I want to give Linux a try and need to know where to start

Dlasure2

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Good day
I have a old Dell Latitude 610 that was gifted to me that I decided to play with a bit. The computer currently is running on windows XP home.
Dell Latitude D610
Intel Pentium M 1.73 processor
40 gig hard drive
512 mb ddr ram

I would like to dedicate this laptop to music storage for a small radio broadcasting project so I ordered a Samsung HM160HC hard drive and a Intel 780 processor to open things up a bit. With all the background info out there what operating system would be recommended and will I need to reinstall a windows system. Please forgive me up front as this is my first time trying anything like this.
 


atanere

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Hi @Dlasure2, and welcome! It's hard to say whether this laptop will work for the project you are planning... it may, but it does have some limitations, especially RAM.

Both the existing CPU and the replacement you have ordered are 32-bit chips, so you must use a 32-bit operating system, whether Linux or Windows. There are still 32-bit Linux distros that are available and up to date, but every year it seems that there are fewer and fewer.

Some looking around on the web shows that you can upgrade the RAM to a total of 2 GB, but one of the chips is under the keyboard and harder to get to unless you are skilled at laptop disassembly. Also, some people report problems with new RAM not being recognized. If you can find a good price on a pair of matching RAM sticks (and can install them), this would be very helpful to run Linux.

Still, there are some Linux distros that may run well enough for your purpose with 512 MB. I guess you'll have to try some to find out, but the options are few in that range. Some other folks can give some suggestions for distros... I'm at work and can't take too much time for a decent search.

Good luck!
 

wizardfromoz

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Some other folks can give some suggestions for distros...
That would be moi :p

(Wizard appears in a puff of smoke)

Hi @Dlasure2 and welcome to linux.org

4M Linux is worth a look.

Start by Googling "4m linux" and read the first half dozen references. The review at https://www.linux.com/learn/intro-to-linux/2018/6/4mlinux-more-just-another-lightweight-distro - I find particularly attractive. In that, check out the Conky (system resources monitor) right-hand side, showing 236MB RAM being used.

Then add to your search "system requirements", and at http://4mlinux.com/index.php?page=download - you will see the options.

You could run it from a VM or do the full install. The VM would not work from your computer, it would have to be run on another.

I have not used 4M Linux except for a brief test on USB stick, I thought it looked OK. Reason I can't install it is that it will not install on a unit with more than 15 partitions, and as I run 40+ Linux at a time, I am excluded.

Other options include but are not limited to - Linux Lite 3.8 (not 4.0, 32-bit has been dropped), LXLE, Peach OSI BB (Bare Bones), and MX-16 or MX-17. A non-PAE computer will not run MX-17 but will run MX-16.

Ask about anything you don't understand, and we can advise.

Chris Turner
wizardfromoz
 

d_vineet

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IMO, your best bet would be puppylinux.
You can find the relevant info on puppylinux.org
It requires very low RAM (lightening fast because it runs from the RAM itself).
No extra config reqd.
Great community.
I did not find anything which is there in other "fat" OSs but not there in puppylinux.

I have a laptop with Intel core I3; 4GB ram.
Still, I use puppylinux.
 

Dlasure2

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Thank you for all the great advice. I found 2 matching sticks of memory so while the laptop is apart I am going to upgrade from 512 mb to 2 gig. The one stick was simple as it was accessible from under neat and I am going to switch the other when I put the new keyboard in.
 

Dlasure2

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I really like the Multimedia aspect of 4M. Would that may be the best bet for me since this is going to be used for a small radio broadcasting project?
 

atanere

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I would like to dedicate this laptop to music storage for a small radio broadcasting project
It might be time to more fully describe your goals. With the upgrades you are applying, you will still have a very bare bones and antiquated (32-bit) system. And that's just the operating system.... what special multimedia software do you expect to run? Or will you write custom software? By "radio" broadcasting, do you really mean RADIO? Or do you mean internet streaming? (I'm a ham radio operator, so I take the word "radio" very literally.)

If you need specialized software, that is the big hurdle... to identify what that is and whether it will run within your laptops limitations. It sounds kind of like you want media streaming software, but I'll wait for your confirmation on that.

Cheers
 

Dlasure2

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Actually I got a FM transmitter and was trying to broadcast over small area out in the country where I live. Something for a couple of neighbors and myself to enjoy. I do not have internet out there so no streaming. I am old fashioned and enjoy CD'S which I was going to load into the laptop so I had a library to create a playlist from. I agree the computer is old but I figured it would be a great cheap project to tinker with and try to learn something in the process as well as utilize something that would otherwise be discarded. Long and short my goals are to upload about 150 CD's to a dedicated computer which is hooked up to a FM transmitter that is Part 15 compliant.
 

atanere

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I like your idea, and I think that the old laptop may work well in this project. The headphone output can feed into your microphone input of the transmitter, but you may need some isolation and level control between them to prevent feedback and manage proper volume. Make sure your transmitter is rated for continuous duty or you may have a problem with heat... it could possibly start a fire. Tinkering is fun, and I hope you are successful with this! I used to tinker a bit, but now I'm old and lazy. :eek::D

If you don't have a ham radio license yet, I'd happily recommend that you look into it. Even in this day and age of cell phones and the Internet, there is still a lot of things that hams can do... some of it is old-school, but some of it is also cutting-edge technology.

Once you get all the parts for the laptop, we'll also have to figure out how to get Linux installed. I looked up some specs and you may only have a CD-ROM (and not a DVD-ROM).... do you know if that's right? And is it working? Because of it's age, it is also quite likely that it will not boot from a USB drive. We may have to jump through a few hoops, but I think we can still get it going.

Cheers
 

wizardfromoz

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'Morning all from DownUnder, where the skies are a beautiful blue :)

Can't say as I follow all the radio stuff, but that sounds like a really interesting and worthwhile project, @Dlasure2 !

I really like the Multimedia aspect of 4M. Would that may be the best bet for me since this is going to be used for a small radio broadcasting project?
I cannot say with certainty at this time, as I have not used it for ages, and that was only the Live version on a USB stick.

However, I am breaking in a couple of new Dells Inspirons laptops for my wife and me, she has just started using hers this morning to play her beloved Solitaire, lol.

That frees up her old Compaq Presario C300, which has a 60GB HDD and 512MB RAM, I think it may be a Celeron processor.

With that in my hot little mitts, I can start to play with some low-spec Linux, and 4M will be first candidate. This may take a week or so, but just so's you know.

Cheers

Wizard
 

Dlasure2

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Thank you guys for all the words of encouragement it's interesting you mentioned ham radio on top of the hill about 500 yards from my house a bunch of guys get together and have something called ham Fest. they have talked to me a couple times about joining their club and mentioned that I can get on something called 2 meters since cell phone service at my house is absolutely horrendous.
 

VP9KS

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That frees up her old Compaq Presario C300, which has a 60GB HDD and 512MB RAM, I think it may be a Celeron processor.

With that in my hot little mitts, I can start to play with some low-spec Linux, and 4M will be first candidate. This may take a week or so, but just so's you know.
Wiz,
I can relate. I recently inherited an old Compaq R3360US from the other half. It too should be interesting to play with!

Happy Trails,
Paul
 

atanere

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Thank you guys for all the words of encouragement it's interesting you mentioned ham radio on top of the hill about 500 yards from my house a bunch of guys get together and have something called ham Fest. they have talked to me a couple times about joining their club and mentioned that I can get on something called 2 meters since cell phone service at my house is absolutely horrendous.
To me, ham radio and Linux go hand in hand... both are very encouraging and welcoming of "tinkerers." A name you probably won't recognize is Bruce Perens... but he is very prominent in both the Linux/Open Source and ham radio worlds.

2 meters is a VHF radio band, usually using FM voice, but other modes are also used for specialized activities. It is one of the first stops for most new hams, and some very interesting things can be done there. With patience and perseverance you might speak with a crew member on the International Space Station (something I've done many times). And you can use Linux to control some digital signal modes on 2 meters and other bands.

I'd bet some of those hams that you've met nearby could also give you some Linux help too. Not all hams use Linux, but many do.

Cheers
 

Dlasure2

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OK, while I have Internet before I go home can I download Linux 4M to a memory stick and take it home to install tonight after I install the new processor and hard drive on the 610. I was not given any software with the dell when it was gifted to me so I have nothing at all for it.
 

wizardfromoz

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Just a heads up, @Dlasure2 , which may be a little late because of time zones. :(

If you download to the stick you cannot install from it. You have to download the .iso, then burn to the stick using specialised software. This is the same as if you burned music, or burned a video or burned a data dvd, but specifically Linux-friendly solutions are used.

Under a Windows environment, you can use the following (and there are others, all free to download and install):
The following article may be of use to you. It is over 5 years old, but I have checked the links and it appears to be still valid.

http://4mlinux.blogspot.com/2013/01/how-to-create-4mlinux-livecdliveusb.html

The Tutorial at Step 2. leads you to Unetbootin, so we know that that works.

When you have successfully burned the stick, and wish to apply it to the Dell, you will need to boot the Dell and find your way to the BIOS Setup. If at the time the Dell logo appears it does not show keys to use, then try Function keys F12, F10, F2 or even Escape. There may be two keys that will take you into either a one-time boot scenario, or the full Setup.

In either event, you want to move, in Boot Sequence or Order, the option for USB up to the top so that it will boot on USB ahead of the Hard Disk Drive. Save your Settings and exit (often F10), and the boot sequence will continue into a Menu for the options with 4M LInux.

Cheers

Wizard
 

atanere

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Oops, sorry about the ham radio distraction! :eek::D

Back up in Post #10 I had started to question whether you had a CD drive or a DVD drive... and whether it works or not.

Following Wizard's directions to get 4M Linux (32-bit) on to a USB drive is still probably going to be needed, but I have some doubts that it will boot on your older laptop. You may get lucky... booting the USB is the easy way.

But you may also have to prepare a special boot CD using a utility called PLOP Boot Manager... and use that to boot the laptop and access the USB and install Linux. I don't think that 4M Linux is small enough to fit on a CD itself, or that would be better too.

Well, these are the things to figure out now if you're ready to try installing. If the CD-ROM drive doesn't work, it will be a bigger problem.
 

wizardfromoz

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I don't think that 4M Linux is small enough to fit on a CD itself,
No it's 1.2 GB, I have one in stock.

I've been looking at various specs configurations for the D610, and they vary considerably.

@Dlasure2 - can you tell us whether yours has eg 2 - 4 USB ports, and with the optical drive, is it a DVD player, a DVD(player only)/CD-RW combo, or other?

Cheers

Wiz
 


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