Damn Small Linux

By candersen
Nov 7, 2011
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  1. So i have a laptop with Windows 98, IBM thinkpad 390E. Is DSL the best linux for the laptop, will i get a proper interface (start bar etc) and no black screen where i must manually insert command lines? I want it to be usable for the internet i have a usb wi-fi stick and from what i know it should come with pre-installed drivers for the stick.
    Suggestions?
  2. Lokalaskurar

    Lokalaskurar TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 616

    Every Linux distribution I've ever dealt with comes with at least some form of wizardry required at the terminal interface (black command line screen). I've personally not dealt with DSL Linux, but I can imagine that some command-line typing will be required as with 95% of all other Linux distributions, especially since DSL Linux is a quite extraordinary Linux dist.

    As for proper start interface (I assume you mean a desktop environment, GUI?), DSL Linux seems to have a variant of X - so in other words; yes, you'll have a graphical user interface, although limited and especially not as "flashy" as what you'd expect of a KDE or Gnome distribution such as (K)Ubuntu for instance.


    DSL Linux itself can browse the world wide web, but Wireless Fidelity and Universal Serial Bus support will definitely be an issue. If you're sure that it comes packed with pre-installed drivers for your Wi-Fi dongle, then the issue is non-existent. But such devices usually require much tampering with the terminal/command line and the text-editor and/or config files in order to work.

    I suggest that you use the RJ45-jack (common Ethernet interface) if you have one available.

    Both yes and no. With regards to your requirements, DSL is not the best Linux distribution. But concerning the hardware of the computer (according to Google), DSL should suite just fine (at least in theory).

    Your decision.
  3. candersen

    candersen Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    I meant a desktop interface. I just realised i have the CD for the drivers for the wi-fi stick, i should be sorted there. I'm just wondering on here if anyone installed it before and it worked out etc,

    My main concern was having the terminal as my interface as opposed to the GUI.
  4. DSL hasn't been updated for years, the last release was in '08 so it's a dead project, but if you don't mind running out of date software it should be quite suitable for that machine - bear it in mind that it's extremely minimal and installation is far from straightforward. Wifi support will be a lottery however.

    You may want to give puppy a go - no experience of it myself, but I've heard good some good things about it and it, and it's variants, are targeted at old machines such as yours - though personally I would not use a distro which defaults to the main user running as the root account.

    Alternatively you could go with a more mainstream distribution such as Debian or Slackware, perform a minimal install and build up from there - this would involve command line usage however which you've hinted that you might not be comfortable with?

    Desktop Environments will be too heavyweight for a 333MHz CPU with 128MB of RAM. Even Xfce would be unsuitable. You are going to be looking at one of the 'boxes or LXDE. DSL uses either Fluxbox or JWM.
  5. candersen

    candersen Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    When i get home il check out the specs of the laptop. Compare that to Puppy Dog, and if i do it let 'cha know how i get on. i normally throw myself in the deep end, should be interesting on how i get on.
  6. steeve

    steeve Newcomer, in training Posts: 192

    i have puppy installed on an old toshiba laptop. it does a fine job on a machine designed for win98. puppy has its own flavour/uniqueness which is quite different from other distros. good community support and applications.

    another possibility is knoppix. no experience there, but read this article

    DSL, with no further development/support doesn't seem like an appealing choice somehow ...


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