there...i don't see why it wouldn't work. If you make a partition a little bit bigger than the iso file. Linux should beable to mount the iso on the partition. The easyest way to find out, it to try it. Let us know how it goes.


-Pizentios


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Termina
post Apr 28 2004, 01:09 PM
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Sorry, I edit my posts quite a bit while I search through stuff. happy.gif

Bad habit of mine.

I've posted up the best (IMHO) way to do a DSL install with no CD-Rom drive. tongue.gif


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muskgrave
post Apr 28 2004, 02:01 PM
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Alright guys this is good stuff. The guide for loading linux on a machine with only q floppy drive had a good idea but went about doing it the HARD way. Of course if you don't have a 3.5" to 2.5" IDE Converter you gotta do what you gotta do..SO this is how I perceive I may be able to get this ball rolling.

1) Extract the ISO image for DSL to my Desktop Hard Drive.
2) Connect the Laptop HD again to my desktop via the adapter. Format the LT Hard drive w/ FAT32 and copy the contents of the DSL ISO to the LT HD.
3) Put my knoppix CD in (which i already have!) and make a boot floppy using the mkfloppy.bat file on the cd.
4) Plug the LT HD back into my laptop and boot using the knoppix boot disk.
5) It will then apparently begin installation of dsl...

how does that look? I am DEFINITELY making a ghost image of this once I'm done!

dlv

Would it automatically pick up my hardware such as the Megahertz PCMCIA Modem I have?
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Jim
post Apr 28 2004, 02:31 PM
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The reason why you go back and use something like 7.2 is because it doesn't have the over the top GUI like 9 and 10 do designed for the new systems. Thats why something like RedHat and Mandrake 7.2 would work on an older system, those were the systems they were built for. They will also have an easier install and ease of use than some of the other things.

The idea about using zip-slack and than removing that partition is probably the best idea. The biggest battle there is going to be getting the network card up and running, but it can be done.

Last I heard you could still get distro's like debian and RedHat on 3.5, it just takes a lot of copying and cycling of disks.

If you can get a command line (either through zipslack or something else) and than download the packages as you go thats probably your best bet.


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Distro: Gentoo
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muskgrave
post Apr 28 2004, 03:01 PM
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Yeah I'm thinking I'll try a different version..DSL is a little too plain and buggy. I just tried it out and was not impressed at all. The ease of use/install with knoppix is good so I don't really have a problem there...I think with any of their varieties I can just make a floppy using the boot image on the cd and then copy the rest to the hard drive...i'll try it out...

dlv
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Pizentios
post Apr 28 2004, 04:41 PM
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lest0039: There is really no reason to use zip slack, because of what i was talking about before. Every new install of slackware that i have done, on a mutiplutude of different hardware sets has configured the ethernet card with no trouble at all.

to quote myself about slackware 9.1:

QUOTE
Or you can do a floppy install. The only problem with doing the floppy install, is that there is only two packages that are still small enough to fit on a floppy. However, these two packages are the ones that you really need. Package A, which is the base file system, which includes your command prompt and a few basic communications programs. The other one package "N", is all the networking stuff, which would allow you to ftp and get any other software that you want...but once again, it'll be all command prompt until you download and install the gui.


Anyways, as you can probally tell, i am a avid slackware user...in my opinion, once you go slack you don't come back!


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Termina
post Apr 28 2004, 05:28 PM
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QUOTE (muskgrave @ Apr 28 2004, 03:01 PM)
Yeah I'm thinking I'll try a different version..DSL is a little too plain and buggy. I just tried it out and was not impressed at all. The ease of use/install with knoppix is good so I don't really have a problem there...I think with any of their varieties I can just make a floppy using the boot image on the cd and then copy the rest to the hard drive...i'll try it out...

dlv

Eh, to each his own. DSL buggy? Perhaps you had a bad/older release, I have never noticed any bugs using it.

It's plain, but you can't be greedy when you're using such an old machine.


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muskgrave
post Apr 28 2004, 10:22 PM
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When I said DSL was buggy I was mainly talking about the HORRID office software that comes with it. The Word program is very lacking and the spreadsheet program was incredibly buggy..i was using DSL 6.3. The OS itself was fine, however. I should have been more clear instead of making a blanket statement like that. Well I have thought over my requirements and I think I would like to make a change or 2.

1) has to be small and run significantly better than Win95 on my P166 MMX laptop with 32mb ram and a 2gb HD.
2) Only really needs some type of Office Suite (I DO like KOffice and Open Office..i think open office is pretty sluggish though and I don't even want to think about how slow it would be on this older laptop) and an internet browser. Of course would need some type of configuration utility for dialing up.
3) The GUI does not really need to be elaborate..actually if DSL had a better office package with it and a slightly simpler dial-up setup I would be quite happy with it..oh yeah and if they had given it a better name wink.gif

I am pretty proficient when it comes to figuring things out with computers that are in the DOS/Windows arena but I am pretty much lost when it comes to any thing on the LINUX command line...So forgive my ignorance if you are explaining good things that will work and I'm just breezing right over them because I don't really understand how to do them...Is there an older lighter version of knoppix that will do what I want? perhaps if I could modify my little plan up there and get it installed to the HD that would work..for now still searching for the perfect answer tongue.gif...I suppose what you were saying earlier is to make 2 floppies that basically have the core linux code on one disk and a basic gui on the other. Then from that point just install ONLY what i am wanting? With that setup could I then put KOffice and a browser on there? I would also like to AIM client...alright thanks so much for your help so far...

p.s. - I went ahead and loaded win98se on it tonight just to see how it would work..it is surprisingly not all that slow..but i still would like fasterrrr! thanks again.
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muskgrave
post Apr 29 2004, 08:43 AM
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does anyone know the requirements for flonix? It says it's super small but I don't know if that means much as far as the resources it uses up...

dlv
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Pizentios
post Apr 29 2004, 09:01 AM
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if your looking for a good office set, try Open Office

Edit:

oopss, didn't read all of your post muskgrave before i posted, sorry.


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muskgrave
post Apr 29 2004, 09:49 AM
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it's quite alright..i appreciate everyone's input..I'm also looking at Vector Linux 2.5 and Grey Cat 3.0. Simple interface is quite alright but I want GOOD office/browser/Chat client..
If I installed vector linux 2.5 would I then be able to download KOffice and a better Internet Browser for it?

thanks!
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Pizentios
post Apr 29 2004, 11:35 AM
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i've never used those ones myself, but i don't see why you couldn't. You might end up having to install from source though.


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hughesjr
post Apr 29 2004, 07:03 PM
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All the different versions of linux use pretty much the same programs ....

I don't think you are going to be able to use openoffice.org (it requires to much resources) or koffice (requires most of KDE to work properly ... which requires to many resources).

Termina is correct that older linuxes have hardware issues ... but lest0039 is also correct that some of the older Linuxes (like redhat 7.3) use less resources than the newer linuxes. But I think the security risks of using an older machine (if you are going to connect to the net) and the hardware support mean that a new distro is better ... you just won't be able to run Gnome, KDE, or OpenOffice.org.

Personally, I actually don't think you can do much better than DSL with the machine that you have.

I installed debian sarge on a pII 367mhz laptop that has 192mb ram and a 6gb hard drive. I used FluxBox as my GUI. It had openoffice, but it was slow as molasses, so I removed it.

I use Gnumeric as my Spreadsheet, AbiWord as my Word Processor, fluxbox as my GUI, and Firefox as my browser.

I would say that it is possible for you to do a base debian sarge install, then do a minimal x install, Gnumeric, AbiWord, Fluxbox and Firefox install (firefox migh tbe to much) .... or use Damn Small Linux.


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muskgrave
post Apr 29 2004, 07:27 PM
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Thanks for the info johnny..So maybe I should stick with my ol' faithful win98 tongue.gif

It seems as though i may be asking for the impossible..in my experience of trying to try linux over the past few years it seems as though the more "windows-like" linux becomes the slower it becomes..i have tried red hat, mandrake, lycoris..and such but they all seemed to run SLOWER than my regular ol' windows..i suppose unless you really know what you are doing there really isn't a speed advantage anymore...security advantage is a whole other story, however laugh.gif

I'm actually typing this post from the laptop right now..it's got win98 with office xp and Trillian installed which is really all i was hoping for and I am surprised to say it actually is manageable even with the tiny 32mb ram. I believe I can get a 64 from my buddy and i think that will pretty much set me straight..

dlv
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Termina
post Apr 30 2004, 11:35 AM
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Hey, I'm glad you asked about this, since I have a really old laptop (66mhz, or 75mhz?) with only a floppy drive. Maybe I'll be able to install linux on it (though I doubt I'll be able to use anything but CLI.. hehe).

Hell, better than having it sitting in my closet with DOS on it. biggrin.gif


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