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Hello all, Clearly, I'm new to Linux. I want to use Debian on an old P4 laptop. KDE as an environment will not work because of RAM restrictions. I'd like ...
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  1. #1
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    Few Newbie Questions


    Hello all,

    Clearly, I'm new to Linux. I want to use Debian on an old P4 laptop.

    KDE as an environment will not work because of RAM restrictions. I'd like to use something very basic like TWM or CDE. Can I use those with Debian or are they too antiquated? If so how? The distros seem to come preloaded with GNOME/KDE/etc.

    I couldn't find the answer in the stickies.

    Or will KDE work?

    Thanks all.

  2. #2
    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    There are a couple of solutions here. One is that you can increase memory by increasing swap space - btw, the P4 should be 64-bit capable. Did you install a 32-bit image, or a 64-bit one? The other is to use a lighter weight window manager. TWM is way out-of-date. I'd recommend trying XFCE instead. It is much more capable and modern. Most all current distros support xfce.

    Yeah - I just verified that the P4 supports the x86 64-bit instruction set.
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

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    My P4 is 32-bit, it's a Dell Latitude C640 with 1.5GB of RAM. Must be over 10 years old now. I haven't installed anything, I want to know what to do before doing so.

    XFCE looks great. Can I try TWM? How would I go about installing and using XFCE/TWM/whatever environment with Debian?

    I'm not sure more swap will help, especially with a slow hard drive.

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    Linux Engineer docbop's Avatar
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    XFCE is a lightweight and excellect desktop you can also tell Debian to install and use it from the install prompt line. Add desktop=xfce to the install parameters.
    Last edited by docbop; 11-10-2013 at 01:55 AM.

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    Administrator jayd512's Avatar
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    If you're looking for a lightweight GUI, you might want to take a look at IceWM.
    It's long been my favorite. Simple and clean, easy to look at, not difficult to customize.

    By the way, Welcome aboard!
    Jay

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    hello and welcome, apples!

    if the laptop is old, don't bother w/KDE (or GNOME). stick w/a light-weight one. xfce is good (and certainly popular). if you've already installed the system, you can always add it after the fact, e.g.:

    Code:
    sudo apt-get install xfce4
    i go for even lighter weight on my lean machine with a combo of fluxbox (window manager) and SLiM (login manager), but fluxbox, while pretty and efficient, is not a fully featured desktop, like an XFCE or LXDE, so it may leave you wanting. if you like light-weight but also like to drool over eye candy, check out Enlightenment.

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    Linux Engineer MASONTX's Avatar
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    +1 for LXDE, it is my favorite, with XFCE, and IceWM also good choices.
    Registered Linux user #526930

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    Thanks for the welcome everybody.

    I installed Debian with XFCE and TWM. After ironing out a few issues, it's running great.

    The login manager is kind of clunky, I'd like to change it to something lighter. Is it possible to have a command-line login?

    TWM is lighter than air, but I don't know how to do a few things. There's no wireless networking icon, so how are networks selected? It connects by itself, but what would I do if I wanted to change the network?

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Apples555 View Post
    The login manager is kind of clunky, I'd like to change it to something lighter.
    see my previous post re: SLiM

    hopefully, it is packaged for your distro already, and in the official repos. otherwise, you can grab the source and compile and install that way.

    Is it possible to have a command-line login?
    kinda sorta. set your runlevel to text mode (usually that is "3" in RHEL/Fedora world and "2" in Ubuntu/Debian world). the way to do that varies from distro to distro. once upon a time you could set it in /etc/inittab. nowadays you usually set in in the bootloader (i.e., grub, etc.) config file. after you boot up in text mode, you'll be presented with a cmd line login. once you successfully log in, then start your GUI session with:
    Code:
    startx
    you can muck with what starts up by editing:
    Code:
    ~/.xinitrc

  11. #10
    Administrator jayd512's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Apples555 View Post
    The login manager is kind of clunky, I'd like to change it to something lighter. Is it possible to have a command-line login?
    This might help with that: https://wiki.debian.org/RunLevel

    TWM is lighter than air, but I don't know how to do a few things. There's no wireless networking icon, so how are networks selected? It connects by itself, but what would I do if I wanted to change the network?
    I've never fiddled with TWM, so I can't give any firsthand advice. But this page might be of help: Graham's TWM page!
    Jay

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