Which Linux version for old pc?

I have been given this old pc that is sportin’ a pentium II 233mhz processor and a 10gb hard drive. I’ve decided that it should spend the rest of its days in my shop playing music for my listening pleasure while gathering loads of MDF and paint particulates.
This also seems like a good opportunity to try out Linux. However, I have no idea what version I should stick on this thing. I am downloading Knoppix right now only because I read some article somewhere that described my situation. If anyone has better suggestions for this geezer (the pc, not me) please tell me.

Just about any will work fine, but Id really suggest either learning to use it command line, or choosing a very lightweight window manager. Most distos default to GNOME or KDE which would probably slow that system down quick. If you can choose some other light weight window manager, the system will be very usable.

With 10 gig of space, using that knoppix disc with a command line or lighter weight window manager should be doable if you install the OS to the hard drive (one of the many options you have on boot up). Running it directly from the disc is NOT recommended; they get so much linux goodness in by packing and compressing the files, and decompressing them on the fly. Between the prolly slow CD speed and the very slow processor speed, that could slow things down bad.

If you’re really wanting to learn Linux, I’d suggest installing Debian. You could probably get the whole OS with everything you want installed in 100 or 150 megabytes. If you just want to set this up as a quick server and get back to doing other things, Knoppix or Ubuntu isn’t a bad idea because of the easier hardware detection.

I heard for older, slower computers, xUbuntu is pretty good.


Big Pockets: I’d be glad to help. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Damn Small Linux (http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/)
  2. Xubuntu (This is Ubuntu using the lighter-weight XFCE Desktop Interface)
  3. Debian with the XFCE Desktop environment

Sometimes it’s not only a matter of which distribution to use, but what software packages you are using. For example, you can use a distro with a typical heavy-footprint but trim it down so it only uses essential/lightweight packages.

As toodles mentioned, if you wish to really learn Linux…I suggest Debian. Debian is very versatile to boot. This is what I used to start using linux with, and this is what I maintain servers with.

I second the XFCE environment. If you have > 256MB memory installed on it, then Slackware with GNOME will probably work fine. :tup:

Man, I’d only recommend Slack if he was serious about learning Linux. Small, lightweight, but sometimes you gotta get under the hood with it and edit shell scripts or config files more often than with other distros

Good call on the Damn Small Linux; if he just wants to get up and play MP3s only, that’d do it. I just don’t remember if it has Samba on it

damnsmalllinux owns it all.

what you want for the window manager: XFCE, enlightenment, fluxbox, etc.
what you don’t want: GNOME, KDE

the first step, there ya go

E on a low end system?!?!?!

For the OP, theres a Windows looking light weight window manager, called Fvwm95 that might help make the transition at least look a little less scary, but I the smaller distros like DSL and Knoppix may not have it in the default build; you’d have to use apt-get and install it. Blackbox (or fluxbox, which owns all IMHO) will almost certainly be there and be a good choice without looking like it came out of a cat’s ass.

Wow, thanks for all the recommendations!

Seems everyone can agree on DSL. I’ll give that a go first.
Xubuntu is next in line.

I wish I had something smarter to say than that but I really have no idea what I am getting into.

http://www.abzone.be/Review001_p001 - A review of lightweight Linux distros.

One suggestion I can make and it might not be true with newer linux. Everything is case sensitive. This drove me insane when I first started playing with linux.

That’s my tip :slight_smile: