Leaving XP behind on old machines

Discussion in 'Unix, Mac, & BSD (3D)' started by swaaye, Oct 8, 2013.

  1. swaaye

    swaaye Entirely Suboptimal
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    I've been trying Lubuntu on various old machines, as a replacement for EOL WinXP. It's fast and it tends to "just work" most of the time.

    I found something pretty cool in the process. Chromium is actually getting hardware acceleration on Linux that it will not on Windows. Even on ancient graphics chips. The open source Intel drivers in particular are apparently pretty nice.

    Intel Extreme 2
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Radeon 9600
    AMD drivers are on a blacklist. You need to override the list in chrome://flags. Everything seems to be working fine for the past few days.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Oh and something annoying is the PAE requirement of modern kernels. Apparently there is a quirk to Pentium M and Celeron M - they don't report PAE support. So they won't boot many modern distros, including Lubuntu! There is a patch available that isn't terribly painful to setup.
     
  2. Davros

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    I'll be moving to xp soon
    I'm in the process of buying a laptop all I know is its got xp on it its a dell with a centino sticker
    and its costing me £3 a week
     
  3. Blazkowicz

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    Is there really working PAE in there? I think it was missing because of a hardware bug. The solution I know about is to use a non PAE kernel (one way would be to install the OS on a machine with PAE then install the non PAE kernel, another is using some custom or specific installer)
    Or just run an Ubuntu 12.04 version on that hardware (lubuntu or Mint 13 Xfce)

    Old laptop with Centrino sticker -> it's probably a Pentium M.
     
  4. swaaye

    swaaye Entirely Suboptimal
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    Apparently 400MT/s FSB Pentium M and Celeron M chips don't have the PAE flag. I've a notebook here with a Celeron M.

    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Lubuntu-fake-PAE
    There's a ready to go bootable Lubuntu image. You install off it and then set up a PPA for newer updates. Seems to be working fine.
     
  5. I.S.T.

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    Wait, what OS do you run now?
     
  6. Malo

    Malo Yak Mechanicum
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    Finally giving up WindowsME? :lol:
     
  7. Npl

    Npl
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    Have you tried debian? There is a 486 non-pae kernel that should be automatically installed/used.

    Otherwise, dont let stats fool you. I have yet to see any Linux outperforming way slower systems running WinXP. Just maybe use a browser with good support for older systems (Opera)
     
  8. Davros

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    Win 7
     
  9. swaaye

    swaaye Entirely Suboptimal
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    One advantage is you don't need to run extremely CPU sapping anti-virus software (especially sapping for old hardware). But yea XP always ends up feeling fastest to me. And by far the least quirky option.

    Might look into Debian. But the machines are up and running now anyway.
     
  10. Mariner

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    I installed Lubuntu (and Ubuntu before that) on an old Netbook I owned (single core Atom, not much RAM). WinXP was glacial in comparison to the Unix installations on that machine.

    Whether or not the same rings true on slightly more powerful setups, I can't really say, as I've not tried Linux on anything above an Atom CPU.
     
  11. swaaye

    swaaye Entirely Suboptimal
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    I have a Celeron M EeePC. I have Lubuntu on it right now but typically have XP on it. It's hard to say what's faster. I never run antivirus on it, and I use a SSD cache program called Flashfire to make storage perform well. But Lubuntu is pretty fast too. I'm not convinced Chromium is as fast as Chrome though. Both are faster than Firefox.

    Hey I just realized that I did not have a PAE problem with the EeePC. Both of these notebooks use a Dothan based CPU. Must be a newer CPU stepping in the Eee, or it's related to the newer 910 chipset platform, or BIOS?
     
  12. RudeCurve

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    I still get updates from MS Updates every now and then so even though they say EOL for XP it's still being supported with updates.
     
  13. swaaye

    swaaye Entirely Suboptimal
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    XP gets security fixes until April 2014.
     
  14. swaaye

    swaaye Entirely Suboptimal
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    Ended up restoring the XP images on both notebooks. As usual I am unhappy with a few significant issues in Linux. At least with Lubuntu, but I don't feel like spending time with other distributions at the moment and the options are limited for slow hardware.

    The Intel graphics driver has corruption with some kinds of output in Chromium. Video playback is fubar for example. I assume this stuff works on newer Intel IGPs but whatever. Maybe it's all Chromium's fault. Who cares.

    The other problem was the printer control panel. When I try to get a list of printer drivers available, the applet pegs the CPU and appears to lock up indefinitely. Web searches reveal that I'm not alone in this...
     
  15. Blazkowicz

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    I'm waiting for Linux Mint 16 Mate.. hoping it's good for such issues you have.

    I did not know there was a control panel for printers (duh), what I do is navigate to https://localhost:631 which is CUPS's web interface. It does work (at least in the older debian and ubuntu versions I used this in) but you have to be patient at the printer detection or driver choosing stage. Having a root password may be a requirement (to have one get root with "sudo su" in a terminal, then run "passwd")

    Aside from that, a friend has voiced some of the hostility about moving from Windows XP and the "shit things" I did to his computer (not too much, thanksfully) and how he didn't give a shit about linux. And he has some occasional games too. Well I guess the plan is now to move to Windows 7 in january (possibly the 32bit version, or the 64bit one..).
    The computer is fast by the way, a nice machine from 2008 or 2009, I told him his CPU is as fast as a nice low end current one.

    In the end the choice is about using linux to not have to fight with windows, or windows to not have to fight with linux.
     
  16. dZeus

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    I've witnessed that at least ubuntu 12.04 is now happy with booting the pea kernel on dothan 400mhz fsb cpus too.
    they must have patched the bootloader to ignore the lack of pae flag being reported for these cpus.
     
  17. Davros

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    I finaly got my xp laptop had to spend a bit of time cleaning it up and updating drivers
    couldnt update the intel gma drivers geting an error
    (litttle tip dont determine gpu by looking in add/remove programs)
    the shop had installed intel drivers turned out it had a radeon x300 -yay
    Behold the Magnificence
    [​IMG]
     
  18. dZeus

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    My laptop which has a ATI x300 mobility runs Windows 8 just fine. The advantage of Windows 8 is that you'll be receiving security updates for the OS until probably the end of life of the laptop (my Thinkpad T43 has known durability issues with chipset and GPU chip contacts on the motherboard that may shorten its lifespan).
     
  19. Davros

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    Im not sure my laptop has win8 drivers Dell latitude D610
    plus I hated win8
     
  20. dZeus

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    mobility modded 'classic Vista' Catalyst drivers work nicely in Windows 8. With classicshell the abomination that is the metro interface can be pretty well hidden.
     
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