A while back, I posted a story about my adventures with Linux on an older PC. I was stymied at the time, but I have made significant progress since then. The memory boards I had ordered (and didn’t work), were replaced–good job, memorystock.com, and they fit just fine this time.
It actually turns out that I probably didn’t need the extra memory–once I installed Xubuntu to the hard drive, it got significantly faster. But, extra memory never hurts. The version of FoxPro that comes with Xubuntu is fully functional with Hootsuite, FaceBook, etc., so I consider that installation a success.
The score is 2-0
Buoyed by this success, I moved on to my next PC. First problem–Xubuntu wouldn’t run, because it requires 2 gig on the hard drive. I have 4 on alpha, but only 2 on beta (but 256 meg of RAM). Even if it loaded, I would have no space for applications.
I found a newer version of DSL (Damn Small Linux) that loaded okay, and it had a newer version of FoxPro that would run FaceBook, but I couldn’t get it to successfully install on the hard drive. It boots fine off the USB, but I don’t want to depend on carrying the extra piece around. And when I tried to save my profile to USB, that killed the live drive capability, and it wouldn’t boot until I reinstalled DSL to the USB.
I did find a nice universal installer in the process, that lets you easily try lots of different versions of Linux. And there are many. I got it here. The executable is called Universal-USB-Installer-188.8.131.52.
I also tried Knoppix, but it required too much drive space. Tiny Core is truly tiny, but it’s bare bones, and only loads to a Linux prompt–no graphical interface.
I’m currently working with Puppy Linux. It only requires about a gig of drive space, and the wifi and FoxPro work great. I struggled for a while trying to load it to the hard drive. Part of the hard drive install is supposed to create this thing called grub on the boot sector. But the install kept hanging and I could never get a successful boot.
I did finally get it to work, via a great install page. Success at last.
I also had to buy a new wifi card–the Belkin Wireless G didn’t cut it. It’s a PCMCIA dongle, D-Link WNA 2330. Fortunately these things are cheap, but plentiful. I got it off Amazon for about $20.
So, in summary, you can have success with Linux, and with PC’s with very small hard drives and minimal storage. Xubuntu works great if you’ve got more than 3 gig on a hard drive, and Puppy with 1.3 gig. 128 meg of memory will run, but 256 is much better.