Lightweight distros for old computers

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xfrank
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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Post by xfrank » Fri Jun 09, 2017 8:25 pm

I have tried again MX16 Linux (Xfce), this time the 64 bit version. It's simply amazing! At idle it consumes 267MB RAM only, after the usual tweaking (removing daemons from startup, mostly). And it is so responsive and fast. How a nice distro! It has the same lightness and speed of pure Debian Xfce, but is much more polished out from the box, and with some very useful apps like MX Tools and Apt Notifier (similar to LM updater). Moreover it's the ONLY Xfce distro with system sounds enabled by default and working! (I like system sounds, and I'm very disapponted that all Xfce distros I've tried don't allow activating them).
I would reccomend this distro for very low end PCs, when even LMDE2 Mate feels slow or not enough fast and responsive. Moreover, it has a strong Mint taste... :)
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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Post by Citizen229 » Fri Jun 09, 2017 9:40 pm

xfrank wrote:I have tried again MX16 Linux (Xfce), this time the 64 bit version. It's simply amazing! At idle it consumes 267MB RAM only, after the usual tweaking (removing daemons from startup, mostly). And it is so responsive and fast. How a nice distro! It has the same lightness and speed of pure Debian Xfce, but is much more polished out from the box, and with some very useful apps like MX Tools and Apt Notifier (similar to LM updater). Moreover it's the ONLY Xfce distro with system sounds enabled by default and working! (I like system sounds, and I'm very disapponted that all Xfce distros I've tried don't allow activating them).
I would reccomend this distro for very low end PCs, when even LMDE2 Mate feels slow or not enough fast and responsive. Moreover, it has a strong Mint taste... :)
As an XFCE fan I wish XFCE was an option for LMDE. /hint /winks /nudges
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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Post by KBD47 » Sat Jun 10, 2017 11:02 am

Agree. MX 16 refutes all those who complain about Debian's limitations or things not working out of the box. MX 16 is Debian on steroids but still lightweight on resources. It is hard to believe they squeezed so much into that little distro--everything works and it is very polished. Looking forward to MX 17 based on Stretch when it comes out.

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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Post by Lucap » Sun Jun 11, 2017 8:47 am

Does MX 16 use SystemD ?

I've tried so many distros i can't remember what is what. :)

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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Post by KBD47 » Sun Jun 11, 2017 1:25 pm

Lucap wrote:Does MX 16 use SystemD ?

I've tried so many distros i can't remember what is what. :)
https://mxlinux.org/wiki/system/systemd

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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Post by Lucap » Mon Jun 12, 2017 12:55 am

KBD47 wrote:
Lucap wrote:Does MX 16 use SystemD ?

I've tried so many distros i can't remember what is what. :)
https://mxlinux.org/wiki/system/systemd
Perfect , Thanks

MX 16.1 has been released.

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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Post by xfrank » Fri Jun 23, 2017 7:19 pm

Was just released a new version of Sparky Linux based on Debian Stable (LXDE and Xfce). In the past I've tried the Debian Testing based edition, and this Debian spin is indeed fast on old hardware. I don't like very much Testing because the updates are excessive (too much, time-consuming and causing stability problems), but now that Sparky has switched to Stable, worth to try again. :)

https://sparkylinux.org/download/stable/#stable
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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Post by KBD47 » Fri Jun 23, 2017 8:20 pm

Re: Sparkylinux:
Just curious do you know who makes this distro?
I tried it quite awhile back and I remember it used the Mint-type LMDE installer, wonder if this Stable version still uses it?

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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Post by lmintnewb2 » Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:48 pm

Had a neighbor visit and to my horror, the friggin guy decided to spill a beer on my only available laptop. :( *Weeps, to add insult to injury it was a beer I'd just given him, more *Weeps !

So being cheap and generally broke, what's a geek to do ? Visit my cities craigslist and search for cheapy hardware o course and came across a Dell 1545 w 4gbs-ddr2, dual-core and win10 main OS. Hmmmm, bought the sucker for $90 bucks and yep, blazes along just fine. Even with a fraction of the hardware specs of my (rest in peace :( ) former laptop.

OS's atm, Bunsenlabs Linux Hydrogen 32bit non-pae iso, a second Hydrogen install, that was promptly dist-upgrade'd to latest Debian Stretch and a pure 32bit Debian Stretch install that boot idles at all of 78/79mbs-ram. All of them blaze along fine and really didn't do ( or have to do much tweaking to any of them.) Though getting the dang broadcom wireless setup and running on the Debian Stretch install made me pull out a couple handfuls of hair !

Used the Bunsenlabs iso, which detected and installed via broadcom wireless no problem, so gave no problem getting wireless network working during chroot, coupled with having to chroot the Stretch install's partition and install blahblahblah, other various things to get it to recognize and use the wireless interface. Other than that all of them blaze along great on this dated and under-powered laptop.
lscpu tells me proc is Intel(R) Pentium(R) Dual CPU T3400 @ 2.16GHz
Yep you guessed it ... more *Weeping arghhhhhh ! Though hey, for real it runs great for such a dated laptop. Gnu/Linux can certainly breathe new life into whatever spec hardware. Also kinda forgot to mention, that yep, it's openbox (windows manager) and tint2 as the taskbar in all these installs. Bunsenlabs gnu/Linux comes with both ootb, as the continuation of #! ( Crunchbang gnu/Linux) and on Debian Stretch that's the gui I opted for accordingly.

"We don need no stinking heavy gui's !" :)

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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Post by lmintnewb2 » Wed Oct 18, 2017 1:45 am

And just to be overly anal ... added the amd64 arch to this 32bit Stretch install and installed an amd64 kernel, appears to be working fine. So yeppers, 32bit gnu/Nix OS w a 64bit kernel booted. Going to play around with this again, it's not overly hard to undue and remove a foreign-architecture if needed.
Atm output of "uname -r" is "4.12.0-0.bpo.2-amd64" on a 32bit Debian Stretch install and booted idle "free -m" was sub-100mbs. So yeah this sucker should run 32b and 64b packages depending upon how they're installed no problem. A mix of old and new, since the hardware is up to the task. May as well.
So stuff like Chrome dropping support for 32bit flash could be mitigated on such a multiarch system. As clearly a amd64bit version of Chrome and effected software could easily be installed and run while booted into a 64b kernel on a 32b OS. Things like that, whether worth the butt pain to undertake, not so sure. It's interesting though so willing to dork around with it. Obviously a 64bit browser (any web browser), isn't going to work overly well on such an install if the OS is booted into 32bit mode.

Long since taken to running FF installed to a dedicated directory in ~/ anyway, so clearly on this setup can run 64b or 32b FF w/o problems depending upon which kernel is currently booted. Though atm, never bothered learning how to do so with Google Chrome, though don't doubt the app could be installed/run from a dedicated directory either. Just not sure at present how that'd be done.

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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Post by KBD47 » Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:17 am

There was a time I thought I could not do without Chrome browser, but Firefox has been so good that I don't miss Chrome at all.

lmintnewb2

Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Post by lmintnewb2 » Wed Oct 18, 2017 6:51 pm

Usually don't install Chrome anyway but did occur this could be a work around for some people who prefer Chrome (with full flash support offered in 64bit), though also opt for 32bit gnu/Nix due to lower memory footprint. Easy to add the amd64 architecture and install a 64bit kernel to a 32b OS in gnu/Linux. Then install the 64bit version of Chrome onto it. Though the system needs a processor that's 64bit capable obviously. That's what I just did, for the sake of confirming it works and yep, it does. Typing this on Chrome 64bit, on Debian Stretch 32bit.

Really only a random thought and usecase for multiarch operating systems. Amazing what gnu/Linux devs can do. Seems like skies the limit. :)
Just some observations noticed during the process, Chrome had to pull in a bunch of dependencies to install on a 32bit OS and had to resort to "sudo apt-get -f install" to get the thing done.

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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Post by aledie » Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:22 pm

Bunsen Desktop (Openbox+Tint2+Nitrogen+Conky) installed on the top of a clean LM Mate 18.3 install with some extra tweaking (disabled services, composition etc.). Light and fast enough for my older PC. The RAM consumption right after booting up around 180-200MB.

download/file.php?mode=view&id=38875

Used the following wiki:
1) https://sites.google.com/site/easylinux ... mate-first
2) https://cowizard.altervista.org/install ... bs-ubuntu/
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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Post by Moem » Sun Jan 07, 2018 6:30 am

Well, I have a bit of a headscratcher here...
I inherited another pavement tile: it's a Fujitsu Siemens Amilo A7620 (Athlon XP-M). 32-bits, non-PAE. Great machine as long as you want to use it for hand-to-hand combat as it weighs a tonne. It came with XP, which booted, and with 512 MB of RAM; I found 2 x1 GB of DDR 333MHz memory, which it sees in BIOS. But it can't boot anymore because XP throws a fit before it gets to a desktop. So I tried Mint XFCE 32-bits, Lubuntu, Bodhi Legacy, MX16... all of which reliably ended with a kernel panic before a full boot was accomplished. The only OS that will boot to a partial desktop is Knoppix 3.6 and even then it won't run any commands.

Maybe this one really *is* too old?
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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Post by Artim » Sun Jan 07, 2018 6:45 am

Moem wrote:Well, I have a bit of a headscratcher here...
I inherited another pavement tile: it's a Fujitsu Siemens Amilo A7620 (Athlon XP-M). 32-bits, non-PAE. Great machine as long as you want to use it for hand-to-hand combat as it weighs a tonne. It came with XP, which booted, and with 512 MB of RAM; I found 2 x1 GB of DDR 333MHz memory, which it sees in BIOS. But it can't boot anymore because XP throws a fit before it gets to a desktop. So I tried Mint XFCE 32-bits, Lubuntu, Bodhi Legacy, MX16... all of which reliably ended with a kernel panic before a full boot was accomplished. The only OS that will boot to a partial desktop is Knoppix 3.6 and even then it won't run any commands.

Maybe this one really *is* too old?
I have a similar machine running LXLE. It's very slow, but actually functional. I just hate to throw away a perfectly good machine. Disconnected from the Internet, even these ancient bricks are good for school work and other tasks. Online is a different story.

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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Post by Moem » Sun Jan 07, 2018 6:50 am

Artim wrote:I have a similar machine running LXLE. It's very slow, but actually functional.
Well, if it boots, it boots... the problem so far is a total lack of ability to boot any Linux-based OS that I've tried. Is there any reason to believe that LXLE would not get the same kernel panic that I've now seen happening before getting to boot Mint XFCE 32-bits, Lubuntu, Bodhi Legacy and MX16?
If there is, I'll be happy to try it.

How similar is your similar machine?
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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Post by JoeFootball » Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:42 am

Moem wrote:... I found 2 x1 GB of DDR 333MHz memory ...
Could the RAM be faulty? Can you run MemTest from the boot menu of a Linux Mint live session?

Joe

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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Post by Moem » Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:44 am

JoeFootball wrote:Could the RAM be faulty? Can you run MemTest from the boot menu of a Linux Mint live session?
I tried that for a while and it seemed OK and then I got bored with it. Could try again and let it run a little longer this time... it doesn't actually stop, does it?
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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Post by JoeFootball » Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:48 am

Moem wrote:... then I got bored with it.
Yes, low entertainment value indeed. :)
Moem wrote:it doesn't actually stop, does it?
It's my recollection that it does eventually end its run of different tests.

Joe

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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Post by now3by » Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:52 am

I had a similar problem with Amilo L1310G 2x512Mb RAM.
I did not use this computer for 2-3 years and strange one RAM DIMM gone bad.
MemTest test diagnosed the problem on some test and I had to buy 2x1Gb Ram and a also upgraded CPU.
Because CPUID did not show PAE on new CPU but internally it is supported problem was solved with parameter /forcepae at kernel load with Puppy Linux.
Last edited by now3by on Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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