Tag Archive for: 600e

Another Play with Puppy Linux

26 Aug 2009
August 26, 2009

Puppy LinuxIt has been almost a year since my last look at Puppy Linux so I dusted off the old ThinkPad 600e laptop (pentium 2!) and had a look at Puppy 4.2.1.

Initially it would hang while booting from CD. After some searching I learned to give the “acpi=force” argument at boot and that got things going.

Once again, I’m blown away by how fast apps run on this old machine when using Puppy. Apps just “pop” onto the screen after launching them! Very cool. Well, the browser (SeaMonkey) didn’t really “pop” though – Once again, I must observe that modern browsers are not the friends of old hardware… but that’s not Puppy’s fault.

First issue I hit was that my PCMCIA controller – and subsequently my WIFI card – wasn’t being detected. Apparently, that’s based on that acpi=force thing. Not good… I tabled the project for a bit while pondering my next move.

While pondering, I installed Puppy into a virtual machine. Never hurts to have a fast loading / low resource *nix laying around, right? For that one I did the hard drive install (instead of the normal boot from CD thing) and noticed the boot sequence was a bit different. In fact, It seemed like the stuff the ThinkPad had been hanging on was no longer an issue.

Tonight I fired up the ThinkPad again and installed Puppy to the hard drive. Rebooted and … sho ‘nuff! I now had a functional PCMCIA WIFI adapter. Let the surfing commence.

Web browsing was great right up until I visited some of the more modern and script-laden sites. Heck, just typing in a twitter update with that little character counter slowed down the whole system.

Here’s the deal: If I needed to setup an old machine to be used for working on documents, spreadsheets and general productivity stuff I think Puppy would be just the ticket. It really brings the old machine back to life. Looking for a machine to primarily browse the web? For that my hardware is just a bit too old. It’ll do the job, but you sure have to exhibit extra patience.

I think I now remember why I had shelved this laptop last spring… but since it is out, maybe I’ll toss Windows 2000 back on it ;-)

Old Windows Computer? Try K-Meleon

23 Nov 2008
November 23, 2008

After a brief foray back to the “Linux for old machines” scene, I have once again found myself running Windows 2000 on my old P2 ThinkPad.  I’d been most recently running antiX Linux on it, but for a variety of vague reasons decided to go back to Win2K once again.

For me and the uses of this machine, it just works better.

One of the issues that I always run into on the older machines, regardless of OS, is browser related. Modern sites need a modern browser and modern browsers on those modern sites can really flog the old hardware. While I like Firefox 3, I just can’t ever be happy with it on a slow machine — it  makes the machine feel even slower.

Good ol’ Internet Explorer 6 is super fast on this thing. But blech… not many “modern” sites will display properly with it (or at all) and it has some other “issues.” That’s not the answer. Firefox 2? Yep, that’s a contender but I always feel like I’m behind the times.

Fortunately, I may have finally found a solid option with a browser named K-Meleon. The project page sums it up best, so I’ll just quote it:

K-Meleon is an extremely fast, customizable, lightweight web browser based on the Gecko layout engine developed by Mozilla which is also used by Firefox. K-Meleon is free, open source software released under the GNU General Public License and is designed specifically for Microsoft Windows (Win32) operating systems.

I’ve only been using it for a few days and I have to agree that is indeed fast and lightweight. Even more importantly, I have yet to find any issues browsing my regular sites (or any site, so far).

K-Meleon is highly configurable — perhaps even to an overwhelming degree. To change settings, be sure to check options under both the Edit and the Tools Menu. For instance, I just found that I could set up mouse accelerators to emulate Firefox 2.0 under the Tools menu.

I’m still tracking down settings to help control when a new tab is opened vs. a new window — in this respect it isn’t at all like Firefox… then again, I also see that the latest beta release mentions that it’ll work better for people who want to open tabs, not windows. I gave the beta a quick shot, but must’ve borked something up as I was still showing the current version, not the beta version. Reckon I can wait for release.

Long story short, if you’re trying to run a browser on old hardware running Windows, definitely give this browser a look. It is fast, lean and quite compatible.

Old Machine? Try antiX Linux

13 Nov 2008
November 13, 2008

As the long-time readers know, I’m always looking for Operating System options suitable for the older hardware — especially my beloved old IBM Thinkpad 600e. Just back in September I thought I had hit upon the perfect solution: Dual-booting Windows 2000 and Puppy Linux. However, after just a few weeks I stopped using Puppy due to some browser issues and was back to full time Win2K.

Not that Windows 2000 is a bad OS, mind you, but … *yawn*. Boring. Sure, it works great on the old hardware, no doubt. It’s from that era, after all. Just a bit of “been there, done that” to the whole thing.

Fortunately, I learned of another Linux distribution this week that is aimed at the older hardware: antiX.

antiX is a fast, lightweight and easy to install linux live CD distribution based on MEPIS for Intel-AMD x86 compatible systems. antiX offers users the “Magic of Mepis” in an environment suitable for old computers. So don’t throw away that old computer yet! The goal of antiX is to provide a light, but fully functional and flexible free operating system for both newcomers and experienced users of Linux. It should run on most computers, ranging from 64MB old PII 266 systems with pre-configured 128MB RAM to the latest powerful boxes. 128MB RAM is recommended for antiX.

It offers two lightweight window managers: fluxbox and IceWM. Both are configured nicely and both are definitely light-weight, especially if you’re used to Gnome or KDE. I prefer the fluxbox configuration but the machine appears to prefer icewm as everytime I reboot, that’s where I start. Weird, but not the end of the world… I need to sort out why that’s happening some other day.

For browsers we have Firefox 3 and Dillo. I still think Firefox3 is a bit “heavy” for these older distros but, compared to Dillo, at least it renders sites as one would hope to see them. Dillo is certainly light-weight and very fast, but it seems to work best with the sites from the 90s (and that’s not always a bad thing if we ignore <blink> tags!). I may have a try at upgrading to the newer Dillo 2 and see how that works, though.

Aside from web browsing, the other main use of this machine is to run Hamachi (w/ gHamachi GUI) and remote desktop to a machine at work. And for that, it works great.

It is an easy distro to work with and using the apt based package stuff is familiar. So far, I haven’t had any issues installing stuff which is a plus when working with these “for old machines” distributions. Only real issues I’ve had relate to the window managers (above) and the age old challenge of getting sound working on this laptop (I found some good posts at the mepis forums though, so hopefully that’ll be resolved soon).

antiX is definitely worth a look if you want to keep some older hardware alive and functional. Heck, it is worth a look for newer hardware too. Nice and small with low hardware requirements and a common package management system are all pluses. And the end result doesn’t feel like a compromise.

More Options for the Old Machine

07 Sep 2008
September 7, 2008

image This is a follow-up to a year old post titled Another Option for the Old Machine.

A year ago I determined that Windows 2000 standard was the most reasonable OS for my old Thinkpad 600e laptop. It is just the most “usable” as far as performance goes.

However, during the past year I’ve installed and removed enough stuff on this thing that has started to get annoyingly sluggish. Reload time! I decided that before I reloaded Win2K I’d try out some more Linux options first to see if anything new has popped up.

Fluxbuntu is the first one I tried. It is an Ubuntu (7.10?) derivative running the Fluxbox window manager. It runs tolerably well, but would probably be better suited to a Pentium III based machine. I liked it, but ultimately decided to look at other options to see if I could find something that liked a P II based machine a bit more.

The bundled Kazehakase web browser works quite well (in spite of the fact that I’d never heard of it). All my usual Web 2.0 sites seemed to work well and the browser performance was decent in most cases.

Puppy Linux logo

Next up was Puppy Linux 4.0.0.  It runs incredibly well on this old laptop! To be honest, I’m amazed at how fast things happen. Feels like 1997 again and the laptop is reborn.

For web browsing, puppy relies on SeaMonkey which does a fine job. I learned, quickly, that installing Firefox 3 was not the best way to treat this old machine. Even though the OS was fast, that browser (also in Windows 2000) just clobbers this laptop. While I’ve not traditionally been a huge fan of SeaMonkey, it seems to be just the ticket in this case.

I might try to install Kazehakase though. Just for grins. If I get bored and want to work out the dependencies…

Based on the site, it looks like Puppy will do fine on Pentiums with 32MB and up. Highly recommended.

I next wanted to try DeLi Linux. Looking at the site and some reviews, it might be just the ticket. However, after the installation I couldn’t get it to boot. Some sort of lilo issue… Unfortunately, I ran out of time – I need this laptop back up and operational! – and tabled that for another day.

I’d like to find a live CD option for DeLi to try it out. The image I grabbed appears to only be for installs though.

What Now?

So here’s where I’m at: I’m currently (even as I write this) installing a clean Windows 2000 onto the laptop. I’m then going to run Puppy on it, via boot CD and take the options to store the kernel and my files and  stuff on to the local hard disk.

In other words, I’ll be easily dual-booting between Win2k and Puppy.

Based on my testing, I’ve realized that most of my perceived sluggishness on Windows 2000 was coming from trying to use Firefox 3. I need to ponder what browser to use this time around…