Overclock.net › Forums › Software, Programming and Coding › Operating Systems › Linux, Unix › Linux on an old laptop
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Linux on an old laptop

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 
My long-term goal of installing Arch Linux on my desktop is on hold as I wait to make some hardware purchases, but I have a goal for the weekend of installing Damn Small Linux on my old Toshiba Satellite (Celeron 300, 10 GB IDE hard drive, ~192 MB of RAM or so).

Primary goals:
  • I need it to be able to read NTFS flash drives. I want them to auto-detect and show up with my other drives, the same as they do in Windows (I read something about mounting flash drives that made me uneasy).
  • I need to install Comical.
  • I need to install a wired LAN card (Belkin, I believe, but I'll check when it's time for that).
  • I need to install a music player like Foobar, and a video player like VLC. I'm pretty sure those both have Linux versions, but if not, I can substitute. DSL includes XMMS, but I don't know if I'll like it.
  • I need to install Trillian or some other MSN-compatible instant messenger.

These must be done by Monday morning (or all the necessary packages must be on the installation CD, and I must have instructions to install them all). I might be taking a trip, and I'll need entertainment with me.

Secondary goals:
  • I've been using Windows 98 and 2000 on this and an identical laptop, and they run sort of slowly, so I suspect I might want every little bit of performance I can get. Is it possible to compile the kernel or something for DSL? Can I do that between, say, tonight and Sunday afternoon? Will I get much benefit?
  • I'd like to use the command line as little as possible for everyday tasks, because I might be sharing this laptop with other people who will know even less than I do. What steps do I need to take to ensure this?

What I want to do is download the DSL installation files and burn them to a CD that also has any additional packages I need. Then I want to let the thing run its course over the weekend as I periodically monitor it.

I don't have my heart set on DSL or the DSL goals. I'm inclined towards DSL because this is, in every way, a legacy machine, and DSL is aimed at that. Really, though, I just want to maximize my hardware, because with Windows, those laptops sometimes have a hard time playing 640x480 video, and I like videos. If Gnome or KDE or something will make my experience better (keeping in mind I'm new to this), then I can entertain alternate packages, but since I have to have it all done over the weekend, I don't want to have to spend too much time messing around with it at this time. There's a second hard drive I can get for experimentation later.

Okay, so: what do I need to do to accomplish my primary goals by Sunday afternoon?
Unicorn
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 920 C0 @ 4.2 GHz (finally!) Asus P6T Deluxe V1 eVGA GTX460 1GB 6 GB Patriot 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
60 GB Vertex 2, 1 TB HDD, 2x 500 MB non-RAID HDD LG Blu-ray Reader Windows 7 / XP Pro Samsung 2443 
PowerCase
850 Watt Antec Modded CM 690 
  hide details  
Reply
Unicorn
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 920 C0 @ 4.2 GHz (finally!) Asus P6T Deluxe V1 eVGA GTX460 1GB 6 GB Patriot 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
60 GB Vertex 2, 1 TB HDD, 2x 500 MB non-RAID HDD LG Blu-ray Reader Windows 7 / XP Pro Samsung 2443 
PowerCase
850 Watt Antec Modded CM 690 
  hide details  
Reply
post #2 of 48
Have you though about Ubuntu's Netbook Remix (http://www.ubuntu.com/netbook)? Might run nice on that older laptop, flash drives are plug and play, they automount.... Pidgin comes installed, it handles most messenger clients, if not all. VLC... user# sudo apt-get install -y vlc <enter> done. For WIFI cards, boot up with the device plugged in, and enable 3rd party hardware, and there should be a driver suitable for you...
Gaming Rig
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Q9550 @ 4.0 EVGA nForce 790i SLI 9800GTX+ & 250GTS SLI enabled CORSAIR XMS3 1333 4 Gig's 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSKeyboard
2 36Gig raptor's RAID 0, 2 120 Seagate RAID 0 None Win 7 64bit G15 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
OCZ 700W Tower Server case (Maker Unknown) VooDooDNA standard 
  hide details  
Reply
Gaming Rig
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Q9550 @ 4.0 EVGA nForce 790i SLI 9800GTX+ & 250GTS SLI enabled CORSAIR XMS3 1333 4 Gig's 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSKeyboard
2 36Gig raptor's RAID 0, 2 120 Seagate RAID 0 None Win 7 64bit G15 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
OCZ 700W Tower Server case (Maker Unknown) VooDooDNA standard 
  hide details  
Reply
post #3 of 48
Thread Starter 
What are the hardware requirements? The closest I could find was "Try it and see!", which isn't helpful. Also, how much legacy hardware support does it include?

Edit: after a closer look, the requirements (or recommended requirements, it's unclear) seem to be in the 1 GHz / 1 GB range. Absolutely not.
Edited by MrDeodorant - 6/11/10 at 9:04am
Unicorn
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 920 C0 @ 4.2 GHz (finally!) Asus P6T Deluxe V1 eVGA GTX460 1GB 6 GB Patriot 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
60 GB Vertex 2, 1 TB HDD, 2x 500 MB non-RAID HDD LG Blu-ray Reader Windows 7 / XP Pro Samsung 2443 
PowerCase
850 Watt Antec Modded CM 690 
  hide details  
Reply
Unicorn
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 920 C0 @ 4.2 GHz (finally!) Asus P6T Deluxe V1 eVGA GTX460 1GB 6 GB Patriot 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
60 GB Vertex 2, 1 TB HDD, 2x 500 MB non-RAID HDD LG Blu-ray Reader Windows 7 / XP Pro Samsung 2443 
PowerCase
850 Watt Antec Modded CM 690 
  hide details  
Reply
post #4 of 48
If I were you I'd take an hour or two and a couple blank CDs or a 1GB flashdrive and try Puppy Linux and Slax Live CDs. They're a little more feature full than DSL which is nt only convenient fro the apps you want but also for the likelihood of running all your hardware out-of-the-box. They are both very fast even on old hardware, They both run reasonably well on an ancient lappy I have, a Sony Vaio 433MHz w/ 128M ram.
NewMain
(16 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5 - 3550 Asrock Z77 Extreme4 Gigabyte GTX 760  4x2GB Corsair Vengeance 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Seagate SATA 2TB x 2  Plextor PX-891SAW CM-Hyper N520 Slackware 14, Studio KUbuntu, OpenSuSe 12.3, Wi... 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
32" Vizio HDTV + DLP Logitech Wireless Corsair HX-850 Antec Sonata I 
MouseMouse PadAudioOther
Razer DeathAdder 2013 dual ESI Juli@ CoolGear ExtSata Enclosure w/ Optical and 3TB S... 
  hide details  
Reply
NewMain
(16 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5 - 3550 Asrock Z77 Extreme4 Gigabyte GTX 760  4x2GB Corsair Vengeance 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Seagate SATA 2TB x 2  Plextor PX-891SAW CM-Hyper N520 Slackware 14, Studio KUbuntu, OpenSuSe 12.3, Wi... 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
32" Vizio HDTV + DLP Logitech Wireless Corsair HX-850 Antec Sonata I 
MouseMouse PadAudioOther
Razer DeathAdder 2013 dual ESI Juli@ CoolGear ExtSata Enclosure w/ Optical and 3TB S... 
  hide details  
Reply
post #5 of 48
Thread Starter 
Puppy Linux is something I've been considering, but for some reason I got it in my head that it wasn't really meant as a hard-drive based, persistent settings OS. I don't mind trying them out, but again, I have a small number of goals and a hard deadline. I'm not sure how much time I have to spend trying out different distributions for this first iteration of my Linux Lappy. I imagine, though, that I can at least spend an hour each getting to know them.

I'm glad to hear that you've actually tried them on an ancient laptop. I'm a definite fan of first-hand experience.

Am I going to have problems getting them to recognize an NTFS flash drive? That's going to be my immediate method of data transfer between my desktop and my laptop, because I've filled all the network ports on my router at the moment.
Unicorn
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 920 C0 @ 4.2 GHz (finally!) Asus P6T Deluxe V1 eVGA GTX460 1GB 6 GB Patriot 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
60 GB Vertex 2, 1 TB HDD, 2x 500 MB non-RAID HDD LG Blu-ray Reader Windows 7 / XP Pro Samsung 2443 
PowerCase
850 Watt Antec Modded CM 690 
  hide details  
Reply
Unicorn
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 920 C0 @ 4.2 GHz (finally!) Asus P6T Deluxe V1 eVGA GTX460 1GB 6 GB Patriot 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
60 GB Vertex 2, 1 TB HDD, 2x 500 MB non-RAID HDD LG Blu-ray Reader Windows 7 / XP Pro Samsung 2443 
PowerCase
850 Watt Antec Modded CM 690 
  hide details  
Reply
post #6 of 48
Exactly because I have no experience with USB formatted to NTFS is why I recommended LiveCDs. Literally in 2 hours you should have your answer. Puppy installs nicely to hdd. I have it on that old lappy right now. It made it still useful.

I also have a customized Slackware install on there that I installed once Slax convinced me it would run nearly as fast as Puppy with a lot more stuff on it. Slax can be installed to hdd now, even though it is primarily a dedicated LiveCD. If you like it though I'd install Slackware because it will most definitely do everything you want.

Not knowing your level of expertise, I'd recommend Puppy first as (assuming it works to your satisfaction) it is easier to complete in the allotted time. Slackware would be better by far but would take a little longer to deploy.

The 2 hour investment should save you many hours of fine tuning a fixed install that starts off with less support and/or performance than you need.
NewMain
(16 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5 - 3550 Asrock Z77 Extreme4 Gigabyte GTX 760  4x2GB Corsair Vengeance 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Seagate SATA 2TB x 2  Plextor PX-891SAW CM-Hyper N520 Slackware 14, Studio KUbuntu, OpenSuSe 12.3, Wi... 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
32" Vizio HDTV + DLP Logitech Wireless Corsair HX-850 Antec Sonata I 
MouseMouse PadAudioOther
Razer DeathAdder 2013 dual ESI Juli@ CoolGear ExtSata Enclosure w/ Optical and 3TB S... 
  hide details  
Reply
NewMain
(16 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5 - 3550 Asrock Z77 Extreme4 Gigabyte GTX 760  4x2GB Corsair Vengeance 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Seagate SATA 2TB x 2  Plextor PX-891SAW CM-Hyper N520 Slackware 14, Studio KUbuntu, OpenSuSe 12.3, Wi... 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
32" Vizio HDTV + DLP Logitech Wireless Corsair HX-850 Antec Sonata I 
MouseMouse PadAudioOther
Razer DeathAdder 2013 dual ESI Juli@ CoolGear ExtSata Enclosure w/ Optical and 3TB S... 
  hide details  
Reply
post #7 of 48
Thread Starter 
What's the performance difference going to be, if any, between running from CD and running from HDD? I'd like to run as little of the OS in RAM as I can without sacrificing speed.
Unicorn
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 920 C0 @ 4.2 GHz (finally!) Asus P6T Deluxe V1 eVGA GTX460 1GB 6 GB Patriot 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
60 GB Vertex 2, 1 TB HDD, 2x 500 MB non-RAID HDD LG Blu-ray Reader Windows 7 / XP Pro Samsung 2443 
PowerCase
850 Watt Antec Modded CM 690 
  hide details  
Reply
Unicorn
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 920 C0 @ 4.2 GHz (finally!) Asus P6T Deluxe V1 eVGA GTX460 1GB 6 GB Patriot 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
60 GB Vertex 2, 1 TB HDD, 2x 500 MB non-RAID HDD LG Blu-ray Reader Windows 7 / XP Pro Samsung 2443 
PowerCase
850 Watt Antec Modded CM 690 
  hide details  
Reply
post #8 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrDeodorant View Post
What's the performance difference going to be, if any, between running from CD and running from HDD? I'd like to run as little of the OS in RAM as I can without sacrificing speed.
All I can tell you, as I never really benched them, is that I didn't notice any appreciable difference with Puppy but Slackware is noticeably faster on hdd than Slax was off CD, at least w/ 128M ram and no swap for Slax. It may be important to note that none were slow to me, even on a 433MHz. I actually wondered if it had to do with general Sony quality in chipset etc because I was expecting slooow and it is quite usable, despite the awful Neo-Magix video chipset.. Tiny XP crawls by comparison.

Over time I gravitated to Slackware because it was almost as fast as Puppy and had so much more in it since the installer allows a LOT of choice. So I was able to keep it compact but still have what I want. .
NewMain
(16 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5 - 3550 Asrock Z77 Extreme4 Gigabyte GTX 760  4x2GB Corsair Vengeance 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Seagate SATA 2TB x 2  Plextor PX-891SAW CM-Hyper N520 Slackware 14, Studio KUbuntu, OpenSuSe 12.3, Wi... 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
32" Vizio HDTV + DLP Logitech Wireless Corsair HX-850 Antec Sonata I 
MouseMouse PadAudioOther
Razer DeathAdder 2013 dual ESI Juli@ CoolGear ExtSata Enclosure w/ Optical and 3TB S... 
  hide details  
Reply
NewMain
(16 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5 - 3550 Asrock Z77 Extreme4 Gigabyte GTX 760  4x2GB Corsair Vengeance 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Seagate SATA 2TB x 2  Plextor PX-891SAW CM-Hyper N520 Slackware 14, Studio KUbuntu, OpenSuSe 12.3, Wi... 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
32" Vizio HDTV + DLP Logitech Wireless Corsair HX-850 Antec Sonata I 
MouseMouse PadAudioOther
Razer DeathAdder 2013 dual ESI Juli@ CoolGear ExtSata Enclosure w/ Optical and 3TB S... 
  hide details  
Reply
post #9 of 48
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I'm not a bench whore by any means, but it's good to come in knowing that it'll be slowed a bit by running from CD.
Unicorn
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 920 C0 @ 4.2 GHz (finally!) Asus P6T Deluxe V1 eVGA GTX460 1GB 6 GB Patriot 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
60 GB Vertex 2, 1 TB HDD, 2x 500 MB non-RAID HDD LG Blu-ray Reader Windows 7 / XP Pro Samsung 2443 
PowerCase
850 Watt Antec Modded CM 690 
  hide details  
Reply
Unicorn
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 920 C0 @ 4.2 GHz (finally!) Asus P6T Deluxe V1 eVGA GTX460 1GB 6 GB Patriot 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
60 GB Vertex 2, 1 TB HDD, 2x 500 MB non-RAID HDD LG Blu-ray Reader Windows 7 / XP Pro Samsung 2443 
PowerCase
850 Watt Antec Modded CM 690 
  hide details  
Reply
post #10 of 48
The most noticeable increase in speed came when I replaced the original 20 G hdd w/ a Seagate 80G 7200 rpm drive. If you have a decent speed drive you can miinimize ram usage by supplying a swap partition. It's a tradeoff but it isn;t hard to find a decent balance.
NewMain
(16 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5 - 3550 Asrock Z77 Extreme4 Gigabyte GTX 760  4x2GB Corsair Vengeance 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Seagate SATA 2TB x 2  Plextor PX-891SAW CM-Hyper N520 Slackware 14, Studio KUbuntu, OpenSuSe 12.3, Wi... 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
32" Vizio HDTV + DLP Logitech Wireless Corsair HX-850 Antec Sonata I 
MouseMouse PadAudioOther
Razer DeathAdder 2013 dual ESI Juli@ CoolGear ExtSata Enclosure w/ Optical and 3TB S... 
  hide details  
Reply
NewMain
(16 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5 - 3550 Asrock Z77 Extreme4 Gigabyte GTX 760  4x2GB Corsair Vengeance 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Seagate SATA 2TB x 2  Plextor PX-891SAW CM-Hyper N520 Slackware 14, Studio KUbuntu, OpenSuSe 12.3, Wi... 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
32" Vizio HDTV + DLP Logitech Wireless Corsair HX-850 Antec Sonata I 
MouseMouse PadAudioOther
Razer DeathAdder 2013 dual ESI Juli@ CoolGear ExtSata Enclosure w/ Optical and 3TB S... 
  hide details  
Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Linux, Unix
Overclock.net › Forums › Software, Programming and Coding › Operating Systems › Linux, Unix › Linux on an old laptop