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Need some good distro ideas


I have an old Dell Optiplex GS, and I want to work on it a little. I want to put either a Linux Operating system or a windows Operating system.

It used to have Windows 98 SE before I did a hard drive swap.

It is in a Desktop Style, NOT a laptop

The system is old, so i am not sure what the specifications are.

A wild guess would be...

*Pentium Processer (original) $

*64 MB - 132 MB Memory

*40 Gigs Hard Drive $

*Floppy Drive $

*CD Drive $

$ For sure

I will be using the computer for a mix of Desktop to Networking. I will need a Wireless Network Support, With an Eithernet Support too.

Thanks in Advance.

BTW... Heres a Picture that looks exactly like the system



  • nickbana
    nickbana Posts: 5
    You could also use Puppy Linux. It is very lightweight, also I believe it also uses the Xfce windowing system, so it is not as heavy on resources.

    Slax only requires very little storage space. But I have not tried installing it on a hard drive, though. It's based on Slackware.



    Hope that helps
  • iamthesargent
    I was thinking about something more heavier... Like Absolute Linux or OpenSUSE.

    Will these be like a Hit and Miss? I am about to burn Absolute Linux in a little while and see if I can't load it onto the harddrive
  • mimir
    mimir Posts: 4
    i have never tried absolute linux so i cant say wether its bad or not, but i have read it does run on older hardware. But one i can recommend is puppy linux.

    Even though GNU/Linux does not need to demand as much of your system as Windows you can not expect it to run on air. The mainstream distros does need better hardware. Of course you can try and see how it works for you. Feel free to explore, not like it will ruin your economy. I would not even bother though.

    EDIT: had to reformulate a sentence.
  • iamthesargent
    I'm going to go ahead and try the latest Puppy Linux.

    So far everything is going horrible... The Bios isn't going well.

    The system is too old apperently. It will not boot from CD. Only the Hard drive or the Floppy disk.:angry:

    Are there any MS DOS commands that can load puppy's boot file???!?!?!?!?!?!:huh: :huh: :dry: :ohmy: :unsure: :angry: :S
  • woboyle
    woboyle Posts: 501
    iamthesargent wrote:
    I was thinking about something more heavier... Like Absolute Linux or OpenSUSE.

    Will these be like a Hit and Miss? I am about to burn Absolute Linux in a little while and see if I can't load it onto the harddrive
    A lot depends upon their memory requirements. OpenSuse probably needs more RAM than your system has. Much of this issue is related to the desktop GUI you install. If you just install a command-line interface, such as for a server machine, then you need a lot less RAM to run, and most any distribution will do.
  • atreyu
    atreyu Posts: 216
    1. Have you thought about checking for an updating BIOS?

    2. Are you sure your CD is "bootable" (tested it on another box)?

    3. I would go with Fedora. Don't be afraid of the bloat. Just use Fluxbox instead of Gnome/KDE for your desktop environ.

    What I typically do in this scenario is boot the box with a PXE-enabled floppy (from www.rom-o-matic.org), if my NIC is supported. that means i have a TFTP/DHCP server on the local network that is sharing the install media somehow (NFS/WEB/FTP,etc.), and this may be more than you're willing to do...
  • masinick
    masinick Posts: 20
    As long as you are command line savvy, you can install most any system, because it seems that you have enough disk space, if 40 GB is really accessible. A full desktop environment, such as KDE or GNOME, if it runs at all, will be so slow that it will be non-functional. A moderate desktop, such as XFCE, may run, but it is not likely to do well either. You may have a chance getting LXDE or Enlightenment to work, those are about the "heaviest" environments likely to work with so little memory and processor capability. But any distribution that offers fvwm, IceWM, JWM, Openbox, or Fluxbox ought to work well enough to give you a window manager display environment. That would include any Debian derived system that uses Debian repositories, that would likely include a Ubuntu based system, adding in one or more of those window managers, that would include Crunch Bang #! Linux, which IS a Ubuntu derivative.

    Absolute Linux, Vector Linux, and Slackware would be possibilities, again as long as you replace any heavy default desktop with one of the five or so lightweight window manager environments. Any other distribution where it either comes equipped that way or you can download such environments, would also work with a modest amount of research and work on your part.

    I like antiX; you may be able to get that one to work great right from the installation.
  • vonbiber
    vonbiber Posts: 28
    you could try slackware
    either an old version (slackware 11.*) or if it's
    slackware12.*, use a light x-window environment such
    as xfce (but definitely not kde)
  • favoretti
    favoretti Posts: 5
    I suppose you could install debian (without X for starters) if, as previous posters already mentioned, you are commandline savvy. Minimal debian installation is rather tiny. Then you could try expanding it with X and with some light-weight window manager.

    Good luck,

  • Seires
    Seires Posts: 5
    Backtrack is a pretty good live CD distro I use at work alot. Has a ton of network features...including some that are a tad sketchy, but can help regardless.

    Otherwise OpenSuse was fun, alot of features, but a fairly large install from what I remember. Knoppix was always a favorite for something quick and easy though.
  • tw3ak
    tw3ak Posts: 37

    From one Newb to another, I've only been at it for 30 days, built Gentoo from a network install to a working system. I have an old machine here, I put a floppy in my linux box and made a floppy fdformat and I'll be making a floppy image to install crunchbang on an old box . I'll let you know tomorrow how it works out.
  • tw3ak
    tw3ak Posts: 37

    Newbie here,

    Allow me to help you in more ways than one. Linux is a wonderful "world", Lesson 1. Use Google whenever you don't know something. Here, Is what I got , I knew what you might need because I'm a newbie too.
    linux bootfloppy.img for dam small linux
    here is a site for other floppy linux distros

    Then get the windows program google for source rawwritewin.exe
    and make the boot floppy for linux, you can then mount the cd from the floppy and install any cd distro from there. I would recommend Crunchbang lite.

    As a side project, I've downloaded a few floppy distros and am going to install linux on an old machine. boot from floppy then install from cd. I've got three old pentium class machines given to me.

    If you need more help just email me at tw3akUrb0x@yahoo.com
  • tw3ak
    tw3ak Posts: 37
    hello again,

    I just realized something, even if you do successfully make a Linux boot floppy. Your next problem will be can your cd read the burned cd? some older drives will not read burned cds?
    Debian has a network install as I'm sure there are others once you get it booted , on the floppy distros that I mentions several support network connections


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