Which Linux

I know almost nothing about Linux but someone suggested it might be a good option to revive an old laptop just for doing basic stuff, surfing, email etc…
I have tried installing quite a few versions but the install fails or I haven’t a clue what to do for the options on some, I have managed to install a few of the ubuntu variants but they all set screen resolution to 680x420 or something and won’t let me alter it so all windows disappear off the edges of the screen, I think windows used to set it at something like 1000x700. Also I can’t figure out how to get the wifi working on it, all I have managed find out is that it is a broadcom device.
So I wondered if anyone could suggest a foolproof install version that will sort out drivers and things for it’s self.

Depending on your hardware there may not be one that works “out of the box”, but if you want to stick one of the Ubuntu variants back on we might be able to help you with wireless and screen resolution issues.

BTW, Welcome to the forum Mike71 :slight_smile:

Laptop is an Acer Aspire 3000, start up screen says it has a ‘Mobile AMD Semperon 3000+’ processor and 1GB of memory, we did add memory a while back but it never helped it’s performance much on windows, and when I was searching for info on linux drivers I found something saying it had a Broadcom wifi unit, I also found that it is not compatible with 64 bit operating systems. The DVD drive on it is faulty so can only install from USB (which took a lot of reading to find out how to do from start up).

I am not too bothered about any particular version of Linux, I stared off just working my way down a list I got from a search for ‘best OS for old hardware’ or something like that and the ubuntu based ones were the only ones I could get to install or do the live trial thing, the last one I tried was ‘absolute linux’ but I must have messed something up as it seems to chug away for hours but does not do anything else.

At one point I thought I had damaged the drive or something as nothing would install on it and a bit of reading led me to a free version of ‘parted magic’ which I was quite impressed with as it seems fairly easy to get going with (once I selected the right start up option) and I managed to reformat the drive and got things going again after some further reading, it also uses a reasonable screen resolution and it seems to recognise that the laptop has wifi capability as it says that ‘wifi is disabled by hardware switch’ though pressing the wifi button does not start it.

Peppermint might be a good option … Ubuntu based but without all the weight of the Unity desktop environment, it also doesn’t come with a ton of preinstalled apps so you can install only what YOU want.
(at this point I have to add that I’m a member of the team that create Peppermint … read into that whatever you will)

Burn Peppermint to a LiveUSB, boot to it and accept “Try Peppermint” … once at the desktop, open a terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T) and run:

inxi -F

and post the output back here, so we can get an idea of your hardware.

Remember, Linux commands ARE case sensitive, so that’s a capital “F” at the end of that command :wink:

That was fun :-{ it took me quite a while to paste the info into a document and get it onto a USB, will linux not save directly to things like USB sticks.

peppermint@peppermint ~ $ inxi -F
System: Host: peppermint Kernel: 3.16.0-46-generic i686 (32 bit) Desktop: N/A Distro: Peppermint Six
Machine: System: Acer product: Aspire 3000
Mobo: Acer model: Lugano M Bios: Acer version: 3A32 date: 02/20/06
CPU: Single core Mobile AMD Sempron 3000+ (-UP-) cache: 128 KB flags: (nx pae sse sse2 sse3) clocked at 800.00 MHz
Graphics: Card: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] 661/741/760 PCI/AGP or 662/761Gx PCIE VGA Display Adapter
X.Org: 1.16.0 drivers: vesa FAILED: fbdev Resolution: 1024x768@61.0hz
GLX Renderer: Gallium 0.4 on llvmpipe (LLVM 3.5, 128 bits) GLX Version: 3.0 Mesa 10.3.2
Audio: Card: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] SiS7012 AC’97 Sound Controller driver: snd_intel8x0
Sound: Advanced Linux Sound Architecture ver: k3.16.0-46-generic
Network: Card-1: Broadcom BCM4318 [AirForce One 54g] 802.11g Wireless LAN Controller driver: b43-pci-bridge
IF: N/A state: N/A mac: N/A
Card-2: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] SiS900 PCI Fast Ethernet driver: sis900
IF: eth0 state: down mac: 00:c0:9f:cf:76:a3
Drives: HDD Total Size: 18.1GB (4.0% used) 1: id: /dev/sda model: CF_Card size: 16.1GB
2: USB id: /dev/sdb model: USB_DISK_2.0 size: 2.0GB
Partition: ID: / size: 470M used: 19M (4%) fs: overlayfs
RAID: No RAID devices detected - /proc/mdstat and md_mod kernel raid module present
Sensors: System Temperatures: cpu: 42.0C mobo: N/A
Fan Speeds (in rpm): cpu: N/A
Info: Processes: 127 Uptime: 2 min Memory: 170.2/938.6MB Client: Shell (bash) inxi: 1.9.17
peppermint@peppermint ~ $

Peppermint seems faster in the live mode than ubuntu or kubuntu

Copy and past … you should be able to copy the information in the terminal window and then post it directly into your reply here.

Even if your using a live USB right click the terminal window click show menu bar.

Then you will find all the normal commands copy paste …

Remember that with a live USB you have to do this every time you boot the computer.

I suspect I have been going the long way about everything but I might get there eventually, I couldn’t paste it direct into forum as the laptop had no internet connection and it took me a while to find out how to select all the text as ctrl+shift+a wouldn’t work then when I got a text editor open it would not save directly to a USB stick, I had to save to the desktop then copy it over to the USB.

I notice that there seems to be quite a bit of google software installed in peppermint, can it all be removed completely?

Yes you can save a file directly to the USB stick, but you need to access the USB stick at least once in file manager to mount it first.

BUT

You can’t save it to the same USB stick as the LiveUSO operating system is running from


There’s only ONE Google application installed in Peppermint (Chromium Browser) … everything else are just web applications that open in Chromium (so basically they’re just web shortcuts that open a version of Chromium without the tabs and stuff, that then loads the web app )

Yes you can remove Chromium if wish and replace it with Firefox (or any other browser).

Wireless shouldn’t be a problem … we can load the drivers for that if/when you’ve installed Linux.

Graphics might be a bit more of a problem … the SiS drivers for Linux are rubbish and horribly outdated (thank SiS for that), if graphics are okay on the Live session we should be able to achieve the same on the installed version, we may be able to achieve better graphics on the installed version but it’ll take some experimentation.

For possible future reference:
https://forum.peppermintos.com/index.php/topic,3051.msg30178.html#msg30178

Installed peppermint and noticed a line about wireless drivers during the install, didn’t manage to get all of it but I think there was something about updating drivers from ‘wirelessdrivers.org’ mentioned and tried that and variations on it in a browser and ended up at ‘linuxwireless.org’ and found a broadcom b43 driver on there so I tried ‘sudo apt-get install firmware-b43-installer’ and it appeared to do something but still don’t see any way to use wifi.

Graphics resolution was OK in the live version but after the install it is on 640x480 and there are no options to alter it, it does offer ‘auto’ but it makes no difference, and this makes using peppermint very difficult as it does not resize windows to match the resolution, or it thinks my screen is about 4x the actual size as a large part of most windows disappear off to the right and down. I suppose outdated graphics drivers go with the outdated laptop but I think I will have to abandon it altogether if it has to stay at the current resolution.

Is there any way to disable all the automatic updates as we have a slow connection with bandwidth restrictions at home, have been downloading all the iso’s at work up to now, and I noticed it started to download a pile of things when I got it a LAN connection to try and get the wifi driver. The terminal thing for the wifi driver said it was going to take 150KB of drive space (I think) but it appeared to download 13MB

Peppermint also asks me for a password a lot, is there any way to disable this?

I read the user manual on the peppermint site but wondered if there was anything between that and what is in the ‘Additional Reading and Resources’ section as most of that seems a bit heavy duty to me.

is there any way you could post the output from

inxi -F

again from the installed version ?

[EDIT]

and also the output from:

lspci -vnn | grep -i net

and

xrandr

If you click the networkmanager icon in the system tray (by the clock bottom right of screen) is your wireless network listed ?

.

[EDIT2]

Try this…

Open a terminal and run:

sudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf

when a BLANK file opens, make it read:

Section "Device"
  Identifier "Generic Video Card"
    VendorName  "Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS]"
        BoardName   "771/671 PCIE VGA Display Adapter"
    Busid "PCI:1:0:0"
    Driver "vesa"
    Screen 0
        Option "UseFBDev" "true"
        Option "DPMS"
        Option "ShadowFB"
        Option "MaxXFBMem"
        VideoRam 262016
        Option "RenderAccel" "true"
        Option "AllowGLXWithComposite" "true"
        Option "backingstore" "true"
        Option "AddARGBGLXVisuals" "True"

EndSection

Section "Monitor"
    Identifier    "Configured Monitor"
    Vendorname    "Generic LCD Display"
    Modelname    "LCD Panel 1280x800"
    HorizSync 20-107
        VertRefresh 50-185
  modeline  "800x600@56" 36.0 800 824 896 1024 600 601 603 625 +hsync +vsync
  modeline  "800x600@60" 40.0 800 840 968 1056 600 601 605 628 +hsync +vsync
  modeline  "1280x768@60" 80.14 1280 1344 1480 1680 768 769 772 795 -hsync +vsync
  modeline  "1280x720@60" 74.48 1280 1336 1472 1664 720 721 724 746 -hsync +vsync
  modeline  "1280x800@60" 83.46 1280 1344 1480 1680 800 801 804 828 -hsync +vsync
    Gamma    1.0
EndSection

Section "Screen"
    Identifier    "Default Screen"
    Monitor        "Configured Monitor"
    Device        "Configured Video Device"
    Defaultdepth    24
    SubSection "Display"
        Depth    24
        Virtual    1280    768
        Modes        "1280x768@60"    "1280x720@60"    "800x600@60"    "1280x800@60"    "800x600@56"
    EndSubSection
EndSection

Section "Module"
    Load "dri"
    Load "dbe" # Double-Buffering Extension
    Load "v4l" # Video for Linux
    Load "extmod"
    Load "type1"
    Load "freetype"
    Load "glx" # 3D layer
    Load "GLcore"
    Load "i2c"
    Load "bitmap"
    Load "ddc"
    Load "int10"
    Load "vbe"
    Load "speedo"
    Load "record"
EndSection

Section "DRI"
        Mode 0666
EndSection

(be sure to get all of the above … it does scroll down :wink: )
SAVE the file and exit gedit.

Now reboot.

If all is well, see if you can change resolution now ?


TO UNDO

If that leaves you unable to log in, hit Ctrl+Alt+F3 … log in in text mode, then run:

cd /etc/X11

then

rm xorg.conf

then

sudo shutdown -r now

your system should reboot and leave you back where you are now.

inxi -F
System: Host: m-Aspire-3000 Kernel: 3.16.0-46-generic i686 (32 bit) Desktop: N/A Distro: Peppermint Six
Machine: System: Acer product: Aspire 3000
Mobo: Acer model: Lugano M Bios: Acer version: 3A32 date: 02/20/06
CPU: Single core Mobile AMD Sempron 3000+ (-UP-) cache: 128 KB flags: (nx pae sse sse2 sse3) clocked at 1800.00 MHz
Graphics: Card: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] 661/741/760 PCI/AGP or 662/761Gx PCIE VGA Display Adapter
X.Org: 1.16.0 driver: vesa Resolution: 1024x768@61.0hz
GLX Renderer: Gallium 0.4 on llvmpipe (LLVM 3.5, 128 bits) GLX Version: 3.0 Mesa 10.3.2
Audio: Card: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] SiS7012 AC’97 Sound Controller Sound: ALSA ver: k3.16.0-46-generic
Network: Card-1: Broadcom BCM4318 [AirForce One 54g] 802.11g Wireless LAN Controller driver: wl
IF: N/A state: N/A mac: N/A
Card-2: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] SiS900 PCI Fast Ethernet driver: sis900
IF: eth0 state: down mac: 00:c0:9f:cf:76:a3
Drives: HDD Total Size: 16.2GB (17.1% used) 1: id: /dev/sda model: CF_Card size: 16.1GB
2: USB id: /dev/sdb model: DataBar_USB2.0 size: 0.1GB
Partition: ID: / size: 14G used: 2.6G (20%) fs: ext4 ID: /boot size: 236M used: 39M (18%) fs: ext2
ID: swap-1 size: 1.01GB used: 0.00GB (0%) fs: swap
RAID: No RAID devices detected - /proc/mdstat and md_mod kernel raid module present
Sensors: System Temperatures: cpu: 45.0C mobo: N/A
Fan Speeds (in rpm): cpu: N/A
Info: Processes: 129 Uptime: 3 min Memory: 166.0/938.6MB Client: Shell (bash) inxi: 1.9.17

lspci -vnn | grep -i net
00:04.0 Ethernet controller [0200]: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] SiS900 PCI Fast Ethernet [1039:0900] (rev 91)
00:0b.0 Network controller [0280]: Broadcom Corporation BCM4318 [AirForce One 54g] 802.11g Wireless LAN Controller [14e4:4318] (rev 02)

xrandr
xrandr: Failed to get size of gamma for output default
Screen 0: minimum 640 x 480, current 1024 x 768, maximum 1024 x 768
default connected 1024x768+0+0 0mm x 0mm
1024x768 61.0*
800x600 61.0
640x480 0.0

As you may spot I modified the xorg.conf info you gave a link to in a previous post and have now got reasonable screen resolution, it took me 3 goes and it’s possible I still haven’t got all the settings right looking at the file you just included, I think 1024x768 is all it is capable of.

Having trouble with shutdowns, they never complete, left it for over an hour once.

I tried installing a browser from a ‘deb’ file which I read that peppermint could use, with the gdebi package installer but can’t find it, any ideas?

Nothing showing in network, I tried setting up a wifi connection but can’t get it to scan for networks and the light on the wifi button never comes on.

Okay first let’s try fix your wireless … and therefore make it easier for you to respond.

Connect to your router with an ethernet cable … once connected, open a terminal and run:

sudo apt-get remove --purge bcmwl-kernel-source

then

sudo apt-get install firmware-b43-installer

if those commands complete without error, run:

sudo modprobe -r b43 ssb wl brcmfmac brcmsmac bcma

then

sudo modprobe b43

is anything listed when you click the networkmanager icon now ?

Laptop won’t start now, get the black screen for ages then ‘scanning for btrfs file system’ comes up in top-left corner then just get something like a flashing cursor and nothing else happens. Tried all the stuff with Ctrl+Alt+F3 but no difference except that it does shutdown quickly using ‘sudo shutdown -r now’.
Last thing I was trying about an hour ago was to get a different wifi driver from info on this page: WifiDocs/Driver/bcm43xx - Community Help Wiki using these lines, sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get --reinstall install bcmwl-kernel-source.
Would the ‘purge bcmwl-kernel-source’ line work from the terminal or whatever it is Ctrl+Alt+F3 gets me into and get rid of the thing I tried to do.

from the text console, log in and run:

sudo apt-get remove --purge bcmwl-kernel-source

then

sudo shutdown -r now

if that doesn’t work, from the console run:

sudo mv /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.broken

then try rebooting again

sudo shutdown -r now

I think I must have broken it!

When I entered ‘sudo apt-get remove --purge bcmwl-kernel-source’ it came back with 'E: dpkg was interrupted, you must manually run ‘sudo dpkg --configure -a’ to correct the problem. so tried ‘sudo dpkg --configure -a’ and a lot of text scrolled past, I noticed there were a few bits in there saying ‘error’, then when the prompt came back I tried ‘sudo apt-get remove --purge bcmwl-kernel-source’ again and it did something this time as a load more text came past and asked me to confirm removal at one point but it would still not get back to the desktop after a reboot so tried ‘sudo mv /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.broken’ and I got ‘mv: cannot stat ‘/etc/X11/xorg.conf’ : No such file or directory’ the ‘stat’ bit was what it came up with, double-checked how I had entered everything and tried x11 instead of X11 but no difference.

When it is starting, between the black screen and the ‘scanning for btrfs file system’ bit it briefly flashes up a graphic screen now saying ‘peppermint starting up’ and a red progress bar like the shutdown screen. I have also noticed that it keeps a copy of any commands entered between reboots so there must be something going on somewhere. I tried ‘sudo shutdown now’ when I did not seem to be getting any further and the shutdown process did not seem to advance at all then, had to pull the plug on it eventually.
Would it be easiest to do another install?

At this point, considering you’ve done little customisation, the answer to that would probably be yes :wink:

Not quite back to square one, put the xorg.conf file in and got the display resolution up a bit.
Should I try the stuff back in the post starting “Okay first let’s try fix your wireless …” ?

Got the wifi working using ‘sudo apt-get install firmware-b43-installer’ .

System seems faster than the last install was, starts quicker and the shutdown works, though there is no progress bar as before on shutdown, just some text.
I don’t think peppermint is much faster than windows 7 was and it was running on a failing hard drive.

Only problem I have now is getting a browser, I removed chrome and installed firefox but I still have icons for chrome on the start menu and can’t find any way to run firefox, I did a search for firefox and got some results but I don’t see anything like an ‘.exe’ file to run it.

And I really would like to stop being asked for a password constantly, I selected an option for auto login during install but it doesn’t appear to be working.

One of the benefits of running a Linux system is that it asks for a password before letting anything happen you get used to it after awhile.

It is after all not windows.

You should find firefox listed under internet when you open the menu (as I remember task bar left hand side). if you right click the firefox entry you should have the option to put a short cut on the desktop or in the panel.

You do seem to be having a lot of issues, maybe it is the model of computer.

Wish you luck it will be worth it in the end.