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small linux distro that will run on 64 mb RAM

By golfing22 ยท 6 replies
Feb 24, 2006
  1. I'm currently a appretice at a local tech shop and we're trying to find an alternate to Win98 to put on a few old computers. These old computers are like 300 mhz, 64 mb RAM, 4 gig hdd. It would also be cool to have it look like Windows, and we'll probably put the WINE thing on these machines too. Right now we are testing SuSe 10 but it seems to need at least 256 mb ram to even be useable so we really need to find something that isn't as resource hungry.

  2. Spike

    Spike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,122

    Debian will run on it. Not the simplest of linux flavours though. (Debian x86 installation instructions/faq)

    On the other side of debian, you can install knoppix to the hard drive, but They say it's not advised for reasons of requireing experience to handle the issues it'll throw your way (it's designed primarily for live cd mode, hdinstall is a secondary issue)

    Any linux flavour can be made to look(ish) like XP - there aren't any that look like XP though, and WINE is not a replacement for Windows - it gets better all the time but it's not a replacement. a rough explanation of what it is can be found from the horses mouth here.

    If you're going to replace win98 with linux, you'll have to start working in a different way (ie, the linux way) is about the long and the short of it.

    Having said all that, any other info can come from a person who knows far more than my limited experience of linux allows.
  3. DragonMaster

    DragonMaster TS Rookie Posts: 323

    ubuntu, slackware ??

    Yeah, SuSE 10. I put this on a 320MB ram 350MHz and it's using it all. What you should do is to use XFCE instead of KDE as Desktop Environment. If you use KDE, you can be practically sure that you will need at least 512MB of RAM to make it run fine.
  4. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,452   +7

    Any Linux distro will run on that computer. Yes, some (SuSE) boast installers that want to see more RAM and by default they install Gnome or KDE, which are way too heavyweight.

    Find a distro that agrees to install with 64MB or RAM. Use IceWM as the window manager (lightweight and Windows-looking). Leave out any packages that you don't need - hard drive space is not something you can waste.
  5. smtkr

    smtkr TS Rookie Posts: 124

    I'm not very familiar with Linux on old hardware, but I would worry about running WINE with that setup. Maybe someone else can elaborate on this point (as it seems like most people are focusing on the easy question of which distro and window manager is best).
  6. fgaliegue

    fgaliegue TS Rookie Posts: 25

    Oh, Wine will run, no problem. Its memory footprint is rather light, after that it will depends on the applications you intend to run.

    Also, don't be lured by the amount of memory returned by top: what's used is not actively used. In order to have a better view of how much memory is really used, use vmstat -a.
  7. DragonMaster

    DragonMaster TS Rookie Posts: 323

    I'd be more worried about KDE than WINE.
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