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Hi, I'm fairly new to Linux. I've tried the distro test, but I need a very specific recommendation. I have an old laptop that I use for nothing but reading ...
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  1. #1
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    Need Specific Distro fro old laptop and specialized need


    Hi,

    I'm fairly new to Linux. I've tried the distro test, but I need a very specific recommendation. I have an old laptop that I use for nothing but reading cbr and cbz files (comic books!). Basically, they are sequential rar files of jpg images.

    The laptop in question is one Panasonic Let's Note CF-T1, a Japanese exclusive that makes finding information for those not fluent in Japanese elusive. It has a mere 128MB of RAM. While paltry by today's standards, it is totally sufficient to do what I need it to do even using Wondows XP, but I would prefer a much more pared-down LINUX.

    The machine will boot from an external CD-ROM or DVD drive. It will not boot from any other kind of USB device (I've tried), so my best bet is to install something from a live CD that is streamlined for low-end systems.

    The comic-book files are loaded via an external USB hard drive so I need USB support and would greatly prefer a GUI or graphic file browser with standard copy and paste keyboard shortcuts. I view in the maximum resolution of 728 x 1024.

    Also, I'm an intermediate computer user but a novice LINUX user.

    I guess what I'm looking for is a very easy to use GUI distro that can work with the low amount of RAM. Also, it would be nice upon install if it lets me choose what hardware to initialize and what software to install. For example, I have no use for sound, modem, LAN, external VGA port, card slot or SD card reader on the machine. All I need it to operate is the screen, keyboard, and USB (and the touchpad pointer would be okay, too). A fast boot would be great, especially since the battery has about had it.

    Your input would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Slitaz should work. It has a GUI and is only a 36MB download. For other options, go to the distrowatch site at the link below which lists a number of other options with brief descriptions of each and a link to the distro site:

    DistroWatch.com: Put the fun back into computing. Use Linux, BSD.
    xeviata likes this.

  3. #3
    Linux Guru rokytnji's Avatar
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    I run AntiX on a Panasonic CF-48. For Comic books.

    Debian -- Details of source package mcomix in jessie

    Debian -- Details of source package rar in jessie

    For ebooks

    Debian -- Details of package calibre in jessie

    Install Video plus check out other videos by runwiththedolphin at youtube.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kCotJWcoiE

    I am biased though and think our forum members are nicer to new users though.

    If you decide to install those packages in AntiX install. Open the terminal.

    Code:
    sux
    Hit enter .then type in password. Hit enter again

    Code:
    apt-get update
    Hit enter. Let it finish downloading all new packages. When done. Close terminal.

    Open antix contyrol center via the crossed wrenches in Icewm toolbar (install full iso if I was you).

    System>Manage Packages>password>synaptic package manager opens.

    Install rar,mcomix,and calibre from there. Dillo and Links 2 browsers are also included for low ram laptops like yours as well as dosbox for games. If you could find another 128mb stick or 2 256MB sticks,. That Panasonic would run faster on AntiX.

    A old beater I fixed and sold with AntiX on it.

    Happy trails, Rok.
    Last edited by rokytnji; 07-02-2013 at 07:14 PM.
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    I agree with Yancek, Slitaz should work beautifully but if it won't boot on the machine you can try a Debian net install, just the basic system, then use the command line to add Xfce4 and whatever other software you need (or you can designate Xfce at the boot prompt of the net install CD: Xfce - Debian Wiki).

    If Slitaz won't boot on the machine and Debian is too intimidating, try a Slax live CD (it's possible to install Slax to the hard drive, though it's a fairly nerdy process but it's performance is awesome). Last resort, for me, would be Puppy; it's almost sure to work on the machine but it's just too different from everything else and I've just never been able to get used to it.

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    Thanks to all for the responses. @ rokytnji: Thank you for the specific details. Unfortunately, upgrading the memory is out of the question. There is only one slot, and when my wife got the machine several years ago, the 256MB chip was about $100. I hardly have the money for the blank CDs I will need for this project...lol. Do you think that AntiX will run nicely on 128MB?

    @ Eldergeek and Yancek: I'm thinking about trying Slitaz first. I forgot to mention that disk space is an issue. The HDD is only 35GB, and the less I use for the OS, the more space I will have for comics. However, as a novice to LINUX, I am wondering if there is a compatible comics reader for Slitaz. Do either of you know if there is? I need a comics reader that will show the full page sideways in 728 x 1024 without any windows or navigation. All of the comics readers I have downloaded so far for Linux Mint have problems, and only the default docuent browser that came with the system (not a dedicated comics reader) actually displays pages the way I want them. In XP, I'm using an older version of CDisplay, which works perfectly.

    Also, one thing I'm shooting for is the fastest boot possible. Which of the two, Antix or Slitaz would be easiest for a novice like me to disable all of the unnecessary hardware and such at boot?

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    I'm not sure what the default document viewer is in Mint. I think it's Okular in *buntu (I always remove it in Kubuntu and install evince but my wife likes it). Okular isn't available in the Slitaz package list for Stable or Cooking but evince is. I suppose you could install evince on your Mint system (it'll be in the repo) and give it a try.

    Several years ago, yes, a 256 MB ram RAM card was over $100 but these days you may be able to get a used on on eBay for under $15 (shipping inclusive). Just type in the make and model of your machine and the word RAM to see your options. Never buy from an eBay seller whose feedback rating is below 99% on at least 300 transactions (they're guaranteed to go the distance, if you have a problem, to protect their feedback numbers).

    The Slitaz CD is around 30 MB, that's .03 GB but if you're that concerned about disk space and want specific software Debian is probably your best bet. I used Debian for years with KDE and added my favorite apps, like Gedit and Mousepad, without regard for their native platform and never had any issues with software. Any full featured distro is going to take 3 to 5 GB of disk space but a customized Debian net install could be made considerably smaller. If you beef up the RAM a little (to at least 246 MB) you can probably run any distro you like, depending on which CPU you've got. Incidentally, Mepis (the parent upon which Antix is built) is another of my favorite distros which often outperforms the *buntu family on older hardware (it's built on Debian Stable).

  7. #7
    Linux Guru rokytnji's Avatar
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    AntiX in the video I provided shows how much ram is being used after booting to Desktop. My only concern as far as speed is running Iceweasel on 128MB of ram. Any full fledged browser in Slitaz would have the same problem. That was why I mentioned Links 2 and Dillo Browsers which also come with a AntiX full Install.

    You are new to linux so a Debian Net Install, A Slackware 1st cd install. Even a AntiX core install would be out of the question. AntiX is one of the only FULL Fledged program available linux distros that fits on a cd which will also limit . your choices. You will also to limited to running only 1 or 2 applications at a time. A /swap partition will be needed . Me. I 'd make it 512MB.

    Full iso install takes up about 2gig of hard drive space. You will be Debian. There will be other choices for repositories in /etc/apt.sources.list.
    Actually. You won't know till you give it a try. Watch the Video I provided and watch runwiththedolphins other videos. It is just time invested in exploring what
    can be done easily. Either try Slitaz or Tiny Core Or AntiX. TinyCore Linux is another Option. But you are on your
    own with Tiny Core with me. I don't run it. I figure though Tiny core has good documentation and has lots of packages built for it also which allows one to read comic books, a ereader for ebooks, and also browse the web with a lightweight browser. It much though on initial install and does not come with much on initial install and you need to build upon it after a install.
    Same with Slitaz though it comes with more than Tiny Core but less than AntiX.

    Just don't expect much from 128MB of ram when it comes to Graphic intensive applications in any Linux. If you are reading comic books. Iceweasel may take a long time to open and may/will probably just crash when trying to watch a youtube video. AntiX comes with GTK-Youtube viewer for just that reason for older gear to watch you tube on gear like yours.

    Sooner or later you will have to cross the threshold and try one cuisine or the other and see which one tastes better. You won't know though till after the taste test.
    I mentioned in my 1 st post I am biased. It is just the nature of this biker. I try and pay back when other folks give me a helping hand. AntiX has done that.

    Good luck with what ever you choose. Happy trails, Rok
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    In addition, one site mentions widely known DamnSmallLinux and another (unknown to me) distro Zenix which is said to have better graphical looking than its opponents:)
    Best Lightweight Linux Distribution for Older Computers

    Code:
    4. Zenix:
    
    A beautiful Debian based Linux OS Zenix requires RAM as little as 60 MB and runs flawlessly with a RAM of 128 MB. It comes with quite decent application package and its stunning killer looks give it an edge over others. Like others, it can also be run in live environment from a CD drive or a USB.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alanwescoat View Post
    Hi,

    I'm fairly new to Linux. I've tried the distro test, but I need a very specific recommendation. I have an old laptop that I use for nothing but reading cbr and cbz files (comic books!). Basically, they are sequential rar files of jpg images....
    ...
    Your input would be greatly appreciated.
    I am surprised that no one has recommended the #1 choice at the top of the list from the URL cited
    Puppy Linux
    I currently have Precise Puppy on my Netbooks.
    You can live boot from a CD
    You can also install it in your Windows partition, and dual boot,
    Never had a problem recognizing peripherials with it.
    Something I can not say about the other small distros.

  10. #10
    Linux Guru rokytnji's Avatar
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    I currently have Precise Puppy on my Netbooks.
    Thats nice. I run Puppy also. Macpup 529.

    It has a mere 128MB of RAM
    That was why

    I am surprised that no one has recommended the #1 choice at the top of the list from the URL cited
    Puppy Linux
    No one mentioned it as Puppy loads into ram to run when booted.

    Download latest Puppy Linux release

    ISO Size: 165 MB
    His computer does not have the ram to run the latest Puppy release. Even if we suggested a smaller Puppy version. Because Puppy runs in ram in a live session. His laptop would choke
    during the install process. 256MB of ram is when I start suggesting Puppy Linux, So don't be suprised.
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