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The old laptop is this Toshiba 1800-100:

CPU: Intel Celeron 800Mh
Ram 128 MB (works ok)
HDD: 15 GB (works ok)
Graphics adapter:
Integrated 64-bit AGP graphics accelerator,
BitBIT, 3D graphic acceleration,
8 MB Video RAM

Only WindowsXP is installed, and works ok: it can be used, but it is slow (and hateful).

I thought that I could improve performance (and its look) easily, since it is an old PC (drivers and everything known for years...) by installing a light Linux distro. So, I decided to install a light or customized Ubuntu distro, or Ubuntu/Debian derivative, but haven't been successful with any; not even booting LiveCDs: not even AntiX, not even Puppy. Lubuntu wiki says that the last two releases it won't work because they need more ram (and some blogs say much more cpu -even core duo for new Lubuntu!-), let alone Xubuntu. But the wikipedia says: "A lightweight Linux distribution is a Linux distribution that uses relatively few resources. For example, Lubuntu, which requires a minimum of 128 MB of RAM and a Pentium II "

The problems I have faced are:

1.There are thousands of pages talking about the same 10/15 lightweight distros, and saying more or less the same things, but NONE talks about a simple thing as to how should the RAM/swap-partition proportion be for this kind of installations. NONE!

2.When booting the LiveCDs, I have tried several different boot options (though I don't understand much about them, and there's ALWAYS a line of explanation missing) and never receive error messages. Booting just stops at different stages but often seems to stop just when the X server is going to start. I am also able to boot to command line but startx lives the pc in a state with no return displaying nothing.

3.I ignore whether the problem is ram size or a problem with the graphics driver (which surprises me because it is a well known brand and line of computers). So I don't know if doing a partition with a swap partition would help booting the LiveCD.

4.I would like to try the graphical interface with the LiveCD before installing. If doing the swap partition for this purpose would help. How can I do the partition? I tried to use Boot Rescue CD, but it advises me against continuing forward.

I would appreciate any ideas as regards these questions. Thank you

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That machine is too old for any Live CD Desktop Environment distro (Ubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, etc). Perhaps ConnochaetOS or TinyCore will work for you. –  mikewhatever Nov 21 '12 at 10:29
    
But according to many blogs: a minimal debian (and I suppose an Ubuntu) should work; and Puppy and AniX should work too... So I think there must be another problem (that maybe I can sort out) other than being old. Never thought WindowsXP was better for these cases!!. I have always read the opposite... –  Robert Vila Nov 21 '12 at 10:31
    
"TinyCore... can produce an 12MB FLTK/FLWM desktop." Can't I go for something better with 128MB RAM and 15GB HDD?? Something closer to or better than winXP? –  Robert Vila Nov 21 '12 at 10:36
    
Since all non-*buntus are off topic here, you should ask the blog authors. ...and keep in mind, anyone can write anything on the internet. :) –  mikewhatever Nov 21 '12 at 10:38
    
But I have seen, with my own eyes, the windows XP working ok, but too slow. –  Robert Vila Nov 21 '12 at 12:59
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closed as not constructive by mikewhatever, hhlp, Stephen Myall, fossfreedom Nov 21 '12 at 12:33

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1 Answer

  1. RAM/Swap proportion is not much different from a high-performance install. Recommended is 1 to 1,5 times your RAM size as swap. A bit more won't hurt, but won't help much either.

  2. The Live CD is not the recommended way to install on a low performance machine, try the Alternate CD

  3. and 4. See 2.

Sometimes I had success installing with the Alternative CD on low-memory systems where the Live CD did not work.

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1  
This is the best option for installing Ubuntu. Please note that 128M is a bit low for unity. You may want to try lubuntu. However 128 just isn't much to work with these days. –  coteyr Nov 21 '12 at 11:05
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I agree. Plus do not forget you can always install an Ubuntu that is prior to Unity (10.10 or lower). –  Rinzwind Nov 21 '12 at 11:36
    
@Rinzwind: haha, of course, I don't intend to install Ubuntu Quatal in a celeron800-128MB_ram pc. –  Robert Vila Nov 21 '12 at 12:37
    
@RobertVila Quantal runs fine on a celeron 800. Just not with Unity3D but with fallback mode it should be fine. –  Rinzwind Nov 21 '12 at 12:39
    
@Jasper van den Bosch: Of course I have thought about the alternate, but I would like to try it first! Imagine downloading alternates, installing and then checking... If the info says I should be able to boot the Live, I thought the problem might be the in graphics drivers and I would face the problem after the alternate install too (what do you think?) But, maybe, you are right, that would be the only way to move forward and choose what suits better... –  Robert Vila Nov 21 '12 at 13:02
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