Fast booting linux for an old laptop?

Discussion in 'all things UNIX' started by farmerlee, Jan 24, 2011.

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  1. farmerlee

    farmerlee Registered Member

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    So i'm trying to find a linux distro i can install on an old laptop which boots up in the fastest time possible. All it needs is the ability to surf the web.
    So far i've tried,

    ChromeOS
    Damn small linux
    Jolicloud
    Puppy
    Moblin
    Peppermint
    Slax
    Slitaz
    Tinycore

    Sadly i don't seem to be able to find a suitable one. Some install nicely but take ages to load. Whereas others load quite fast but don't seem to have an option to install onto the hard drive.
    If anyone has any other suggestions it would be much appreciated!
     
  2. WSFuser

    WSFuser Registered Member

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    Of those distros, would you mind specifying which ones had fast startup vs no install option?
     
  3. Sadeghi85

    Sadeghi85 Registered Member

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    If you only want it to surf the web, wouldn't a live linux be good enough?
     
  4. sfi

    sfi Registered Member

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  5. Beavenburt

    Beavenburt Registered Member

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    It's not linux and i've never tried it but it might be the sort of thing you're looking for?

    http://www.minix3.org/

    It's been designed specifically for low end laptops.
     
  6. katio

    katio Guest

    From my experience Tinycore is the fastest. It's faster loading from CD than most other distros and OSs from HDD.
    http://www.tinycorelinux.com/install.html

    Only problem for me, couldn't get native resolution working but I didn't try too hard.

    Ubuntu is also very fast if you only install what's really necessary.
    Get the mini.iso, at the boot prompt type cli and hit enter
    Follow the ncurses installer, don't select anything in tasksel.
    After a reboot enter:
    sudo apt-get install xorg openbox chromium-browser xdm
    reboot
    set chromium to fullscreen and set it to autostart http://openbox.org/wiki/Help:Autostart
    Enjoy your fast laptop :D

    For a nicer looking theme and other tweaks also install lxappearance obconf obmenu openbox-themes
    you can then simply execute those commands from xterm
    For more go here: http://openbox.org/wiki/Help:FAQ

    Of course you can use any other light-weight WM but I love openbox.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 25, 2011
  7. raspb3rry

    raspb3rry Registered Member

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    Arch Linux. It requires some technical insight to install, but the guides on the Arch Wiki are quite good.

    My installation starts in ~10 seconds, running Fluxbox.
     
  8. farmerlee

    farmerlee Registered Member

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    My original testing was done late at night and I couldn't actually remember the specifics so i went back and tested them all again. To my surprise i managed to get Puppy and Slitaz working well and they boot in 10-15 seconds on a 900mhz cpu with 256mb of ram and a 20gb hdd. Distro testing plus sleepiness don't mix i guess lol.

    As for the others,

    ChromeOS takes ages to boot up.
    Moblin hangs upon trying to boot up, seems to be due to some cpu error.
    Peppermint takes ages to boot.
    Jolicloud takes ages to boot.
    Slax i couldnt find the option to install to the hard drive.
    DSL boots fast but has issues with the laptops trackpoint and wireless card.
    Tinycore boots fast but looks like it would require a bit of configuring to work,

    I could probably get DSL or Tiny to work if i did a bit of reading and played around with them but i don't really have the motivation.
     
  9. farmerlee

    farmerlee Registered Member

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    This laptop only has usb 1.0 ports and no built in cd drive so booting off a livecd or flashdrive is painfully slow which is why i wanted to be able to install to the hdd.
     
  10. redgrum

    redgrum Registered Member

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    CrunchBang Linux
     
  11. Sadeghi85

    Sadeghi85 Registered Member

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    Here is my idea(it's close to what sfi's link describes):

    You create a small partition, put the iso of your favorite live linux on that partition(or multiple iso's, you will have a menu to choose from), download latest Grub4DOS: http://code.google.com/p/grub4dos-chenall/downloads/list

    Install grldr.mbr to MBR, copy grldr to the partition, create menu.lst with needed entries.

    For example, my favorite is Parted Magic(includes Chromium), the entries for PM would be:

    What happens is, grldr.mbr automatically finds grldr, grldr has an internal menu that finds menu.lst, you then choose the livecd from menu.

    Because the iso is on the drive, it'll boot fast and it'll work with 128mb ram.
     
  12. farmerlee

    farmerlee Registered Member

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    That looks quite interesting, i'll definitely have to give it a go. Thanks!
     
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