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should i convert a i686 with 256mb ram to linux or not?

kesuki (321456) writes | about 2 years ago

User Journal 4

my sister has an old junky i686 i didn't have my install discs except a wierd one off distrowatch. the old pc is mainly used by 8 yearolds and windows xp gave up the ghost. i can download any distrowatch disk, but being so old want an easy platform for browsing and schoolwork. i would also like to have an ids to email me once a month a status of that ids system. so what works is it worth getting a slim distro and which one? it has a 3 year old 100gb hdd and decent for the era gpu, or should i

my sister has an old junky i686 i didn't have my install discs except a wierd one off distrowatch. the old pc is mainly used by 8 yearolds and windows xp gave up the ghost. i can download any distrowatch disk, but being so old want an easy platform for browsing and schoolwork. i would also like to have an ids to email me once a month a status of that ids system. so what works is it worth getting a slim distro and which one? it has a 3 year old 100gb hdd and decent for the era gpu, or should i tell them to give up on such old hardware? the parents have a laptop, so does one of their kids, but this is the last desktop they are getting from me unless i find one nearby on craigslist or something cheap like that. please post any info you think i need to do this, thanks.

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Yes! (1)

owlman17 (871857) | about 2 years ago | (#41162301)

Lubuntu 12.04 or Zorin Lite would run comfortably on 256MB, and the interface is close enough to XP, with a start button on the lower left corner. I'm using a stripped-down LFS on a 128MB PII machine. Don't give up till it really gives up the ghost.

Pffff... (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | about 2 years ago | (#41162379)

Now that's a toughie. Assuming you can't find better (last dumpster finding: new-era P-IV HT 3GHz+, with 3GB RAM with SATA ports and a 250GB SATA disks. Reinstalled it and gave it to a restaurant owner I know), you really have to go with one of the light distros like DSL, Puppy Linux or Peanut Linux. While many of those are pretty and usabele to us geeks, they are rougher on the edges and a non-geek might not get along with them. A basic Debian install + a lightweight choice of browsers and applications (meaning: not Firefox and not Open/LIbreoffice) might do it too. Same problem though: it could be too(?) unfamiliar for them.

That said, the main problem seems to be RAM. Is there no way you can upgrade it? Can't you give complete specs? Perhaps I have correct RAM lying around and I'll be able to send it to you. From experience, normal distros will work on older hardware, but the RAM should be there.

It's not that it can't be done. I'm sure you can. The question is more: is your time and work worth fixing something that might just break in the near future and/or can be replaced with about 200$ investment. Think about it: Foxconn nt-A3700 [hhttp] + Kingston 2GB 204-Pin DDR3 SO-DIMM [newegg.com] + Samsung 500GB 2.5" SATA HHD [newegg.com] = 213,97$. On that you can put a full fledged modern distro and even mount it behind the monitor with the included(?) VESA mount.

Unless you have the RAM for upgrading, I wouldn't bother with a 256MB system any more. (Well, okay, that's a lie... My raspberry pis have 256MB each, but that's a completely different use-case)

Re:Pffff... (1)

kesuki (321456) | about 2 years ago | (#41165493)

i have limited time to work on the problem, i will crack it open to check dimm slots, and i suppose i could take it with me and tell her i need time to fix it, now that i think about it i have another similar vintage desktop at home, which might have compatable ram. again this is for 8 year olds, everyone else in the house has their own electronics. so the big deal is being ms office compatable, if it is not, then i may as well look for dumpsters to dive.

so here is what i did. (1)

kesuki (321456) | about 2 years ago | (#41171353)

i already had a lxde based disc on hand, and had already installed it. it was powered off in mid update, however i did some easy command line magic to fix that. i checked ram and it has standard dimms. however i can not teleport home to add more in, and it was smooth enough using swapspace. i put shotwell and an office app on, knowing the kids can learn to wait a bit, until i get more ram from home. it also has a noisy fan sometimes, since it is never noisy when i have the case open, hopefully something can be done when i am next here. i still have not picked an ids. since it's not always on cause of the fan. in the meantime i need to grab some compressed air to clean it out good.

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