In two flavors: AntiX at 150Mhz, 32Mb

A long time ago I tried Feather Linux, came back to it a week ago, and found it just as useful even on a machine with considerably weaker guts.

I have a similar experience to report … more or less … from AntiX, in its full M8.5 rendition and from the base version.

I tried both, using the X60s as a surrogate and once again writing the system across USB1.1 for the complete, JWM-driven desktop and the lighter variant.

And the sparser, “base” version is probably what I would prefer outright, just going by my own preferences and what I find usable.

That ISO gives you Fluxbox in a clean design, conky with a fundamental display of system stats, a few basic applications, and so forth. I don’t have a screenshot for you this time, for reasons I’ll explore in a little bit.

The hardware I used for this little adventure is particularly tetchy, and with only 32Mb on board it’s coming in well under the suggested 128Mb minimum for the distro.

On top of that, the Trident video card was mired in an array of nonworking drivers (the fault of Xorg, not AntiX), and only performed at all when I went with the third-string “vesa” driver.

And I’ll be honest: The network and sound never did work for me, although those are generally things I pursue later, when the system is installed, stable, graphically satisfactory and with sufficient time to spare.

It took a little coaxing to get the system working in the first place. Ordinarily it wouldn’t be necessary to install the system via a second machine, so I don’t subtract points for the hiccups that presented.

It did mean however, that the grub menu was perennially mish-moshed, trying to boot from root(2,0) and the sdc1 partition, neither of which existed on the actual host computer. I ended up editing that line every time I restarted the machine (I am not a big fan of Grub2 right now πŸ‘Ώ ).

And once it was up, I did need to manually reconfigure the xorg.conf file to get a proper display working, and to block things like dri, dri2 and glx from loading and sucking up more space.

But with those minor hurdles cleared, and with the Plan C “vesa” driver rolling, I got a working display with a full color desktop, no artifacts and access to system software.

The only issue after that was a very, very slow system. I don’t see the system paging, and checking things like htop suggest that there’s no swapping going on … but … so slow. …

It could be that the processor, even if there’s memory available, is just puttering along trying to get the system moving. But there’s definitely a difference between this and, say, the aforementioned Feather Linux.

It does seem to fall closer to the performance I get from Slitaz or TinyFlux. It’s still functional, and still moving, just really, really slowly.

As far as a screenshot … well, that sort of leads me into my last AntiX anecdote: Triggering the right-click menu for a screenshot caused a system lockup, and somehow scrambled the drive so rebooting was impossible.

I am not sure what I did to cause that, and I’m not sure either what happened to the screenshot or if it was ever saved (mounting the drive from a live CD shows nothing in the home directory, even if xwd did run).

No matter though, my desktop didn’t look much different from the ones in the gallery on the AntiX website. Just imagine conky with a much less impressive list of system stats. πŸ™„

On a little bit stronger machine I wouldn’t hesitate to put this to use, but it may take a little more processor power, even if memorywise it didn’t seem to be struggling. See if it works for you. πŸ˜‰

P.S.: I tried one more time and got this manually, with xwd > image.xwd.

Just to prove I did actually install it. πŸ˜‰


7 thoughts on “In two flavors: AntiX at 150Mhz, 32Mb

  1. Notorik

    I think I posted this somewhere else here so sorry if this is a repeat.

    You should try GALPon Minino. I am running it on a very old machine.

  2. Conkeh

    Thanks for the tip, of sorts. In my distro testing frenzy I somehow missed this FB version (they should really call it that πŸ™‚ Tried the main antix edition, didn’t love it. But this one looks really, really, really good, although, I haven’t had time to test it properly yet. Cheers.

  3. anticapitalista

    Thanks for trying antiX out on that hardware.
    Minor error – antiX-full comes with iceWM default not jwm.

    You might have better luck with antiX-core. Basically it is a net-install on live cd of Debian Testing with a MEPIS kernel and a very basic cli-installer. Actually antiX-core is smaller than the Debian net-install iso and in my tests actually uses slightly less RAM.

    Why not give it a try/

  4. Pingback: About to start Linux - Recommendations on 2 variants of Linux. Help please!

  5. Pingback: Three more attempts: GRML, MiniNo, Tiny Core « Motho ke motho ka botho

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