Tag Archives: How To

Reviving your old PC with Linux, Part V: the Remixes

In part III of this series, I told you that lightweight Linux distributions can be classified as either “fully lightweight” or “remixes”; and in part IV, we took a look at several “fully lightweight” distributions. Naturally, in this article, we’re going to talk about remixes.

Unlike the last article, however, I’m not just going to go through a bunch of remix distros and blather on with my half-formed impressions of them; not only would that would be unbearably dull for both you and for me, but selecting a three or four remix distros from the zillion-and-a-half out there in the world is an impossible choice. Instead, we’re going to understand what really distinguishes one remix from another with the aim of helping you select one that fits your needs; after which I’ll go through a few example distributions and talk about what makes them different.


Lighttpd to the rescue!

Our home server — we call him Rupert — is a real trooper.  Beneath his yellowing beige exterior, a first-gen Pentium 4 works its 224 MB of RAM night and day delivering a variety of services to our home network.  On top of storing our files, caching our DNS requests, filtering the Web for little eyes, and providing me a handy back-door into the network via SSH, rupert’s most important job is delivering a selection of web applications to our home network.

One of the most important — and unfortunately the bulkiest — is Moodle.  Moodle is a CMS designed for schools that deliver online classes and content, and it’s proven quite valuable over the last couple years as an aid in our homeschooling.  Sadly, though, poor Rupert has a tough time dishing out the Moodles. (more…)

Reviving your old PC with Linux, Part IV: Fully Lightweight Distros

By now, we have established a vocabulary with which we can discuss distributions and their strengths and weaknesses, and thus understand the best uses for them given our needs and resources. So in this article, I’ll talk about some actual “fully lightweight” distributions (for those who didn’t read the last article, “fully lightweight” refers to distros that are built from the ground-up to be small and fast. It doesn’t include lightweight remixes or spinoffs of other distros).


Another item of interest…

For those following the “Revive your old PC with Linux series”, there’s a nice little write-up at “make tech easier” called How to Build a Lightweight Linux for your Low-End Laptop.

It doesn’t go into a lot of detail, but later in my series I plan to get into building a lightweight remix from the ground (well, base-system) up, so this is in a similar vein.

Reviving your old PC with Linux, Part III: Understanding Linux distributions

Now that your hardware is reasonably in order, and you understand the potential issues involved there, it’s time to look at the software side of things. You want to run some kind of Linux distribution on your system, but you don’t know which one to pick.

This is the point at which a lot of people would just lob a lot of funny-sounding distro names at you and expect you to check them all out and blindly try them all. Well, I’ll eventually get to lobbing those names out; but first, let’s to try to understand “lightweight Linux” — and Linux distributions in general — in a theoretical way. (more…)

Reviving your old PC with Linux, Part II: Hardware Compatibility and Prep

Welcome to part II of this series on “Reviving your old computer with Linux”.

In the last article, we classified your computer’s hardware broadly by age or processor type, but there is a lot more to Linux compatibility, performance, and suitability for different tasks than just age or processor speed. So this time, we’ll go over the major hardware components in a computer and what kind of problems you might encounter with them on Linux; as well as some general notes about preparing older hardware for an OS refit.


New series in the works: Reviving your old computer with Linux

In my spare time, when my brain simply demands that I stop writing PHP and Javascript and start writing English for a little, I’ve been working up a miniseries of articles on reviving an old computer with help from Linux.

I know the topic’s probably been done to death, but since tinkering with old and dusty computers is one of my hobbies, I just wanted to write some articles on this.  Anyway, my teach-the-roadmap-not-the-route method of approaching these things will hopefully add a little more to someone’s experience than the usual barebones recipes you get from places like howtoforge.

I’ll probably post the first installment later this weekend, if I get time to look it over once more.

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