The also-rans

I’ve mentioned a few candidates for the 150Mhz, 32Mb machine, which I keep on hand to deliberately confound with software written 14 years after its creation.

A few things have proved usable, but only in the slimmest, narrowest definition. Slitaz is the big winner, of course, and the age-old TinyFlux got a small nod. And of course, an outdated Ubuntu console.

But not everything gets a smilie. Here are a few that I tried but didn’t get much out of. For reasons that will be explained. …

I don’t remember how I came to find TurboPup, but it was a bit of a challenge to install. Installing Puppy Linux, for some reason, occasionally confounds me.

After fighting with emulated systems and installing from live USB drives, I finally got one TurboPup system written to an image, transferred it across, and started it up.

And it claims it can’t find its critical pup_420.sfs file. Oh well, I tried. Maybe a straight installation of Puppy, instead of a backdated derivative would be a better idea.

As a side note, if I could suggest one thing to the people who make Puppy Linux, it would be to cut down on the wordy dialog boxes. Pretty please.

I don’t want to speak for everyone, but it’s a bit tedious to skim through two paragraphs of narrative to find that there’s really only one button that matters.

It’s not a crime to put one terse sentence beside an option, and use a help button to explain in detail. ;)

Vector Linux, like I said before, wanted a seemingly immense 6Gb or so to install properly. It went against my grain but I went ahead and gave it that space, with the intention of moving the system across by way of a full-size external drive.

I was expecting a transfer time of over three hours when it moved across the Mebius’s USB1.1 port, which is pushing my limit. But it never came to that, because the installer kept freezing after the partitioning sequence. I took the hint.

I should mention that I did try Mandriva too, but not really with the purpose of pushing it onto a Pentium machine. Doesn’t matter, because it wouldn’t boot for me, either in an emulator, from USB or from CD. I must be doing something wrong. (And yes, I verified the checksums.)

Since Ubuntu 10.04 refused to boot, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that Linux Mint Fluxbox built from a recent Ubuntu also refused to boot.

LMF relayed the same error messages about “real mode pages” and “loading a kernel first,” in its failed efforts to satisfy. I hold no grudge here though.

Because honestly, this was a bit of a dream. My previous efforts with Linux Mint cast from Ubuntu have told me that I really should be seeking out lightweight distros, not just distros that use lightweight window managers.

What I could really hope for now, is for some enterprising person to take the Linux Mint Debian system and trim it down to bare essentials. Now that might have hope at 150Mhz. :twisted:

That’s all for now. I have a couple more candidates on the list, and the image transfers only take up about an hour at a time. So my search certainly isn’t exhausted yet. And neither is the hardware. :)

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22 Responses to “The also-rans”


  1. 6 Calvin 2010/09/26 at 10:07 AM

    Well k.mandla, I installed Debian on my Pentium 3 yesterday, and wow, results are great. I can have several apps in xorg open and only use 30 MB. (with x, pekwm, lxpanel, feh, 5 xterms, irssi, and ace of penguins – idle X with pekwm, feh, and lxpanel uses 24.)

    Without X, it goes all the way down to 8 MB. It’s very responsive at the console, except for aptitude which is a slug compared to pure apt. X is also pretty nimble. For a browser, I use NetSurf and lynx.

    I’ll get a pic later-ish.

    • 7 Armor Nick 2010/09/26 at 5:43 PM

      Wouldn’t trimming LMDE into bare basics mean you get Debian ;)

      Anyway, like the person above me, I suggest trying Debian, because I’m curious how lightweight it really is.

    • 8 K.Mandla 2010/09/26 at 7:53 PM

      Yes, a picture please. Debian is great stuff. It’s unfortunate it tends to live in the shadow of all its children; perhaps one day that will change back around.

      • 9 Calvin 2010/09/27 at 12:31 AM

        It’s a reply to the first comment, because I was writing one, scrapped it, forgot I was writing a reply, and was making one here…

    • 10 prinzzchavo 2010/09/27 at 5:15 AM

      Just one question, Calvin:

      How much HDD does it take a bare install?

      Last time I tried a “basics” Debian install, it went over 1Gb, and I’m rather curious on whether it was my fault…

      • 11 Calvin 2010/09/27 at 7:48 AM

        It gave Debian a 6 GB partition and it seems comfy.I haven’t checked disk usage yet though.

      • 12 K.Mandla 2010/09/27 at 10:07 AM

        You should be able to install a text-based system on about 400Mb or less, and add another 150Mb or so for the basic X environment. I don’t remember a home-built Debian system ever taking up more than about 800Mb or so. But I am sometimes wrong. :oops:

  2. 13 linuxbakkie 2010/09/26 at 6:11 PM

    Maybe a small distro with ratpoison as a (tiled) WM would work. Ratpoison doesn’t use fat libraries and is very lightweight.

  3. 14 anticapitalista 2010/09/26 at 7:30 PM

    Try latest antiX-base or better antiX-core. Both are basically Debian Testing with a MEPIS kernel and some MEPIS tools.

    http://www.mepisimo.com/antix/Testing/

  4. 18 Ray 2010/09/26 at 11:58 PM

    What about DeLi Linux? It’s a bit outdated, but it works on 486 with 32 mb ram.

    Or if you’re itching for something even more lightweight, like 386 style, there’s always Basic Linux ;)

  5. 19 Marie 2010/09/28 at 8:58 AM

    DSL-Damn Small Linux


  1. 1 Links 27/9/2010: Audiocasts, Fedora 14 Preview | Techrights Trackback on 2010/09/28 at 9:15 AM
  2. 2 Three more attempts: GRML, MiniNo, Tiny Core « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2010/11/02 at 9:12 AM

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May 6, 2011
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