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which Linux for old Laptop??

Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 12:16 pm
by HappyLinux
Hey folks, no doubt this sort of question has been put forwards so many times, but each one is sometimes a special case, I don't know. My searches found old posts for various distros that have either changed their names, died out or still exist. So I'm posting this anyway.

I know there are many types of Linux distros, ranging from the standard desktop, to servers, minimalist, bulky, etc.

Mint is great, and I'm using it right now on a dual-boot with Win7.

The things is, all being well, my mum will be getting an old laptop, and to bring life back into it, it's been recommended putting Linux on it. It's currently running Vista, and with the low hardware specs, it crawls, even with a clean install (including drivers) and VLC for playing DVDs, but no extra software like an office suite or Internet Security.

Basically, my brother who has the laptop is going to be using it as a portable DVD player, and perhaps play a game of cards whilst he's away for a couple of weeks, but once he gets back, then my Mum might be getting it.

Her computer usage is minimal. It's mainly internet usage like going on crapbook (sorry, I meant facebook), playing bingo, that sort of thing, so she wouldn't need that much.

The laptop is a Fujitsu-Siemens Esprimo V5535, released either 2007 or 2008. I can't really find much on it's hardware specifications because no 2 websites give the same info.

As far as I know off the top of my head, it's got a Celeron processor, 1GB of memory, a small amount of SIS Mirage onboard graphics, 150GB hard-drive, DVD drive, Realtek LAN and WiFi adapters, Motorola Modem, and can't remember which sound adapter.

I'm pretty much guessing that if I install Mint 13 32bit on the machine, chances are, it won't work out the box for many reason.

There are distros designed for old computer revival like this. I know going for XFCE would be better than say KDE or Cinnamon in this instance, but it's the underlying distro which matters. One place says PuppyLinux, another Xubuntu, another a different one. Which one would be best?

Re: which Linux for old Laptop??

Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 12:41 pm
by Anakinholland
Xubuntu and Puppy are good options, along with Crunchbang. The latter uses OpenBox, but as it's based on Debian as well, XFCE is really easily installed.

Regards,

Anakin

Re: which Linux for old Laptop??

Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 1:06 pm
by The-Wizard
OLD!!!!!! thats a dam site newer than mine, if its a v5535 pre 2009 it should have a 1.9 celeron processor 1mb ram and 80 gb hard drive this is ample to run mint 13-32 bit or if you want to go to a light weight desktop the i would recommend mint11LXDE

but if it were me i would stick to m13 with mate

wizard

Re: which Linux for old Laptop??

Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 3:46 pm
by HappyLinux
The-Wizard wrote:OLD!!!!!! thats a dam site newer than mine, if its a v5535 pre 2009 it should have a 1.9 celeron processor 1mb ram and 80 gb hard drive this is ample to run mint 13-32 bit or if you want to go to a light weight desktop the i would recommend mint11LXDE

but if it were me i would stick to m13 with mate

wizard
I think it's actually a 1.7 celeron, and I wouldn't be surprised if the hard-drive was upgraded at some point.

I think I will try Mint 11 LXDE. I just need to wait till my brother has finished with the laptop.

Re: which Linux for old Laptop??

Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 3:48 pm
by akavir
Earlier this year I refurbed my wife's 9 year old laptop for my 3 year old. I tried many distros and settled on Peppermint OS. It's superlightweight, using about 100Megs of RAM and LXDE. It's stable, and easy to use. Doesn't really come with any software, but it uses the mint software center!

Re: which Linux for old Laptop??

Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 6:39 pm
by nunol
With 1024MB of RAM you can run any 32bit Mint edition. The SIS Mirage could be a problem.

For best performance Mint 12 LXDE or LMDE XFCE but you can run Mint 13 MATE just fine. Mint 11 has 4 months to EOL, it's not your best option.

I am writing this from a 256MB computer and it works fine (Lubuntu 12.04 + tuning: http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=96465):

System: Host: catarina Kernel: 3.2.0-25-generic i686 (32 bit, gcc: 4.6.3)
Desktop: LXDE (Openbox 3.5.0) Distro: Ubuntu 12.04 precise
Machine: System: TOSHIBA (portable) product: Satellite 1410 version: PS141E-07HKF-PT
Mobo: TOSHIBA model: Portable PC version: Version A0 Bios: TOSHIBA version: Version 1.20 date: 10/07/2002
CPU: Single core Mobile Intel Celeron CPU (-UP-) cache: 256 KB flags: (sse sse2) bmips: 3588.27 clocked at 1794.139 MHz
Graphics: Card: NVIDIA NV17 [GeForce4 420 Go] bus-ID: 01:00.0
X.Org: 1.11.3 drivers: nouveau (unloaded: fbdev,vesa) Resolution: 1024x768@60.0hz
GLX Renderer: Mesa DRI nv17 x86/MMX/SSE2 GLX Version: 1.2 Mesa 8.0.2 Direct Rendering: Yes
Audio: Card: Intel 82801CA/CAM AC'97 Audio Controller driver: snd_intel8x0 ports: 1000 1880 bus-ID: 00:1f.5
Sound: Advanced Linux Sound Architecture ver: 1.0.24
Network: Card: Intel 82801CAM (ICH3) PRO/100 VE (LOM) Ethernet Controller
driver: e100 ver: 3.5.24-k2-NAPI port: df40 bus-ID: 02:08.0
IF: eth0 state: up speed: 100 Mbps duplex
Drives: HDD Total Size: 38.0GB (43.5% used) 1: id: /dev/sda model: TOSHIBA_MK3018GA size: 30.0GB
Partition: ID: / size: 19G used: 16G (83%) fs: ext4 ID: swap-1 size: 1.01GB used: 0.00GB (0%) fs: swap
ID: swap-2 size: 0.10GB used: 0.01GB (11%) fs: swap
RAID: System: supported: N/A
No RAID devices detected - /proc/mdstat and md_mod kernel raid module present
Unused Devices: none
Sensors: System Temperatures: cpu: 50.0C mobo: N/A
Info: Processes: 94 Uptime: 24 min Memory: 173.1/243.0MB Runlevel: 2 Gcc sys: N/A Client: Shell inxi: 1.8.5

Re: which Linux for old Laptop??

Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:16 am
by HappyLinux
I was actually thinking that the graphics (Sis Mirage) might be the main problem. As long as there isn't too much fiddling, then I won't have a problem.

I've also forgotten to mention, that the user interface needs to be simple for my Mum's usage, but she'd get use to all but Unity, Gnome 3 and similar. she'd manage the likes of Cinnamon, KDE etc.

Re: which Linux for old Laptop??

Posted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:30 pm
by karmafarmer
I have an ancient laptop - an old IMB Thinkpad.

128MB RAM
8GB HD
Ethernet PCMCIA card extra
1024x768 display

Just recently I did a Debian netinst onto it, and set it up for 3 different configs - command line, X, and modern.

mc, mutt (works great with gmail), mplayer, gnuchess, and lynx for command line
tinywm, worker file manager, leafpad (I can't find time to learn vim and emacs!), xterm for playing in X
chromium browser (with adblocker) and thunderbird for everything else.

Youtube, Facebook, Google Images etc, no problem. Pretty much everything except Flash games!

I tried damnsmall, puppy, slax, tinycore (which didn't work for me), and think this is the best setup.

It's basically a chromebook or a geekbook!

Re: which Linux for old Laptop??

Posted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 4:08 pm
by edwardr
Mint 13 Mate and the soon-to-be-released Mint 13 Xfce should both work fine on those specs (I'm not familiar with the video card, but those two versions do not require 3D graphics). Mint 13 Xfce is currently out as a Release Candidate, hopefully the stable release will be very soon. Both are long term support releases and have interfaces that would be easy to use for someone familiar with Windows XP (I'm assuming she's fine with XP).

My personal choice - I always vote for Xfce!

Re: which Linux for old Laptop??

Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2012 12:51 pm
by HappyLinux
Yep, she's fine with Windows ranging from 95 to Win7. I don't think she's seen Win8 user interface, but I doubt that she'll be able to use it. MacOSX would be fine for her as well, but Macs are too expensive.

Just as long as the UI is simple enough, she's be fine.

Re: which Linux for old Laptop??

Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2012 1:21 pm
by Matt267
HappyLinux,

I have WattOS on a 10 year old Toshiba laptop that my 5 year old daughter uses. It runs well enough for her.

Matt

Re: which Linux for old Laptop??

Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2012 2:00 pm
by HappyLinux
It's a shame that I don't still have my laptop which I had in 2007. Linux worked great on it. It was also my first time using Linux, but the motherboard kept frying every hard drive that I installed in it, starting with the one that came pre-installed. However, after replacing the hard drive every 8 to 10 months grew costly so i dumped it.

If mum still had her Acer laptop, that would also be running a Linux distro by now, but the motherboard fried on that one.

Re: which Linux for old Laptop??

Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2012 8:10 pm
by Bonsaii
On old hardware (Thinkpad 600) I had pretty good results with PuppyLinux and DamnSmallLinux.
Both communities are friendly, helpful and there is plenty of advice in wikis, etc.