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Linux on a P100 with 96 megs RAM

Posted on 2004-04-24
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Last Modified: 2013-12-06
I have an old Pentium 100 system collecting dust at my parent's house, and I thought putting Linux on it just to play around.

Can anyone recommend a distribution that would work best on a system that old, or am I just wasting my time.  The machine has 96 megs of ram and a 4mb video card.
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Question by:William Fulks
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Expert Comment

by:Anton74
ID: 10910692
It will work just fine.

Linux is very flexible, and you can choose to work with or without a graphical user interface, or avoid using a "heavyweight". Typically, the graphical user interface (aka "X" or "X-Windows" in Linux) will typically be the most resource-hungry of all the operating system components. The heavier graphical desktop environments, notably Gnome and KDE, will likely tax that system beyond comfort, although I'm sure it could be made to work. There are plenty of lighter weight window managers that should work just fine. I was very satisfied with IceWM several years ago on a 486 (now I'm exclusively using the command line in a server environment).

As for distributions, I used Red Hat on that desktop system a few years back, and I was perfectly satisfied with it. Now I'm using Debian, and I'm quite happy with it, too. What's best for you depends a lot on your personal preference and experience.

Here are some pointers about various distributions: http://linux.about.com/cs/linux101/a/distros.htm

Sadly, Debian is not on that list. But, reasons to choose Debian are: http://www.debian.org/intro/why_debian

The Linux Documentation Project can be found at http://tldp.org

On that site, the "Introduction to Linux - A Hands on Guide" can be read at http://tldp.org/LDP/intro-linux/html/index.html

Good luck.
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Karl Heinz Kremer earned 125 total points
ID: 10911665
I'm running Linux on a 133MHz Pentium. It's slow, but it does work. You can run X11, but you should select a small window manager. Go either with twm, which is part of the X11 system, or something that does not put much stress on your system.

I would recommend one of the distributions with a "big name", they are very easy to install, and will in most cases "just work" on your computer. Avoid RedHat (any version of their consumer versions - these are the ones you can download for free), they've discontinued support for all of them (RH9 will no longer be supported by the end of this month). I would recommend either SuSE (9.1 is just around the corner, and the best SuSE ever...) or Mandrake.

The best online resource for Linux is RUTE: http://www.icon.co.za/~psheer/book/index.html

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Expert Comment

by:snedelchev
ID: 11332982
i will reccomend you Slackware or Debian
good stable and clean distros
you can use Fluxbox ot fvwm as window menagers
and will be fine
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Author Comment

by:William Fulks
ID: 11623992
I ended up getting SuSe 9.1!  Thanks!
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by:Karl Heinz Kremer
ID: 11626017
So how do you like it?
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