Distros for Less: lightweight linux distributions

johnw's picture

JohnW wrote:

Modern distros, with funky desktop GUIs, alpha-blending, cubes that rotate, snazzy graphics of every kind... you have to admire them, but at the same time they may not fit easily (or perform quickly) on an older machine.

Suggestions please, for what distros are useful on a Pentium II with perhaps 64M or 128M of ram?

Someone wrote:

  • Debian with a lightweight window manager such as flux / black box or icewm
  • LFS - Linux From Scratch
  • Gentoo - but it might take a few meetings to actually get stuff installed :)

JamesA wrote:

I've run a lamp on a very similar machine, 400MHz/64MB RAM/6GB hard drive. I used ClarkConnect?, it doesn't install X and allows you to configure everything through a web interface.

RichardH wrote:

I've got Fedora Core 5 on an old Celeron 400Mhz with 256M RAM as a jukebox. It certainly doesn't fly, but starts up within a minute when I've disabled the unnecessary system stuff. It's certainly quicker than FC4 on the same hardware. Probably the first time a new distro was quicker than the old one :-)

Depends on how quick you want it to run! Seriously, in my first year at uni the aforementioned 400Mhz 'beast' was my webserver, mailserver, mysql server and FTP server for all my development. For only a few concurrent users it coped with everything I threw at it, and since it was headless it didn't even need X running (but it was installed for when I wanted to use vncviewer to make changes...)

Take a PII box, maybe increase the memory to 256 you have a nice little server to play with, pretty much any distro should work on it -- the real knack is knowing what to disable :-)

JimK wrote:

I've run a LAMP stack on a DX-2/66 with 64M of memory and 6G of disk. No GUI (of course).

PaulS wrote:

I'm running Debian Sarge with Gnome on a Celeron 500 with 256MB. It provides my local DNS and I'm going to be putting some other things on it like PostgreSQL?, a groupware suite and possible Asterisk if it's got the smoke. It's not quick but I can surf and use BitTorrent? to download stuff. I would certainly describe it as adequate.


fatmac adds:-

DamnSmallLinux - runs on old boxes, will even run from memory if you have 128mb

Slax - Can run from memory (256mb), has modules that can be installed or removed to suit your idea of the perfect distro.

Slax can also run as a pxe boot server, just needs a bit more memory (1gb is good)

Knoppix - the defacto live distro; sysadmins tool, or desktop use.