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I have an old Compaq Presario 2100 laptop with the following configuration:

  1. RAM : 192 MB DDR PC2100
  2. Processor : Intel Pentium 4 2.19 GHz
  3. Current OS : Windows XP Professional Version 2002 Service Pack 3
  4. Hard Disk : 2 drives 14 GB each

I want to migrate to some Unix based OS. Please let me know the best one.

Do ask for additional info if needed.

If you feel that this question does not suit here, then please let me know the place to post it before downvoting.

Thanks a lot!

share|improve this question

closed as not constructive by Mat, Chris Down, uther, Gilles, rahmu Feb 2 '13 at 17:04

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

i guess mint linux is good idea for you. – PersianGulf Feb 2 '13 at 11:46
Linux Mint with 192 MB RAM? Really? I'd go with Arch and a minimal WM like Flux/Openbox, or a BSD system for that matter. A BSD kernel tends not to be as bloated as the Linux kernel is. – schaiba Feb 2 '13 at 12:25
What Linux distributions are you familiar with? If none, you'd end up with a hard to manage, alien system. Are you up to it? – vonbrand Feb 2 '13 at 12:33
Windows XP SP2 (or 3?) would even run with 64 MiB of RAM, although it will thrash a lot. There are no enforced limits. – njsg Feb 2 '13 at 15:17
Also, you shouldn't be concerned about the distro, but about the tools you want to run on your computer... The distro will have nothing to do with being able to run on few resources or not, unless they do really force you to use a specific choice of applications, which is not the case for most distros... – njsg Feb 2 '13 at 15:20
up vote 1 down vote accepted

That is a really small amount of RAM. Without considering the GUI, it does not really matter which distro you choose -- a console based system is a console based system and it will run on that.

But with regard to a GUI desktop, you are going to want to go as light as possible. This is about the Desktop Environment (DE) and Window Manager (WM) not the distrobution. However, different distributions use different DEs and WMs by default (but you can change them).

There looks to be a great comparison of this stuff including RAM usage here:


Not surprisingly, GNOME, Unity, KDE, Cinnamon (the default on mint) are out. Maybe so too is XFCE. LDXE seems the best choice, DE wise.

The lightest way to go is to just run a window manager without a DE; on the table 3/4 of the way down that page, everything from OpenBox on down is a stand-alone WM. These don't have all the features of a DE and may require more work on your part WRT configuration. However, they do have all the important features. My all time fav setup involves FVWM, another very lightweight highly configurable WM. The only reason I'm using KDE right now is because it looks cooler, lol, but for flexibility, FVWM wins hands down.

So if you are new to linux, try LDXE at first but then try and learn how to use one of the stand-alone WMs: LDXE uses a third the memory of (eg) KDE, but (eg) Fluxbox uses half that again. Lubuntu 12.04 appears to have a LDXE option, probably somewhere in the install process:


That would be my recommendation.

Then: good luck running a browser, lol. Raspberry Pi distros use midori; I haven't used it much but it seems to work nicely and I am sure will be in the lubuntu repository. The pi has 512 MB tho.

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As per a browser, try dillo or links (the graphic part) if you want light browsing. – schaiba Feb 2 '13 at 13:48
LXDE is not just an "option" in Lubuntu, it's what it's based on. – tripleee Feb 2 '13 at 14:03
Even better then ;) – goldilocks Feb 2 '13 at 14:22
Thanks! That was really informative.. This question has been cloased. Can you suggest where I can put it next time? – TechSpellBound Feb 3 '13 at 1:10

I will always, always suggest Puppy Linux for old hardware... and also for new for some needs.

How is Puppy Different?

  • Small size, ~100MB! This lends itself to some very useful and unique features.
  • Live booting from CDs, DVDs, USB flash drives, and other portable media.
  • Runs from RAM, making it unusually fast even in old PCs and in netbooks with solid state storage media.
  • Very low minimum system requirements.
  • Boot time is well under a minute, 30-40 seconds in most systems.
  • Includes a wide range of applications: wordprocessors, spreadsheets, internet browsers, games, image editors and many utilities. Extra software in the form of dotpets. There is a GUI Puppy Software Installer included.
  • Puppy is easy to use and little technical knowledge is assumed. Most hardware is automatically detected.

This comes from the page I linked above.

I started using linux from scratch thanks to Puppy Linux on an used low profile hardware netbook (9" display 12GB hd Asus Eee) and all the bullets above really helped: fast boot, fast run, no worries if you brake somehow the system playing around thanks to frugal installs and a lot more.

I'm not assuming what worked for me will for the OP but I warmly suggest a try.

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Can you elaborate on that? Some reasoning why Puppy is better suited than X or Y for his purpose would be nice. – Marco Feb 2 '13 at 13:17
I guessed the part "How is Puppy different" in the page I link would be self explanatory. Anyway I will edit my answer. – neurino Feb 2 '13 at 16:52
puppy linux being easy to use is false. extremely hard to get it to install on the HDD with a user account. Updates and installation of software is WAY to hard. Then uninstallation is impossible. the OS will say its still installed even though you went through the uninstallation process with a success message at the end. plus wifi doesnt work. – Alex Nov 30 '13 at 18:31

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