Should I install linux? What should I do?

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Wesdog
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Should I install linux? What should I do?

Post by Wesdog » Thu May 22, 2008 12:04 am

Hey guys I am writing this from an install of linuxmint. I am the "computer guy" for my friends and family which as you all know means I spend countless hours every week on the phone helping or driving to someones house and fixing a computer.

The problem. A good friend of mine has an old Gateway. Its a PIII 450 with 256mb ram and a 20GB hard drive. It has win 98se on it. Im wondering what I should do. Should I install 98 again and she will just end up with problems with spyware and more virus issues or should I just put a flavor of ubuntu on for her.

All she wants a computer for is internet, emailing her boyfriend in Iraq, yahoo, myspace, sending him photos of her dirty pillows, and things like that. She has a 16 year old daughter and 12 year old son and they will be using the pc for email, yahoo, online games, and the like. I could install xp but I am afraid it will run like crap. I have an old celeron 533 with 256mb ram in it has xp on it but its fairly slow. Its not so slow you cant use it but its slow enough you notice that its slow.

So what should I do? Can I put ubuntu or fluxbuntu on there and let her have at it, or should I try and repair and secure her win 98 install (which will be next to impossible I think)? I know this is a linux forum and everyone might say install linux but I am asking you to think about this and give me an honest answer. I dont want her to have problems all the time and lose data on 98 because there are unpatched security holes. A virus scan is showing about 90 problems right now and a good majority of her photos/documents are popping up error messages when you try to open them.

Let me know what you think. Im open to suggestions. Im new to linux so I probably wouldnt be the best computer fixer upper guy if she had problems with it but thats what the internets for now isnt it? HAHA

I am trying out a couple of live cd's after I post this to see how they run. Hopefully they will be as fast or faster than 98SE is.

Thanks in advance,
Wes

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eeezzzeee
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Re: Should I install linux? What should I do?

Post by eeezzzeee » Thu May 22, 2008 2:15 am

With a computer with those specs I would take a look into the mini distros. There are some really good ones that will run on older hardware. I have been installing mini distros as of late to check them out. The laptops I used were a 475mhz 198 ram 6 gig hd, and a 800mhz 314ram 20 gig hd. I have not tried puppy or dsl (damn small linux), which I hear are pretty good. The ones I have tried are slitaz (cool little distro, but probably not what you are looking for), tinyme (a version of pclinuxos), and vector linux. I kept Tinyme on one laptop and Vector on the lower spec'd one. Both run really well. I would recommend taking a look at tinyme, they are set for a final release soon and I have been running their last RC with no problems. It has a lot of the benefits of the main pclinuxos (synaptic, installers, managers) but very low system resource usage. You can get packages easily for setting up that computer to be a basic web browsing computer. I have read of some guys getting tinyme to run on as little as 64 megs of ram, so the specs you listed shouldn't be a problem. Although if that computer is running win 98 I gotta wonder how old it is? does it have a ethernet port? and that kind of stuff. But something you could definately look into.

http://www.mypclinuxos.com/doku.php/tinyme:home
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Acid_1
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Re: Should I install linux? What should I do?

Post by Acid_1 » Thu May 22, 2008 11:40 am

I've used puppy, and it works like a charm :P Just I don't like non-debian based systems. (though I want to try openSUSE 11 when it comes out :P)

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Re: Should I install linux? What should I do?

Post by kayakaholic » Thu May 22, 2008 12:20 pm

I doubt being so used to windows they will like anything with fluxbox...

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Re: Should I install linux? What should I do?

Post by exploder » Thu May 22, 2008 12:42 pm

I have AntiX 7.2 running on a low spec computer and it runs great. AntiX is capable of doing what the user's you have described want to do. Fluxbox does have a learning curve but AntiX is only using 30 MB of RAM at start up. Documentation is included in the installed system and it is very complete. I favor Debian packaging, that is why I suggested AntiX.

I changed the Slim background and the wallpaper and so far I have not gotten any complaints from family members.

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ed@Mint
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Re: Should I install linux? What should I do?

Post by ed@Mint » Thu May 22, 2008 1:01 pm

My suggestion :
Make a backup of all the data and try lots of distros until you find one that runs correctly.
I'd suggest you to first try Xfce based distros like Mint Xfce CE or Xubuntu because Xfce has still a Windows-ish look.
If they really don't run well, go for the lighter ones, but, like Jerry_N, i'm afraid she will hate lighter DE's.
You could also try eLive which uses e17 as a DE which looks good and i've read it runs on fairly low end machines.

Let us know what you came up with :)
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miket
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Re: Should I install linux? What should I do?

Post by miket » Thu May 22, 2008 3:30 pm

Hi Wes,
Wesdog wrote: The problem. A good friend of mine has an old Gateway. Its a PIII 450 with 256mb ram and a 20GB hard drive. It has win 98se on it. Im wondering what I should do. Should I install 98 again and she will just end up with problems with spyware and more virus issues or should I just put a flavor of ubuntu on for her.
Wes
I had the same problem here, I had to sort out a customer who had a very similar PC and no money to buy a new one,
the best solution I found was to put SLAX on a CDROM and boot the PC from that everytime.
Doing it this way left the 10GB hard drive free for usage without any O/S being installed at all.

SLAX runs really well on these old machines but still has the functionality they will be looking for.

You can get SLAX from http://www.slax.org it's ony a 189MB download too !

Hope this helps.

Mike.

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Re: Should I install linux? What should I do?

Post by Lantesh » Thu May 22, 2008 3:49 pm

Wesdog wrote:I know this is a linux forum and everyone might say install linux but I am asking you to think about this and give me an honest answer.
While yes it is true that you are going to get the "choose Linux" answer on a Linux message board, in this case it's probably really good advice. I don't know that you even can make Windows 98 secure anymore, and I'm sure XP would bog down on that machine. I would think trying out any of the regular additions that use XFCE would be a good starting point. Try one or two and see how how the performance is. If it's too slow as others have already stated you can go for one of the "mini" or "light" type distros. I have a buddy that swears by Puppy Linux. He's run that on the most obsolete hardware you can imagine, and loves it.

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BAD
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Re: Should I install linux? What should I do?

Post by BAD » Thu May 22, 2008 5:07 pm

That is a nice computer to run Linux
I have a PII 300mhz and a PIII 450mhz I have tried tiny me, zenwalk, kate, puppy, dsl, fluxbuntu and a few others they all work but the one I liked is beafanatix it is ubuntu based. Kate is also nice it uses xfce and I found fluxbuntu to be the slowest.
Since children are using the computer you should test Dan's Guardian so she can monitor the internet use.
I have taught people 10 - 60 years old to use Ubuntu. If they are only going to use it as everyone says for email and casual web surfing then Linux is the best choice.
We are the LinuxMint. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

xvedejas
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Re: Should I install linux? What should I do?

Post by xvedejas » Fri May 23, 2008 11:10 pm

I'd say xfce is your best bet. While you can run Gnome on that computer, it's too slow (at least for my tastes). And while fluxbox will see performance gains, I think it would be much more worth it to a windows user to use a full desktop environment.

Look at xubuntu or even mint xfce.

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BAD
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Re: Should I install linux? What should I do?

Post by BAD » Sat May 24, 2008 1:16 am

RE: xvedejas
I am wondering if you have run Linux on this old of a computer?
I am wondering because you did not give any examples of the computers you tested just a recommendation.
We are the LinuxMint. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

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Re: Should I install linux? What should I do?

Post by MagnusB » Sat May 24, 2008 2:16 pm

xvedejas wrote:I'd say xfce is your best bet. While you can run Gnome on that computer, it's too slow (at least for my tastes). And while fluxbox will see performance gains, I think it would be much more worth it to a windows user to use a full desktop environment.

Look at xubuntu or even mint xfce.
Both GNOME and KDE can run great on that computer, just use the correct distribution. I would recommend looking at easys, a slackware based distro, using KDE, was real responsive and had it's homebrew Alice applications for GUI installation of packages, etc. I did not get the network working on my laptop, so I couldn't test it properly, sadly, but from what I saw I was impressed.
Or you could take a look at mini distributions, like Puppy.
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