Which distro to install on IBM ThinkPad x41 (Centrino 1.5Ghz/1.5GB RAM)? Want to learn Linux on it..

RavinDJ

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I have an IBM ThinkPad X41 laptop with an Intel Pentium M 1.5Ghz CPU and 1.5GB DDR2 and a 40GB ATA hard drive (It's one of those 1.8 inch 9mm ones, I believe... not even a FULL 2.5 inch one).

It's a tablet with pen input available.

I don't think I can put in any more RAM and I don't know if there's a better HDD option for me... I'd spend a few bucks to upgrade it, unless you guys don't think it's worth it.

What distro should I install on it? I'm a beginner when it comes to *nix. I know basic terminal commands and that's about it.

Any input will be greatly appreciated.
 

cybereality

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I use Ubuntu, but the standard release may be a bit much for that old a machine.

That said, I think Ubuntu-based distros are the best for beginners, and there's lots of help online for Ubuntu issues.

I saw this article, which may be of interest (though I haven't tried these distros myself).

https://fossbytes.com/best-lightweight-linux-distros/
 

Mazzspeed

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You don't have a machine that's at least 64 bit? 32 bit is most likely going to present certain problems. I have an old Compaq with a Core 2 T5500 running KDE that actually runs faster than my i5 based Macbook running both MacOS and Windows via bootcamp.
 

RavinDJ

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Thanks, guys! I did a little bit of research last night and installed the 32bit version of MX Linux:

Code:
System:    Host: mx Kernel: 4.19.0-6-686-pae i686 bits: 32 compiler: gcc v: 8.3.0
           parameters: BOOT_IMAGE=/boot/vmlinuz-4.19.0-6-686-pae
           root=UUID=1375a946-893d-42c8-b9f1-bab680250435 ro quiet splash
           Desktop: Xfce 4.14.1 tk: Gtk 3.24.5 info: xfce4-panel wm: xfwm4 dm: LightDM 1.26.0
           Distro: MX-19_386 patito feo October 21  2019 base: Debian GNU/Linux 10 (buster)
Machine:   Type: Laptop System: IBM product: 18695CU v: ThinkPad X41 Tablet serial: <filter>
           Chassis: type: 10 serial: <filter>
           Mobo: IBM model: 18695CU serial: <filter> BIOS: IBM v: 75ET54WW (2.00 )
           date: 11/21/2005
Battery:   ID-1: BAT0 charge: 6.4 Wh condition: 6.4/64.8 Wh (10%) volts: 16.3/14.4
           model: SANYO IBM-92P1085 type: Li-ion serial: <filter> status: Full
CPU:       Topology: Single Core model: Intel Pentium M bits: 32 type: MCP arch: M Dothan
           family: 6 model-id: D (13) stepping: 8 microcode: 20 L2 cache: 2048 KiB
           flags: nx pae sse sse2 bogomips: 1196
           Speed: 600 MHz min/max: 600/1500 MHz Core speed (MHz): 1: 600
           Vulnerabilities: Type: itlb_multihit status: KVM: Vulnerable
           Type: l1tf mitigation: PTE Inversion
           Type: mds status: Vulnerable: Clear CPU buffers attempted, no microcode; SMT disabled
           Type: meltdown mitigation: PTI
           Type: spec_store_bypass status: Vulnerable
           Type: spectre_v1 mitigation: usercopy/swapgs barriers and __user pointer sanitization
           Type: spectre_v2 mitigation: Full generic retpoline, STIBP: disabled, RSB filling
           Type: tsx_async_abort status: Not affected
Graphics:  Device-1: Intel Mobile 915GM/GMS/910GML Express Graphics vendor: IBM ThinkPad X41
           driver: i915 v: kernel bus ID: 00:02.0 chip ID: 8086:2592
           Display: x11 server: X.Org 1.20.4 driver: intel unloaded: fbdev,modesetting,vesa
           resolution: 1024x768~60Hz
           OpenGL: renderer: Mesa DRI Intel 915GM x86/MMX/SSE2 v: 1.4 Mesa 18.3.6
           direct render: Yes
Audio:     Device-1: Intel 82801FB/FBM/FR/FW/FRW AC97 Audio vendor: IBM ThinkPad X41
           driver: snd_intel8x0 v: kernel bus ID: 00:1e.2 chip ID: 8086:266e
           Sound Server: ALSA v: k4.19.0-6-686-pae
Network:   Device-1: Broadcom Limited NetXtreme BCM5751M Gigabit Ethernet PCI Express
           vendor: IBM ThinkPad X41 / Z60t driver: tg3 v: 3.137 port: 18a0 bus ID: 02:00.0
           chip ID: 14e4:167d
           IF: eth0 state: down mac: <filter>
           Device-2: Intel PRO/Wireless 2200BG [Calexico2] Network driver: ipw2200 v: 1.2.2kmprq
           port: 18a0 bus ID: 04:02.0 chip ID: 8086:4220
           IF: eth1 state: up mac: <filter>
Drives:    Local Storage: total: 37.26 GiB used: 5.41 GiB (14.5%)
           ID-1: /dev/sda vendor: Hitachi model: HTC426040G9AT00 size: 37.26 GiB block size:
           physical: 512 B logical: 512 B speed: <unknown> serial: <filter> rev: A0B4
           scheme: MBR
Partition: ID-1: / raw size: 35.23 GiB size: 34.43 GiB (97.72%) used: 5.41 GiB (15.7%) fs: ext4
           dev: /dev/sda1
           ID-2: swap-1 size: 2.00 GiB used: 520 KiB (0.0%) fs: swap swappiness: 15 (default 60)
           cache pressure: 100 (default) dev: /dev/sda2
Sensors:   System Temperatures: cpu: 58.0 C mobo: 45.0 C
           Fan Speeds (RPM): cpu: 5516
Repos:     No active apt repos in: /etc/apt/sources.list
           Active apt repos in: /etc/apt/sources.list.d/antix.list
           1: deb http://iso.mxrepo.com/antix/buster buster main
           Active apt repos in: /etc/apt/sources.list.d/debian-stable-updates.list
           1: deb http://deb.debian.org/debian buster-updates main contrib non-free
           Active apt repos in: /etc/apt/sources.list.d/debian.list
           1: deb http://deb.debian.org/debian buster main contrib non-free
           2: deb http://deb.debian.org/debian-security buster/updates main contrib non-free
           Active apt repos in: /etc/apt/sources.list.d/mx.list
           1: deb http://mxrepo.com/mx/repo/ buster main non-free
           No active apt repos in: /etc/apt/sources.list.d/various.list
Info:      Processes: 170 Uptime: 10m Memory: 1.40 GiB used: 878.8 MiB (61.2%) Init: SysVinit
           v: 2.93 runlevel: 5 default: 5 Compilers: gcc: 8.3.0 alt: 8 Shell: bash v: 5.0.3
           running in: quick-system-in inxi: 3.0.36

You're right... I need a 64bit machine. I guess I just wanted to get some use out of this old laptop.

I'll find another 64bit laptop for learning... and then install Ubuntu.

Thoughts on this one? What should I do with this laptop? It's in good shape just, obviously, very old...
 

FLECOM

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lubuntu has a 32bit version that should run on that
 

RavinDJ

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lubuntu has a 32bit version that should run on that

Thanks, Flecom! I'll take a look. But honestly - is it even worth it? Should I just find a slightly better machine and go 64bit? If I'm learning it, I'd rather just do it right than cut corners.

But heard good things about Lubuntu (y)
 

B00nie

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I wouldn't even bother with a hardware like that and use a virtual machine instead. If you run even to some basic problems, the fact that it's a tablet may end up you hitting your head to the wall.
 

B00nie

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Half the fun of Linux is getting it onto things.
Yes but I can see a tablet becoming a frustrating mess quickly, due to its lack of input options and connections. I doubt the touch keyboard will work for example if the boot freezes half way. Maybe it's possible to hook up a physical keyboard...
 

Mazzspeed

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Yes but I can see a tablet becoming a frustrating mess quickly, due to its lack of input options and connections. I doubt the touch keyboard will work for example if the boot freezes half way. Maybe it's possible to hook up a physical keyboard...

Touch is making great strides, but you're just going to be so limited in relation to options running such an old 32bit processor. Hell, my Amiga 1200's 32bit!
 

FLECOM

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Thanks, Flecom! I'll take a look. But honestly - is it even worth it? Should I just find a slightly better machine and go 64bit? If I'm learning it, I'd rather just do it right than cut corners.

But heard good things about Lubuntu (y)

depends on how you define worth it, do you want to do something with that machine? play around with and learn linux? basic web-browsing, email checking and word processing etc? then probably

do you want to play modern-ish games and watch high res youtube? then no probably not


Yes but I can see a tablet becoming a frustrating mess quickly, due to its lack of input options and connections. I doubt the touch keyboard will work for example if the boot freezes half way. Maybe it's possible to hook up a physical keyboard...

OP has an X41, that's a laptop?
 
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This comment indicated a tablet:

The X41 came in regular notebook and 2-in-1 versions. OP has the latter.

Place I used to work at issued some of these. OK systems overall, but the tiny 1.8" HDD was painfully slow even 14-15 years ago (it's a c.2005 system IIRC) before we all discovered just how much better SSDs are. OP mentioned being willing to put some light cash into this system, but I can't see even that being worth it. Trying to adapt the HDD PATA interface to something more modern (that will still fit in the 1.8" space) is going to suck and probably not be that cheap. Only thing I could find that might work in a quick Amazon search is a compact flash adapter (the actual SSDs in that size I found use the wrong connector). For learning purposes it's probably better to instead sink the same dollars into a RPi 4 (assuming a VM isn't somehow an option).

I can't imagine running more than a text console or maybe the lightest of GUI desktop environments.
 

ThatITGuy

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Thanks, guys! I did a little bit of research last night and installed the 32bit version of MX Linux:


You're right... I need a 64bit machine. I guess I just wanted to get some use out of this old laptop.

I'll find another 64bit laptop for learning... and then install Ubuntu.

Thoughts on this one? What should I do with this laptop? It's in good shape just, obviously, very old...
Speaking from experience on this.... Figure out what you want to do with the thing. I have 5 odd laptops sitting around that I have thrown linux on. Thing is, they were so old (p4 era, with one early core 2 era) that once I got Linux up and working on it... I was just kinda done. You can look up different project ideas (use it for VPN connectivity, etc.), but without an actual "use" for the item, it will just end up taking up space and adding to the clutter. The ones I set up to do something I have left alone, but I got rid of the others when i acquired a more modern laptop. Might not be a bad idea to make sure nothing personal is on it and give it to a charity who can get it to people that have no access to a laptop.
 

B00nie

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Even though it's an oxymoron if your host is Windows, I would run linux in a VM to get to know it instead of some legacy hardware. It gives just a false impression of the whole OS if you battle with legacy issues and slow hardware.

The best way to do is to run Windows as a VM so you have a sandboxed and easily recovered environment for the number one attacked platform on this planet.
 

RavinDJ

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Installed MX on it and will donate it. No sense in wasting time. I just got another laptop for free.. Lenovo Thinkpad X200 Tablet that's 64bit.

Thanks to all that threw in their 2 cents!!
 
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