Which Linux for a beginning desktop? - Linux

This is a discussion on Which Linux for a beginning desktop? - Linux ; I'm thinking of experimenting with Linux, which I've never used before (although I've used UNIX and many other operating systems). Which Linux distribution should I use for a nice desktop configuration? I have a few constraints: - It has to ...

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Thread: Which Linux for a beginning desktop?

  1. Which Linux for a beginning desktop?

    I'm thinking of experimenting with Linux, which I've never used before
    (although I've used UNIX and many other operating systems). Which Linux
    distribution should I use for a nice desktop configuration? I have a
    few constraints:

    - It has to be downloadable for free (I can burn installation CDs and
    make diskettes from the download).
    - I have to be able create boot diskettes, since the old machine I have
    will not boot from CD (although it has a CD drive and can read them).
    - I'm looking mainly for a desktop environment and GUI, not a server.
    - It should run on old hardware (this is an HP Vectra XU that is eight
    years old).
    - It must not require more than 2 GB or so of disk. I have two SCSI
    drives of 4.5 GB each.
    - It should support a dual Pentium Pro.
    - It should not require more than 384 MB of RAM.

    Any suggestions?

    --
    Transpose hotmail and mxsmanic in my e-mail address to reach me directly.

  2. Re: Which Linux for a beginning desktop?

    Up spake Mxsmanic:
    > I'm thinking of experimenting with Linux, which I've never used before
    > (although I've used UNIX and many other operating systems). Which Linux
    > distribution should I use for a nice desktop configuration? I have a
    > few constraints:


    Short answer: Ubuntu.

    Long answer: http://twb.ath.cx/wiki/MyWritings.xhtml#sec1

    PS: Unfortunately that URL doesn't work with iexplore 6.0.
    If anyone knows why, please tell me (my address is ROT13'd).

    --
    -trent
    Here's your cable. We made it fifty feet long, just in case. In case
    what, in case tectonic movement makes the serial ports farther apart?
    -- Carl Jacobs

  3. Re: Which Linux for a beginning desktop?

    In article <9tdl11hvgb1g4nm95o8kon7lhjq3depgsv@4ax.com>, Mxsmanic wrote:

    >I'm thinking of experimenting with Linux, which I've never used before
    >(although I've used UNIX and many other operating systems). Which Linux
    >distribution should I use for a nice desktop configuration?


    Do you have a friend who uses Linux? Use what they use. Does a school
    or college or university nearby offer classes in Linux? Use what they use.

    >I have a few constraints:
    >
    >- It has to be downloadable for free (I can burn installation CDs and
    >make diskettes from the download).


    Download an ISO - that rules out SuSE, but any other is OK

    >- I have to be able create boot diskettes, since the old machine I have
    >will not boot from CD (although it has a CD drive and can read them).


    All distributions can create boot diskettes.

    >- I'm looking mainly for a desktop environment and GUI, not a server.


    The difference between a workstation and a server is what applications
    you install. Most distributions come with everything. What you install
    is your choice.

    >- It should run on old hardware (this is an HP Vectra XU that is eight
    >years old).


    Not familiar with that model. Try a search of http://groups.google.com
    and search for the model name and the word Linux.

    >- It must not require more than 2 GB or so of disk. I have two SCSI
    >drives of 4.5 GB each.


    Depends on what you install. Looking at the RELEASE-NOTES for Fedora Core 3,
    I see:

    Also, keep in mind that additional space will be required for any user
    data, and at least 5% free space should be maintained for proper system
    operation.
    * Custom Installation (Minimal): 620MB
    * Server: 1.1GB
    * Personal Desktop: 2.3GB
    * Workstation: 3.0GB
    * Custom Installation (Everything): 6.9GB

    Much of the requirements bloat has come from the windoze wannabe eye candy
    that is being added.

    >- It should support a dual Pentium Pro.


    SMP mode - many distributions come that way.

    >- It should not require more than 384 MB of RAM.


    How much eye-candy do you install? Quoting the Fedora Core 3 notes again:

    This section lists the memory required to install Fedora Core 3.
    * Minimum for text-mode: 64MB
    * Minimum for graphical: 192MB
    * Recommended for graphical: 256MB

    Having more memory is always a good thing.

    >Any suggestions?


    http://www.distrowatch.com/
    http://ibiblio.org/pub/linux/distributions/

    There are over a hundred different distributions. But then, there are over
    a hundred types of vegetables - which is best for you?

    While you are looking at groups.google.com, you also want to search for the
    Linux HOWTOs. In particular:

    280344 Feb 19 21:19 HOWTO-INDEX
    39240 May 3 2001 Install-Strategies
    68456 Jul 8 2002 Installation-HOWTO
    236864 Jul 21 2003 Multi-Disk-HOWTO
    7749 Jan 21 2001 Multiboot-with-GRUB
    8080 Apr 26 2001 Multiboot-with-LILO
    81726 Oct 14 2002 Network-Install-HOWTO
    57838 Mar 8 2004 Partition
    22488 Dec 4 2000 Pre-Installation-Checklist

    That is just a few of more than 480 documents available through the Linux
    Documentation Project.

    Old guy


  4. Re: Which Linux for a beginning desktop?


    "Mxsmanic" wrote in message
    news:9tdl11hvgb1g4nm95o8kon7lhjq3depgsv@4ax.com...
    > I'm thinking of experimenting with Linux, which I've never used before
    > (although I've used UNIX and many other operating systems). Which Linux
    > distribution should I use for a nice desktop configuration? I have a
    > few constraints:
    >
    > - It has to be downloadable for free (I can burn installation CDs and
    > make diskettes from the download).
    > - I have to be able create boot diskettes, since the old machine I have
    > will not boot from CD (although it has a CD drive and can read them).
    > - I'm looking mainly for a desktop environment and GUI, not a server.
    > - It should run on old hardware (this is an HP Vectra XU that is eight
    > years old).
    > - It must not require more than 2 GB or so of disk. I have two SCSI
    > drives of 4.5 GB each.
    > - It should support a dual Pentium Pro.
    > - It should not require more than 384 MB of RAM.
    >
    > Any suggestions?
    >
    > --
    > Transpose hotmail and mxsmanic in my e-mail address to reach me directly.


    That leaves Debian or Gentoo and Debian is easier
    and more stable. Debian. www.debian.org



  5. Re: Which Linux for a beginning desktop?

    Moe Trin writes:

    > Do you have a friend who uses Linux?


    I don't know anyone who uses Linux. Almost all of my acquaintances are
    running Windows, and a handful are running Macs.

    > Does a school or college or university nearby offer classes
    > in Linux?


    Not that I'm aware of.

    > Download an ISO - that rules out SuSE, but any other is OK


    I've been looking at that, but for some reason many distributions seem
    to require 3-8 CDs. What happened to "small and fast"?

    > All distributions can create boot diskettes.


    I was looking at Mandrake yesterday. The boxed version contains no
    diskettes, nor is there any mention anywhere that I can find of a
    procedure to create diskettes. The only discussion of diskettes is for
    an emergency backup diskette _after_ the system is installed.
    Apparently the Mandrake kernel is so bloated that it won't even fit on a
    diskette any more.

    > The difference between a workstation and a server is what applications
    > you install.


    To some extent, yes. But even that is a huge difference. From what
    I've been looking at, it seems that KDE is the most common environment,
    so I've been thinking about that.

    > Not familiar with that model. Try a search of http://groups.google.com
    > and search for the model name and the word Linux.


    Usually when I look up this machine with any version of anything I see
    mostly problem reports. It's a difficult machine to support, apparently
    (HP has their own motherboard and BIOS on the machine and it is weird in
    a lot of ways, although it is very well built).

    > Depends on what you install. Looking at the RELEASE-NOTES for Fedora Core 3,
    > I see:
    >
    > Also, keep in mind that additional space will be required for any user
    > data, and at least 5% free space should be maintained for proper system
    > operation.
    > * Custom Installation (Minimal): 620MB
    > * Server: 1.1GB
    > * Personal Desktop: 2.3GB
    > * Workstation: 3.0GB
    > * Custom Installation (Everything): 6.9GB
    >
    > Much of the requirements bloat has come from the windoze wannabe eye candy
    > that is being added.


    So much for Linux being an improvement over Windows.

    > SMP mode - many distributions come that way.


    Hopefully. This particular machine has a reputation for being
    difficult, though.

    > How much eye-candy do you install? Quoting the Fedora Core 3 notes again:
    >
    > This section lists the memory required to install Fedora Core 3.
    > * Minimum for text-mode: 64MB
    > * Minimum for graphical: 192MB
    > * Recommended for graphical: 256MB


    I think that 256MB of RAM and 7 GB of disk is a ridiculous amount for
    any base operating system. I guess bloat affects everyone (not that I'm
    surprised).

    Someone mentioned Ubuntu, but I see too many mentions of Ubuntu on
    Bugtraq. I've been looking at Slackware because it seems to be small
    and efficient, but I don't know how easily or how well it can be
    configured for a GUI (if I wanted a server, it looks like it might be
    attractive, though). Mandrake I saw in the store, but it's on 7 CDs,
    which is a very bad sign, and there are no boot diskettes. SuSE is in
    the store, too, but that's even worse.

    I looked at Solaris 10, but it requires more disk space than I have on
    the machine just to install the OS. Where is all this bloat coming
    from? UNIX used to run on a PDP-8.

    --
    Transpose hotmail and mxsmanic in my e-mail address to reach me directly.

  6. Re: Which Linux for a beginning desktop?

    Tom writes:

    > That leaves Debian or Gentoo and Debian is easier
    > and more stable. Debian. www.debian.org


    Can I generate boot diskettes for installation? A quick look at their
    site makes no mention of diskette generation.

    Why is it that everyone is rushing to produce DVDs, but nobody is
    thinking about diskettes? For that matter, why is the software so
    bloated that it only fits on a DVD?

    --
    Transpose hotmail and mxsmanic in my e-mail address to reach me directly.

  7. Re: Which Linux for a beginning desktop?

    * Mxsmanic wrote in comp.os.linux:
    > Moe Trin writes:



    > I've been looking at that, but for some reason many distributions seem
    > to require 3-8 CDs. What happened to "small and fast"?


    Thats because every app you need is included, it dosent mean you have to
    install it all.

    >> All distributions can create boot diskettes.


    > I was looking at Mandrake yesterday. The boxed version contains no
    > diskettes,


    Thats because you make them yourself, all needed doc can be obtained by
    simply putting the disk in a windows machine and reading the README. It
    explains how to use rawwrite to create boot diskettes.

    > nor is there any mention anywhere that I can find of a
    > procedure to create diskettes. The only discussion of diskettes is for
    > an emergency backup diskette _after_ the system is installed.
    > Apparently the Mandrake kernel is so bloated that it won't even fit on a
    > diskette any more.


    >> The difference between a workstation and a server is what applications
    >> you install.


    > To some extent, yes. But even that is a huge difference. From what
    > I've been looking at, it seems that KDE is the most common environment,
    > so I've been thinking about that.


    Most common? I would disagree, its the one Windows users tend to
    gravitate too becuase of all the eye candy.

    >> Also, keep in mind that additional space will be required for any user
    >> data, and at least 5% free space should be maintained for proper system
    >> operation.
    >> * Custom Installation (Minimal): 620MB
    >> * Server: 1.1GB
    >> * Personal Desktop: 2.3GB
    >> * Workstation: 3.0GB
    >> * Custom Installation (Everything): 6.9GB


    >> Much of the requirements bloat has come from the windoze wannabe eye candy
    >> that is being added.


    > So much for Linux being an improvement over Windows.


    Eh? You can take any current distro and get it to install and run fine
    on the hardware you quoted. The above numbers make many assumptions most
    of which you can avoid depending on what you need to run. You dont even
    need to install X if you so choose and you can still have a GUI.


    >> How much eye-candy do you install? Quoting the Fedora Core 3 notes again:


    >> This section lists the memory required to install Fedora Core 3.
    >> * Minimum for text-mode: 64MB
    >> * Minimum for graphical: 192MB
    >> * Recommended for graphical: 256MB


    > I think that 256MB of RAM and 7 GB of disk is a ridiculous amount for
    > any base operating system. I guess bloat affects everyone (not that I'm
    > surprised).


    It assumes you want to run KDE/GNOME you can run Fluxbox or any of the
    other light WM's with much less that what is quoted.

    > Someone mentioned Ubuntu, but I see too many mentions of Ubuntu on
    > Bugtraq. I've been looking at Slackware because it seems to be small
    > and efficient,


    But my Slack DVD is over 1 gig, based on your above assumptions this
    isnt small either, of course, it can be just as MDK, Debian, Fedora, et
    al can be.

    > but I don't know how easily or how well it can be
    > configured for a GUI (if I wanted a server, it looks like it might be
    > attractive, though). Mandrake I saw in the store, but it's on 7 CDs,
    > which is a very bad sign,


    I have a hard time understanding how MORE is BAD, please elaborate how
    having every piece or almost every piece of software you might ever need
    can be installed without ever downloading or purchasing it.

    > and there are no boot diskettes.


    All of the major distros have facilities for creating boot diskettes.


    --
    David
    Life is to you a dashing and bold adventure.

  8. Re: Which Linux for a beginning desktop?

    * Mxsmanic wrote in comp.os.linux:
    > Tom writes:


    >> That leaves Debian or Gentoo and Debian is easier
    >> and more stable. Debian. www.debian.org


    > Can I generate boot diskettes for installation? A quick look at their
    > site makes no mention of diskette generation.


    > Why is it that everyone is rushing to produce DVDs, but nobody is
    > thinking about diskettes? For that matter, why is the software so
    > bloated that it only fits on a DVD?


    The size of the install medium has no direct correlation to 'bloat'
    Linux is NOT Windows.

    --
    David
    Davis's Dictum:
    Problems that go away by themselves, come back by themselves.

  9. Re: Which Linux for a beginning desktop?

    Mxsmanic wrote:

    > I was looking at Mandrake yesterday. The boxed version contains no
    > diskettes, nor is there any mention anywhere that I can find of a
    > procedure to create diskettes.


    Wrong. There is a diskette image on the first CD of the set, and a utility
    that'll run under Windows / DOS to write that image.

    > The only discussion of diskettes is for
    > an emergency backup diskette _after_ the system is installed.


    > Apparently the Mandrake kernel is so bloated that it won't even fit on a
    > diskette any more.


    Wrong. The kernel on a boot disk isn't much like the main OS kernel, and
    the boot disk contains lots of additional tools.

    > To some extent, yes. But even that is a huge difference. From what
    > I've been looking at, it seems that KDE is the most common environment,
    > so I've been thinking about that.


    No. There's probably more people using Gnome.

    > Usually when I look up this machine with any version of anything I see
    > mostly problem reports. It's a difficult machine to support, apparently
    > (HP has their own motherboard and BIOS on the machine and it is weird in
    > a lot of ways, although it is very well built).


    Perhaps you should consider cutting your losses, and buy a better machine.

    > So much for Linux being an improvement over Windows.


    It's not meant to be anything to do with Windows - it's a completely
    different way of doing just about everything. The reason that most Linux
    distros come on several CDs is that you're not just getting the OS, but
    you're also getting a huge amount of software. This is the same in the
    Windoze world - your 98/ME/XP or whatever came on one CD, and then all your
    apps came on several more.

    >> SMP mode - many distributions come that way.

    >
    > Hopefully. This particular machine has a reputation for being
    > difficult, though.


    So, cut your losses!

    > I think that 256MB of RAM and 7 GB of disk is a ridiculous amount for
    > any base operating system. I guess bloat affects everyone (not that I'm
    > surprised).


    You're very wrong - 7 GB would be installing EVERYTHING on the CDs,
    including multiple office suites (why you'd want more than one, I can't
    imagine), and several different desktops.

    > Someone mentioned Ubuntu, but I see too many mentions of Ubuntu on
    > Bugtraq.


    Probably no good for a beginner.

    > I've been looking at Slackware because it seems to be small
    > and efficient, but I don't know how easily or how well it can be
    > configured for a GUI (if I wanted a server, it looks like it might be
    > attractive, though).


    Forget it. You wouldn't stand a chance of getting it running properly, and
    then you'd whinge about it not being "as pretty" as Windoze and hard to set
    up and operate.

    > Mandrake I saw in the store, but it's on 7 CDs,
    > which is a very bad sign, and there are no boot diskettes.


    Yes - one contains the OS, all the rest are applications.

    > SuSE is in
    > the store, too, but that's even worse.


    Suse assume that you're using a modern computer.

    > I looked at Solaris 10, but it requires more disk space than I have on
    > the machine just to install the OS. Where is all this bloat coming
    > from? UNIX used to run on a PDP-8.


    What GUI were you running on your PDP8? :-) You obviously don't actually
    understand what "bloat" is. Perhaps you should look at the LOAF project
    (Linux On A Floppy). That'll show you what a small OS really is!

    C.

    --
    Everything gets easier with practice, except getting up in the morning!

  10. Re: Which Linux for a beginning desktop?

    Up spake chris:
    > It's not meant to be anything to do with Windows - it's a completely
    > different way of doing just about everything.



    An article I read today observed how much harder it is to install
    applications under Linux than Windows or OS-X; you had to download a
    shell archive, mark it executable, become root, run it, then follow
    all sorts of obscure prompts[1].

    Oh how we laughed, laughed until we collapsed weeping.


    [1] Clearly no-one told the journalist about apt-get / apt-rpm / yum /
    fink / emerge. But you already knew that, right?

    --
    -trent
    Guys.. I went out tonight.
    I pretended to be a normal college student.
    And I stood uncomfortably on a porch with a bunch of people I don't know.
    But then I ran into Bill and Will, who were pretending in the same way.
    So we talked about networks and I felt better.

  11. Re: Which Linux for a beginning desktop?

    SINNER writes:

    > Thats because you make them yourself, all needed doc can be obtained by
    > simply putting the disk in a windows machine and reading the README. It
    > explains how to use rawwrite to create boot diskettes.


    Well, Mandrake is no longer on the list. I booted from a diskette and
    Mandrake displayed a pretty, Windows-like image, then returned to a text
    screen and stopped dead in the water when it tried to read the CD drive.
    I think it actually disabled the CD drive, somehow, because when I reset
    the machine the drive no longer seemed to be visible to _anyone_.

    > Eh? You can take any current distro and get it to install and run fine
    > on the hardware you quoted.


    Not Mandrake, see above. One down, 13,487 to go.

    But I may simple installed FreeBSD, if Mandrake didn't screw up my
    machine too much.

    > The above numbers make many assumptions most
    > of which you can avoid depending on what you need to run. You dont even
    > need to install X if you so choose and you can still have a GUI.


    Part of the whole idea in this case is to install X. I already have a
    UNIX server without X.

    > It assumes you want to run KDE/GNOME you can run Fluxbox or any of the
    > other light WM's with much less that what is quoted.


    Even running KDE does not justify 256 MB of RAM or gigabytes of disk.

    > But my Slack DVD is over 1 gig, based on your above assumptions this
    > isnt small either, of course, it can be just as MDK, Debian, Fedora, et
    > al can be.


    I am not reassured.

    I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever get anything running on this
    machine besides Windows.

    > I have a hard time understanding how MORE is BAD ...


    More is bad when it's more than you need.

    > ... please elaborate how
    > having every piece or almost every piece of software you might ever need
    > can be installed without ever downloading or purchasing it.


    It takes up space. I prefer to use space for other things that I
    actually need and want.

    --
    Transpose hotmail and mxsmanic in my e-mail address to reach me directly.

  12. Re: Which Linux for a beginning desktop?

    chris writes:

    > Wrong. There is a diskette image on the first CD of the set, and a utility
    > that'll run under Windows / DOS to write that image.


    I found it, and created a boot diskette. Unfortunately, Mandrake would
    not install, and I think it may have messed up my CD drive.

    > Perhaps you should consider cutting your losses, and buy a better machine.


    Spending money on a new machine would not be cutting losses, it would be
    creating them. This machine still runs fine. I can still run Windows
    NT on it.

    > Forget it. You wouldn't stand a chance of getting it running properly, and
    > then you'd whinge about it not being "as pretty" as Windoze and hard to set
    > up and operate.


    I don't care about it looking like Windows, although ease-of-use is a
    factor, since operating systems that are hard to use tend not to enjoy
    wide currency.

    > Suse assume that you're using a modern computer.


    No, SuSE is just bloated, like so many other software products.

    > What GUI were you running on your PDP8?


    Early versions of UNIX didn't have any kind of GUIs. They still don't,
    in the base OS, but now there are add-ons for them.

    > You obviously don't actually understand what "bloat" is.


    I understand only too well what it is.

    > Perhaps you should look at the LOAF project
    > (Linux On A Floppy). That'll show you what a small OS really is!


    Hmm.

    --
    Transpose hotmail and mxsmanic in my e-mail address to reach me directly.

  13. Re: Which Linux for a beginning desktop?

    Up spake Mxsmanic:
    > > Thats because you make them yourself, all needed doc can be obtained by
    > > simply putting the disk in a windows machine and reading the README. It
    > > explains how to use rawwrite to create boot diskettes.

    >
    > Well, Mandrake is no longer on the list. I booted from a diskette and
    > Mandrake displayed a pretty, Windows-like image, then returned to a text
    > screen and stopped dead in the water when it tried to read the CD drive.
    > I think it actually disabled the CD drive, somehow, because when I reset
    > the machine the drive no longer seemed to be visible to _anyone_.


    If I may say this without offense, you sound like you need help to get
    Linux onto that machine.

    Find your local Linux User Group (LUG) -- http://www.linux.org/groups/
    has a list.

    Ask them when the next InstallFest is. An installfest is where people
    bring machines to (say) the local church hall and help each other to get
    linux installed and working properly.

    --
    -trent
    I've went to a Con when I was 14. Patrick Stewart was there; they said
    not to ask why they can't fix baldness in the 24th century.

  14. Re: Which Linux for a beginning desktop?

    Up spake chris:
    > If LOAF doesn't suit, you could try QNX - it's proprietary (but much cheaper
    > than Windoze), Unix based, has a basic GUI and comes on a floppy including
    > a proper standards-compliant graphical web-browser!


    QNX's selling point is that it does Real Time -- useful for embedded
    systems and AV editing, but unnecessary on the desktop.

    Correct me if I'm wrong.

    --
    -trent
    Hopefully, the power switch in *that* case is labelled "off" and "more off".
    -- Peter Corlett

  15. Re: Which Linux for a beginning desktop?

    Trent Buck wrote:

    > QNX's selling point is that it does Real Time -- useful for embedded
    > systems and AV editing, but unnecessary on the desktop.
    >
    > Correct me if I'm wrong.


    No, you're not wrong, but QNX can also be used as a very small, very fast
    Unix-alike and includes a proper graphical browser all on one floppy!

    Chris

    --
    Everything gets easier with practice, except getting up in the morning!

  16. Re: Which Linux for a beginning desktop?

    In article <1p4o11ta782gmq6sv2tbgmhgd1q7v5ef9u@4ax.com>, Mxsmanic wrote:

    >I've been looking at that, but for some reason many distributions seem
    >to require 3-8 CDs. What happened to "small and fast"?


    You didn't go to the two web sites I posted. You want small?

    Baslinux
    BasicLinux is a multipurpose mini-Linux that boots from HD, FD or CD-ROM.
    The 2mb package provides the usual rescue/repair tools, but it can also
    dial an ISP and browse the net, or act as a router/firewall. BasicLinux
    uses a newbie-friendly shell and editor, and it would make a good
    introductory Linux for a DOS dinosaur.

    Damnsmall Linux
    Damn small Linux is a very small live CD Linux distribution. It has a
    working desktop environment yet is small enough to fit on a business
    card-size CD.

    Feather
    Feather Linux is a Linux distribution which runs completely off a CD or a
    USB pendrive and takes up under 64MB of space. It is a Knoppix remaster
    (based on Debian), and tries to include software which most people would
    use every day on their desktop.

    Frustix
    Frustix is a linux OS which is distributed in an ISO image. You can burn
    it to a CD (443 MB) and place it in your CD drive. Booting from this CD
    gives you a complete basic Linux with some apps and some games.

    That's just the first few that I see at sunsite.

    >> The difference between a workstation and a server is what applications
    >> you install.

    >
    >To some extent, yes. But even that is a huge difference. From what
    >I've been looking at, it seems that KDE is the most common environment,
    >so I've been thinking about that.


    I'm sorry, but no sane admin installs X on a server, never mind some over
    bloated windoze wannabe desktop. Servers are servers. They do not have
    lusers logging in an listening to the radio while they surf pr0n sites.

    But the same token, a workstation should never have more than SSH and
    perhaps an MTA to handle mail from cron jobs.

    >> Much of the requirements bloat has come from the windoze wannabe eye candy
    >> that is being added.

    >
    >So much for Linux being an improvement over Windows.


    [spitzer /]$ df
    Filesystem 1024-blocks Used Available Capacity Mounted on
    /dev/hda1 608785 545392 31945 94% /
    [spitzer /]$ free
    total used free shared buffers cached
    Mem: 30824 29456 1368 22932 860 8860
    -/+ buffers/cache: 19736 11088
    Swap: 36284 14580 21704
    [spitzer /]$

    You were saying? (spitzer is a print server that also has the secondary
    backup connection to the internet.)

    >I think that 256MB of RAM and 7 GB of disk is a ridiculous amount for
    >any base operating system. I guess bloat affects everyone (not that I'm
    >surprised).


    Except that isn't the operating system. Most popular distributions are not
    noted for running the slimmest possible desktop. This box has 64 Megs of
    RAM, and a 2.5 Gig drive, because I don't happen to believe in windoze. I
    am running X with FVWM. There are 21 terminals open on the desktop, and not
    one single icon. A mouse is a device used to point at the xterm you want to
    type in.

    >Someone mentioned Ubuntu, but I see too many mentions of Ubuntu on
    >Bugtraq


    And you see less than a tenth that many mentions of SuSE, Mandrake or
    the commercial Red Hat. Why? Do you think it might be because the various
    distributors use different mechanisms to get the word out?

    >I've been looking at Slackware because it seems to be small
    >and efficient, but I don't know how easily or how well it can be
    >configured for a GUI (if I wanted a server, it looks like it might be
    >attractive, though).


    Slack comes with the whole thing as well. But like a number of distros,
    it's able to be tailored to something quite tiny, The current sunsite
    index doesn't list Zip-Slack (remember what a Zip drive was?), but there
    are several distros based on it that are under 200 Megs.

    >Mandrake I saw in the store, but it's on 7 CDs, which is a very bad sign,
    >and there are no boot diskettes. SuSE is in the store, too, but that's
    >even worse.


    Both SINNER <99nesorjd@gates_of_hell.invalid> and chris
    have responded to that complaint.

    >I looked at Solaris 10, but it requires more disk space than I have on
    >the machine just to install the OS. Where is all this bloat coming
    >from? UNIX used to run on a PDP-8.


    Running what GUI. And how many desktops did it come with? How many
    office suites? Hell, how many _text_editors_ did it come with? Or have
    you forgotten the standard complaints about Emacs (which wouldn't have
    enough room to run on most PDP-8s)

    "Emacs is a great OS. The only thing it lacks is a decent editor."

    and the classic

    "Emacs - Eight Megs And Continuously Swapping"

    You want something like a PDP-8? Here:

    Slimlinux
    Slimlinux is multi-purpose Linux mini distribution which fits to one
    floppy or can be installed to FAT partition.

    Small Linux
    Small Linux is a distribution which fits on a floppy and can boot in less
    than 2 megs of RAM. It is intended for users who need a Linux Kernel that
    meets small memory requirements. Small Linux has been used (console
    based) on a 386 laptop with 2 meg of ram and a 40 meg harddrive.

    And, I know of at least one that is smaller than that (though it does really
    want 8 Megs of RAM.)
    Old guy

  17. Re: Which Linux for a beginning desktop?

    Try Lycoris DesktopLX. http://www.lycoris.com


    "Mxsmanic" wrote in message
    news:9tdl11hvgb1g4nm95o8kon7lhjq3depgsv@4ax.com...
    > I'm thinking of experimenting with Linux, which I've never used before
    > (although I've used UNIX and many other operating systems). Which Linux
    > distribution should I use for a nice desktop configuration? I have a
    > few constraints:
    >
    > - It has to be downloadable for free (I can burn installation CDs and
    > make diskettes from the download).
    > - I have to be able create boot diskettes, since the old machine I have
    > will not boot from CD (although it has a CD drive and can read them).
    > - I'm looking mainly for a desktop environment and GUI, not a server.
    > - It should run on old hardware (this is an HP Vectra XU that is eight
    > years old).
    > - It must not require more than 2 GB or so of disk. I have two SCSI
    > drives of 4.5 GB each.
    > - It should support a dual Pentium Pro.
    > - It should not require more than 384 MB of RAM.
    >
    > Any suggestions?
    >
    > --
    > Transpose hotmail and mxsmanic in my e-mail address to reach me directly.




  18. Re: Which Linux for a beginning desktop?

    Gentoo, is good, if you can manage to install it.


  19. Re: Which Linux for a beginning desktop?

    SeaBass wrote:
    > Gentoo, is good, if you can manage to install it.
    >

    I would recommend ubuntu or fedora, easier to use, much less painful to
    install.

  20. Re: Which Linux for a beginning desktop?

    SeaBass enlightened us with:
    > Gentoo, is good, if you can manage to install it.


    Ah, don't whine. Even my girlfriend could install it.

    Sybren
    --
    The problem with the world is stupidity. Not saying there should be a
    capital punishment for stupidity, but why don't we just take the
    safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself?

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