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General Chat Thread, Setting up an ancient laptop for a young child in General; OK, I know this is a topic that has been covered in various places on the web, and I'm aware ...
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    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Setting up an ancient laptop for a young child

    OK, I know this is a topic that has been covered in various places on the web, and I'm aware of the various "Linux 4 Kids" distros out there like edubuntu and Qimo (Qimo looked perfect actually, but I just cannot get it to install!) but this is a bit of special case in that the laptop I'm using is ancient in tech terms.

    It's a Dell Latitude CPi-A Series, which pre-dates the millennium bug scare (there's a sticker on the bottom that says "millennium approved", I lol'ed), has an incredible 333Mhz Pentium-II and a whopping 2.5mb of video memory, not to mention it's gob smacking 64mb of RAM! [/sarcasm]

    First stumbling block: cannot boot from USB. There is an option in the (last updated in 2001) BIOS to boot from removable devices, but apparently it doesn't apply to USB. No biggie, I do at least have a (4x speed) CD-ROM drive, which should be ample space for any OS I install considering the HDD tips the scales at just under 4.3gb.

    edubuntu is a no go - it's far too big to fit on this machine. Ubuntu is a possibility, but I doubt it'll run well. Qimo could not install, and trying to run it as a Live CD was horrendously slow, with menus constantly trying to reload (I imagine this was it trying to cope with running the entire OS on 64mb of RAM!)

    So it looks like I'm going to have to get a bit more personal with my approach here... which is where you lot come in

    I want this laptop to run some basic educational games (any suggestions of which would be great by the way), and do some light web browsing. It needs to have a simple GUI - I'm thinking KDE or XFCE, but I'm open to suggestions? I want to make it look and act similarly to Windows - the target audience is a 7 year old girl so I don't fancy trying to teach her Unix just yet!

    I've tried DSL, which ran great from a Live CD, but it'd need a better GUI installing - as it installs as Debian this shouldn't be too hard to do, but it comes bundled with a lot of system utilities that this machine will never need, I really just want a core system with GUI on which to add the aforementioned software. Are there any other suggestions? Usually I'd just try out a few and pick one, but as I don't have the option of booting from USB, a limited supply of CD's and really need to see how it'd act in such a restricted environment, I'd really appreciate experienced opinions!

    EDIT: and by the way, I have tried Windows (it has XP on it right now), but with a load time of 15 minutes and almost the same for Firefox, the young un has got her mom's laptop out and done what she wanted before it's even started!
    Last edited by LosOjos; 5th April 2011 at 12:32 PM.

  2. #2


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    I noticed this earlier

    Android on your netbook? Android-x86

  3. 2 Thanks to K.C.Leblanc:

    CAM (5th April 2011), LeMarchand (5th April 2011)

  4. #3

    LeMarchand's Avatar
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    I've used PLOP as a boot CD to allow boot from USB; not sure if it would be any help.

    I like QIMO, but I'm pretty sure the minimum specs are way above what you've got to play with.

    Like the Android idea - I've got an old (W98) Vaio that I'm trying to get back into use.

  5. Thanks to LeMarchand from:

    LosOjos (5th April 2011)

  6. #4

    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K.C.Leblanc View Post
    Thanks - I posted it lol

    I hadn't considered Android but that may actually be an option if I can find some compatible apps... (not all apps work with x86 version of Android)

    LeMarchand - thanks for the tip on PLOP, I'll have a look at that

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    danbuntu's Avatar
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    with those specs you probably want to be looking at Puppy Linux

  8. Thanks to danbuntu from:

    LosOjos (5th April 2011)

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    Quote Originally Posted by danbuntu View Post
    with those specs you probably want to be looking at Puppy Linux
    I second this.

  10. Thanks to chazzy2501 from:

    LosOjos (5th April 2011)

  11. #7

    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by danbuntu View Post
    with those specs you probably want to be looking at Puppy Linux
    Thanks, I'll give it a go. Are there many programs easily available for it? The reason I have focused so far on Debian strains is the availability of DEB packages

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    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    Puppy Linux might be worth a try (I've run it on P2 400 systems with 128MRam OK)

    Si

  13. Thanks to SimpleSi from:

    LosOjos (5th April 2011)

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    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SimpleSi View Post
    Puppy Linux might be worth a try (I've run it on P2 400 systems with 128MRam OK)

    Si
    Si, did you find it difficult to find software for it?

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    The problem you're going to have is that those specs are far too low to a) run modern websites and b) run most pieces of software. So even if you can get an OS on there now, you're going to struggle to find applications that work on it.

    Someone bought themselves a machine with 128Mb of RAM recently, it came with Windows CE on it, and it simply couldn't run a site like Facebook or anything with much more than text and images.

    You can get something that can run, say AntiX (a Mepis based distro) for less than £100. I've got it on a machine with 256Mb RAM, an 8 year old hard drive and a 1.6Ghz processor and it flies.

    You're simply going to struggle with a 333Mhz processor now.

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    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    You're simply going to struggle with a 333Mhz processor now.
    I know, but there's that part of me that refuses to accept that a working laptop, no matter how old, is useless! Well, until I've failed miserably to revive it lol.

    I am probably going to end up assembling her a machine out of the various bits and pieces gathering dust at home to be honest...

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LosOjos View Post
    I know, but there's that part of me that refuses to accept that a working laptop, no matter how old, is useless! Well, until I've failed miserably to revive it lol.

    I am probably going to end up assembling her a machine out of the various bits and pieces gathering dust at home to be honest...
    It isn't useless. It is ideal for running stuff from that era. So, sticking Windows 98 on it would work, or NT4. And IE5. etc... It isn't a working laptop according to modern standards.

  18. #13

    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    Si, did you find it difficult to find software for it?
    Sorry - I just used what came with it

    Si

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    LosOjos (5th April 2011)

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    Puppy? Lovely distro. Run it on my Atom netbook..

    The new version uses ubuntu in places - software repositories for it are not a problem, there's a fair amount of stuff for it. I've got Virtualbox on mine, running an XP VM for when I need to connect to the car..

  21. Thanks to Sirbendy from:

    LosOjos (5th April 2011)

  22. #15

    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sirbendy View Post
    *SNIP* running an XP VM for when I need to connect to the car..
    you know you're going to have to embellish on that, don't you? lol

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