Adventures with Linux on old crap

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maurvir Steamed meat popsicle
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So, being a bit bored today, I decided to pull out my oldest remaining laptop - a Dell Inspiron 5100. (I gave away the Inspiron 1150 during the move)

The laptop still works fine, though it has some cracks in the housing, a scratch on the display, etc. It was left with a 100GB PATA hard disk running either XP or Windows 7. Naturally, that just wouldn't do, I needed to install a Linux distro on this thing.

Now, this is not a stock 5100. It was upgraded with a 2.4GHz P4 (this beast used desktop chips) and 2GB of DDR RAM (it did, however, use SODIMMs). Unfortunately, the 32MB ATI Mobility Radeon 7500 wasn't a swappable option (it might have been, but not at this point). The hard disks I have are 7200 RPM at least, and apparently pretty robust - they all still work.

Knowing this was a bit, ah, old, I opted initially for Lubuntu, however that did not go well. Fortunately, there is a respin called LXLE, which is what it is now running. It is EXTREMELY light on memory. During the massive update cycle, it was hitting about 300MB of that 2GB of RAM. It did find most of the hardware, including the WiFi card, but it was stuck at 800x600 on the laptop display. That display is actually a 1024x768 panel, so this was crap. Worse, plugging in an external monitor worked fine - a flat screen I had laying around worked at higher resolutions.

The solution was a bit unfortunate. I had to add the nomodeset option to GRUB, which works - I now have 1024x768 on the local display - but at a cost. It disables all detection of external video devices. Specifically the S-video port (which caused the problem in the first place), but also the VGA port. Not a major deal at this point, but still annoying.

Anyway, it's now running a fairly modern OS to be so freaking old. It can't handle almost any video due to the crap DRI/radeon driver, but it's actually not entirely unusable. Seamonkey actually ran well enough for me to use it while trying to figure out the resolution problem.

Unfortunately, at the end of the day, it's still a single-core P4, and it rails at the slightest touch. However, it was a fun experiment. It's just ironic that Windows 7 actually runs better on this beast than a "lite" Linux.
dv
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Windows 7 was actually written back when 2.4GHz Pentium 4s were a high end CPU and behaves like it knows you have a spinning HDD and not an SSD.

Linux basically assumes you have an SSD these days, and the least little bit of "that's weird" in your GPU config will make it lag because the hardware acceleration goes away.
Pariah Know Your Enemy
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Don't feel bad. My first go at Linux was on a pIV@3.06ghz 8 years ago and it ran pretty bad on that.
Getting old HW running is cool and all but there is nothing any OS can do about the way browsers and video have made pretty much anything pre i-series obsolete unless you just need a word processor.
I remember installing Slackware Linux on a Pentium 75 from a giant stack of floppies circa 1996. It was a bit of a bear to get configured, but it was a lot of fun once I got it up and running.

I went back to Windows because I only had the one PC and I really wanted to play games.
obvs To hell with toilet paper. I own a bidet
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Oh my God. I remember installing Linux on a Pentium 75. Dear God that was a pain in the ass.
maurvir Steamed meat popsicle
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obvs posted:
Oh my God. I remember installing Linux on a Pentium 75. Dear God that was a pain in the ass.


I think the oldest thing I've installed Linux on was a 486 DX4-100. The machine had no CD-ROM drive, so that involved schlepping a pile of floppy disks around. Oh, and manually compiling a kernel to include all the hardware drivers I needed. Thankfully someone had created a text mode menu system for building the kernel config by then.
I installed 64 bit RISC version of Red Hat Linux on a DEC Alpha workstation in 2000. It ran fine but I didn't have a use for it.
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Adventures with Linux on old crap