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Thread: Best DE for old, slow machine?

  1. #1
    heathenkaer NNTP User

    Question Best DE for old, slow machine?

    Hello.

    I recently killed Windows and installed 11.1 on my laptop. This is my first experience with Linux, but I cut my teeth on DOS, and this is much simpler.
    I'm at work, and don't really have all my laptop's specs on hand (256 RAM, dunno what else), but this particular machine was designed with XP-SP1 in mind, and it is slow. I cannot run Gnome or KDE4 without wanting to bang my head on the wall with impatience (minimum 20 minutes to load firefox from click to google homepage). I am currently on KDE3, and while it is a lot less painful (only 3-5 minutes for firefox, now), I'd love just a bit more speed if it is there to be had.
    I'm wondering what the best DE would be for me. I want something lightweight but functional, and more gui is better than less until I get a little more familiar with linux.
    I read somewhere that xfce might be good, but I'd love some input from the community.

    Thanks, y'all,
    HKaereste

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Best DE for old, slow machine?

    LXDE is available in one of the repo's, not sure which. But you might be better with a lighter distro altogether
    Maybe even as slim as Puppy Linux
    Leap 15.1_KDE
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  3. #3
    brassy NNTP User

    Default Re: Best DE for old, slow machine?

    Xfce will certainly be smaller and faster...but, still not too good on
    so little power/ram..

    and, you can get a good speed boost by running Konqueror instead of
    firefox (though, you will miss a lot of capability) there is (i think)
    a smaller faster version of firefox, check out (i think) seamonkey or
    fasterfox or something like that....maybe ice weasel (sorry i forget)

    in fact, i think you might find more pleasure by loading one of the
    smaller distros....i'd go for Puppy Linux <http://www.puppylinux.org/>
    or **** Small Linux <http://www.****smalllinux.org/> on your hardware
    they will be faster than XP ever was, a LOT more secure and
    configurable....i bet you will have more fun with them....then, when
    you get a stronger machine come back..

    for your info, the hardware requirements are here:
    http://en.opensuse.org/Sysreqs

    and, if wanna hang around there might be some folks here with other,
    better ideas....like, there are windowing managers/display
    environments smaller and faster even than Xfce (which is MUCH better
    on your hardware than KDE or Gnome) and using really fast light
    versions of those and dumping some services you may not need....you
    might even have a "nice experience" with openSUSE...

    in any event, welcome to open source in general and openSUSE Linux in
    particular...

    finally, are you Danish? (your last name translates to 'boyfriend'
    lover, something like that)

    --
    brassy

  4. #4

    Default Re: Best DE for old, slow machine?

    opensuse xfce is not bad for a 256 ram. The trick I guess is you have to use the minimal installation of opensuse and manually add xfce in your installation.
    Try your installation cd or dvd and have a look at it thoroughly and you will see what I mean. One desktop at home is a pentium III with 256 ram loaded with opensuse using xfce. I just don't know if the drive helps because it is using scsi drive.
    People who do not break things first will never learn to create anything

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Best DE for old, slow machine?

    Hi. We don't the specs of your pc but anyway it is very strange to have Firefox up in 20 minutes os 3! To me it is something consuming the power of your pc. On an acer tmc100 (pentium3 256 Mb ram) i own those are not the times i get, with Kde3.5. Well it is not a flash but it reasonability works

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Best DE for old, slow machine?

    Hi, you might want to try other distro but suse, I tried a bit DSL (**** Small Linux) which runs really really fast even on old machines, but on the other hand don't expect much quality of a graphic on it. Another distro worth taking a look is MEPIS. I suggest to try them on a virtualization (like VirtualBox) first before actually installing them on laptop.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Best DE for old, slow machine?

    It doesn't hurt to try Xfce, although I find it's not as "light" as it once was.

    An alternative for a resource light system is to run without a desktop environment, using only a window manager (WM). Window manager desktops are usually configured by editing text files directly rather than clicking on options, although some graphical configuration tools may be available. You lose some of the ease of point and click under a DE (and almost all the eye-candy) but once set up, WM-only systems are very responsive and they definitely are lighter on PC resources. Another benefit I find, is that mixing KDE and Gnome apps becomes much easier under a WM-only system.

    I believe Opensuse comes with IceWM as a default. It should be available as an option on the graphic log-in screen when you click on "Session." It's easy to try it out; I'm using it now as I write.

    Crunchbang Linux is an Ubuntu based distribution that uses Openbox as its WM and no DE. It has received good reviews and has an active, enthusiastic user community. Crunchbang with Openbox supports both GTK and KDE apps.

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    Default Re: Best DE for old, slow machine?

    +1 for Crunchbang. I'm quite impressed with it in 192MB of RAM on a K6-350. Of course, it's a bit frustrating after being used to a modern machine ten or more times faster, but it's doing pretty well, considering the limited resources. Also it has the advantage that it's nearly all standard Ubuntu packages, but with openbox instead of GNOME.

  9. #9
    heathenkaer NNTP User

    Default Re: Best DE for old, slow machine?

    Thank you all for your assistance!

    I researched all of the suggestions you gave me, and settled on Puppy Linux as the best for my purposes. When I get that new and powerful machine that I hope one day to get, I'll be sure to take openSUSE for a whirl once again.

    Thanks,
    HKaereste

    PS: brassy, Kaereste's actually just a nickname. My family is from Denmark - I'm first generation. It means 'my beloved' (roughly), and is used variously to mean anything from crush object to fiancee. I used it as my first name in the SCA, and it kinda stuck.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Best DE for old, slow machine?

    Great, have fun and enjoy Linux, whatever the distro. Do come back later.

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