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Low Spec Linux Challenge

 
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bschool



Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2005 1:00 pm
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 1:12 pm    Post subject: Low Spec Linux Challenge Reply with quote

OK I want the impossible:

I've got 39 low spec PCs on my hands that I'd like give away. Unfortunatley I can't hand them out with Windows on as this'll cause licencing woes.

The PCs specs are as follows:

P75 Mhz (Intel)
24Mb Ram
2 Gig HD
Snd & Lan cards (Don't know brands)
4X CDROM (Not all but most)

I need a complete operating system with a wordprocessor, a web browser & all other usual refinements. - It's got to be easy to install and run and include all the drivers I could need. (inc external modems and printers).

Is this possible? As a complete Linux noob any links or advise would be great. (something on a bootable cd would rock!)

btw I tried giving them away to charities but they're to low spec!

Thanks:)
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M-Saunders
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Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 1:14 pm
Posts: 2893

PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 2:11 pm    Post subject: RE: Low Spec Linux Challenge Reply with quote

Well, the RAM is going to be the limiting factor there. You can find quite a few Linux apps that're easy on the CPU, but you'll get into a horrid swapfest if you try to run more than one app on such a machine. Have a search on Freshmeat and the like for light distros -- DamnSmallLinux could possibly squeeze into it, although it'll still be sluggish.

The alternative is to find a suitably old distro and work from there. Red Hat 5.2 should be OK -- I got that running quite happily on a 486 with 16M RAM once. You'll want to avoid KDE and Gnome; instead, try IceWM to give users that Windows-esque feel, and perhaps an AbiWord release of that time. Netscape 4.x is ugly as sin but should still chug along for Interweb-related capers.

Maybe even BeOS would squeeze on (free to download and use)...

Good luck!

M
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Flea
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Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2005 2:03 pm
Posts: 258
Location: Ferryhill, Co. Durham

PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 2:13 pm    Post subject: RE: Low Spec Linux Challenge Reply with quote

I reckon that Slackware with the FVWM desktop would work fast enough. add the Rox Filer manager because XFM is horrible Smile
I would think the main problem will be lack of memory, you should dedicate some of the hard disk space to a swap partition.

Honestly though I don't think those box's are suited to a desktop environment, they would be better employed as servers, little mp3 boxs perhaps?
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M-Saunders
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Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 1:14 pm
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 2:41 pm    Post subject: RE: Low Spec Linux Challenge Reply with quote

Come to think of it, you could also try FreeDOS and the OpenGEM GUI, or similar. Will be much lighter than a full UNIX variant like Linux, but still pretty effective. You can get small word processors and browsers for DOS/GEM.

M
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bschool



Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2005 1:00 pm
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 3:02 pm    Post subject: RE: Low Spec Linux Challenge Reply with quote

Thnx guys:) These machines are achingly slow but they do run win95 with word97? and netscapeX-old. I like the look of DSL I'll try it.

But it's looking like I'll have to skip'em. Oh well at least the 90+ 14" monitors have a home.
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Nigel
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Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2005 9:03 pm
Posts: 1141
Location: Gloucestershire, UK

PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 4:30 pm    Post subject: RE: Low Spec Linux Challenge Reply with quote

Rather than skipping all of them, would it not be possible to build a smaller number of better spec machines ?
Like doubling up the memory and disk ? 48Mb memory and 4Gb disk will certainly allow you to run an older distro - I've succesfully run Slackware 3.3 on a 486-25 with that amount of memory and disk.

Here's a really mad idea... I wonder if you could build a BeoWolf cluster using all 39 machines ?
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towy71
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Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2005 3:11 pm
Posts: 4259
Location: wild West Wales

PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 4:32 pm    Post subject: RE: Low Spec Linux Challenge Reply with quote

Sustainable Computing White Papers list these as being good as terminals, if I was close enough I would beg for half a dozen for my village hall for teaching purposes
hohum
Dick
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still looking for that door into summer
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Flea
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Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2005 2:03 pm
Posts: 258
Location: Ferryhill, Co. Durham

PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 4:46 pm    Post subject: Re: RE: Low Spec Linux Challenge Reply with quote

Nigel wrote:
Here's a really mad idea... I wonder if you could build a BeoWolf cluster using all 39 machines ?


Thats not mad, thats a really cool idea providing he has the space to spare Wink
there is what seems to be a few "guides" here and here and here

Dave.
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Nigel
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Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2005 9:03 pm
Posts: 1141
Location: Gloucestershire, UK

PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 5:09 pm    Post subject: Re: RE: Low Spec Linux Challenge Reply with quote

Flea wrote:

Thats not mad, thats a really cool idea providing he has the space to spare Wink


39 machines in one place in this weather... only if you have decent aircon Shocked
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alloydog
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Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2005 8:32 pm
Posts: 600

PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2005 6:46 pm    Post subject: RE: Re: RE: Low Spec Linux Challenge Reply with quote

You need FreeDOS: http://www.freedos.org/ ('s got a 32bit kernel to boot!)
Seal desktop: http://sealsystem.sourceforge.net/
After that I'm sure you find a 101 applications to run on them - such as word processor, spreadsheets and so on, all being open source, so no 'creative' licencing required...

Most network crads still have DOS driver available, but I'm not sure about the printers - most new printers are USB connected, and whilst there are USB drivers for DOS out there, there still might not be the printer driver available.
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