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Throw me Distro suggestions!

Posted: Sun Dec 16, 2018 5:36 pm
by Thinkpad4by3
I have an X61s sitting on a shelf. I pulled it out today to take it for a spin. Don't really want W10 on it and W7 is just too ordinary.

Was going to install Ubuntu but thought it would be good to try something new.

Things I want to do:
Light browsing
Little document processing
And maybe some programming

Things I'd like:
Better battery life out of the computer.

Throw me anything you got. I was going to start with Mint and Lubuntu but anything is a possibility. It's a L7500 and maybe 2GB RAM.

Re: Throw me Distro suggestions!

Posted: Sun Dec 16, 2018 10:20 pm
by Thinkpad4by3
Ive tried those two plus Puppy Linux. Eh....not too happy about all 3.

Battery life out of a 4 cell slim is abysmal even with 70% org. capacity.

Lubuntu - Feels like I can't get to any program I need to. Like ChromeOS in a way.

Mint - Like it better...but still like I can't get places and it locks up randomly on old hardware without responsiveness for minutes on end.

Puppy - Very smooth on old hardware but feels like a Where's Waldo book. Also the wierd clunky feel of the "saving sessions" vs plain just loading and logging in. To me it feels like it belongs on a library computer or something.

Re: Throw me Distro suggestions!

Posted: Sun Dec 16, 2018 11:01 pm
by Cigarguy
I wouldn't say Linux Mint "locks up randomly on old hardware". I have no doubt that it did do this on your 1 particular machine with your particular install. I've install mint on about 12 different older machines and have had no problem whatsoever.

Re: Throw me Distro suggestions!

Posted: Sun Dec 16, 2018 11:32 pm
by Thinkpad4by3
Cigarguy wrote:
Sun Dec 16, 2018 11:01 pm
I wouldn't say Linux Mint "locks up randomly on old hardware". I have no doubt that it did do this on your 1 particular machine with your particular install. I've install mint on about 12 different older machines and have had no problem whatsoever.
Yeah my X61s has always been a funny machine. It has a mind of its own and does as it pleases.

I need to upgrade the drive from a 60GB spin-n-crunch drive from a X60s though. Probably is part of the abysmal performance.

Re: Throw me Distro suggestions!

Posted: Mon Dec 17, 2018 2:24 am
by dr_st
Thinkpad4by3 wrote:
Sun Dec 16, 2018 5:36 pm
Things I'd like:
Better battery life out of the computer.
Get a different computer.

Re: Throw me Distro suggestions!

Posted: Mon Dec 17, 2018 6:53 am
by Tasurinchi
I'm using LXDE in a X41 with an SSD and 2GB RAM, runs actually surprisingly snappy, but I don't know how it will look like with a conventional HDD

I'm also using Bunsen Labs in an an X30 and X24 with <1GB RAM...

Re: Throw me Distro suggestions!

Posted: Mon Dec 17, 2018 9:57 am
by Thinkpad4by3
dr_st wrote:
Mon Dec 17, 2018 2:24 am
Get a different computer.
Your definitely right on that but a 4 cell slim gives a pathetic 45min - 1hr battery life. Atleast I have an 8 cell which gives a respectable 4 hrs though.

But this machine is no more than a bedside machine when my T450 and T520 are on the charger.

And this X61s is just so stupidly light.

Re: Throw me Distro suggestions!

Posted: Fri Dec 21, 2018 4:29 am
by skx
Debian... you can make it as light and minimal as you want. It's the mother of all distros which count :mrgreen:

Re: Throw me Distro suggestions!

Posted: Sun Dec 23, 2018 11:14 am
by wwkeyboard
Is there a specific need that Ubuntu can't fulfill or are you looking for a different distro for the sake of being different? If you want something that looks and feels different I'd suggest playing around with window managers instead. https://www.reddit.com/r/unixporn has a wealth of information about making any distro look and feel different, even without having to suffer the pain of limited packages and a much smaller bug-fixing community.

If you goal is to learn about how a Linux system is constructed I'd recommend installing Arch or Gentoo. The process of getting them running and configured, then fixing all the little problems that pop up, will teach you a considerable amount about Linux.

Re: Throw me Distro suggestions!

Posted: Sun Dec 23, 2018 2:07 pm
by murak
Manjaro

Throw me Distro suggestions!

Posted: Mon Dec 24, 2018 12:46 am
by Omineca
Debian with LXDE makes for a responsive experience on my R500 (with SSD). It's been my daily use laptop since about 2013.

Re: Throw me Distro suggestions!

Posted: Mon Dec 24, 2018 3:16 am
by Hierax_ca
MX-18 Linux (Debian 9.6 with the XFCE DE and 4.19 LTS Kernel) is now final :
- https://sourceforge.net/projects/mx-lin ... nal/MX-18/ .

I've been running it on many Thinkpads since MX14.4 -- great distro!

Re: Throw me Distro suggestions!

Posted: Wed Dec 26, 2018 3:25 pm
by farmall
The problem is the ancient spinning rust HD. No distro will solve that problem, but small SSDs are plentiful around $20 or less new.
Longer battery life will be a bonus.

Re: Throw me Distro suggestions!

Posted: Wed Dec 26, 2018 4:03 pm
by Thinkpad4by3
Yeah I know...I'm saving my cheap 20$ drives for more worthful machines.

Re: Throw me Distro suggestions!

Posted: Sun Dec 30, 2018 12:33 pm
by AndyMH
Linux mint - been running it now for over two years. Recently upgraded to LM19. Tried the other major distros when I moved from the dark side. Mint was the one I liked the most.

Re: Throw me Distro suggestions!

Posted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:25 pm
by WarhawkCZ
I run MX Linux on my x61 with a small SSD and 4GB or ram. It is very snappy and it is also the first distro which made me migrate from Windows.

Re: Throw me Distro suggestions!

Posted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 2:09 pm
by retrofriends
Pentium Ms and X61 (Core 2 Duo) are all very snappy -- as long as you aren't using a mechanical HDD

Xubuntu rocked my system, installing alongside my legacy OS without issue

Re: Throw me Distro suggestions!

Posted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 3:03 am
by cobalt60
BunsenLabs is good for working OOTB (out of the box)

I prefer doing Debian Net Install without the GUI installed from the installer, and installing something like OpenBox or IceWM once the system is up and running.

Re: Throw me Distro suggestions!

Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 5:21 pm
by skx
Yes, the Debian way is so nice, should fit everyone's needs honestly :mrgreen:

Re: Throw me Distro suggestions!

Posted: Sat Feb 23, 2019 9:31 pm
by madicetea
Thinkpad4by3 wrote:
Sun Dec 16, 2018 5:36 pm
I have an X61s sitting on a shelf. I pulled it out today to take it for a spin. Don't really want W10 on it and W7 is just too ordinary.

Was going to install Ubuntu but thought it would be good to try something new.

Things I want to do:
Light browsing
Little document processing
And maybe some programming

Things I'd like:
Better battery life out of the computer.

Throw me anything you got. I was going to start with Mint and Lubuntu but anything is a possibility. It's a L7500 and maybe 2GB RAM.
Anything on a Linux kernel will likely give you better battery life than Windows so +1 hallelujah to you, already for making that change.

Everyone here is saying Linux Mint or Debian (regular). I find those both good alternatives, and I dabbled around both for a while.

My preference these days has been with Fedora though, as its a good community spin of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux and CentOS infrastructures that a lot of businesses use. They also have a promising project called SilverBlue (a reboot of their 'atomic workstation' series) which is particularly cloud computing/docker-image friendly. Might be worth a try if you like that kind of thing.

Re: Throw me Distro suggestions!

Posted: Mon Feb 25, 2019 6:17 pm
by olddog
Puppy Linux. XenialPup64 7.5 works superbly on a T61. Very helpful user community. http://puppylinux.com

And so does Haiku. This is a modern version of BeOS. Still in beta, but much simpler and slicker than Linux (0r Windows!). It's what an operating system ought to be. https://www.haiku-os.org

Both can run LibreOffice, and any number of other programs. What more do you need for casual use?

If coming from Win 10, the speed and boot times of both will astonish you.

Re: Throw me Distro suggestions!

Posted: Tue Feb 26, 2019 6:57 pm
by madicetea
olddog wrote:
Mon Feb 25, 2019 6:17 pm
Puppy Linux. XenialPup64 7.5 works superbly on a T61. Very helpful user community. http://puppylinux.com

And so does Haiku. This is a modern version of BeOS. Still in beta, but much simpler and slicker than Linux (0r Windows!). It's what an operating system ought to be. https://www.haiku-os.org

Both can run LibreOffice, and any number of other programs. What more do you need for casual use?

If coming from Win 10, the speed and boot times of both will astonish you.
I've been hearing a lot about Haiku. I think I'll give it a spin in a VM and try it out.

Re: Throw me Distro suggestions!

Posted: Thu Feb 28, 2019 9:06 am
by yawanathanisrael
Hello,

I know this was asked a while ago but just wanted to give an FYI. I am currently using Manjaro KDE on a T61p. I have not had any problems with install and once an SSD and 6gigs of ram were added, the laptop has worked flawless and did not have to load any special drivers, outside the Nvidia driver.
The only Linux distro I had issues with was Fedora, outside of that I think you will have fun.

I'm sure if you use a lighter WM, it would even be faster.

Sincerely,
Yawanathan

Re: Throw me Distro suggestions!

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 8:13 pm
by BubbaMc
Consider cross compiling Gentoo and put that on there. It's very lean, so the performance will be as good as it can get on that machine - and you'll learn a lot in the process.

You could also consider FreeBSD. http://trihexagonal.org/tutorial.html

Re: Throw me Distro suggestions!

Posted: Fri May 03, 2019 4:29 am
by Knez
olddog wrote:
Mon Feb 25, 2019 6:17 pm
And so does Haiku. This is a modern version of BeOS. Still in beta, but much simpler and slicker than Linux (0r Windows!). It's what an operating system ought to be. https://www.haiku-os.org
Couldn't agree more. I use Haiku on both my X220 and X61s as their only OS. Haiku is actually my main OS and what I primarily use on a day to day basis.
Everything hardware wise on the X61s is supported including sound. No problem watching 1080p YouTube movies on it. Boots to a full desktop in less than 10 seconds and is over all wonderful to use. The X220 is even better since it's so much faster, but sound is yet to be supported on it.

Speed wise the X61s *feels* faster with Haiku than my new i7 powered HP laptop I have at work running Windows 10.
The X220 and Haiku is just insanity in regard to GUI responsiveness and overall feel.

Give it a go, it's very much worth it :)

Re: Throw me Distro suggestions!

Posted: Sun May 05, 2019 6:10 am
by olddog
If anyone is interested in trying Haiku, it is best to use one of the "nightlies" rather than the official Beta. The nightlies are the latest version, and since the OS is undergoing active development the Beta can now be considered to be obsolete.

So far I have only been successful with running it on 64 bit machines, but probably I just need to spend more time on it. Theoretically it should run on quite old hardware, and of course that is where its superior architecture (and absence of Microsoft crud) shine through.

Like Puppy, it is designed as a single user system, which is one reason why, like Puppy, it doesn't need a lot of hard disk space or RAM.

Somebody mentioned that Puppy looked old-fashioned. In its basic form that may be true (the dog motif doesn't help) but it's easily customisable, and you can shoot the dog.

Also, the save file is optional, but I retain it because there is less to do if the system crashes (a rare occurrence and usually the fault of application software).

I've tried a number of varieties of Linux, and for me Puppy is quite easily the most usable and the best supported.

Re: Throw me Distro suggestions!

Posted: Wed May 08, 2019 8:23 pm
by skx
olddog wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 6:10 am
Like Puppy, it is designed as a single user system, which is one reason why, like Puppy, it doesn't need a lot of hard disk space or RAM.

Somebody mentioned that Puppy looked old-fashioned. In its basic form that may be true (the dog motif doesn't help) but it's easily customisable, and you can shoot the dog.
I don't know, puppy linux for me is not at all like a daily driver OS. I will always see it as a distro which all new Linux users play with for a while during the distro hopping baptise phase :mrgreen:

Re: Throw me Distro suggestions!

Posted: Sat May 11, 2019 7:35 am
by olddog
Well, I think you are missing something.

It is very easy to use, very configurable, and able to run virtually any Linux software.

But it's ALSO good for checking out non-working Windows machines. Just boot it with a USB disk and sort out your problems. That's assuming the PC will actually boot of course.

And, by being wholly in RAM, it's fast.

Re: Throw me Distro suggestions!

Posted: Sat May 11, 2019 10:21 am
by skx
olddog wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 7:35 am
And, by being wholly in RAM, it's fast.
This is basically the case for all Linux Live CD/DVDs. But I agree Puppy Linux as a small distro will be probably be more efficient on older hardware with limited RAM.