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Re: [vox] Ponder, ponder... perhaps a silly notion
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Re: [vox] Ponder, ponder... perhaps a silly notion

Quoting Richard S. Crawford (rscrawford@mossroot.com):

> Hmm, I have a old laptop -- 4.0 GB hard drive, 96M RAM, 233 Intel 
> Celeron processor (it's an old Gateway Solo 2500).  Would that computer 
> be a candidate for a Debian install?  It's currently running Win98SE but 
> I have no qualms about zarking that."

Definitely.  Actually, that's a good enough machine to install any Linux
x86 distribution whatsoever onto.  The major limitation you'd encounter
during installation time would be that some of the more bounteous
distributions -- such as SuSE Professional -- couldn't install their
kitchen-sink package profiles.  (I think a kitchen-sink installation of
SuSE Pro now chews up something like 8 GB of disk space.)

Post-installation, that machine's tightest resource under normal usage
would probably be the RAM -- depending on what "desktop" configuration 
you burden your RAM with, and whether you use RAM-intensive applications
(The GIMP, OpenOffice.org).  You'll be happiest with the likes of Window
Maker, Blackbox, icewm, etc.

The lowest-end x86 machine I tell people is feasible with generally-used
Linux distributions running X11 is a 486DX2/66, 32MB RAM, 500MB hard
drive.  At that level of RAM and CPU, many distributions won't even
install any more, though Debian and Slackware will.  The shortage of
disk space means you have to pare down package selection carefully,
which means installation takes some care.  Last, only minimalist window
managers are feasible, and a lot of the larger X11 packages will be
painful on account of swapping.

With 16 MB RAM, I tell people that X11 is feasible but only barely, and 
they may choose to have it shut down most of the time.  I think
Debian/Slackware/some others' installers will still work on these, but
haven't tried lately.  With less than 16 MB, forget X11; you're in vi,
minicom, and lynx territory, with a small number of virtual consoles and
job control.

Finally, here's information on installing Linux distributions on truly
tiny x86 machines, down to as small as 2 MB of RAM and a 40 MB hard
drive:  http://linuxmafia.com/~rick/linux-info/small-linux

Cheers,                    "Send a policeman, and have it arrested."
Rick Moen                     -- Otto von Bismarck, when asked what he 
rick@linuxmafia.com               would do if the British Army landed.
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