Installation - Non-Kde Install

Timmy - 27.08.2006, 17:34 Uhr
Titel: Non-Kde Install
A mate of mine turned me onto Kanotix as a way to get my fairly old and pap Laptop perfoming somewhat usefully again.
I'd like to know how to install to a (small) HDD without KDE - as I know from trying to run the LIVE CD the poor old thing can't handle it. Ideally I'd like to be using Blackbox/Fluxbox/Xfce4 or IceWM at a pinch.

Heres the stats of the laptop:
Compaq Presario 1200 Series,
Intel Celeron "Copper" 500mhz
56MB Ram
8 Meg Trident Cyberblade graphics card with a (theoretical) 1024x768 native resolution
Belkin 54g Wireless network card
Zip 100 Drive via parrallel port..

No DVD or Wired Ethernet is available to me (I killed the PCMCIA slot.. - Long story!)

Ok, a bit more info.. Whilst being relativly new to Linux, I've spent the last couple of days faffing about with various distro's, but not having much luck getting them to do what I want them to.. Ideally I'd like to be running a debian-based system (already a massive fan of apt!) but Debian proper won't install wirelessly and I'm not about to try and download 20-odd CD's. Damn Small Linux works ok, but the package reposotries are useless and all the packages included on the CD are about as ancient as the laptop..
I have managed a couple of things on DSL a week ago I'd never thought I'd be able to achieve (such as getting my wireless card to work with Ndswrapper), so my confidence is reasonably boosted - enough to try a slightly more "proper" distro that has decent repo's and assistance on the forums etc (according to my mate at least..) Having said that there are still things I'm having major trouble with.. More of those when I've got Kanotix installed though!

Anyway, I guess thats about it, I look forward to any help you can afford me.. As I said I am a newb, but I like to think of myself as a quick study..

Many thanks!
ockham23 - 27.08.2006, 17:39 Uhr
Titel: RE: Non-Kde Install
You could try CPX-MINI, http://debian.tu-bs.de/project/cpx-mini/, but I'd say Windows98 is a better choice for this machine.
Timmy - 27.08.2006, 17:47 Uhr
Titel: RE: Non-Kde Install
Thanks for the quick reply. I'll definatly look into cpx-mini - is it a Kanotix-based mini-distro version or something?
To be fair, alot of people have said Win 98, which is what the machine shipped with originally. I'm keen to break away from windows however and am rather treating the project as an experiment to see if I can happilly work with Linux - IE if I can get my awful ancient laptop to work with linux, then my desktop should be a sinch (thats my theory anyway!).
Not only that but I don't have a Win disk available and I'm far too cheap/skint to buy one!

slh - 27.08.2006, 18:05 Uhr
Titel: RE: Non-Kde Install
Installing current linux distributions to ancient hardware is never a good idea to evaluate linux, yes there are tons of low performance window managers and application, but current and comfortable applications do need ~800-1000 MHz and at least 256-512 MB RAM (RAM being the most important part, especially your mere 56 MB are way too little).
ockham23 - 27.08.2006, 18:20 Uhr
Titel: RE: Non-Kde Install
then my desktop should be a sinch
Kanotix works as a LiveCD too, so you can test it on your desktop right away.
Timmy - 27.08.2006, 19:15 Uhr
slh -> I'm not majorly fussed about large current packages, I'm not a (in windows) heavy user - I use my desktop for the most part for browsing the net, downloading (cough!) mp3's and films and watching them as well as checking my e-mail and nattering to my friends via msn. I don't play games, I don't use Office of any type or have it installed. The only thing I want this laptop to be able to do is the above, so I'm pretty sure I can muddle along with a light(ish) install?

Ockham -> Just tried Kanotic on the desktop, everything seems to work right out of the box and runs smoothly (with the exception of the networking..) which to be hounest is pretty much what I expected. Stupid as it might sound however I kind of resent that it all works so flawlessly - I was/am really interested and willing to get into Linux into a slightly more major way, depsite the learning curve.. I guess I may be a bit of an oddity in that I actually want something to go wrong, purely so I can try and get it working - I enjoy a challange I suppose?!

kb0hae - 27.08.2006, 19:17 Uhr
Titel: RE: Non-Kde Install
Hi. If you can up the ram to 128meg (256 would be better!) kanotix should run ok, if a bit slowly (using KDE).
I have it installed Kanotix on my girlfriend's Compaq Deskpro desktop (PIII 500Mhz Celer(y)on) with Intel onboard video and sound. It runs slower than my faster machine (AMD Athelon 1800+ with 512meg ram) but it is usable.. I have also found that even a fast machine with an old (non-ata) hard drive can have some speed issues, though these are not too serious. (new hard drives are really inexpensive compaired to even 2-3 years ago) IF you can only up the ram to 128 meg, creat a swap partition if you can before install (if no other way, install Win98 and partition magic)

And as okcham23 says, go ahead and try Kanotix as a live CD...It won't install anything unless you tell it to.
It will run slower than a hard drive install because CD drives are slower than hard drives, and the files on the CD are compressed, so they have to be ucompressed to run. However, you can see if your hardware is detected and works with Kanotix. If there are problems, look through the Kanotix forums here or do a search.

The support here is just fantastic, and Kanotix is the BEST Linux distro! Thanks again Kano!!!!!! Sehr glücklich Mr. Green
ockham23 - 27.08.2006, 19:25 Uhr
Titel: RE: Non-Kde Install
(with the exception of the networking..)
Well, there's your challenge! And once you have figured it out, why not turn your desktop into a router to provide internet connection sharing for the notebook? Or learn how to run Kanotix off an iso file on your hard drive so you can free up the CDROM drive?
Timmy - 27.08.2006, 20:42 Uhr
Titel: RE: Non-Kde Install
Becouse that somewhat defeats the point of what I'm trying to do. Besides which I have a hard-ware router for ICS. I did get networking running on the desktop though. Mounted my windows drives and used ndiswrapper to get my wireless card working.
jackiebrown - 27.08.2006, 21:04 Uhr
Titel: RE: Non-Kde Install
I agree Timmy. The only way to get used to linux is to go ahead and just make the switch.

Live Cd's are good for maintenance/repair and checking to see if your hardware is supported.

It is - IMHO - not really a good way to learn linux.

The performance is also - as expected - worse on a live CD than install. Especially with older equipment.
piper - 27.08.2006, 21:47 Uhr
Titel: RE: Non-Kde Install
Well I don't think both ockham23 and kb0hae were saying to learn linux on the live cd, but to test on how it runs on that low level system, if it is ok, of course you know it will be better installing to harddrive. Thats the way I read it Winken
mzilikazi - 28.08.2006, 03:05 Uhr
As slh has already mentioned Kanotix will not be the best choice for your laptop. Have you tried Vector Linux? It is known to run very well on older laptops. Vector is based on Slackware. The package selection is no where nearly as complete as Debian BUT it runs fast on low end hardware. I have no idea if your wireless card will work with Vector.

Another alternative would be to use the Kanotix live cd to do a debbootstrap. If Kanotix can get your wireless card to work you'd basically install Debian Stable through Kanotix.

In my personal experience (5 laptops w/ 128M RAM or less) Vector has always been a better choice for older laptops.
Timmy - 28.08.2006, 09:02 Uhr
Thanks mzilikazi, I had given Vector a cursory glance, but as it was Slack-based I thought it best to steer clear, for the moment at least. Kanotix won't work on my laptop at all, it loads in to the skankier wm, and then falls flat on it's arse. I can however get my wireless card running (using ndiswrapper) under Damn Small Linux (another Debian-based "live" distro) - so I'm now going to give google a major look-over to see if I can debootstrap from that. I'm reasonably confident I can get Debian working as all the packages I want to use are fairly light and not too intensive ram-wise (xorg or xvesa/mplayer/xine I suspect will be the heavist users?)

Many thanks,
slh - 28.08.2006, 09:16 Uhr
The release notes boldly mention 128 MB RAM as absolutely minimum requirement...
Gowator - 28.08.2006, 15:04 Uhr
Ive installed it on a similar machine ..its a pain but it works (very very very slowly) and once its installed I just removed KDE and office stuff etc. from the CLI and used ICE-WM...
It works but its really a issue of memory...

However its probably easier to just install a Debian net-install
Timmy - 28.08.2006, 23:15 Uhr
I'm still trying to debootstrap Debian from within DSL (I Have kanotix running on my desktop now however!). I've not been 100% succesful I must admit, but I've certainly learnt loads.. So far I've managed to get my kernel installed, but am having trouble with loading kernel modules (particularly ndiswrapper - annoyingly!) - I probably should sign up for the debian user forums for specific help, but as I'm here, I hope you won't object to my posting the query here also:

running apt-get install module-assistant works ok,
#module-assistant prepare
seems to go ok, except for a message about kernel-headers (the laptop is downstairs, so details will have to wait I'm afraid..

Then running
#apt-get install ndiswrapper-source

..no problems there
#module-assistant build ndiswrapper
..results in a blue screen alerting me to the wrong kernel headers being installed and no specific kernel headers being given within the parameters? I forget the exact messages I'm afraid, but despite this blue-screen having an <ok> at the bottom, it causes aterm to lock up completly, to the point where I have to kill the client and start a new aterm. All of this is done as chroot on the debian install..

If no-one objects I'll post up the correct system messages and possibly even a screen-shot tommorow. Being fairly young, I have no wish to be bald but given the rate at which I am tearing my hair out, I suspect it's fairly imminent Lachen

Many thanks,
ockham23 - 28.08.2006, 23:46 Uhr
Being fairly young, I have no wish to be bald but given the rate at which I am tearing my hair out, I suspect it's fairly imminent
That's why you should install Windows98. Look at Bill Gates, a lifelong Windows user with a full shock of hair. Winken
h2 - 29.08.2006, 00:34 Uhr
Timmy, I did some fairly extensive testing on a very slow older laptop, 200 mghz, with 192 mB ram, all the so called 'small' distros I could find.

I wouldn't bother trying to run any linux at all, except for a very old one, on the amount of ram you're looking at. The cpu speed is completely adequate, I'd put 3-400 as the lowest acceptable speed, and 500 should run kanotix fine, especially with icewm or xfce desktop. But not with that little ram, 128 mB to me is really the absolute minimum, if boosting the ram is not an option [look on somewhere like ebay for used ram, it's worth it], I would not spend any time trying to get anything running on it personally.

Windows 98 version 1 runs fine with that amount of ram, but even windows really wants about 128 mB to avoid lots of swap file activity.

If I can't have at least 500 mghz with 256 mB ram, I probably will not spend anytime on a box or laptop, it's just not worth it in my opinion.

sometimes it's easier just letting go of old hardware and replacing it with something more recent, used. That's mainly because if you can't find cheap used replacement parts, new ones cost literally more than buying a more recent complete box or laptop used.
Timmy - 29.08.2006, 11:05 Uhr
Well, it looks like I'm going to give up, for now at least.
To my mind if seems highly wasteful though, but being utterly skint, neither windows nor extra ram is an option sadly (not even from ebay, I'm that skint!)

Thanks for the suggestions however,
kanotixrules - 30.08.2006, 05:27 Uhr
I'm running Easter RC4 on an old laptop with 550 MHz Celeron, with 192 meg of ram (the max I can get in it), using Fluxbox and Kernel, runs good
titan - 30.08.2006, 08:34 Uhr
I have Kanotix 2005-04 running on a Toshiba 4700 with a celeron 366 and 192 Mb of ram. My wife just uses it for e-mail and browsing. Slow but it works after a fashion. DSL is much faster.
pcalvert - 05.09.2006, 21:04 Uhr
Titel: Go for plain-vanilla Debian
Hi Timmy,

You are going about this the hard way. Kanotix is not a good choice for your laptop. I would install Debian 3.1 r3 ("Debian stable"). Although Debian comes on 14 CDs, don't worry about that. If you download the ISO for the first CD, that will be enough to get you going. If you want to be on the safe side, download ISOs for the first two or three CDs.

After a base installation of Debian, you will have a very minimal system. Not even X-Windows will be installed at that point. You would then install X-Windows and IceWM using aptitude (not apt-get).

TIP: Don't worry about security updates or downloading packages from the Net when you are installing Debian. You can do that later, after you have networking configured and have installed a firewall. Have aptitude pull the needed packages from your CDs.

If you're interested in installing Debian stable, let me know. I will dig around in my bookmarks and find some tutorials that might be helpful.

Another option is to install Feather Linux. Feather is based on Knoppix, but is designed to run well on older hardware. It's not exactly a standard Linux distro, though. For example, it doesn't use gcc as a compiler, but rather some other program that is supposed to be more efficient.

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