I want to install a new Linux distribution on my old ThinkPad 600x laptop:

  • Pentium 3 500MHz processor
  • 448MB RAM
  • 4MB graphics memory
  • around 20GB HDD
  • CD-ROM drive
  • WiFi card on PCMCIA

I want a fast, lightweight distribution. It only needs to run web browser (with flash support), nothing more. The distribution size doesn't matter, as long as it fits on a CD. A fast WM would be appreciated.

Currently, it runs Lubuntu 12.10, which I find too slow and unresponsive.

I was looking at Puppy (Wary 5.5) and it's my first candidate to install, but I was hoping for other suggestions.

  • I did a quick search and found this unix.stackexchange.com/questions/42364/… – ctrl-alt-delor Jun 13 '14 at 9:20
  • It's unlikely that anything else running X + LXDE will be any quicker than Lubuntu; the "slowness" is the actual apps you are actually using. A standalone window manager may make a bit of difference but switching distros will not. The norm on the raspberry pi, which is only slightly beefier (700 Mhz, 512 MB RAM) is Debian w/ LXDE. It is just a slow computer, period. – goldilocks Jun 13 '14 at 11:11

I would suggest Puppy which you've already found or the following:

The advantage of LFS is that it would be specifically tailored to your laptop so nothing installed that doesn't need to be and you would also learn a lot about Linux.

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In my opinion, the focus on distributions geared at being lightweight is passé. Indeed, if you look at the Arch Linux requirements for instance you will see that:

Arch Linux should run on any i686 compatible machine with a minimum of 64 MB RAM. A basic installation with all packages from the base group should take less than 800 MB of disk space. If you are working with limited space, this can be trimmed down considerably, but you will have to know what you are doing.

That's only an example and may not account for sophisticated graphical environments. An attractive preconfigured "light" spin is ArchBang... with the Openbox window manager. You can do minimal installs with many distributions. Qualifying a distribution as being light is just a matter of default install options mostly; you can scale the window managers and desktop environments the way you want and layer the extra components to suit your requirements.

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