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Tech: New Linux Claims Old Hardware Drivers

JohnInKansas 25 Mar 13 - 05:15 PM
Newport Boy 25 Mar 13 - 06:14 PM
treewind 25 Mar 13 - 07:29 PM
gnomad 25 Mar 13 - 07:53 PM
michaelr 25 Mar 13 - 08:09 PM
gnomad 25 Mar 13 - 10:17 PM
GUEST 26 Mar 13 - 08:31 AM
Newport Boy 26 Mar 13 - 09:10 AM
michaelr 30 Mar 13 - 08:16 PM
Reinhard 31 Mar 13 - 02:01 AM
michaelr 31 Mar 13 - 01:47 PM
GUEST,Reverend Bayes 31 Mar 13 - 05:10 PM
michaelr 31 Mar 13 - 05:42 PM
JohnInKansas 31 Mar 13 - 09:51 PM
gnomad 01 Apr 13 - 07:25 AM
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Subject: Tech: New Linux Claims Old Hardware Drivers
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 05:15 PM

As I'm not a Linux user, I don't know how interesting it might be, but a PC World newsnote claims that a new "lightweight" Linux distro makes drivers for "older devices" part of the plan, and is available (for PCs) in a version that can run in small space on older machines, with a separate version for PCs that can handle "a lot of RAM."

As there are several links in the article that anyone interested might want to look at, I'll post only a link to the article:

Have an older PC? Try the new Ubuntu Linux-based LXLE

"This new Lubuntu-based distro includes drivers and utilities for older graphics and audio hardware.
"By Katherine Noyes | PC World | 25 March 13"

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: New Linux Claims Old Hardware Drivers
From: Newport Boy
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 06:14 PM

This is the latest addition to a number of Linux distributions aimed at older or low-spec hardware. It's getting publicity because it's Ubuntu-based. I haven't had a look at it yet, but I probably will, although Antix suits my Acer Aspire One very well.

Phil


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Subject: RE: Tech: New Linux Claims Old Hardware Drivers
From: treewind
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 07:29 PM

I'm running something like that on an IBM thinkpad R50. It's Lubuntu - Ubuntu with LXDE for a desktop environment instead of Gnome or KDE. Runs like a charm.


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Subject: RE: Tech: New Linux Claims Old Hardware Drivers
From: gnomad
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 07:53 PM

Lubuntu-based suggests a minimum 384MB of RAM according to the Ubuntu site; I have an old laptop on which I upped the RAM to just that (maximum the board would take) but it would barely run Lubuntu. I don't really use that old machine, just keeping it for "play", but I have currently got it running Bodhi, with which it seems happier.

I don't recall any driver problems with either if these distributions. Many Linux distro's seem to keep drivers for old hardware, though they may sometimes struggle to keep up with newer stuff.

I find Bodhi also runs nicely on my bedside machine (Aspire 1, 8GB SSD, 1.5GB RAM) on which I am making this post. Another on for you to try, Phil, should you be inclined towards distro-hopping.


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Subject: RE: Tech: New Linux Claims Old Hardware Drivers
From: michaelr
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 08:09 PM

I'm intrigued, as I've been hearing about Linux for years, but all the techie jargon prevents me from understanding what its advantages are. For starters, what's a "distro"?


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Subject: RE: Tech: New Linux Claims Old Hardware Drivers
From: gnomad
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 10:17 PM

Non-techie overview (I'm not by any means qualified to give any other kind) of Linux use. This is just the most common desktop use, though there are many server and other more specialist uses.

Your computer has an operating system, probably a version of Windows from Microsoft, less probably a version of OSX from Apple, less likely still one of the other systems, such as Linux. The first two are provided at a cost to you by their respective corporations. Linux systems are frequently available for amateur use at no cost beyond a bit of effort installing them, though paid-for support may sometimes be how a given distribution is funded. Installing is not usually that much effort, I have done it despite being a bone-idle non-techie.

Some Linux distributions (aka distro's) are developed by corporations, others by enthusiast groups, some even by individuals, each with their own agenda as to what their ideal system will do, what it will look like, and what resources it will need to do the job. One developer may, for instance, be fixated on keeping the most minimally-resourced machine functioning, whereas another wishes to have the most whizzy, eye-popping desktop, or perhaps the greatest possible selection of video editing software out of the box, and the greater the resources used the better. Enthusiasts tend to emphasize how inefficiently the big two systems are written, I don't know how true this is, but in both cases they seem to need ever greater resources while MS and Apple have good commercial reasons to want to keep you consuming, coincidence?

Choosing a distribution is a bit like choosing a vehicle - you read the specifications and reviews, test-drive a few, then go for the one you fancy. Some come with everything fitted, loaded and polished, others are more like a kit car. One good thing is that changing your mind usually costs nothing but time.

Keeping their system up to date is a job that some developers embrace with greater enthusiasm (and/or competence) than others.

So, reasons you might give Linux a go: any one or more of

You own an old computer you would like to keep going, but it hasn't the resources to run an up to date version of Windows. You feel like a bit of a challenge. You fancy building a computer but don't feel like giving more dosh to Microsoft or Apple. You want a machine that does just those jobs you have chosen for it. You want to learn some computing, you can build your very own version of Linux if you wish to, as some do, and both instructions and enthusiast forums are available.

I hope this helps a bit.


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Subject: RE: Tech: New Linux Claims Old Hardware Drivers
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Mar 13 - 08:31 AM

To add a bit of detail to gnomad's info, a 'distribution' is a package of a Linux kernel with a window manager and a desktop. Most distributions also include a range of applications in addition to the basics (file manager, browser, email client, etc).

My main system is Mepis, which is based on Debian (as is Ubuntu and its variants). I've added a few programs which I find useful (finance, DVD creator, etc) and VirtualBox, in which I run a copy of WinXP. The whole installation occupies 7GB on my HDD - a similar Windows installation would probably be 30GB or more. My virtual XP with much less software is 27GB.

Linux programs are mainly obtained from the distribution's 'repository' - a series of packages which are all compatible. My repository list is currently showing 36780 packages, of which I have 1642 installed. Downloading and installation is semi-automatic and much faster than installing Windows software - and it's all free if you dowmload it.

Phil


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Subject: RE: Tech: New Linux Claims Old Hardware Drivers
From: Newport Boy
Date: 26 Mar 13 - 09:10 AM

The Guest above was me. My router shut down yesterday, and that seems to have dropped all my automatic logins.

Phil


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Subject: RE: Tech: New Linux Claims Old Hardware Drivers
From: michaelr
Date: 30 Mar 13 - 08:16 PM

Thank you, gnomad and Newport Boy. Where (how) can one peruse and compare different versions of Linux?


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Subject: RE: Tech: New Linux Claims Old Hardware Drivers
From: Reinhard
Date: 31 Mar 13 - 02:01 AM

Try Distrowatch's Top Ten Distributions or TuxRadar's The best Linux distro of 2012.

There's also a Linux Distribution Chooser in the form of a questionnaire.


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Subject: RE: Tech: New Linux Claims Old Hardware Drivers
From: michaelr
Date: 31 Mar 13 - 01:47 PM

Thank you so much, Reinhard; that's immensely helpful!


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Subject: RE: Tech: New Linux Claims Old Hardware Drivers
From: GUEST,Reverend Bayes
Date: 31 Mar 13 - 05:10 PM

General rule of thumb is if you are running relatively modern hardware, then Ubuntu is the way to go. If you are particularly ideological in nature then choose Debian. If you like swearing and non-functional computers, install Gentoo. If seriously hardware constrained, Damn Small Linux. Fedora if none of the above.


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Subject: RE: Tech: New Linux Claims Old Hardware Drivers
From: michaelr
Date: 31 Mar 13 - 05:42 PM

Well, the Distribution Chooser linked to by Reinhard tells me I should get Mint. Must be my breath...


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Subject: RE: Tech: New Linux Claims Old Hardware Drivers
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 31 Mar 13 - 09:51 PM

So that's where it comes from when we read your posts!!!

(Another problem solved at mudcat.)

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: New Linux Claims Old Hardware Drivers
From: gnomad
Date: 01 Apr 13 - 07:25 AM

I haven't used Mint for a couple of years now, but my experience with it was mostly good.

I used the Xfce version for a while, decided I liked the rolling release idea so switched to MintDebian, but found that less pleasing as I couldn't get it to play nicely on my old laptop (see March 25 post) so I tried something else. I forget quite why I followed up some obscure recommendation of Bodhi, perhaps because that is another rolling release, and needs few resources. I liked it enough to have also installed it on another machine in daily use.

If you fancy a go with Linux then Mint is a good place to start with both decent documentation and a decent forum. Have a read of the tutorials, and particularly the userguide which is available in several languages on a link from Mint page for downloads. Of the many allegedly easy ways in for a beginner Mint's installation process is (IMO) one of those best deserving the description. Incidentally that doesn't mean it is some cut-down or kids' version, just a well polished route to a full, grown-up system.


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