Recommend a Linux distribution for an old 2GB dual core 64bit machine - Overclock.net

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post #1 of 78 Old 12-09-2017, 04:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Recommend a very lightweight Linux distribution for:

E7500 dual core 64bit 2.93GHz, 2GB RAM dual channel, NV GT430, Atheros AR8121/8113/8114, PS2 keyboard, USB2.0 mouse, some audio (not used), Asus P5P41D.

Beginner Windows user friendly, aka hard for them to mess it up, they can use web browser (Firefox, Chrome, latest versions should be supported), some PDF viewer, JPG viewer, Open/Libre/... Office at most.

There are many distros to choose from, but if anyone has an experience with specific ones on slow machines 2GB or less, recommend. The various bloated GUIs usually make a big difference on RAM and system responsiveness.
It's a long time since I used Linux on a <2GB machine and back then all distros were OK, nowadays they are all mostly bloated and special lightweight options have to be chosen.

If it comes with a firewall and other security features by default that is a plus, I know Linux is not the most favorite for attackers but lets not be fools, it should have a firewall and some antivirus built in if possible, Nix based viruses and other stuff does exist.
Built in automatic updates and an active popular distro updated year by year at least.

Mint?
Ubuntu?
Lubuntu?

These are all Debian forks and forks of each other. I guess Debian is dead old as always so it's now at Ubuntu for a while as a more up to date distribution?

Honestly even if it's a distro that just starts up and opens a web browser, I would give it a try biggrin.gif Chrome OS still valid? Hard to find an official download for it.
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post #2 of 78 Old 12-09-2017, 04:08 PM
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I would recommend Linux Mint for the beginner. And it will run okay on a system with 2gb of ram.

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post #3 of 78 Old 12-09-2017, 08:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Mint booted fine, but it's late, haven't had a chance to dig into system resource usage. All I did find was that I couldn't find any access to the bootable USB data, as in I could not copy from data from USB (drive I booted from and placed data on) to HDD. Is there some hidden location to access the booted USB data? I couldn't see it in dev, mnt, and so on.
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post #4 of 78 Old 12-09-2017, 09:05 PM
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When you boot into the live OS it should have an icon on the desktop that says "Install Linux Mint".

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post #5 of 78 Old 12-10-2017, 06:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Yeah it has but I was looking to copy user data from the USB stick I booted from onto HDD, to do it in Linux instead of the broken WinXP. To avoid exposing the USB to what ever unwanted safteware may still be hidden in WinXP.
Install should not be an issue. I don't have too many USB sticks to play with.
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post #6 of 78 Old 12-10-2017, 09:22 PM
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Hello. I hesitated for a day at "Windows user friendly" because I thought you were looking for a hard drive install system and there's plent convenience distros out there. However it seems you want a Live System you don't have to install to perform some recovery services. For that I have tow suggestions and both will be easy for a Windows user.

The first choice has a number of advantages with the caveat that it comes with some extremely deep level and powerful tools, so you will need to look before you leap or suffer deep consequences BUT the tools are for both Linux and Windows. I'm talking about Hirens Boot Disk (which, btw hasn't included "grey market" software sine version 10. I haven't checked recently but the version I have been using for quite awhile is 15.2. It starts with a Boot Menu for either Windows XP GUI or an elegant Linux GUI. Both are extremely useful and I should mention there are numerous boot options for specific graphics systems, older PCs with hinky ACPI, etc. Hirens is a true treasure trove of tools and copying to USB should be like falling off a log.

The second will probably come as a surprise since there exists so much unwarranted FUD about the Installed system from which it is derived, Slackware/. However Live Slack was designed especially for ease of use and not as a come-on for an installer but to be an actual FULL SYSTEM that is also both portable and has persistance if you wish. It, too is loaded with tools and easy to navigate even for the most devoted pointy-clicky kinda guys. It boots right to X as a logon and "chooser" screen since it comes with several choices for Window Manager. Plasma is probably easiest for many Windows users. Check it out --- H E R E --- It is an awesome system with extreme flexibility, power, and documentation. It will probably spoil you rotten biggrin.gif
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post #7 of 78 Old 12-10-2017, 11:00 PM
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I agree with the poster above, what you are looking for is a Linux system that is persistent. You can try Slackware or you can run Linux mint with a 4GB persistent file that will automatically save everything you do as long as you don't exceed 4GB.

 

If the link above turns out to be too much for you then there is another way to test Linux. Download Lili Creator and any distro, then use the program to create a bootable USB with a 4GB persistent file. That way you have something close to a fully installed Linux OS. I actually used it to run my server for a while and it works.

 

Linux is amazing, if it wasn't for games I would have abandoned Windows long ago.

 

Here is a link to Linux Live Creator:

http://www.linuxliveusb.com

 

Alternatively if you want a really light weight Linux OS you can try Puppy, which is available with both Puppy and Slackware packages (Slackware is newer).

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post #8 of 78 Old 12-11-2017, 08:04 AM
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Just some notes -

Slack Live boots with Syslinux so it doesn't need any extras to setup. It can be copied using the "dd" command and it's ready to go. It's important to realize that essentially all Linux is light at the text level. It's only when one initiates a GUI that things canget heavy... well there are several distros that by default load so many services they can be heavier than they need to be just to cover all the bases but Slackware only loads the bare necessities and expects you to load any special processes/servers. This is extremely functional and light not to mention more secure. It will boot and run just fine with OPs system and has everything needed to accomplish his task and much more.

Hirens Boot CD does require installation on USB devices but it is absolutely simple to burn the iso to a CD and with all the tools it has for both Windows and Linux it is something almost everyone can benefit from over and over again for a guaranteed clean environment with the ability to do just about anything and everything anybody ever needs to do in the way of backups and recovery. It's implementation of GParted is just beautiful and easy as well as safe if the user has any knowledge of partitioning at all.. I'm not sure if newer versions have CloneZilla built in but it has always been an option. Just FTR Hirens has a really sweet Conky built in for system monitoring so you always have an indication of what, if anything, is running and never have to guess about misclicks or stalls and the "conkyrc" is a great intoduction as a template to start your own configuration.

ping Liranan - I am curious what games presently keep you tied to Windows these days. I am a very avid gamer and this last year I had a Slackware uptime of eleven months and only stopped then to boot Win 7 exactly once to try to confirm that an EarForce headset I received as a gift was defective. FWIW I only booted Win 7 after I had also booted an older version of Slackware 32 bit that I keep around to do what little pro recording work I still do as it doesn't have the latency of Pulseaudio being Alsa-only (Oh that usurper Poettering! frown.gif )

In any case with wine-staging, wine steam and linux steam there are extremely few games I can't run and run with very little hit and often, superior performance.
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post #9 of 78 Old 12-11-2017, 06:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enorbet2 View Post

Hello. I hesitated for a day at "Windows user friendly" because I thought you were looking for a hard drive install system and there's plent convenience distros out there. However it seems you want a Live System you don't have to install to perform some recovery services. For that I have tow suggestions and both will be easy for a Windows user.

The first choice has a number of advantages with the caveat that it comes with some extremely deep level and powerful tools, so you will need to look before you leap or suffer deep consequences BUT the tools are for both Linux and Windows. I'm talking about Hirens Boot Disk (which, btw hasn't included "grey market" software sine version 10. I haven't checked recently but the version I have been using for quite awhile is 15.2. It starts with a Boot Menu for either Windows XP GUI or an elegant Linux GUI. Both are extremely useful and I should mention there are numerous boot options for specific graphics systems, older PCs with hinky ACPI, etc. Hirens is a true treasure trove of tools and copying to USB should be like falling off a log.

The second will probably come as a surprise since there exists so much unwarranted FUD about the Installed system from which it is derived, Slackware/. However Live Slack was designed especially for ease of use and not as a come-on for an installer but to be an actual FULL SYSTEM that is also both portable and has persistance if you wish. It, too is loaded with tools and easy to navigate even for the most devoted pointy-clicky kinda guys. It boots right to X as a logon and "chooser" screen since it comes with several choices for Window Manager. Plasma is probably easiest for many Windows users. Check it out --- H E R E --- It is an awesome system with extreme flexibility, power, and documentation. It will probably spoil you rotten biggrin.gif
I'm looking for a Linux or other popular(ish) free OS that is relatively hard to mess up and resistant to web or even USB viruses, malware, etc.
It is not for me but for a very basic, uber computer beginner so all they truly need is have a web browser.
Machine, well machine is in parts now after I OCed it and am replacing all thermal compounds, adding fans, changing heatsinks for better. Coz I have unused lying around spares of such old things.
The OS will be the only OS installed on a slow HDD that hopefully won't suffer any more bad sectors as I had to repair 8 of them.
Mint seemed to work from USB, not sure how fast when using web browser, didn't try it yet. So even if the HDD dies user can just get/find a USB stick and I can put some live Linux on it, if the motherboard cooperates to boot from it every time without user intervention, sometimes the USB can be wonky.

I don't need to do any recovery, the WinXP has been cleaned and played with for lulz, then drive wiped with Win10 actually installing on this dinosaur PC but it will get wiped once more and reinstalled with Linux before going to the target user.

I've used Hiren before but haven't had a need for it in a long time. Not sure I still have the old version that was fully features before they removed stuff because licenses. A long time, hell might still have a copy on some CD lost somewhere as I don't use any optical medias for over a decade, all the CD/DVD drives die on me and I have no need for feeding their poor manufacturing. No idea why the latest guide for Hiren USB is so complicated, I just use Rufus for all bootable USB creation. 15.2 latest, very old, Hiren dead probably.

I've tried Slackware and most Linux distros long ago. Used to be a total mess 10 and more years ago, half the things not supported nor working. Nowadays who knows how the distributions differ, there are many more and even more clones and clones of clones, or forks, call it what you like.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Liranan View Post

I agree with the poster above, what you are looking for is a Linux system that is persistent. You can try Slackware or you can run Linux mint with a 4GB persistent file that will automatically save everything you do as long as you don't exceed 4GB.

If the link above turns out to be too much for you then there is another way to test Linux. Download Lili Creator and any distro, then use the program to create a bootable USB with a 4GB persistent file. That way you have something close to a fully installed Linux OS. I actually used it to run my server for a while and it works.

Linux is amazing, if it wasn't for games I would have abandoned Windows long ago.

Here is a link to Linux Live Creator:
http://www.linuxliveusb.com

Alternatively if you want a really light weight Linux OS you can try Puppy, which is available with both Puppy and Slackware packages (Slackware is newer).
Will check puppy. Interesting it can preload itself to RAM.
Quote:
Originally Posted by enorbet2 View Post

Just some notes -

Slack Live boots with Syslinux so it doesn't need any extras to setup. It can be copied using the "dd" command and it's ready to go. It's important to realize that essentially all Linux is light at the text level. It's only when one initiates a GUI that things canget heavy... well there are several distros that by default load so many services they can be heavier than they need to be just to cover all the bases but Slackware only loads the bare necessities and expects you to load any special processes/servers. This is extremely functional and light not to mention more secure. It will boot and run just fine with OPs system and has everything needed to accomplish his task and much more.

Hirens Boot CD does require installation on USB devices but it is absolutely simple to burn the iso to a CD and with all the tools it has for both Windows and Linux it is something almost everyone can benefit from over and over again for a guaranteed clean environment with the ability to do just about anything and everything anybody ever needs to do in the way of backups and recovery. It's implementation of GParted is just beautiful and easy as well as safe if the user has any knowledge of partitioning at all.. I'm not sure if newer versions have CloneZilla built in but it has always been an option. Just FTR Hirens has a really sweet Conky built in for system monitoring so you always have an indication of what, if anything, is running and never have to guess about misclicks or stalls and the "conkyrc" is a great intoduction as a template to start your own configuration.

ping Liranan - I am curious what games presently keep you tied to Windows these days. I am a very avid gamer and this last year I had a Slackware uptime of eleven months and only stopped then to boot Win 7 exactly once to try to confirm that an EarForce headset I received as a gift was defective. FWIW I only booted Win 7 after I had also booted an older version of Slackware 32 bit that I keep around to do what little pro recording work I still do as it doesn't have the latency of Pulseaudio being Alsa-only (Oh that usurper Poettering! frown.gif )

In any case with wine-staging, wine steam and linux steam there are extremely few games I can't run and run with very little hit and often, superior performance.

Well it's not for me. For me a Linux simply doesn't have the necessary software nor quality of it yet. Most stuff is Windows only, Mac/Nix at best but not Linux as they don't give out the Mac source code so that someone could port it to Linux/Nix from the Mac/Nix. Blame Apple I guess.
There are things that exist only for Windows and as well some that exist only on Linux, although Windows should be able to run Linux apps now.
Wine never worked well for me. GPU drivers on Linux tend to be a joke compared to Windows from my experience. And overall the driver support used to be horrendous 10 years ago, nowadays probably not an issue unless again you get new hardware and only Windows drivers are provided to you while Linux doesn't understand this new hardware yet, not that Windows always does properly either but at least it works and is officially supported.

I did some programming on Linux and wanted to pull all my hair out. In the end I just did it in Visual Studio on Windows machine and compile, run, test etc. in a virtual Linux machine or remote Linux machine. With Java... well the IDEs were so awful they crashed and crashed where as the same IDE on Windows ran fine.
Sure these days it's not so bad, I've seen the bad days of 2000-2010 and in 90s it was probably borderline unusable except for specific use cases and selected hardware I don't remember anyone who would bother with Linux in 90s.

For a common user Linux is fine for a long time. But for advanced, nah, I couldn't stand it for the lack of solid working applications. And I don't even want to think about running wine and trying to get some proprietary behemoth Windows software to cooperate. I would rather run a virtual Windows machine on top of Linux than deal with wine.


But for the target beginner computer user that only needs a web browser, Linux will do just fine and hopefully help prevent getting the OS infected, no surprise the WinXP was rotten since support for it is over and security on it was awful always.
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post #10 of 78 Old 12-12-2017, 01:14 PM
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Maybe it's just that your experience is 10 years old, but your concerns don't apply anymore. In fact, back then if one chose even new hardware carefully it worked just fine - Example - nVidia linux drivers have never been a joke and have gotten even better over time and now compare directly and favorably with their Windows drivers. This is true not only in Benchmarking but in real world usage

Circa Now, Linux supports vastly more hardware than Windows does partly due to CPU platform variety but for example I just bought an nVidia GTX 1070 Ti the very day they went on sale and not only did it immediately work on 3 flavors of Linux but updated drivers were also available that very day.

The only serious drawback software wise is in commercial use where some companies require Office versions for docs and some 3D rendering apps like CAD. For them, clones aren't good enough... but then, as you say, it's not for you.

In the case of beginner use, it is relatively easy to employ something like Live Slack with persistence and create a Home directory on a hard drive where all the most dangerous deep level stuff is Read-Only and therefore incorruptible at the very least not kept for the next boot, but one can still install new apps even though Slackware comes with more default apps installed than any other distro and more vanilla as well.. However that just isn't needed since because of Linux architecture where everything is compartmentalized viruses and malware just can't get a grip. The few security issues that pop up are immediately patched.

Just an anecdote, but I have been running Linux all but exclusively for just shy of 20 years and I don't bother with AV apps like ClamAV. I have a decent firewall supplemented with TripWire and constantly monitor login attempts on my desktop via Conky and/or STDIN/STDOUT. I run rkhunter roughly once a month even though I regularly have uptimes measured in many months and never, not once, has Slackware ever been compromised in even the smallest of ways.

Naturally Live Slack has web browsers installed by default and in most cases will connect immediately. It has some 2000+ apps installed but if that or anything about Live Slack is just too much for you or your targeted User, one sweet alternative is a derivative called Porteus

You can check it out here which demonstrates it's rather unique ability to customize your iso before you even download it. One example can be found --- H E R E on YouTube ---

If you haven't tried Linux in 10 years I think you have quite a surprise awaiting you. There are even commercial PCs now that come with a custom Linux installation for GrandParents that utterly onits any risk since only the distributor can install anything which they do in release cycles. This seems perfect for those who only wish to browse, email, Facebook and maybe chat. This may not be for you or your client but it does display proof of concept.

Good Fortune.
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