How to keep my old PC alive?

How to keep my old PC alive?

Post by Pras » Mon, 05 Jun 2006 16:11:50



HI All,

I have an old machine (PII and 384 MB ram with 4GB HDD). All I want to
do with it is check emails and voice chat. It currently runs WIn 98 SE
and it often crashes.

Could somebody help me choose a better OS so that I can smoothly check
emails and Voice chat using it.

Thanks,
Prash

 
 
 

How to keep my old PC alive?

Post by johnny bobby be » Mon, 05 Jun 2006 16:24:18



> Could somebody help me choose a better OS so that I can smoothly check
> emails and Voice chat using it.

I'd say 'damn small linux' or 'puppy linux'. they both rock and are
quick and lite. But ... what the hell is 'voice chat'?

--
Gravity is a myth, the Earth sucks.
(remove _eh to email)

 
 
 

How to keep my old PC alive?

Post by Michael Bla » Tue, 06 Jun 2006 00:15:44



> HI All,

> I have an old machine (PII and 384 MB ram with 4GB HDD). All I want to
> do with it is check emails and voice chat. It currently runs WIn 98 SE
> and it often crashes.

> Could somebody help me choose a better OS so that I can smoothly check
> emails and Voice chat using it.

Since you're asking in a linux newsgroup, one has to assume you've already
decided on Linux.  Note that while there are various distributions of Linux,
they are just different combinations of the same stuff, since they all take
from the common pool of the kernel and utilities and applications.

I don't know what the speed of that computer is, but when I finally moved
to Linux five years ago, this week, I bought a used 200MHz Pentium with
32megs of RAM and a 2gig hard drive.  I installed Slackware 7, because I
had it, but I never found any limitations.  I eventually added RAM, but
mainly because I'd got it free.  I originally was using KDE for the
desktop, but at that time I tended to fire it up only when I needed it,
staying in the console most of the time, and it made sense to switch to
one of the simpler Desktops, for faster loading.

Of course, my actual needs are simple, so I wasn't filling up the hard drive.
I had about half the space left after tossing all the distribution on the hard
drive.

That won't be the same with a more recent version of a distribution (people
do tend to suggest using recent versions, to ensure that bugs and security
issues have been taken care of), but keep in mind that when I moved to a
better computer it was a hand me down, and I wasn't moving up because
I saw limitations in the old system.  It only has 256megs of RAM, and
the CPU is running at 1GHz, so I'm not sure there is a vast difference
between it and your "old" computer.

Keep in mind that while the distributions may come on multiple CDs or
even a DVD, you don't need all that and all or virtually all distributions
allow you to selectively install, and you can always change things later
without needing to start from scratch.  I put everything from Slackware
10 on this hard drive, and it's using 3gigs of disk space, and there
is lots I could cut out if I needed space.

One of the big differences between distributions is philosophy.  Many of
the newer distros focus on ease of installation or try to be "Windows-like",
and while they likely are easy to install (not that really any distribution
is difficult), in their aim to "help" you they may not be the best
choice for what they perceive as limited hardware.  You certainly don't
need multiple text editors, once you've decided on one, and that
type of distribution may choose one that requires more resources than
one you yourself might choose.

Someone mentioned "Damn Small Linux".  But, this is one of the philosophies.
There is a range of Linux distributions that try to be small, and cut out
things.  But while they hype themselves as being for "older" or limited
hardware, there really isn't anything unique to them.  They are simply cut
down versions of the large distributions, and you can do the very same
thing yourself simply by selecting what you install.  This may leave
you better off, because when dealing with one of the larger distributions,
you can easily get any needed programs, if not off the CD/DVD then there
is plenty made for the distribution.

I'll not forget the time someone was boasting about one of those smaller
distributions, about how it "worked on older hardware" (which was just
marketing hype, generally most distributions of the same vintage will
work on the same hardware), and then he had to turn around and ask for
where to get programs that weren't included in the limited distributions.
I looked over that distribution, and simple programs that I would have
included were cut out, in favor of more bloated programs that were GUI
based.

There are various resources about choosing a specific distribution, and
someone is bound to post about those resources.  But the first point
of picking is to know why there are different distributions, and I hope
this has sort of helped.

  Michael

 
 
 

How to keep my old PC alive?

Post by Pras » Tue, 06 Jun 2006 01:16:39


Hi Johnny,

Using either Google talk or Skype to talk over a messenger was referred
as 'Vocie Chat' by myself.

Thanks,
Prashanth



> > Could somebody help me choose a better OS so that I can smoothly check
> > emails and Voice chat using it.

> I'd say 'damn small linux' or 'puppy linux'. they both rock and are
> quick and lite. But ... what the hell is 'voice chat'?

> --
> Gravity is a myth, the Earth sucks.
> (remove _eh to email)

 
 
 

How to keep my old PC alive?

Post by linni » Tue, 06 Jun 2006 02:52:25



> HI All,

> I have an old machine (PII and 384 MB ram with 4GB HDD). All I want to
> do with it is check emails and voice chat. It currently runs WIn 98 SE
> and it often crashes.

We had similar problem with a machine like that.
We solve it by decreasing the power load.
In our case, it was a cheap case/power supply pushing
to the limit.  I guess it created more EMF noises when
fully loaded.

We could have replaced it with a bigger and better
power supply.  But we decided to replace with a
smaller and less power hungry storage device.
We are running it with a 2G Compact Flash Drive.

Quote:

> Could somebody help me choose a better OS so that I can smoothly check
> emails and Voice chat using it.

You can install Win98 or even XP on it, but it would
void the warrenty on the flash.  Since Windows are
writing too often on the flash.  Linux/KDE writes about
30 times to the flash during each boot.
Quote:

> Thanks,
> Prash

 
 
 

How to keep my old PC alive?

Post by Chri » Tue, 06 Jun 2006 19:02:44



> HI All,

> I have an old machine (PII and 384 MB ram with 4GB HDD). All I want to
> do with it is check emails and voice chat. It currently runs WIn 98 SE
> and it often crashes.

> Could somebody help me choose a better OS so that I can smoothly check
> emails and Voice chat using it.

As you're asking a Linux ng then you're going to get Linux
recommendations :-)

The main problem with 'old' PCs is the amount of RAM available as this
is a bigger factor on performance than the actual speed of the CPU. I
personally run KDE on a system with 386MB RAM and it runs very smoothly
with very rare usage of swap. I mainly use it for OpenOffice, Web
browsing and photo editing so you should have no problems.

My recommended distro would be Mepis, but note that they are going
through a major upgrade at the moment so things might not run quite as
smoothly as before. For peace of mind try 3.4-3 to start with and then
progress to 6.0 when it's ready.

 
 
 

How to keep my old PC alive?

Post by General Schvantzkop » Tue, 06 Jun 2006 21:28:20



> HI All,

> I have an old machine (PII and 384 MB ram with 4GB HDD). All I want to
> do with it is check emails and voice chat. It currently runs WIn 98 SE
> and it often crashes.

> Could somebody help me choose a better OS so that I can smoothly check
> emails and Voice chat using it.

> Thanks,
> Prash

You have enough RAM so that you can run a full distro like Fedora Core 5.
I have an old PII 450MHz 384M machine with FC4 on it and it's tolerable.
The version of Gnome in FC5 is faster then the version in FC4 so you could
use it fairly comfortably for the light tasks that you are interested in.

Your big problem is the disk, it's too small to hold a full distro. If you
want something that will run on your system as is then your best choice
would be Damn Small Linux. DSL can take as little as 50Mbytes and it's
optimized for under powered machines. People run DSL on much worse
machines then yours. On a PII with 384M it will fly.

 
 
 

1. I would like to know for *really* old PCs (was: Starting UNIX using old PCs)

the number one thing that you would learn on a machine of that class running
 any unix is patience, especially if you want to program, I have a 386sx with 4
 megs, used mostly as a print server now, but when I compile things on it, I
 measure compiles in hours, e.g. a kernel compile took 18+ hours, that same
 compile is 20 minutes on my 486dx4 133 w/20 megs....  

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