Light Weight Linux for an old computer


I have an old Pentium 4 1.5 GHz with 1GB of ram on which I want to install a small distribution of Linux.

I tried Ubuntu but it's really too heavy.  The computer becomes slow in no time.  Then I tried Puppy Linux.  This one is really fast and have a really good look.  The problem is that it does not respect Linux standards!

I tried to install Open Office on it and it needs an OO version compiled for Puppy. I also tried to install my printer and never get it to work.  Looks like it needs an HPLIP compiled for Puppy too. And it doesn't use the fstab file as other linux for network mapping. And I have strange mouse behavior with it.

So what I need is a linux ditribution which will be fast enough on my P4 and a Desktop and menu system as easy to use than puppy's.

This computer would be used as a web development one and everyday simple tasks.  So need possibility to install Open Office, Wine (for Notepad++), printing and multiple web browsers (At least: Firefox, Opera and Chrome)

Need you recommendations!

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damn small linux......

knoppix is good too.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Have you tried Ubuntu's Netbook distro?  Just a thought... haven't used it myself, but that desktop sounds about as powerful as a netbook...
if you are patient enough gentoo is pretty awesome.
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Which version of Ubuntu you tried?

I use Ubuntu 8.04 on my old P4 machine and it works fine with me.

Nowadays most of popular Linux distribution are quite "heavy". So you can try older version. Ubuntu X.04 has longer support period. It worths a try.  
ubuntu LTS are best to use.
You can see a list of the most popular Linux distributions here...

For your needs you might consider Fedora it's Redhat related.
Get RHEL3 or RHEL4

Or Fedora 5 or so.
redhat is good. if it's good enough for top-tier datacenters it's good for you!
the motherload list is right here!!!!!
ameloraAuthor Commented:
Thanks for all your responses.

Now I have a lot to look at!  Gentoo looks interesting but it's installation seems to be quite long and hard.  Will have to try it on an external drive!

I was really surprise that RedHat is no longer free!  Isn't one of linux main objective being a free OS?!?!?!

I will examine your recommendations and close this thread in a few days with points awarding. Meanwhile, should you have more ideas, feel free to add them!

Thanks to all!
fedora is the free redhat desktop os and centos is the free redhat server os. thier direction changed.

I was surprised myself, however I do understand. they want to be able to have a better support to customer ratio. redhat is mostly targeted at businesses now and they want to be able to give businesses great support.

however linux in general is "free as in speech not as in beer...."

this lists all the red hat derivatives: 

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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
RedHat is free.  If you want to build from source.  Otherwise, I believe that's what CentOS is - someone (org) that got/gets the source and compiles it.  

Fedora is Red Hat's free distro (but it's not the same exact thing).
I would try

Or Slackware or Debian and use a lightweight Window Manager like Fluxbox, Openbox, Blackbox, IceWM, or WindowMaker.  

More about Desktop Environments and Window Managers at  KDE, Gnome and XFCE use a lot of system resources.
ameloraAuthor Commented:
Ok!  Finally made some kind of choice!

I will go with Fedora for now for it's ease of use. It's speed is not so bad with LXDE desktop.

I also tried Vector Linux (seen it on Distrowatch).  It's speed was way better than Fedora.  It's based on Slackware which is good but it had so much changes that we can't use SW repositories for applications and even installing WINE was out of range for an inexperienced Linux user like me!

When I'll be more at easy with Linux I plan to test Gentoo as it looks to be very fast while very extensible.

Thanks again for all your replies.
Great! Let us know how fedora works for you! I might pop it into vbox soon as well. ;-)

Can't go wrong with redhat based distros. they are datacenter tested and are awesome. ;-)
ameloraAuthor Commented:
Oh!  Almost forgot:

In my original question I mentioned I had strange mouse behavior with puppy.  The problem was my mouse.

So for people reading this question, puppy is really good looking and fast but a good Linux experience is required to use it at it's best!
great thanks for letting us know
ameloraAuthor Commented:
These are useful for people looking for Linux infos: for an extensive list of distributions, infos and updates. for it's infos on desktops and window managers.
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