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Suggested OS for Compaq Armada 1592 DMT, heavily trimmed down

Would like to turn an ancient laptop into a nice typewriter, without any other applications except office, and without being told to buy a new laptop. Here are the specs:

Compaq Armada 1592 DMT

Pentium 2 200mhz

32 mb RAM

OS and applications must fit on 1.25 gb hard drive

Would like either a Windows shell to run Microsoft Office 97, or a similar office suite

Laptop is fully supported by towers, so all I need is suggestions on which distro to use and which packages to install, plus instructions on stripping extra applications out of the OS to leave just what I want.


  • mfillpot
    mfillpot Posts: 2,177
    I have not seen a laptop with so little RAM is quite a while, you may try using puppy linux, but there is no guarantee that you have enough RAM to run a Gui.
  • woboyle
    woboyle Posts: 501
    Debian can be installed on older, low RAM systems, although 32mb is pretty small even for that. I run Debian Etch on a 64mb ARM board, and it will work ok on a 32mb one as well.
  • Goineasy9
    Goineasy9 Posts: 1,114
    Look into AntiX, it was made for older computers, Sorry, I'm on the phone and can't copy and paste a link.
  • suaiteach
    suaiteach Posts: 5
    edited November 2011
    Thanks for the suggestions, I'll try the Debian releases and see what happens.

    Found this: http://www.debian.org/distrib/netinst and now wondering how useful that will be. I've only installed Ubuntu on one computer, and I opted to format the hard drive; the wizard it came with was very useful, but now I'm faced with partitioning this other hard drive and I'm not sure how user-friendly the distros provided on this page will be. Help!
  • You don't have a lot of options with a system with 32mb of ram. I recommend using one of the light distros like puppy linux, archbang, debian, and antiX. Your best option is to install a distro without GUI.

    Look at www.distrowatch.com to get more information.
  • Another thing, if you are to use a gui, use openbox or fluxbox. Openbox is compatible with GTK+ with is what gnome is built on. So can run most apps designed for GnomeX.
  • RSims
    RSims Posts: 146
    I have the answer for you I believe. You need to look into a distribution called "Damn Small Linux" With a graphical user interface it has a system requirement of only 24 megabytes which your actually over that. Here is the site to the wiki with the system requirements: http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/wiki/index.php/Minimum_Hardware_Requirements

    Here is the link to download DSL: http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/download.html

    The goal of DSL was to remain no larger then 50MB and give people a light, easy to use interface. I have not used this personally, but with it having such a low system requirement WITH their GUI. I believe you should very well look into it and try it out.

    Let me know how it works out for you.

  • RSims
    RSims Posts: 146
    Also, in your case i'd make sure I made my swap partition first on your drive and being as generous with it as possible.
  • I tried DSL on an OLD toshiba laptop with 128mb of ram. This was the one I couldn't remember. The GUI is not all that great, yet good enough. It's better used as a terminal.
  • DSL sounds great, except the links to the downloads are mostly shot. Most of them are gone, the other two expect me to know how to compile. I've yet to figure that out on my system, and it'd really be much easier if there were an already compiled version hanging around somewhere. Would you mind posting a link to that?
    Also, there is a 128 mb ram chip that could be installed if the stupid machine would recognize it, though that may be a problem with the operating system and not actual hardware incompatibility. I prefer to use a GUI, having used Windows all my life the terminal's more than a little intimidating.
  • woboyle
    woboyle Posts: 501
    Here is a live link: http://ftp.belnet.be/packages/damnsmalllinux/current/

    You want the dsl-4.4.10.iso and dsl-4.4.10.iso.md5.txt files, along with the 1-readme_first.txt file and probably the contents of the documentation folder. Burn the .iso file to a CD and use that to boot the system you are going to install it on. That is the installer, and no building should be necessary at this point to get a functioning system.

    Also, here is the root to the DSL repository: http://ftp.belnet.be/packages/damnsmalllinux/
    Note that the ibiblio site no longer hosts DSL, and AFAIK, the belnet.be site is probably the main host these days. So, any references to the ibiblio site for repositories and such will not work. Use the belnet.be URLs instead.

    Finally, DSL is quite dated - the latest ISO files are 3 years old. However, that should not really be an issue for an older and underpowered system like you have.
  • saqman2060
    saqman2060 Posts: 777
    edited November 2011
    Found another linux distro built for older systems, luitlinux

    http://luitlinux.sarovar.org/, can ran on systems with as little as 32mb of ram.

    Here is a screenshot of the system



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