[Wolves] Thanx and Question

Adam Sweet adam at adamsweet.org
Mon Jun 15 09:12:08 UTC 2009

dick_turpin wrote:
> Octavio Augusto Sánchez Velázquez wrote:
>> Thanx everybody for the welcome, now, I have a question.
>> My mom has this laptop which she only uses for presentations and it is
>> dam slow. Of course it has windows XP I want to kill this OS of her
>> laptop and get a useful one. it is a Compaq presario 700 with a mobile
>> AMD Duron Processor at 493 MHz (I know, it is an old one) 112 MB ram.
>> So my question is What distro should it fits best for my mom. It must be
>> possible to install a desktop manager, as long as my mom would not
>> understand the CLI. and She requires some presentations maker, something
>> compatible with ppt. and a word processor compatible with .doc Thank you
>> very much...
> Hi Octavio
> All the Buntu fanboys/girls will of course say Ubuntu however as your
> mum is a soon to be ex XP bod you might consider Mandriva its one of the
> easiest distros and makes most XP users feel at home.

I expect that the memory foot print of Mandriva or any full scale Linux
distribution will be way too much for this machine. I imagine this
machine is really grinding on the disk at the moment. Your best option
for this machine to be comfortable to use would be to fill the machine
with as much RAM as possible and then use a light-weight desktop
environment such Xubuntu, Puppy Linux, Damn Small Linux and so on.

You can find out about the maximum installable memory for this machine
under Windows by using the online tool on memory manufacturer Crucial's


or I think the program Si-Soft Sandra used to tell you.

Under Linux, use dmidecode, I found that you have to run it as root
rather than sudo to avoid typing your password in blindly because 'less'
collects all output before displaying anything:

adams at selenium:~$ sudo su -
root at selenium:~# dmidecode | less

then look for Memory Controller Information to see what is installable
and the Memory Module Information sections to see what modules you have.
It was a good day when I discovered that trick :)

The Crucial website will offer you compatible memory if your laptop is
in their database, it should be, being a Compaq. Older memory isn't as
cheap as you think though, because less of it is made, so if more memory
isn't an option, just use the lightest weight desktop environment you
can. It may take some playing with different distros to find one with
the right balance of performance and features.

Another point, if your mom needs a presentation app, the only one I know
is OpenOffice Impress and OpenOffice is horrific with regards to memory,
a quick test shows that it will use about half of your existing memory
straight away. There may be other alteratives that I don't know about,
but certain OO Impress will be the most full featured with regards to
Powerpoint compatibility, from there downwards, it will be a sliding
scale of compatibility.

If you don't mind the machine swapping to disk all the time and being
really slow as a result, as it probably is right now, then you might be
able to get away with a larger desktop environment and OpenOffice.

Hope I'm not putting you off, I'm just setting some expectations. Unless
you can get some extra RAM, it could be hard going and chances are that
your mom won't be happy with the same performance as Windows XP under an
unfamiliar environment :(



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