Linux distro recommendation for XP PCs

Discussion in 'all things UNIX' started by Wendi, Oct 1, 2016.

  1. Wendi

    Wendi Registered Member

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    Thanks for your input. Actually, I'm not Linux-knowledgeable, so I need to educate myself before introducing it to students!
     
  2. quietman

    quietman Registered Member

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    OK , USB/DVD booting is not an option on your hardware , but it's not a major obstacle .

    That still leaves plenty of " wiggle-room " to choose a full bootable Linux OS that will fit on a CD ( 700 MB ? )

    Here's an extreme example : Nanolinux64-1.3 .... it is only 18 MB !

    And as others have mentioned , the various Puppy Linux distros are also super-light , and judging by the forums ,
    people get really hooked on them .

    What a great project for the students .... " How low can you go ? " .... and still have a fully functional OS ?

    And they will still get the benefits of all that Linux goodness :)

    Don't worry too much at this stage about setting up admin / user accounts , and permissions /privileges .
    That is all very easy to do in Linux once you're up and running .

    Focus on a distro which best suits your hardware first .
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2016
  3. Stupendous Man

    Stupendous Man Registered Member

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    CD-R has a capacity of usually 700 MB, not 70 MB.
     
  4. quietman

    quietman Registered Member

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    @Stupendous Man - Thank you .

    You are correct , of course .
    I could claim it was a typo , but the truth is closer to a " Brain-fart " on my part :)

    ..... I've just edited my post accordingly .
     
  5. pandlouk

    pandlouk Registered Member

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  6. Wendi

    Wendi Registered Member

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  7. Gullible Jones

    Gullible Jones Registered Member

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    @Wendi

    Not being able to boot from a USB stick, or even DVD, will be... annoying. Most distros (even i686 ones) don't fit on a CD.

    I guess I'd suggest setting up the distro of choice in a VM, or on hardware that can boot from modern install media; and then creating a partition image with Clonezilla or such, and using a live CD to write that onto the old Dells' hard disks.

    @Anonfame1

    No offense intended; I was making a (somewhat serious) jest about Reddit, and its propensity for sheltering bigots. I know Reddit has all kinds of stuff, but "all kinds of stuff" includes dedicated hangouts for white supremacists, so "master race" had me raising my eyebrows a bit.
     
  8. NormanF

    NormanF Registered Member

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    Oracle VB will run 32 bit Linux Oses..... there is no limit to how many you can run, provided you have sufficient hard disk space for them.

    As a rule, 15 GB for KDE, 10 GB for the rest.
     
  9. SirDrexl

    SirDrexl Registered Member

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    Why not just use a netinstall image? I don't know how many distros have them, but Fedora's ISOs are under 500MB. I prefer them anyway, since I get the latest versions of packages without having to install and then update.

    Although come to think of it, it might not support the network hardware. You could try it and see.
     
  10. pandlouk

    pandlouk Registered Member

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    You are welcome. I forgot to mention that if you go with a debian or an ubuntu based distro another option is fsprotect and is very easy to use/configure.

    Panagiotis
     
  11. lotuseclat79

    lotuseclat79 Registered Member

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    Hi Wendi,

    Do you know the exact model of Dell Dimension with XP including year, and BIOS version (usually available from the bootup sequence)?

    The reason I ask, is that there may be a web page at Dell that makes available newer versions of the BIOS which may include being able to setup a BIOS order which includes the capability of booting USBs first. If that is the case, you would then probably be able to get the newer BIOS upgraded, and then reset it for using whatever Linux distribution you choose (preferably one of the smaller ones in RAM usage) to work from a USB Flash drive (an ISO file of the Linux distribution) burned to the USB Flash drive.

    Then each desktop can be booted from a USB Flash drive (one for each desktop as they have to remain plugged in during the session) which only runs in RAM where the Linux file system is in RAM, and your hard drives are not mounted in the desktop Linux session unless the usper user (aka admin) account issues the commands in a terminal window to mount the hard drives and then move information back and forth until the hard drives are unmounted by command.

    One upgrade to your desktops that are not that expensive to make is to add additional RAM if the desktops are not fully maxed out with RAM.

    If you have any questions about these items - just ask.

    -- Tom
     
  12. Wendi

    Wendi Registered Member

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    Tom, thanks for the thought but I already have Dell's latest BIOS for our Dimension PCs. USB boot is not supported. :(

    I like quietman's idea of running Linux in RAM so I'm going to download Puppy's exe, which (if I understand correctly) will provide a straight forward dual-boot install with XP.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2016
  13. login123

    login123 Registered Member

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    Something I've wanted to try but never have is to install Puppy 5.2.8, the LTS one, onto a CD-RW, and create the save file on the CD.
    If that worked right, your students could "save their work" right on the CD and start back where they left off.
    Now how cool would that be, an entire OS and Office Suite on a CD? :)

    Actually looked around here yesterday for a CD-RW but don't have one. I have the lupulibre-528.005 iso installed on a CD-R and a USB stick.
     
  14. KeyPer4Life

    KeyPer4Life Registered Member

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    @Wendi
    You could try ' PLoP Boot Manager ' if your BIOS doesn't support booting from USB.
    Just burn the ISO file onto CD and you will be presented with a boot menu to select from that includes USB.
     
  15. lotuseclat79

    lotuseclat79 Registered Member

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    Hi Wendi,

    One thing to understand is that every installed OS when connected to the Internet is exposed from a security point-of-view in that their hard drives are vulnerable due to the need for the OS to keep log information. By contrast, when a computer runs an OS from a USB flash drive, the hard drives are not mounted unless the user mounts the hard drives - and when you power down, if your hard drives have not been mounted, any malware in memory gets expunged and does not exist on your hard drives in general.

    It would be interesting to know what Motherboard (MB), RAM combinations are available for your hardware to get to the point where your computers could have BIOS support for booting from USB flash drives specified in the BIOS boot order before other devices.

    I upgraded my processor's MB and added more RAM. So, now I have 8GB RAM, and run Ubuntu from a USB flash drive with my own setup for additional capabilities from other packages in Ubuntu repositories not available on the ISO file burned on the bootable USB flashdrive.

    -- Tom
     
  16. Wendi

    Wendi Registered Member

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    Before I go out and buy a spool of CD-RWs do you (or anyone here) know for sure if Puppy will save to CD-RW?
     
  17. Wendi

    Wendi Registered Member

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    Oh wow, what a treat. Thank you for that tip!!!
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2016
  18. Wendi

    Wendi Registered Member

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    With our schools so under-funded I consider myself lucky if I get reimbursed for a spool of CD-RWs! :rolleyes:
     
  19. login123

    login123 Registered Member

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    No, I have never tried it. The next 4 or 5 days are jammed, but after that I will try it.
    I'm quite sure it will work but won't say so until I do it.
    But even if it works here, there is the outside chance that Puppy will not work right with your CD writer.
    So just beg or buy one CD-RW until you know, eh?

    Others on this forum know far more than I, maybe someone will chime in.

    There is an article about persistence by here.
    http://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/linux-live-cd-persistence.html
    The section called "Aternatives" has a screenshot of exactly the Puppy version I run on a USB stick
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2016
  20. lotuseclat79

    lotuseclat79 Registered Member

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    A CD-RW usually last I checked handles a 700MB capacity, and Puppy Linux being no more than about 200 MB should fit nicely.

    My Pack of Memorex CD-RWs has imprinted on the surface of them: 4X 700MB 8min

    -- Tom
     
  21. NormanF

    NormanF Registered Member

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    Yup. Very old computers have no apparent means to access the BIOS. PLOP readily takes care of the issue and its just easier easier to boot with a USB flash drive. You can run Linux from it without having to install it to the computer's hard drive.
     
  22. login123

    login123 Registered Member

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    True ... And the original Puppy 5.2.8 ISO runs fine from a CD.
    That version, I think, is called lupulibre-528.005-1.iso, found here: http://distro.ibiblio.org/puppylinux/puppy-5.2.8/
    It has an office software built in.
    But looking at my puppy 5.2.8 USB stick in windows explorer shows it has 1.13 gb of used space.
    There is a file called lupusave-1st.2fs which is 768 MB all by itself, and another called lupu_528.sfs, at 365 MB.
    I just don't remember how many saves I have done on that stick, nor what they were.
    Edit: This USB stick has both Abiword and LibreOffice, that may account for some of the file size.

    So it may be that there is not enough room on a CD to save much. Sorry, don't know more, but will try it in the next few days.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2016
  23. pandlouk

    pandlouk Registered Member

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    No need to buy cd-rws. Just perform a frugal install on the hdd
    http://puppylinux.org/main/How NOT to install Puppy.htm
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyHr-yGtTSw

    Panagiotis
     
  24. login123

    login123 Registered Member

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    A tiny bit of progress here.
    I downloaded the PLOP ISO called "small/ploplinux-4.3.1.1-i486.iso" from here: https://www.plop.at/en/ploplinux/live/download.html
    Burned it to a CD using BurnCDCC from Terabyte, then booted from it. The screen offered a boot from USB option, so I booted a Puppy 5.2.8 USB stick from that screen.
    Puppy worked as usual.
    Don't know how much that matters, as this win xp computer will boot from USB anyway, just thought I would report it.

    Also, fwiw, I can't find CD-RWs locally. Tried 3 big stores. Still looking. Booting from a CD would be much less expensive, I guess. Still checking on that.
     
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