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We have all heard how good Linux is and how bad the dreaded Seattle monolith. Perhaps we should not be too cocky. IBM used to rule the PC market and ...
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  1. #1
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    Beware Conceit


    We have all heard how good Linux is and how bad the dreaded Seattle monolith. Perhaps we should not be too cocky. IBM used to rule the PC market and look what happened to them.

    Linux has its problems and seems doomed to follow MS if not careful. For some time I have been happily using Centos 5 on a home build PC. Old Asrock 810 - or is it 825 - with XP2000 CPU and 512MB RAM. Not a slouch in its own right. Surfing has been quite satisfactory up to now. I use ADSL router and local speed is around 12mbps.

    Anyway the system was accidentally destroyed trying to move to a larger drive. LVM has become a no-no in our house. Definitely not required on small systems. I decided to try one of the nice looking out of the box distros and chose Ubuntu. Very nice package but it had to be removed. It simply refused to work on my hardware. It locked the video into 1280 x 1024. Any attempt to change to any lower setting dumped me back to login. Same happened if any system setting were changed. So out it came and went for SUSE. Downloaded DVD and it failed to install three times, failing at 22% on install from images. Final try installing showing progress bars and it failed at 51%. So try a live CD and WHOA !!! On install you get message "this may not work you have less than 1GB of memory". Probably why the DVD failed without warning.

    What we have now is the Linux community in grave danger of following MS and creating a family of hardware hungry monsters. Wasn't the whole idea to have something light to use on lower spec machines. Lost our way have we? MS may not be popular but they do manage somethings, along with Mac, a lot better. Applications are a nightmanre in Linux. If you do not have one of those pretty newby packages you are in limbo. A package should be just that - get everything in one package. Not with Linux. it is far too fragmented and a right pain to follow all the dependencies NOT in a package. Very poor for the end user and certainly NOT the way to gain mass acceptance. I am not personally impressed when an enterprise size distro will work on a PC that a single CD distro will not even look at.

    Come on folks. Remember what you are here for.

    I have also found KDE to really suck on speed, especially browsing. I used to have an identical machine next to it running WinXP and the latter was definitely better for speed. Gnome is a bit faster but most pages are OK on Linux but this site really is bad for speed.

    I hate to have to say that this site is so slow I am posting this with my Win box just to be able to get some speed out of it. Perhaps 2GB of mem and an AMD64 has something to do with it.

    Windows is not dead yet, and Linux will not triumph at the present rate of knots. It just aint good enough.

  2. #2
    Linux Engineer MASONTX's Avatar
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    Try Lubuntu, AntiX, LegacyOS, Puppy, or any of the other distro's listed at distrowatch.com that have old computers as part of their listing. Linux can play with the old and low ram, and with the new and powerful. Like a lot of things, you have to choose the right tool for the job you have at hand.
    Registered Linux user #526930

  3. #3
    Administrator jayd512's Avatar
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    Welcome to LinuxForums!

    You seem to have quite the fondness for Windows, while doing a little friendly bashing at the same time!
    But You seem to be bashing Linux, as well.

    I hope you find the right OS to fit all of your needs!

  4. #4
    Linux Engineer hazel's Avatar
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    I have a really old machine and Linux runs very well on it. You just need to choose the right desktop and apps. Ubuntu is notoriously bloated. Don't use gnome or KDE if you want good performance on old iron - use lxde or a simple window manager like fluxbox or iceWM.

    The dependency problem exists because once a free library for doing a certain job has been written, lots of programs can use it; in the field of proprietary software, each program has to have its own libraries packaged with it. It may make installation a little easier but it also makes for buggy software, because a library that has been around for a while is much more likely to be bug-free than a new one written from scratch to get round an "intellectual property" barrier.

    In any case, most Linux distros have an intelligent package manager which installs dependencies automatically, so you don't need to worry about them.
    "I'm just a little old lady; don't try to dazzle me with jargon!"
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  5. #5
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    I am not personally impressed when an enterprise size distro will work on a PC that a single CD distro will not even look at.
    An ENT distro is *stripped* down (commonly no GUI) for server-side applications. This is a LIGHTER load on HW than a desktop distro, which loads a GUI, audio drivers, video drives, etc.

    Others are "not impressed" when an ENT distro can't find their SATA chip/SCSI card driver but a desktop distro can - which puts them 180 degrees at-odds with you. Why is your opinion right and their's wrong?

    Speed? Really? Well I have Pentium Pro 166MHz running Debian on 64MB RAM. No current Windows OS can run on that machine. So by your measure, Windows is dead and completely worthless at this point.

    Perspective / understanding - Try it.

  6. #6
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    Head Scratching

    I appreciate the comments. I did not think Ubuntu was that bloated. It came on a single CD. The Centos I have has 6 CD's, and it only installed bits off 4 of them. But is is an enterprise sized system and one would think if that can run on 512MB of memory then a system designed to attract newbies ought to. After all, Ubuntu even has root login disabled to protect people.

    I also appreciate the point about dependencies, but quite honestly it is a sick joke at times. I have just tried to load library files and they depend on others. You could easily fill up a drive with garbage just trying to find all the dependencies needed, if you have the time to look for them. I know that Windows type progs give you everything, but if you want to attract people away from MS they you have to give the customer what he wants, and that is a useable system which is reasonably easy to customise.

    And an XP2000 is not that bad. I read a really good article on processors recently which indicated that the Pentium 4 was not even as good as the P3 it supposedly replaced. I have always chosen AMD myself. In fact the only reason I ever moved up from the old one was an application problem. DVD burner failed every time because there was not enough memory. Win XP was working fine with that setup and an old laptop with the same processor and only 256MB RAM ran Autocad 2008 3D quite happily even doing 3d orbits. So I tend to look very hard at any system that says it needs lots of everything. Linux should not, by its nature, put limits on hardware, within reason, although Redhat 9 worked OK on a DX2-66.

    My real beef was with so-called user friendly distros which are anything but.

  7. #7
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    It came on a single CD. The Centos I have has 6 CD's, and it only installed bits off 4 of them. But is is an enterprise sized system and one would think if that can run on 512MB of memory then a system designed to attract newbies ought to.
    Wrong - the amount of CD's/packages has no correspondence to the load on the HW when the system is running. Adding a "single" option like a GUI is a much larger load on a running system. You could have an install of hundreds of GB's, but the system load could be 20MB after booting. Why would a "newbie" distro use less RAM? In fact, that's backwards. In order to keep all of the "automated" stuff running in the background, a "newbie" distro would use more system resources. That same distro typically also has more "bells and whistles" enabled as well (IE, compiz.) A server distro does not care about nice GUI's, audio drivers, etc.

    Win XP was working fine with that setup and an old laptop with the same processor and only 256MB RAM
    Then install a Linux distro released in 2002?

    Why are you "downloading dependencies?" A distro like Ubuntu has 99% of what is out there in their repositories.

    Also, just FYI.

  8. #8
    Linux Engineer MASONTX's Avatar
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    If you go to <Linux> - Google Search and research hardware requirements for a distro you are considering, you can find out if it will run on your older hardware. DistroWatch.com: Put the fun back into computing. Use Linux, BSD. has a search function which will list distro's that are good for older computers. Personally, I have had good luck with Legacy OS, Puppy, and AntiX on a laptop with 256 MB ram.
    Registered Linux user #526930

  9. #9
    Administrator jayd512's Avatar
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    For what it's worth to you, you can have a very fast system on a box with 256 RAM.
    Slackware and a lightweight WM.
    Debian, again go lightweight.

    Like suggested by hazel, IceWM or fluxbox will do wonders on older kit.
    I've used IceWM off and on for the last couple of years. Lightning fast, easy to work with.

  10. #10
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    So tell me I am paranoid. My Linux experience of last seven days.

    Basic Linux PC AMD XP2000 512MB RAM S3 ProSavage video



    Ubuntu installs and runs well BUT any settings changes or attempts to alter video mode dumps to login screen so had to remove.

    Fedora Live CD fails with various errors

    OpenSUSE Live CD's KDE/Gnome warns might not work as less than 1GB RAM

    DVD fails at 51% install

    All SUSE media verify tests passed

    Centos My old system and still works. Has lowest memory requirement at 256MB.


    Checked all manufacturers websites. Machine is at least minimum spec for all the above.

    So try the above on my Win PC. 3GHz AMD64 with 2GB RAM with Nvidia GEforce graphics


    Fedora Live CD sits and looks at me after the logo fills up. Does nothing

    OpenSUSE Live CD's Screw up the video on install and fall over

    Ubuntu Live CD works a treat and gives any video mode


    All ISO images and media checked and verified by third party program, so problem is with software, not the disks.


    Is it my imagination or is the offerings of Linux community somewhat below par. A pity when someone WANTS to go Linux instead of Windows but the product is just not up to scratch.

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