Which distro for R51?

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Which distro for R51?

Florian
I was happy with running Debian 6 on my ancient Thinkpad R51 but now
Debian 6 is outdated. Which distro can be recommended to use now? I
already have checked several mini linux versions but they are all
without regular updates.
Thanks in advance for any hints.
Florian
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Re: Which distro for R51?

Evgeni Golov-3
On Fri, Mar 25, 2016 at 11:20:19AM +0000, Florian wrote:
> I was happy with running Debian 6 on my ancient Thinkpad R51 but now
> Debian 6 is outdated. Which distro can be recommended to use now? I
> already have checked several mini linux versions but they are all
> without regular updates.

Why not Debian 8?
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Re: Which distro for R51?

Rich
In reply to this post by Florian
Oh boy, a first/second-generation Pentium M.

32-bit is going to be an increasingly large hurdle in distro selection as the population stuck on non-64b hardware platforms has been dwindling, with even the low-power CPU models speaking 64-bit now.

What have you tried, if anything?
Are you presuming Debian 7/8/... are not going to fly for some reason?

What're you currently running on the Debian 6 setup, and how well is it working?

I'd probably start on Debian 8/i386 with Xfce and go from there, though ISTR the R51's video chipset was not a pleasure to work with, and I haven't tested the ipw2[12]00 support on modern kernels.

- Rich

On Fri, Mar 25, 2016 at 7:20 AM, Florian <[hidden email]> wrote:
I was happy with running Debian 6 on my ancient Thinkpad R51 but now
Debian 6 is outdated. Which distro can be recommended to use now? I
already have checked several mini linux versions but they are all
without regular updates.
Thanks in advance for any hints.
Florian

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Re: Which distro for R51?

Yrjan Skrimstad
In reply to this post by Florian
On Fri, Mar 25, 2016 at 11:20:19AM +0000, Florian wrote:
>I was happy with running Debian 6 on my ancient Thinkpad R51 but now
>Debian 6 is outdated. Which distro can be recommended to use now? I
>already have checked several mini linux versions but they are all
>without regular updates.
>Thanks in advance for any hints.
>Florian

If you're happy with Debian, maybe Debian 8 with a lightweight
environment like LXDE instead of GNOME would be fine? Alternatively
Lubuntu might be a reasonable option?

- Yrjan
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Re: Which distro for R51?

Florian
In reply to this post by Evgeni Golov-3
I used to have Ubuntu on it but this was annoyingly slow. It seems that
modern distros eat up a lot of ressources and then you can watch the
sandclock longtime...
BTW: Provides Debian 8 a non-pae kernel?

Am 25.03.2016 um 12:25 schrieb Evgeni Golov:
> On Fri, Mar 25, 2016 at 11:20:19AM +0000, Florian wrote:
>> I was happy with running Debian 6 on my ancient Thinkpad R51 but now
>> Debian 6 is outdated. Which distro can be recommended to use now? I
>> already have checked several mini linux versions but they are all
>> without regular updates.
> Why not Debian 8?

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Re: Which distro for R51?

Florian
In reply to this post by Rich
As I said: an ancient hardware but it runs, runs and runs - not too fast but reliably. Not any problem till now. Only the battery has been changed. :-)
I haven't tried Debian 7 or 8 since Debian 6 is running very well. I do some coding on the machine as well as Internet (Firefox/Thunderbird - directly from mozilla) and Office.

Florian

Am 25.03.2016 um 12:35 schrieb Rich:
Oh boy, a first/second-generation Pentium M.

32-bit is going to be an increasingly large hurdle in distro selection as the population stuck on non-64b hardware platforms has been dwindling, with even the low-power CPU models speaking 64-bit now.

What have you tried, if anything?
Are you presuming Debian 7/8/... are not going to fly for some reason?

What're you currently running on the Debian 6 setup, and how well is it working?

I'd probably start on Debian 8/i386 with Xfce and go from there, though ISTR the R51's video chipset was not a pleasure to work with, and I haven't tested the ipw2[12]00 support on modern kernels.

- Rich

On Fri, Mar 25, 2016 at 7:20 AM, Florian <[hidden email]> wrote:
I was happy with running Debian 6 on my ancient Thinkpad R51 but now
Debian 6 is outdated. Which distro can be recommended to use now? I
already have checked several mini linux versions but they are all
without regular updates.
Thanks in advance for any hints.
Florian


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Re: Which distro for R51?

Evgeni Golov-3
In reply to this post by Florian
On Fri, Mar 25, 2016 at 12:12:24PM +0000, Florian wrote:
> I used to have Ubuntu on it but this was annoyingly slow. It seems that
> modern distros eat up a lot of ressources and then you can watch the
> sandclock longtime...

Well, try Debian with some lightwight environment. Xfce? LXDE?

> BTW: Provides Debian 8 a non-pae kernel?

Yes, the -586/-686 kernel should work on non-PAE CPUs.
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Re: Which distro for R51?

James Knott
In reply to this post by Florian
On 03/25/2016 08:18 AM, Florian wrote:
> As I said: an ancient hardware but it runs, runs and runs - not too
> fast but reliably. Not any problem till now. Only the battery has been
> changed. :-)
> I haven't tried Debian 7 or 8 since Debian 6 is running very well. I
> do some coding on the machine as well as Internet (Firefox/Thunderbird
> - directly from mozilla) and Office.

Sooner or later, you'll no longer be able to get a distro that runs, so
perhaps you should be looking for a new computer.  Other than an ancient
IBM Netfinity server, all my systems have been 64 bit for years.  My
current notebook computer is a Lenovo ThinkPad E520, which I bought
about 4.5 years ago.  It's 64 bit and continues to run well.  I
currently have openSUSE 13.1 on it.

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Re: Which distro for R51?

James Knott
In reply to this post by Evgeni Golov-3
On 03/25/2016 08:22 AM, Evgeni Golov wrote:
> On Fri, Mar 25, 2016 at 12:12:24PM +0000, Florian wrote:
>> I used to have Ubuntu on it but this was annoyingly slow. It seems that
>> modern distros eat up a lot of ressources and then you can watch the
>> sandclock longtime...
> Well, try Debian with some lightwight environment. Xfce? LXDE?
>
>> BTW: Provides Debian 8 a non-pae kernel?
> Yes, the -586/-686 kernel should work on non-PAE CPUs.

Or perhaps a distro like Gentoo.  You install it once and then it
continually updates from that.  It's still available as 32 bit.

https://www.gentoo.org/downloads/
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Re: Which distro for R51?

Rich
In reply to this post by Evgeni Golov-3
On Fri, Mar 25, 2016 at 8:22 AM, Evgeni Golov <[hidden email]> wrote:
On Fri, Mar 25, 2016 at 12:12:24PM +0000, Florian wrote:
> I used to have Ubuntu on it but this was annoyingly slow. It seems that
> modern distros eat up a lot of ressources and then you can watch the
> sandclock longtime...

Well, try Debian with some lightwight environment. Xfce? LXDE?

> BTW: Provides Debian 8 a non-pae kernel?

Yes, the -586/-686 kernel should work on non-PAE CPUs.

You may have more recent info on this than I, but it seems that the Banias CPUs do actually support PAE, they just don't report it in their CPU flags, so you should be able to gently massage any kernel you install with PAE enabled into behaving properly.

- Rich
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RE: Which distro for R51?

James McCoy
In reply to this post by Yrjan Skrimstad
I use Lubuntu 14.04.2 (LXDE desktop) on my T43 and love it. Whatever distro you choose... also consider install "preload". 

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
Edmund Burke

James



> From: [hidden email]

> To: [hidden email]
> Subject: Re: [ltp] Which distro for R51?
> Date: Fri, 25 Mar 2016 12:39:33 +0100
>
> On Fri, Mar 25, 2016 at 11:20:19AM +0000, Florian wrote:
> >I was happy with running Debian 6 on my ancient Thinkpad R51 but now
> >Debian 6 is outdated. Which distro can be recommended to use now? I
> >already have checked several mini linux versions but they are all
> >without regular updates.
> >Thanks in advance for any hints.
> >Florian
>
> If you're happy with Debian, maybe Debian 8 with a lightweight
> environment like LXDE instead of GNOME would be fine? Alternatively
> Lubuntu might be a reasonable option?
>
> - Yrjan
> --
> The linux-thinkpad mailing list home page is at:
> http://mailman.linux-thinkpad.org/mailman/listinfo/linux-thinkpad
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Re: Which distro for R51?

Paul Seelig-3
In reply to this post by Florian
Hi Florian,

if you are already well acquainted with Debian, i'd suggest staying with
it and rather step up to the latest stable release.

Since a few years already, I am maintaining a Debian/stable spinoff
using Window Maker as default GUI, and it also includes a basic XFCE
desktop as a fallback. It is an installable live system, so you can try
it out before possibly deciding to actually install it:

https://sourceforge.net/projects/wmlive/files/wmlive_0.95.7-3/

The ISO images provided are isohybrid ISO's and therefore can just be
dd'ed to a suitably sized USB pendrive and will boot/install from there.

wmlive is developed on the T6x Thinkpad generation and should work out
of the box also on older Thinkpads. The 32bit version boots and install
a non PAE kernel, so it should work just fine on your machine. It even
installs and runs fine on my ancient T23, so a R51 should be no issue.

As wmlive is based and relies on upstream Debian repositories, it is
basically just yet another variant of Debian stable using an alternate
desktop. I certainly didn't want to reinvent the wheel but rather base
my customization efforts on proven fundaments.

The main reason to maintain my own Debian spin off installation media is
because i wanted to have a distribution geared more towards expert users
who rather expect all those nifty comand line utilities and tools to be
already built in without having to retroactively add them after
installation of a more newbie friendly environment. Catering to newbies
is fine, but seasoned users or sysadmins are much better served with
different software defaults.

While not up to date regarding the current version, a basic overview is
given at http://wmlive.sourceforge.net and http://wmlive.rumbero.org.
The README displayed in the download URL cited above has some more
details about the current release.

Feedback, complaints, and enhancements are very welcome.

Regards,
Paul

On 03/25/2016 12:20 PM, Florian wrote:
> I was happy with running Debian 6 on my ancient Thinkpad R51 but now
> Debian 6 is outdated. Which distro can be recommended to use now?
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Re: Which distro for R51?

Stefan Monnier
In reply to this post by Florian
> I was happy with running Debian 6 on my ancient Thinkpad R51 but now
> Debian 6 is outdated. Which distro can be recommended to use now?

I use Debian testing on my Thinkpad X30, so I can't see any reason why
it wouldn't run just fine on an R51.


        Stefan

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Re: Which distro for R51?

Joerg Bruehe-2
In reply to this post by Florian
Hi Florian, all!

On 25.03.2016 12:20, Florian wrote:
> I was happy with running Debian 6 on my ancient Thinkpad R51 but now
> Debian 6 is outdated. Which distro can be recommended to use now? I
> already have checked several mini linux versions but they are all
> without regular updates.

Last week, Klaus Knopper showed Knoppix 7.7 at the CeBIT fair.
It is based on Debian stable ("Jessie"), but has newer versions of some
applications. The kernel is Linux 4.4, and it includes the glibc fix for
CVE-2015-7547.

It comes as a live system, and you can then install it if you like.
The DVD holds both a 64 and a 32 (non-PAE!) bit system.

As Knoppix is Debian-based, it might be possible to update it from the
Debian repositories, but I have no info on that.

Regarding PAE: The R51's CPU has the feature, but doesn't announce it.
AIUI, this is an issue only with the initial installation, but neither
with operation nor with upgrades.

I will have to upgrade mine, too.


Regards,
Jörg

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mailto:[hidden email]

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Re: Which distro for R51?

Christoph Schmees
In reply to this post by Florian
Am 25.03.2016 um 12:20 schrieb Florian:
> I was happy with running Debian 6 on my ancient Thinkpad R51 but now
> Debian 6 is outdated. Which distro can be recommended to use now? I
> already have checked several mini linux versions but they are all
> without regular updates.
> Thanks in advance for any hints.
>

MINT 17 (I only use LTS) here happily on A31p (2 GB RAM) and
T40p. XFCE DE and Cairo-Dock, that's even neat enough for the
WAF! And runs satisfactorily fast.

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Re: Which distro for R51?

Henrique de Moraes Holschuh-2
In reply to this post by Stefan Monnier
On Fri, 25 Mar 2016, Stefan Monnier wrote:
> > I was happy with running Debian 6 on my ancient Thinkpad R51 but now
> > Debian 6 is outdated. Which distro can be recommended to use now?
>
> I use Debian testing on my Thinkpad X30, so I can't see any reason why
> it wouldn't run just fine on an R51.

Well, all my laptop work is done on a ThinkPad T43 running Debian stable
(and a custom kernel, but that's unimportant).

I even use KDE4 on that T43, although it certainly would be a lot more
snappy using lxde or xfce.

--
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  them all and in the darkness grind them. In the Land of Redmond
  where the shadows lie." -- The Silicon Valley Tarot
  Henrique Holschuh
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Re: Which distro for R51?

Florian
Hey guys,

thanks a lot for so much hints. I will make my mind up and hope to find
a solution that keeps my R51 alive for some more time. :-)

Florian

Am 25.03.2016 um 20:46 schrieb Henrique de Moraes Holschuh:

> On Fri, 25 Mar 2016, Stefan Monnier wrote:
>>> I was happy with running Debian 6 on my ancient Thinkpad R51 but now
>>> Debian 6 is outdated. Which distro can be recommended to use now?
>> I use Debian testing on my Thinkpad X30, so I can't see any reason why
>> it wouldn't run just fine on an R51.
> Well, all my laptop work is done on a ThinkPad T43 running Debian stable
> (and a custom kernel, but that's unimportant).
>
> I even use KDE4 on that T43, although it certainly would be a lot more
> snappy using lxde or xfce.
>

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Re: Which distro for R51?

Florian
In reply to this post by Henrique de Moraes Holschuh-2
Hey guys,

thanks a lot for so much hints. I will make my mind up and hope to find
a solution that keeps my R51 alive for some more time. :-)

Florian

Am 25.03.2016 um 20:46 schrieb Henrique de Moraes Holschuh:

> On Fri, 25 Mar 2016, Stefan Monnier wrote:
>>> I was happy with running Debian 6 on my ancient Thinkpad R51 but now
>>> Debian 6 is outdated. Which distro can be recommended to use now?
>> I use Debian testing on my Thinkpad X30, so I can't see any reason why
>> it wouldn't run just fine on an R51.
> Well, all my laptop work is done on a ThinkPad T43 running Debian stable
> (and a custom kernel, but that's unimportant).
>
> I even use KDE4 on that T43, although it certainly would be a lot more
> snappy using lxde or xfce.
>

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Re: Which distro for R51?

Stefan Monnier
In reply to this post by Florian
> thanks a lot for so much hints. I will make my mind up and hope to find
> a solution that keeps my R51 alive for some more time. :-)

AFAIK you can fit 2GB in that machine, and you should be able to upgrade
it to a 2.1GHz processor (Pentium M 765), so I think it's still got
quite a few years ahead.


        Stefan


PS: A quick search on ebay suggests $10 for the ram and $50 for the CPU,
so nothing outrageous.

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Re: Which distro for R51?

heroxbd
In reply to this post by James Knott
James Knott <[hidden email]> writes:

> Sooner or later, you'll no longer be able to get a distro that runs, so
> perhaps you should be looking for a new computer.

When that happens, make a switch to BSD, it is more friendly to
classical hareware.

Or Debian GNU/kFreeBSD, feels more familiar as GNU/Linux. Quoting from
Debian/kFreeBSD developer Steven Chamberlain[1],

    Support old hardware for as long as possible:
        floppy drives, tape drives, ISA network cards - whatever our users might have;
        hardware can be useful, for as long as we provide a stable OS for it;
        be an alternative for any situation where Linux has issues, and to help in debugging those issues.

    Allow old software and installed systems to exist for as long as possible:
        rewriting application software costs time and effort
        FreeBSD users often follow a stable branch for many years;
        Debian LTS was a really good idea.
        Would like to ease migration of FreeBSD systems to Debian, or vice-versa.

Benda

1. https://wiki.debian.org/Debian_GNU/kFreeBSD/Talks/DebConf15
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