tjk1026
1 Copper

Linux on an older laptop as a learning tool

I'm Linux curious and have an older HP Omnibook 400 MHz PII laptop on which I'm considering installing a Linux OS to learn about it and how to use it.  My questions as a true newbie in this regards revolve around things like drivers and other software needed to operate the hardware. (e.g. video drivers, ethernet card, wireless PCMCIA card, etc.) Does Linux have these as part of the OS or do I need to get them elsewhere?  Also, which version would be best for learning the OS?

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5 Replies
Fuminsho
1 Nickel

Re: Linux on an older laptop as a learning tool

Try this flavor of ubuntu (linux):

http://www.xubuntu.org/

It is intended for use with older slower performance laptops and computers or someone that needs a fast light OS.

I have personally used this on a older 350Mhz laptop with 384mb of memory and a 40Gb HD with very good results. I am able to watch DVD's, play music, and surf the internet. It will take some time on your part and I tell you right now, some things will be a challenge. But if your up to it, all your efforts will pay off. You can also find help here:

http://ubuntuforums.org/forumdisplay.php?s=0d671c13d69c7db7b38762fd9fe4e4ce&f=334

it is the second "sticky" or post. It will help you setting up your OS with multimedia add ons and how to's. I use this thread everytime I do a fresh install of ubuntu (linux) OS.  It really helps especially for the new'be. Just read it thru. It will single out the xubuntu "flavor" of ubuntu and get you up and running in no time flat. As for the wireless portion you will again have to do your research to find the solution for your specific need. All your answers can be found at that forum, you just have to be patient. Its a great OS to learn, but it does have it's hang ups like any OS. Don't get discouraged!!!  Your effort will pay off!!!

You can try some of the other "flavors" of Ubuntu, but I wouldn't recommend them for that specific notebook, also you can install this OS with about 9 to 10 Gb HD minimum. The initial install will have the basic audio, video, modem, ethernet, keyboard, and touch pad drivers for your computer. You will just have to tweak it and fine tune it with the above links.

Oh, almost forgot. You will have two choices: Xubuntu 8.10 (intrepid Ibex) new release, or Xubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron) current release. I have used 8.04 with great results, I have not tried the new 8.10 release, so I don't know what the benifits or draw backs this one might have. Also the 8.04 has long term support were as the newest version you could think of as a beta. (some supports is present, but not fully)

I really hope this will help you in your choice. Again this is a great OS that's free and supported by many. It will not be as easy as say setting up a windows OS on your laptop, but like the windows install you will still have to hunt down drivers and fixes and would be time consuming and frustrating.

Take care and good luck,

Fuminsho

systems that I have: XPS 600 (frankenstein), XPS Gen2, XPS 210, XPS M1530, Inspiron 531s (in a Vostro 200 case)  ___ OS's :  XP PRO32, XP PRO64, Vista Home, Vista Home Pre, Vista Ultimate 32, Vista Ultimate 64, Ubuntu 8.04.

((Reaching higher, 5 points at a time))

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tjk1026
1 Copper

Re: Linux on an older laptop as a learning tool

Thanks for the input.  I figured there was probably someone who had already done what I was considering and you hit it on the mark.  You answered all my questions, so now I guess it's time to download, install, and learn.  The links look good and it's comforting to know that there are plenty who have been down this road to point the way.  Thanks again. 

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tensegrity
1 Copper

Re: Linux on an older laptop as a learning tool

I am running puppy linux on a Latitude D420, dual booting with XP.

Puppy is ideal for older machines if you have at least 256 RAM. Also you can run it from live CD, USB, or install on your HD without repartitioning for linux.

Get it out here: http://puppylinux.com/

Lots of documentation and community forum: http://www.puppylinux.org/

 

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pbdude_123
2 Bronze

Re: Linux on an older laptop as a learning tool

I installed Ubuntu 8.10 on my old (made in 2004) Dell Lattitude D600 and it recognized all of my hardware just fine.  Here Ubuntu's system requirements:

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Installation/SystemRequirements

Give it a shot.  It's free to try and it might work.  If not try Xubuntu which is designed to run on older hardware.

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Prof_Ebral
1 Nickel

Re: Linux on an older laptop as a learning tool

be sure to join www.ubunutforums.org  A lot of people there, like myself, help others with similar linux questions.  I am learning tooand I find that helping others helps me learn.

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