Other distros for old computers?

Forum Forums General Other Distros Other distros for old computers?

  • This topic has 35 replies, 16 voices, and was last updated Apr 6-1:50 pm by fatmac.
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  • #133059
    Moderator
    Brian Masinick

      On DistroWatch, I used THEIR search tool, specifying OS Type Linux and Distribution Category: Old Computers.

      The list came up like this:

      1) antiX
      2) Puppy Linux
      3) Q4OS
      4) Bodhi Linux
      5) wattOS
      6) Emmabuntüs
      7) ALT Linux
      8) Absolute Linux
      9) LXLE
      10) Tiny Core Linux
      11) SliTaz GNU/Linux
      12) Legacy OS

      There are others, and to me, there is no doubt that
      this list is NOT necessarily in order of usefulness
      or size. For example, Tiny Core Linux is perhaps
      the smallest of all but nowhere near complete enough
      (or current enough). Damn Small Linux (DSL) is also listed;
      I haven’t seen a recent version of it, but if anyone
      wants it for an ultra old system, it may be worth
      using in that case.

      It’s nice to see antiX at the top of the list
      because it doesn’t sacrifice small image size;
      to me it is the PRACTICAL minimum size except for
      special cases; those are the cases where Tiny
      Core or DSL may be useful to a small number of
      people.

      --
      Brian Masinick

      #133060
      Member
      anti-apXos

        Someone coming from Windows and needing the Bodhi Linux community will certainly be left without help and options. Certainly the person will have to go back to Windows.

        @marcelocripe It seems like any time Bodhi is mentioned here, you post this. I guess you must have had a bad experience with the Bodhi forums, but your experience is not universal. Bodhi ewas my introduction to Linux and I found the forum welcoming and friendly and it’s where I learned a lot about Linux. I did not “certainly” go back to Windows.

        What leads to a negative experience online is complex and it can happen anywhere. I have seen enough people on these forums go away offended to know that it happens here, too.

        Bidhi Linux may not be a “beginner distro” in the way that Linux Mint is, but that doesn’t mean that beginners can’t use it or won’t find help on the forums. It’s deceptive to use that quote from ylee to imply anything like that.

        #133063
        Moderator
        Brian Masinick

          Someone coming from Windows and needing the Bodhi Linux community will certainly be left without help and options. Certainly the person will have to go back to Windows.


          @marcelocripe
          It seems like any time Bodhi is mentioned here, you post this. I guess you must have had a bad experience with the Bodhi forums, but your experience is not universal. Bodhi was my introduction to Linux and I found the forum welcoming and friendly and it’s where I learned a lot about Linux. I did not “certainly” go back to Windows.

          What leads to a negative experience online is complex and it can happen anywhere. I have seen enough people on these forums go away offended to know that it happens here, too.

          Bodhi Linux may not be a “beginner distro” in the way that Linux Mint is, but that doesn’t mean that beginners can’t use it or won’t find help on the forums. It’s deceptive to use that quote from ylee to imply anything like that.

          Thank you for sharing this point of view.
          To me the whole point of “distributions” is to provide diversity.
          Some will find a given system interesting; others may not.

          Some people who are experienced user *may* be helpful people, but
          if they’re using a complex distribution, they may grow tired of
          repeatedly answering the same kinds of questions.

          In this forum, for the most part, we’ve been helpful, but even
          here, on a few occasions, we’ve had people become frustrated
          because the same things were being asked repeatedly. Some of
          us have pointed to specific discussions; others have patiently
          repeated things.

          It’s hard to be “perfect” to everyone; this distribution, as
          good as it is, is certainly not perfect for everyone; it’s just
          right for the majority of users who come here seeking to find
          a system that works well on aging systems, but some of these
          same people (I’m one of them) have both new and old systems;
          we’ve managed to do a pretty good job making our stuff work
          across a broad range of systems in age and features.

          There’s a lot to like about choices. I encourage people
          to at least try different things. For some, our distribution
          will remain their favorite as it has for me. For others, they
          will find something else that hits the right combination of
          features for their specific needs and interests.

          That’s the great story, for BOTH old and new systems;
          I split off another topic so those of us who want to
          discuss stuff that’s not necessarily old won’t disturb
          this discussion, so the focus here can remain with OLD
          computers.

          --
          Brian Masinick

          #133074
          Member
          olsztyn

            What leads to a negative experience online is complex and it can happen anywhere. I have seen enough people on these forums go away offended to know that it happens here, too.

            I did not mean to jump into this topic but I felt the post of @anti-apXos is important to highlight. I do agree with @anti-apXos’ point and even to the extent as to change just two letters in the above statement to read ‘I have seen enough people on this forum go away offended’, including an extremely productive contributor without whom antiX would not be what it is now…

            As therefore I have entered this thread, I might as well add my opinion on the objective:

            – There are quite a few distros that may be called suitable for old(er) computers, often in general reviews measured by memory and cpu required to run and perform basic functions, such as web browsing, often with a unique or old and limited web browser.
            As criteria of evaluation have not been generally established to measure one distro against another, often in general reviews rating distros as good for old computers apples are being compared to oranges. If the reviewer puts antiX in the same category for the sake of evaluation of suitability for old computers as e.g. SliTaz or TinyCore then such review misses the originally established point.
            SliTaz and TinyCore are just examples to highlight what it means ‘suitable for old computers’ as the objective of this thread originator:

            – SliTaz (I used long time ago) architecture is very modular and modularity is my ideal. Just to have it hands-on, I tested the latest today and in terms of memory footprint it used just 75M memory on my test laptop. Such small memory footprint is just amazing and it has LXDE as desktop environment! I did not know you can have an LXDE running with 75M memory footprint, … That is much less that I was able to run antiX in. Although I distinctly remember a former antiX Forum member @Andy (now showing as anonymous or banned) from two years ago, who was too insistant on proving advantage of LXDE for antiX (such as showing his antiX running with about 75M memory footprint) and eventually got banned for that…
            So, SliTaz has wonderful memory footprint to run on old computers, but in reality just with a specific internet browser. Not even Mozilla Firefox can be installed on SliTaz. From AV area no VLC, no MPV can run. Some old hardware, such as WiFi cards, are not recognized on SliTaz but are fine with antiX.
            So what is real and practical usefulness of such OS for old computers, aside from very low memory footprint?

            – TinyCore (I used it long time ago for quite some time): Wonderful little Linux running in extremely low memory requirements. Completely modular, which is my ideal. I was able to even run Chromium browser.
            However: Modular architecture was based on contained packages for software with extension of ‘.tcz’. This was similar to a tiny appimage format, where many required components were packaged together and such .tcz mini-appimages could be loaded and unloaded in a dynamic fashion. This is a great design for modularity and the TinyCore owner was obvious a genius.
            Problem is that such architecture required all software to be packaged in .tcz format to be used. You could not attach any mainstream repo and install stuff at will. Someone had to package software into these modules. I remember a great contributor to TinyCore from Hungary who did wonders…
            Great idea of modularity but it was never picked up into mainstream and I am not sure to what degree it is developed in these times…
            Hardware support was again a similar issue, to emphasize this aspect.
            So in all practicality can TinyCore be compared as ‘usable for old computers’? I do not think so, as much as I am fond of that modular architecture… At least not in comparison to antiX…

            These are just examples and my opinion…

            • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by olsztyn.
            • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by olsztyn.
            • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by olsztyn.

            Live antiX Boot Options (Previously posted by Xecure):
            http://antixlinuxfan.miraheze.org/wiki/Table_of_antiX_Boot_Parameters

            #133081
            Moderator
            Brian Masinick

              @olsztyn
              You are right on.
              I also used several of the distributions named on the list.

              Puppy and Absolute Linux are among the few that work at all on most of systems.

              Absolute Linux has to be replaced in order to get the current version.

              Puppy Linux only works for certain types of Woof variations. Again versions and features, though there are great ideas here.

              I come back to the simple truth that antiX works for my scenarios, old and new.

              --
              Brian Masinick

              #133108
              Forum Admin
              anticapitalista

                @olsztyn – andy was banned for verbally abusing (regularly) one of our mods/regular users.

                Philosophers have interpreted the world in many ways; the point is to change it.

                antiX with runit - leaner and meaner.

                #133114
                Member
                Xunzi_23

                  For a real beginner who is prepared to learn Bodhi is a good distro. The community does not spoon feed. That is fine, user gets free software, he can in return put some effort in to searching, reading, learning to use what is offered. And be grateful for all the hard work put in to creating the distro….

                  I see no other distro as complete as antiX.
                  Have liked Sparky, and as a light option Puppy. Puppy and its variants are definitely different but Impressive and very usable. Sparky is at times a bit experimental but worked well enough for daily usage.

                  Marcello wrote,

                  if a beginner doesn’t have the minimum conditions to learn and have help, a beginner won’t be able to do everything alone and will certainly abandon the GNU/Linux distribution

                  That I agree with, the help is freely available, a new antiX user, a lady has repeatedly said she only needs to read the work of PPC or on occasion search in the forum. She is resourceful, definitely not lazy and recommending antiX to others.
                  Typ 2 user is expecting the community to carry and feed them like a baby. That kind will likely always be a crying burden.
                  Typ 3 old and sick or sick, they are often ashamed to be a burden and try and hide the fact. those I try to help with a fully configured setup.

                  #133208
                  Member
                  punranger

                    Thanks for all your comments. I was sort of anticipating some discussion as to what “for old computers” means, which is an interesting topic in itself, but also highly relevant for my original question. Which is why I stated that the criteria were subjective. Now, I’ve got a list of candidates, and quite a few arguments for each suggestion. It’s also interesting to see how interesting the discussion can become when I ask an open-ended question. I learned something new. It’s going to be quite a lot of work if I decide to go ahead with my video idea. I’ve seen a lot of lazy articles comparing distros on the popular “FOSS” sites. I would like to do something a little deeper.

                    antiX linux: The best way to revive an old computer - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCTaUAP6sSg

                    #133218
                    Moderator
                    Brian Masinick

                      @punranger your “open-ended question” did indeed draw different comments from the participants.

                      I’m glad you were able to get some ideas; best wishes as you proceed from here.
                      The topic that I split off also has some interesting comments as well. Hope that it is useful information.

                      --
                      Brian Masinick

                      #138035
                      Member
                      fatmac

                        Tiny Core Plus & SliTaz are the smallest I know of, that may well suit Windows refugees on old 32bit hardware, but if it is 64bit, Fatdog64 is a good option. 🙂

                        Linux (& BSD) since 1999
                        Ultra Small Form Factor & thin client computers

                        #138263
                        Member
                        PDP-8

                          Don’t overlook Raspberry Pi Desktop for PC/MAC. Basically Debian LXDE nicely customized to be super-simple, and they did a nice job of that (to more or less emulate the look on the raspberry pi hardware). Currently 32-bit only, and Debian 11 Bullseye as the base. Props to the dev that did the lxde customizing. One could always just use Debian, but the overhaul on the desktop presentation to really keep it simple for those that want that was impressive.

                          #138271
                          Moderator
                          Brian Masinick

                            Tiny Core Plus & SliTaz are the smallest I know of, that may well suit Windows refugees on old 32bit hardware, but if it is 64bit, Fatdog64 is a good option. 🙂

                            @fatmac a long time ago when I had 2000-2010 vintage 32-bit hardware (and somewhat after that when I kept two laptops), I got good use out of Tiny Core and SliTaz. Like you said, “Old 32-bit hardware”. Last I tried either one, even on OLD 64-bit hardware, no such luck. I no longer have access to Ethernet, so that means that wireless drivers have to work out of the box, or I have no available solution.

                            Don’t overlook Raspberry Pi Desktop for PC/MAC. Basically Debian LXDE nicely customized to be super-simple, and they did a nice job of that (to more or less emulate the look on the raspberry pi hardware). Currently 32-bit only, and Debian 11 Bullseye as the base. Props to the dev that did the lxde customizing. One could always just use Debian, but the overhaul on the desktop presentation to really keep it simple for those that want that was impressive.

                            Same with this one @PDP-8; I don’t have the right hardware to run any of these lean distributions any more; antiX is one of the lightest distros that actually work for me these days.

                            --
                            Brian Masinick

                            #138273
                            Moderator
                            Brian Masinick

                              There are distros for old computers with 64-bit; the ones that work with 32-bit (including ours) can work with REALLY old computers!

                              --
                              Brian Masinick

                              #138333
                              Member
                              seaken64

                                I suggest you take a look at the topic System Requirements for antiX and other Debians which was created by
                                seaken64.

                                I went back and read that post. It’s a little old now but I think I still agree, at least when using 32-bit. For 64-bit systems I have loosened my requirements.

                                So, what are we talking about when we say “old computers”? These days I would guess that we are mostly talking about dual core processors with 2GB of RAM. Most are now 64-bit. So with that in mind I would expand my list with Xubuntu and Lubuntu and Mint and Mint Debian edition. If staying with 32-bit then I stand by my list in that earlier post. It includes most of the Distros mentioned here in this thread.

                                I have commented many times that antiX continues to win in my own tests for low resources and usability. AntiX should be on top. Then MX Fluxbox, MX LXLE, MX Xfce, and Debian XFCE. In that order.

                                Seaken64

                                #138334
                                Member
                                seaken64

                                  I would stress “usability”. Especially for Windows exhiles. Some the distros will work on old computers. But it may be difficult to install software or use modern browsers, etc. The community, as mentioned, is also important. For instance, Debian XFCE 32-bit works fine. But antiX is much easier to actually USE without having to be an Linux expert.

                                  Seaken64

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