[sf-lug] seems I need a bit more help re IBM type 2611 ThinkPad 1400

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Mon Oct 22 12:44:51 PDT 2007

Quoting Alex Kleider (a_kleider at yahoo.com):

> "You mean IBM machine type 2611?"
> Yes indeed, that is what it appears to be.
> I (and its owner) are very excited to hear that there appears to be
> life in her yet. With Windows2000 running her owner was finding things
> intollerable so I offered to try to rejuvinate her with Linux. We'll
> get on over to a "memory store" as soon as I'm free during opening
> hours.
So, as mentioned elsewhere, you should nail down the question of what
IBM model this really is, before doing much else.  That will determine
its prospects.

Even a Pentium 266 laptop is not wholly useless[1]:  I still (very)
occasionally use my Sony VAIO PCG-505FX laptop, which uses a 266 MHz
Pentium MMX CPU, a 2.1 Gb hard drive, and 128 MB of RAM.  That laptop
runs Debian, and is quite liveable, much _much_ more liveable than is
Damn Small Linux.  To be specific, it runs the Window Maker window
manager.  Once again, you can see a comparison of window managers /
desktop environments at http://xwinman.org/ .  Also, I have carefully
prevented other unneeded software from starting at boot time.

The last two things, careful selection of window manager and trimming of
startup processes to no more than what is required, is the key to
making, e.g., a P266 and 128 MB RAM tolerable.

That, however, is _not_ the path of least resistance, and, as you've
seen, there are a variety of obstacles that will be thrown your way by
most distros aimed at novice Linux users, and by most distros' default
installation modes, such as the now-predominant i686 optimisation of
installer boot kernels.  Unfortunately, making Linux run well on
low-spec and very old machines is, on balance, something of an advanced
topic, rather than a novice one, and so it's unfortunate that so many
novices blithely attempt to install relatively bloated distributions or
distribution profiles on free-of-charge or discarded / little-used
machines whose extreme antiquity they're not even aware of, and
immediately run into a buzzsaw of problems.

[1] However, be warned that a laptop that long in the tooth is probably
getting a bit fragile, and you should definitely hesitate before sinking
much money into it.

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