256MB RAM, live CD won't boot

My dad has an old laptop which he wants to take to Spain, and it’s running XP. This laptop doesn’t have wireless inbuilt, and the USB adaptor he bought doesn’t work (as XP doesn’t support WPA2, at least not on his service pack - doesn’t matter, XP is going!). Anyway, trying to boot P5 i386 live CD didn’t work, it spun for a while (10 minutes), then it gave up on a black screen. Got the Peppermint splash, screen went black but still loading, then 10 minutes later, activity ceased. It’s an ATI graphics card, so I figure “nomodeset” was necessary. This differed slightly - the screen didn’t go black after the splash, it filled the screen with an accented U terminal character. A terminal prompt popped up for about a second, then a distorted line pattern appears all over the screen (graphical glitch style), then the screen went black, and that was it (after a while of some activity). Under no circumstances was a different tty available - it was dead.

For comparison, Puppy Slacko 5.7 (latest) will boot to a desktop with “nomodeset”, proving that the laptop is functional - but it has the same “no WPA2 support” that XP has :frowning: The USB wireless works (detects SSIDs), but won’t connect. It’s also really quite heavyweight for Puppy (desktop idle is at 226MB used), hopefully that’s because it’s a live environment, but doesn’t bode well :frowning: Really don’t want to have to build up from a Debian minimal install or something, any clues on debugging Peppermint?

Try Peppermint 3

256MB is pushing it with a “live” session these days.

Thinking about it, a “Live” session is going to require more RAM than a normal session (and unless there’s a Linux swap partition on the hard drive) will not have the benefit of swap.

You might even be better off with Peppermint Ice (built upon 10.04)

I mainly wanted the live session to test if it was happy with the graphics (ATI…ugh), but was inconclusive so wouldn’t boot anyway!

Support for Peppermint 3 ends in ~ 2.5 years (right?), might be an option if it’s a little lighter on RAM?
Once installed, I’ll give it a big swap partition (probably 8GB or something), but didn’t want to repartition this HDD to find that Peppermint didn’t work anyway (due to kernel/xorg issues - laptops can be funny).

Edit: I had/have concerns over using Chrome due to memory restrictions, maybe I’d be better off with vanilla Lubuntu rather than Peppermint? I mean, the Chrome integration is a pretty big selling point

I can see no reason why the new version of Ice (which also works with Chrome) wouldn’t install in earlier versions of Peppermint

and if you’re not going to use Ice, there’s no reson you’d need to stick with Chromium anyway … but your call

I think the latest version of Lubuntu has zram installed out of the box, so “maybe” that would help … but you can always install it in Peppermint if you can get it installed

IIRC Peppermint 3 had a smaller memory footprint than stock Lubuntu (at the time) … dunno how it’d stack up against 14.04 but my guess is it’d be lighter.


What makes you think Chrome would be lighter than Chromium anyway ?

Is there no way to upgrade the RAM…?

Even my ancient Dell can go up to 2G.

Jocklad :o

Sorry, I was using Chrome interchangably with Chromium - they are both pretty heavyweight in terms of RAM usage (in my experience). I was gonna shoot for something like Midori or something.

I meant that if I’m ditching Chrome/Chromium as a browser, would I be better off shooting for Lubuntu rather than Peppermint?
I’m tempted a little with the Debian angle, as reading up I can get it to install LXDE off the bat, in one install. There’s a bunch of other stuff to install too, so it’d be nice to have an out-of-the-box solution if possible. It’ll be tough with an Ubuntu-based install I fear though, not giving up yet though :slight_smile:

@Jocklad - upgrading RAM is something I have suggested, but it’s (presumably) on DDR RAM, and that’s a little tricky to get hold of now without getting ripped off (£25 for 1 gig, bargain…)

Do you know what RAM it takes ? … I just might have some lying around ?

Debian with sommat like LXDE would definitely be lighter … but probably harder work too, even getting the damn touchpad to work can be a pain in Debian, but your call.

Yeah, Debian would be a last resort (well, Slack would be a last resort, but only after insanity has finally declared itself)
I’ll try Peppermint 3 to see if I have better luck with that, probably not until the weekend now

I don’t really know what RAM it takes, as I can’t confirm exactly what chip it has (it’s apparently a P4 HT 3.00GHz, which according to wiki only appear as a desktop processor - don’t know which edition though). The BIOS isn’t exactly friendly either. If I can get it to a prompt, I’ll check the /proc/cpuinfo

You could try Debian 7 Live with LXDE and nonfree firmware live.debian.net/cdimage/release/stable+nonfree/i386/iso-hybrid/debian-live-7.6.0-i386-lxde-desktop+nonfree.iso If that works then just tweeak the theme (the default is a bit drab)

You might try Antix.

The goal of antiX is to provide a light, but fully functional and flexible free operating system for both newcomers and experienced users of Linux. It should run on most computers, ranging from 64MB old PII 266 systems with pre-configured 128MB swap to the latest powerful boxes. 128MB RAM is recommended minimum for antiX.

Thanks arochester, I did spot that on Distrowatch, it’s a bit ugly but might do the job. Not sure about support though :-\

@Sezo - Thanks for that, I’ll probably look at testing (Jessie) now that it’s frozen, just for the longer support (I believe stable/Wheezy’s support will end in ~18 months)

Edit: Ok, so testing images aren’t available, so I’ll put that on the back burner :smiley:

Ok, so testing images aren't available, so I'll put that on the back burner
You could just install Wheezy and then upgrade to Jessie and then just track it. It should be stable enough: As detailed in http://www.debian.org/doc/manuals/debian-reference/ch02.en.html#_life_with_eternal_upgrades: [i]It takes no more than simply setting the distribution string in the "/etc/apt/sources.list" to the suite name: "testing" or "unstable"; or the codename: "jessie" or "sid". This makes you live the life of eternal upgrades.[/i] So, all you need to do is to replace "wheezy" with "jessie" in your /etc/apt/sources.list then update and upgrade. For instructions on how to upgrade to testing, please see [url=http://wiki.debian.org/DebianTesting]wiki.debian.org/DebianTesting[/url]

While technically true, man it is a tense moment upon that initial “sudo apt-get dist-upgrade”! Not keen on making that jump in one hit - if it were that simple, they wouldn’t bother extensive testing when building a new release.

I’m sure I’ve seen vanilla releases of Jessie out there somewhere…
If not, then it’s another nail in the Debian coffin lol

Open the trap door and find out what RAM it takes … If I have some you can have it.
(or possibly “sudo dmidecode -t memory”)

and NO, that’s not conditional on Peppermint :wink:

How about:

Sweet, thanks for the link, I hoped that I wasn’t going crazy!
I’m gonna try antiX at the weekend, as it specifies that only 128mb is required for the IceWM environment they use. I think their repos are pointed at wheezy at the moment, despite the fact that they say they’re following Debian testing ???
I fear it may not be maintained…we’ll see if it provides the required functionality, then I’ll worry about support (as, support is moot if it doesn’t work!)

Did you miss my last posting … possible free RAM ?

Sorry, I did see it, but I’m not sure of which RAM is required (will confirm at the weekend when I can lay my hands on the machine)
Thanks for the kind offer though :slight_smile:

Okey dokey :slight_smile:

I’m also messing about with an old laptop with only 256mb ram, and I installed Antix it ran smooth enough and quite responsive but hard work is an understatement, couldn’t get printer server running, couldn’t connect to network shares even after installing a million libraries and packages, so I’ve give up and installing Wattos which seemed to run ok in a live session although the installer is struggling a bit.