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XP or Linux: Which one for an old computer?

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#1 f0rk_b0mb

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 17:54

Hi everyone!

I'm currently an avid user of Kubuntu 12.10 x64 on my mid-end gaming machine, but I recently acquired some old (It's not ancient, but it is old) hardware from a friend and was thinking about doing something with it. I currently have XP Pro on it and I use it primarily to browse the web and do Windows things when I'm booted into Kubuntu when I don't feel like rebooting. There's really no need to upgrade it. I already have a mid-range powerhouse Mac and gaming PC. It's really just my "tinkering" machine. Just seeing what I can do with it. :)


My current machine is as follows:

*DiabloTek DIAMOND CPA-0170 Black Mini Tower case
* 400 watt power supply (came with case)
* ABIT NV7-S Mobo
* Athlon 2400+ "Barton" overclocked from 1.80 @ 2.05 GHz
* 1 GB DDR (2 512mb dual channel)
* AGP NVIDIA MX200 (This is my bottleneck, me thinks)
* 160 GB IDE Drive
* Generic DVD drive

I'm pretty happy with it, but XP is nearing EOL and I'm looking for alternatives. I'd throw the x86 version of Kubuntu 12.10 on it, but I don't think the graphics card would be able to keep up. I was thinking Debian, but I'm not really into advanced distros that require advanced "tweakage" to work. According to my friend Debian is (in his words), "Driver Hell". I looked it up and there's literally 50 ISO's to choose from (8 on the DVD version on i386). What one do I choose if Debian is my best bet? http://www.debian.or...ttp-ftp/#stable I got the idea to use Debian because it uses Gnome 2 which is pretty lightweight and doesn't tax the GPU too much. It's an idea that can be scrapped.

Honestly, what should I do?
A. If it ain't broken don't fix it. - Leave XP on it
B. Go with Linux Distro


#2 Max Norris

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 18:01

Personally I'd just pick based on what sort of software I'd run on it and/or what it to be used for. If it's purely a "web/mail/misc etc" type of things, I'd probably just go with whatever distro you prefer and a lightweight DE just because of the memory constraints. If Windows software was a must, well then you already got your answer. XP will work just as well (shoot I have an old old old tablet with a 900MHz Celeron and 512MB still running it) but as you mentioned, it's on its deathbed as far as support goes. Either one will work just fine, assuming driver support is good for whichever you picked. Could always turn it into a lightweight server as well, in which case I'd pick Linux just as it's a lot lighter in a server environment.. Win2K3 will work just as well as XP but you still get the overhead of the GUI, etc that Linux won't have. Most of my servers run BSD or 2008R2, but one is using Ubuntu 12.04 Server LTS, runs quite well and very snappy considering what it's running on, an ancient first gen Proliant, dual 800MHz Pentiums and 1GB memory.

#3 Gerowen

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 18:06

I would choose a lightweight Linux distro such as Debian, or a cut down version of Ubuntu (there is a Mate repository for Ubuntu I do believe so you can get back to the Gnome 2 desktop on newer versions of the OS) if you are into the Ubuntu One cloud and want to keep it in sync with all your stuff.

If you don't have a specific purpose for it you could always use it as a "test bed". Install 5 or 6 different operating systems. You know, 2 or 3 popular Linux distros, a couple different versions of Windows, FreeBSD, and maybe even OSX, and use it as sort of a developer test bed to test program code or what have you, or just as a toy to show off, :p

If you choose to go with Debian I recommend their netinstall. The majority of those DVDs are just hard copies of their repositories and not necessary unless you opt to install a piece of software that is on one of them. The easiest way is the netinstall disc. Just go to www.debian.org and in the top right you'll see a graphic to download a netinstall disc. It's only about 150 MB and contains the install software for 32 bit, 64 bit, graphical and text, so it's kind of a universal installer. You walk through the setup process and then it downloads everything from their repos as it installs, so depending on your internet speed it may take a little longer than using a DVD, but you won't be downloading 20-30 DVDs because you don't know which ones you need. You also avoid having to install updates as soon as you get to the desktop because it's downloading the newest version of everything straight from their repos.

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#4 skilithead

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 18:08

You mite check out Absolute , or Vector (Slack based) . Both pretty light weight .

#5 OP f0rk_b0mb

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 18:22

Personally I'd just pick based on what sort of software I'd run on it and/or what it to be used for. If it's purely a "web/mail/misc etc" type of things, I'd probably just go with whatever distro you prefer and a lightweight DE just because of the memory constraints. If Windows software was a must, well then you already got your answer. XP will work just as well (shoot I have an old old old tablet with a 900MHz Celeron and 512MB still running it) but as you mentioned, it's on its deathbed as far as support goes. Either one will work just fine, assuming driver support is good for whichever you picked. Could always turn it into a lightweight server as well, in which case I'd pick Linux just as it's a lot lighter in a server environment.. Win2K3 will work just as well as XP but you still get the overhead of the GUI, etc that Linux won't have. Most of my servers run BSD or 2008R2, but one is using Ubuntu 12.04 Server LTS, runs quite well and very snappy considering what it's running on, an ancient first gen Proliant, dual 800MHz Pentiums and 1GB memory.


Windows software isn't really a must. There are Linux ports of those apps or alternatives I could use. I'm not too conformable around an OS without a GUI...yikes! :)

I would choose a lightweight Linux distro such as Debian, or a cut down version of Ubuntu (there is a Mate repository for Ubuntu I do believe so you can get back to the Gnome 2 desktop on newer versions of the OS) if you are into the Ubuntu One cloud and want to keep it in sync with all your stuff.

If you don't have a specific purpose for it you could always use it as a "test bed". Install 5 or 6 different operating systems. You know, 2 or 3 popular Linux distros, a couple different versions of Windows, FreeBSD, and maybe even OSX, and use it as sort of a developer test bed to test program code or what have you, or just as a toy to show off, :p

If you choose to go with Debian I recommend their netinstall. The majority of those DVDs are just hard copies of their repositories and not necessary unless you opt to install a piece of software that is on one of them. The easiest way is the netinstall disc. Just go to www.debian.org and in the top right you'll see a graphic to download a netinstall disc. It's only about 150 MB and contains the install software for 32 bit, 64 bit, graphical and text, so it's kind of a universal installer. You walk through the setup process and then it downloads everything from their repos as it installs, so depending on your internet speed it may take a little longer than using a DVD, but you won't be downloading 20-30 DVDs because you don't know which ones you need. You also avoid having to install updates as soon as you get to the desktop because it's downloading the newest version of everything straight from their repos.



LOL! I was thinking about dual booting with XP and a couple of distros. :) Whoops! didn't see that button there. I've seen Debian installed before, I just didn't know if they were doing a net install like you told me or literally sitting there poping disk in and out. It was probably a net install. :happy: Thanks for that!

You mite check out Absolute , or Vector (Slack based) . Both pretty light weight .


Vector look kinda nice. :)

#6 guitmz

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 18:24

crunchbanglinux.org

or fuduntu.org

enough said.

#7 OP f0rk_b0mb

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 18:26

crunchbanglinux.org

or fuduntu.org

enough said.


I've used #! before on my ancient Gateway P3 laptop and actually thought about using it. Thanks for that. :)

#8 Max Norris

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 18:27

Windows software isn't really a must. There are Linux ports of those apps or alternatives I could use. I'm not too conformable around an OS without a GUI...yikes! :)

The yea, I'd probably avoid XP just because of the legacy issue if anything else, although if that doesn't phase you then by all means... it still works and all that.

Well, if you're going the desktop route then there's a couple DE's that would work. XFCE or LDXE for example, AwesomeWM is my personal favorite for "ultralight" (but I don't recommend that for most people), there's others. I'd avoid the heavier ones like KDE 4, Unity, etc just because of the constraints.. probably would work but probably wouldn't be too thrilled with the results either. Pick whatever flavor distro you're comfortable working (doesn't really matter, different methodologies, more or less same end result) and give them a whirl.

#9 OP f0rk_b0mb

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 18:34

The yea, I'd probably avoid XP just because of the legacy issue if anything else, although if that doesn't phase you then by all means... it still works and all that.

Well, if you're going the desktop route then there's a couple DE's that would work. XFCE or LDXE for example, AwesomeWM is my personal favorite for "ultralight" (but I don't recommend that for most people), there's others. I'd avoid the heavier ones like KDE 4, Unity, etc just because of the constraints.. probably would work but probably wouldn't be too thrilled with the results either. Pick whatever flavor distro you're comfortable working (doesn't really matter, different methodologies, more or less same end result) and give them a whirl.


No please, by all means, help me murder XP. :) I was thinking about xfce, maybe Xubuntu. (i'm really digging the *buntu distros) But yeah, I'm really trying to avoid the heavier ones.

#10 Max Norris

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 18:40

No please, by all means, help me murder XP. :) I was thinking about xfce, maybe Xubuntu. (i'm really digging the *buntu distros) But yeah, I'm really trying to avoid the heavier ones.

I've not used Xubuntu much beyond toying with it on a test machine, but seemed pretty solid overall for an XFCE based distro, and you still got the Ubuntu repositories/ways of doing things behind it. Personally if I were going with Linux (again, prefer BSD but I'm old and grew up with Unix anyway) I'd probably go with Arch as you can set it up exactly as you want and it's lean as all hell, only bloat is what you installed, but that's a bit more hands-on than many people like. Xubuntu is a great pick if you want to keep it simple.

#11 OP f0rk_b0mb

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 20:24

I've not used Xubuntu much beyond toying with it on a test machine, but seemed pretty solid overall for an XFCE based distro, and you still got the Ubuntu repositories/ways of doing things behind it. Personally if I were going with Linux (again, prefer BSD but I'm old and grew up with Unix anyway) I'd probably go with Arch as you can set it up exactly as you want and it's lean as all hell, only bloat is what you installed, but that's a bit more hands-on than many people like. Xubuntu is a great pick if you want to keep it simple.


I thought about arch too. It's a bear to install and I'm a linux noob. LOL!

#12 Growled

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 02:36

Nothing beats Puppy.

#13 abandonedaccount

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 02:39

I recommend Crunchbang Linux. I am running that on an Acer Aspire 1810T off a 64GB flash drive. At least Crunchbang is still maintained and is not EOL like Windows XP.

#14 Mindovermaster

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 03:43

I had #! on my old netbook, and really got used to it.

I did run DSL for a time. (Damn Small Linux)

#15 redvamp128

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 03:47

I had #! on my old netbook, and really got used to it.

I did run DSL for a time. (Damn Small Linux)


Or

PUPPY LINUX

http://puppylinux.or...g%20Started.htm

Maybe consider Warry puppy...

AND it is compatible with Ubuntu packages.

OR --

DUAL BOOT
This is what I did for my old Dell Inspiron B130- 1gig of memory and 1.6ghz Penitum M.

Have the best of both worlds... make 60gig for each os with a shared 20gig in-between to store videos/pictures/songs....