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Harrison
19th June 2008, 21:53
Has anyone used Xubuntu?

http://www.xubuntu.org/

Its based on Ubuntu, but is designed to be a lightweight version, using the XFCE desktop environment instead of the more commonly used Gnome, and requires much less ram, HD space, and CPU power than the full Ubuntu release.

I became interested in trying it out as I've got a very old laptop that only has 128MB ram and a 450MHz CPU which still works perfectly well and has a wireless lan card in the card slot, so I thought I would try and put it to some use rather than leaving it sitting in the cupboard collecting dust. And as it's quite a small laptop (13.1" screen) it' quite portable.

I've had Fedora 4 installed on it since that was released, just to mainly use to fiddle around with Linux, but even that older distro of Fedora is slow to boot and quite slow to use with the Gnome based desktop. Therefore I began searching to see what alternative more lightweight Linux distros existed and became very interested in Xubuntu as I really like the full distro of Ubuntu it's based on.

However there was one potential issue. Looking at the OS specs it only needs 128MB ram to install it, but needs 192MB of ram to run. The laptop only has 128MB of ram (and more cannot be added) so this could have been an issue, but then I read that an alternative version can also be downloaded that only needs 64MB of ram. Result! :) So I'm now downloading this alternative version and will be installing it later to see how it performs.

If this works and is fast enough this will be a perfect little laptop to use for web browsing and other lightweight tasks.

Harrison
19th June 2008, 22:17
I've also just found another lightweight Linux distro called Puppy Linux.

http://www.puppylinux.org/

This one is meant to only need 32MB of ram to work perfectly and is designed for really old hardware such as P1 systems. It can also run from a USB memory stick, or from CD. I might give this a go from a memory stick just to see how good it is. The download is only 88MB too.

Harrison
20th June 2008, 13:22
Good news! I'm typing this on the old laptop, in Firefox 3, running XUbuntu. :)

The OS is nice and fast and applications load quickly and don't suffer from the bad lag all other distros of Linux have done when I've tested them before on slow systems with limited ram and slow cpu's. And when using most applications the cpu load is only around 25-35% and the ram about 84mb used of the 128mb total.

The OS does take a bit of time to boot. I've not timed it yet but it is over a minute I think. And the OS took about an hour to install from CD, but it installed first time without any trouble.

The only stumbling block I had was with the Linksys PCMCIA wireless network card I have plugged into this laptop. The OS didn't have supported drivers for it, which is actually the case with all versions of Linux at the moment and many Wi-Fi lan cards. Luckily as I've encountered this before I already knew about the ndiswrapper utility that allows you to install windows drivers for network cards. The Xubuntu site has a very good tutorial page on installing and setting this up. And ndiswrapper is already included with the OS, and the Xubuntu install CD has all but one of the 3 additional files needed. It also didn't require all of the commandline work that was previously needed as I installed the ndiswrapper gui and that did the lot for me without needing to ask. I just had to select the windows driver's .inf file and it installed it. I then just rebooted, entered by WEP key and it was connected. :)

AlexJ
20th June 2008, 13:56
Very tempted to stick this on an old machine (800MHz/128MB) - have you tried running UAE on yours?

Buleste
20th June 2008, 14:13
I'm tempted to try it on an old laptop (PIII 500 128MB).

Harrison
20th June 2008, 15:37
You should definitely both give it a try.

It will definitely run perfectly well on both of your systems. The xubuntu alternative version (available to download from any of the normal xubuntu download links on the site) works perfectly well with 128MB of ram and the download ISO is a single 557MB CD ISO. T

@ AlexJ. An 800MHz system should be very nice considering my 450MHz laptop is running it ok without much waiting needed to complete most tasks. However if you could get the ram up to 256MB then the full version of Ubuntu would work perfectly well.

@Buleste. And a PIII 500MHz machine will be quite a bit quicker than my laptops AMD K3 processor so it would run very well too.

I've not tried UAE on it yet, but I'm guessing it won't be amazing on my laptops CPU. I will give it a try when I get chance though.

AlexJ
20th June 2008, 21:20
@ AlexJ. An 800MHz system should be very nice considering my 450MHz laptop is running it ok without much waiting needed to complete most tasks. However if you could get the ram up to 256MB then the full version of Ubuntu would work perfectly well.

But then I could just as easily stick XP on it. It's a cheapo Duron 800MHz and old style pre-DDR RAM so I think the cut-down version would be easier on it, and I don't want to spend a penny on it. In fact not entirely sure why I'm doing it, just to try and justify keeping an old box around I guess.

Harrison
20th June 2008, 22:31
I know what you mean. It is hard to part with older computers that were once your main system, even though now they are just sitting there collecting dust 99% of the time.

ppill
20th June 2008, 22:42
Puppy Linux is brilliant! I use it on a system that was my very first PC which is roughly 10 years old (333MHz/128Mb).

I'd tried a dozen of other distros (Deli, Zenwalk, DSL, Vector, ARCH, CRUX, Feather... I could go on) but settled for Puppy.