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Thread: Which distro for old Thinkpads T40 series?

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default Which distro for old Thinkpads T40 series?

    I upgraded my hard drive so my Operating Systems got wiped out and I have a 'backuped' XP on there that I will re-install. I'll dual boot.

    I was looking at the distributions I could install and I was hoping for some advice.

    However, please accept my critiques since I'm having trouble and that includes the decision-making.

    I tried mostly recent developmental versions so could that contribute to the problems?

    Anyway, without further ado, let me summarize the experiences:

    1) Kubuntu Karmic LiveCD - worked fine. I usually try to install at least one piece of software and connect to the server. Is that okay? Anyway, it seemed to work okay.
    But, I read a lot of complaints about Ubuntu/Kubuntu here and the alleged neglect and poor implementation of KDE by Ubuntu concerns me. I have Kubuntu Intrepid on my desktop, though. I upgraded some of the software but I guess you still would consider it 8.10?

    2) OpenSUSE - very promising at first. Some flickering from the screen but it boots fine. It's the KDE version. But, when I try to access software management, it can't reach the server. No matter what. I am not sure whether I should consider that a deal breaker but VERY ANNOYING.

    3) Mandriva 2010 - I found it only has an installer and not a Live CD or DVD. Deal Breaker, sorry. I guess you have to use a previous version of Mandriva 2009 (perhaps?) if you want to try a Live version?

    4) Ubuntu - I list it last since it was the only Gnome desktop I tried. It was fine until it FROZE every single time I tried it. I thought I better try it multiple times to make sure it is not just some random glitch or by chance. But, just doing hardly anything would eventually lead to a total system freeze. So, POS and good-bye.

    I am open to either desktop, KDE or Gnome. I don't favor either but I am more familiar with KDE, even KDE 4.

    But, I am wondering about the resources or memory hungry allegations that KDE 4 has. Anyway, I have read of users being happy with KDE 4 on Centrino Pentium M laptops so maybe KDE 4 is okay and won't bog stuff down.

    Any other choices or am I silly trying developmental versions? Maybe try a previous version and install the newest one when it comes out? What do you recommend for a Thinkpad T41? My HDD is 120GB and I use a variety of software applications including Kaffeine, Firefox, Amarok, K3b (a lot are KDE-based?) and my favourite package manager is Synaptic. I am flexible, though and willing to try other programs or desktops although maybe I might still prefer KDE? However, given this is on an older laptop, maybe consider a Gnome-based distro?

    Any recommendations?

  2. #2
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    Sep 2007
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    No one uses a Thinkpad?
    or
    no one likes my questions?

    Has anyone tried Ubuntu Karmic Koala 9.10 on any hardware that has a AMD ATI Radeon Mobility 9000 (or maybe 9600 if it applies?) video card in it?

    Just curious......

  3. #3
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    Linux mint with kde 4. Thats your fastest bet!
    For real though, I like vector linux when it comes to KDE4 .

    Are you open to xfce?
    Do you need the bleeding edge?
    do you mind compiling stuff?

    A debian based xfce distro would suit you best if you could get around using xfce (which isnt half bad). Take xubuntu for example. First thing one usually does is remove all of the packages they dont want and then install the kde ones you need. KDE apps run just fine as long as you have the qt/kde libs, you dont need kde for that.

  4. #4
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    We've used our Nexradix distro on a Thinkpad T40 before, and it runs very well. While we recommend using it with at least 384mb of RAM, I've personally seen it run usably well on a P2 450 with 128mb of RAM...

    It is GNOME based, however.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by L33F3R View Post
    Linux mint with kde 4. Thats your fastest bet!
    For real though, I like vector linux when it comes to KDE4 .

    Are you open to xfce?
    Do you need the bleeding edge?
    do you mind compiling stuff?

    A debian based xfce distro would suit you best if you could get around using xfce (which isnt half bad). Take xubuntu for example. First thing one usually does is remove all of the packages they dont want and then install the kde ones you need. KDE apps run just fine as long as you have the qt/kde libs, you dont need kde for that.
    I'm open to xfce, sure!

    I prefer bleeding edge but maybe that's not very feasible on such old hardware? I am not very experienced at compiling. So, nah, I'm not looking to pick Gentoo or anything like that. ;-)

    I guess I'm looking at one of the following:

    sidux - xfce is a choice although kde is usually used
    debian - Gnome is the default desktop but kde is a choice
    ubuntu/kubuntu - the newest ubuntu (9.10 Karmic Koala) doesn't work on my laptop yet or at least, the Live CD crashes after it's boot up. I am not sure why but I am not confident that an install would work
    OpenSUSE or Mandriva or Fedora - not too sure I'd want to use an rpm-based distro full-time but I've heard a lot of good things about those distros and gnome and kde are both choices. There is also good support on all of those so I guess I could find solutions on the respective forums.

    I thought a Gnome desktop might be preferable to the newer KDE 4 but then I am looking into upgrading my Thinkpad. I wanted to upgrade the RAM with 2 sticks of 1GB each. There's two 512 sticks in there now.

    I discovered the upgraded hard drive I got from the seller is SUPER SLOW. It's a 4200rpm Seagate drive that gets really low benchmark scores. Ugh! I'm peeved about that so looking into buying one of the faster PATA drives out there.

    Anyway, thanks to you guys who gave me some replies to read and respond to!

    I have read posts from the Thinkpad forums, too, but still can't decide on which distro. 'Guess I'll have to try some out after I upgrade!

  6. #6
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    look at lower resource software with xfce and you will be fine.

    you can install xfce over fedora. That would do you very well.

  7. #7
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    I would use Kanotix Excalibur with KDE 3.5

  8. #8
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    I have a T42 and currently run Debian Sid on it, and KDE4 is pretty responsive and snappy enough to use. My machine's been customized heavily too

    I'd try Arch if you are up to it

  9. #9
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    Debian is what I'm leaning towards. Thanks for the recommendations. Don't you think Sid would be a bit tricky for me to keep track of, though?

    I thought, maybe, upgrade packages to 'Squeeze?'

    I noticed the 'Debian Live' page. Looks interesting! I would like an updated or somewhat-up-to-date kernel. I can do this using such a method?

    Arch sounds a step up from what I'm used to and I'd have to learn a totally different (packaging) system. So far, I thought I should limit it to deb / apt-get and rpm / yum (or similar) for now. ;-)

    I'll consider an Arch Live Cd to check it out, though.

    Btw, I'm upgrading my Thinkpad T41 to 2GB and the HD to a better, faster, 160 GB Samsung HM160HC. I suppose KDE 4 would run okay on such a setup. I'll try the Live CDs or even the respective Gnome and KDE installs on Debian when I upgrade the hardware!

  10. #10
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    Debian Live is cool to play with and they now have Live spins with several different desktop setups.

    I am a big fan of sidux; it is what I am using now. I have five systems at home; oldest is a decade old Dell Dimension 4100, newest are a Lenovo 3000 Y410 and a Gateway PA6A, both Duo Core laptop systems.

    While the Lenovo and the Gateway make the old Dell seem slow all of a sudden, I can still actually use KDE on the 4100, though it mildly uses SWAP, whereas the Lenovo and Gateway do not swap at all with 2 GB memory.

    I use sidux on all of them and it supports all hardware I've tried. It is cutting edge. I go against the developers and install smxi from http://smxi.org and it turns managing sidux into a snap, though it does involve console use at run level 3 to do it cleanly and reliably because of the volatility of the Sid packages (sidux is based on Debian Sid).

    antiX is a great lightweight distro, uses IceWM and Fluxbox instead of a desktop environment.

    SimplyMEPIS is a nice, relatively light, conservative KDE 3.5.10 based distro (in Version 8.0.10, which is current). Version 8.5 or 9.0, whatever is chosen, will be KDE 4 based. This will work on a T40 just fine.

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