Lightweight distros for old computers

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Faust
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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Postby Faust » Tue Apr 11, 2017 6:32 am

I'm an incurable distro-hopper , and the lightweights always get my attention .

I've got an ancient thumb drive ( 500 MB ) and if a distro runs live from that I rate it as truly lightweight
( eg quirky puppy 7.0.3 and there is still enough space for the save file !!! )

I'm a few weeks into casual testing of MX-16 and I can't fault it ( it's a big improvement from Anti-x , which I tested years ago )

Following the mention in this thread I had a quick look at Busenlabs , and it looks like another winner to me ,
or one to grab the iso and add to the list , anyway .

I liked crunchbang , back in the day ..... just not enough to stick with it :)
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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Postby lmintnewb2 » Tue Apr 11, 2017 4:23 pm

Gnu/Linux is pretty much simply always gnu/linux. Spend the time and effort it takes to learn about it and it's much the same. Whatever distro(s) a person likes.

Example just got done installing/setting up(config+tweak)openbox alongside cinnamon. Lmde 64bit, bare metal install. When setting openbox as default xsession

Code: Select all

sudo update-alternatives --config x-session-manager


Choose it as default, at boot its using 151mbs-ram. So really any distro can be config'ed to run great on lowspec systems.

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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Postby ColdBoot » Tue Apr 11, 2017 4:51 pm

lmintnewb2 wrote:Gnu/Linux is pretty much simply always gnu/linux. Spend the time and effort it takes to learn about it and it's much the same. Whatever distro(s) a person likes.


Yes, however, the point is to get a turn-key solution without spending time and effort. :mrgreen: Building from the ground up is interesting once or twice like Debian netinstall or Arch. Afterwards, one searches for the ready-made-burn-and play ways to achieve the same end.
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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Postby lmintnewb2 » Tue Apr 11, 2017 6:10 pm

^ No offense but speak for yaself fellow nixer. :) Imo, there is no real set point to nix and a person who wants to learn about the subject has to invest time+effort to do so, no matter what.

Agree it can be fun or flat-out easier to start with the right distro for the situation sometimes but that's nothing set in stone either. Am totally sure could tweak ie: KDE or whichever other to run fine on a 1gb-mem system.

Really like LM, also happen to like openbox. Rather than waiting around for Mint HQ to go to the trouble of releasing an openbox version, did for myself. So I get to have my Mint (w openbox) and eat it too. :D

And this config would fly along fine on low-spec, dated hardware. So answer to op's topic, like answer to so much else, it depends.

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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Postby Lucap » Wed Apr 12, 2017 1:38 am

Porteus.

Seff
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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Postby Seff » Thu Apr 13, 2017 6:33 pm

I did a search and found this: http://geektrio.net/?p=2636 which is a short list of distro's with images less than a GB in size. Slax, based on Slackware, is very interesting- it has a unique package manager and approach to live systems.
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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Postby KBD47 » Thu Apr 13, 2017 11:42 pm

ColdBoot wrote:
Yes, however, the point is to get a turn-key solution without spending time and effort. :mrgreen: Building from the ground up is interesting once or twice like Debian netinstall or Arch. Afterwards, one searches for the ready-made-burn-and play ways to achieve the same end.


I also find it interesting to do a Debian netinstall once in awhile. It is a bit of work and makes me appreciate the ready-made, ready to use out of the box, distros like Mint. As for MX 16 I would add I'm really enjoying that distro as well and though lightweight on resources it's very much ready to use out of the box.

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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Postby Lucap » Fri Apr 14, 2017 3:30 am

Seff wrote:I did a search and found this: http://geektrio.net/?p=2636 which is a short list of distro's with images less than a GB in size. Slax, based on Slackware, is very interesting- it has a unique package manager and approach to live systems.


http://ftp.nluug.nl/os/Linux/distr/port ... 4/current/

Porteus ( originally called Slax Remix ) is a modern fork of Slax and works in the same way.

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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Postby Carrock » Fri Apr 14, 2017 5:40 am

There's also the lxle approach: a massive distro of light programs with a light desktop.

Even fairly ancient machines generally have ample disk space; after installation the size of the distro doesn't matter.

I only stopped using lxle as I (subjectively) didn't like the desktop.

Here on mint 18 Sarah 64bit xfce I see on task manager the cpu is at about 8% with about 10 (light) idling programs in the taskbar.

It would be hard to find an alternative that does much better.

I don' know how old the secondhand HP Compaq dc7600 I'm on now is, but a couple of years ago I updated the bios to the latest version... 29th March 2007.

lmintnewb2

Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Postby lmintnewb2 » Sat Apr 15, 2017 3:34 am

Yep more babble. Debian 9 (Stretch). 64bit.

Expert graphical install, only chose base system + xfce to make xorg etc easier to config. Once again openbox and tint2 set as default xsession, along-side xfce4. Does take some dorking around to get setup, not over much.

Installing my preferred apps, config'ing, yada, yada. At boot idle for this sucker = 149mbs-ram. Blazes along nicely.

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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Postby KBD47 » Sat Apr 15, 2017 5:02 pm

lmintnewb2 wrote:Yep more babble. Debian 9 (Stretch). 64bit.

Expert graphical install, only chose base system + xfce to make xorg etc easier to config. Once again openbox and tint2 set as default xsession, along-side xfce4. Does take some dorking around to get setup, not over much.

Installing my preferred apps, config'ing, yada, yada. At boot idle for this sucker = 149mbs-ram. Blazes along nicely.


So is Stretch pretty stable at this point? No major bugs?
Glad to hear Debian has stayed so light on resources.

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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Postby lmintnewb2 » Mon Apr 17, 2017 5:06 pm

^Seems fine to me but haven't been running it very long. Plus I've mixed repos a bit, so not 100% Stretch anymore. Think it's safe to assume anything Debian is about to release as stable is going to be their usual rock solid.

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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Postby KBD47 » Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:53 pm

lmintnewb2 wrote:^Seems fine to me but haven't been running it very long. Plus I've mixed repos a bit, so not 100% Stretch anymore. Think it's safe to assume anything Debian is about to release as stable is going to be their usual rock solid.


I got curious and installed the RC3 of Stretch. Wanted to try out KDE--not exactly lightweight. So far seems very solid. New Stable should be awesome when officially released.

lmintnewb2

Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Postby lmintnewb2 » Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:11 pm

^ Understandable w a full install + non-tweaked kde etc. Excluded installing a bunch of packages in expert graphical as mentioned and of course with openbox as default, it's a ton lighter than it would be otherwise and agree it'll be great when it officially becomes stable. I <heart> Debian. :)

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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Postby Timmi » Fri May 12, 2017 10:06 pm

I've used Mint on and off since version 4 or 5. And I've talked to anyone about it who would listen.

But as of late, I no longer know if this is really something to replace Windoze with the intent of saving old hardware. With the latest Ubuntu base, everything is slowing down. Even my daughter had me roll back her netbook's Peppermint to version 6, because 7 is too sluggish.

Incidentally, Maté uses about 46% less memory than xfce (making me wonder if xfce is now outdated, since it's no longer the lightweight window manager).
So Maté is probably a good choice.

But I tend to shun away from anything that actually needs all the modern hardware that one has. And the latest Ubuntu seems more in an alliance with the PC makers à-la-MS than it seems a hardware-saver.
So I really have mixed feelings about these new Linuxes that need so much... and for what? Office isn't going to do new things because the OS has become larger.

For her netbook, I've checked out Bodhi 4.1 (which has a minor bug in Enlightenment, but is otherwise really nice), Porteus, and others, but for now she wants to stick with PM6.

For my nice laptop (haven't had Linux on this one yet), I am now considering Mint versus MX16 versus... well, quite frankly, I don't know where to turn to anymore.
Sure my laptop will run Mint just fine... but I have a tendency to stay away from something that needs all the resources from the get-go.
But hey... maybe that's just me.

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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Postby Pierre » Fri May 12, 2017 10:52 pm

for any older PCs, and those that are still non-PAE
- my goto system was anti-X, but these days, it's more likely to be MX
although the later versions, are slightly slower than the previous versions were.
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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Postby Citizen229 » Sat May 13, 2017 3:35 am

Timmi wrote:I've used Mint on and off since version 4 or 5. And I've talked to anyone about it who would listen.

But as of late, I no longer know if this is really something to replace Windoze with the intent of saving old hardware. With the latest Ubuntu base, everything is slowing down. Even my daughter had me roll back her netbook's Peppermint to version 6, because 7 is too sluggish.

Incidentally, Maté uses about 46% less memory than xfce (making me wonder if xfce is now outdated, since it's no longer the lightweight window manager).
So Maté is probably a good choice.

But I tend to shun away from anything that actually needs all the modern hardware that one has. And the latest Ubuntu seems more in an alliance with the PC makers à-la-MS than it seems a hardware-saver.
So I really have mixed feelings about these new Linuxes that need so much... and for what? Office isn't going to do new things because the OS has become larger.

For her netbook, I've checked out Bodhi 4.1 (which has a minor bug in Enlightenment, but is otherwise really nice), Porteus, and others, but for now she wants to stick with PM6.

For my nice laptop (haven't had Linux on this one yet), I am now considering Mint versus MX16 versus... well, quite frankly, I don't know where to turn to anymore.
Sure my laptop will run Mint just fine... but I have a tendency to stay away from something that needs all the resources from the get-go.
But hey... maybe that's just me.


I have XFCE on my netbook. It uses 144 megs of ram at boot. Are you trying to tell me MATE uses 75-80 megs of ram at boot? I find that hard to believe
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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Postby Lemongrass38 » Sat May 13, 2017 5:08 am

ColdBoot wrote:Yes, however, the point is to get a turn-key solution without spending time and effort. :mrgreen: Building from the ground up is interesting once or twice like Debian netinstall or Arch. Afterwards, one searches for the ready-made-burn-and play ways to achieve the same end.

I don't think I will ditch Arch because just because it takes a little time to configure... I keep my dotfiles in a public repo, I have noted every change I made to my Arch. When I need to reinstall it, I'll just do the same, maybe I automate a part of the installation process with a zsh script.
Timmi wrote:Incidentally, Maté uses about 46% less memory than xfce (making me wonder if xfce is now outdated, since it's no longer the lightweight window manager).
So Maté is probably a good choice.

My fully upgraded Arch Xfce uses about 310 MB when nothing is loaded except my DE. It's quite light and fast. Please run free, smem or screenfetch (preferably all 3) when nothing but the DE is loaded and paste the results here. If you convince me, I will seriously consider changing to Mate. :)
Citizen229 wrote:I have XFCE on my netbook. It uses 144 megs of ram at boot. Are you trying to tell me MATE uses 75-80 megs of ram at boot? I find that hard to believe

How do you achieve that 144 MB? Mint Xfce? You too, please run the commands above. :)
If your issue is solved, please be so kind and indicate that by editing the topic title in the first post. :)

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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Postby Citizen229 » Sat May 13, 2017 7:22 am

From: https://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=60&t=233694&p=1242635&hilit=xfce#p1242635
Posted by Richyrich--
Turn off Compositing in the Window Manager Tweaks program.
Disable autostart programs that are not needed in the Application Autostart tab of the Session & Startup program.
Disable Gnome & KDE services in the Advanced tab of the Session & Startup program.

These 3 thing brought a basic install of mint 17.3 down to 144megs at boot. I have not done 18 yet on the netbook.

Loading netbook....

Looks like its up to 216 at boot. Havent went through and cleaned it up in a while.
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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Postby Lemongrass38 » Sat May 13, 2017 7:49 am

Thanks for the tips, Citizen229! :)
I have disabled composition, and went through all the settings you showed. :) Upon next boot we shall see how my OS performs.
If your issue is solved, please be so kind and indicate that by editing the topic title in the first post. :)


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