[sf-lug] RAM for a DELL Inspiron 4000 notebook; and distro choice

Asheesh Laroia asheesh at asheesh.org
Thu Nov 15 18:23:55 PST 2007

On Thu, 15 Nov 2007, Christian Einfeldt wrote:

> hi

Howdy.  Just a few quick notes:

> A friend has asked me to install Linux on a computer for her.  She is
> starting small and tough, though, and she has given me a Dell Inspiron 4000
> with 128 MB of RAM.  That amount of RAM is basically going to limit me to
> either Vector or Puppy Linux.

What a drag.  It seems people aren't very happy with this machine in the 
long term, or at least that's true for a single anecdote I found Googlin' 
away: http://www.vjet.demon.co.uk/dell/inspiron4000.html

That page (and most like it) is 5-7 years old, so don't take seriously muc 
of the Linux advice it gives. (-:

> And it gets worse.  She apparently did not order an ethernet jack with 
> this thing, and so she would only have dial up, at least until we can 
> get her a wifi card.

That's a drag.  You can find pcmcia/cardbus wifi cards on Craigslist for 
$15 or so, so don't waste time with dialup and just go straight to 
wifi I'd say.

> So I have three questions:  first, does anyone have any spare RAM for this
> notebook that they are willing to part with?  I would really like to get her
> started on a more full-bodied distro, if possible.

Not me, sadly.

> Second, what distro should we use?  I am thinking that we probably want
> something that is really small, as she has only a 10 GB hard drive.

This sentence is the real reason I'm replying: A full install of Ubuntu 
would be between 1.5 and 3 gigs (I don't remember exactly).  On a 10 gig 
drive, that leaves a whole lot of space for someone non-technical enough 
to have just purchased this laptop.

> I don't want to use Damn Small, because in my experience, Damn Small 
> really does require some CLI proficiency, and she is a rank beginner to 
> Linux, although she does have a mind like a steel trap and learns 
> quickly, but still, I don't want to put her through the Damn Small 
> hurdles just yet, particularly in light of the fact that Damn Small 
> really does require an ethernet connection to download additional 
> packages to a much greater degree than Puppy or Vector.  That is why I 
> am thinking of Vector or Puppy.  Vector has a nicer GUI, IMHO, which is 
> important or simple end users.  So I am sort of leaning toward Vector.

Don't know much about either, I'm afraid.

> Third, are there any unusual tricks to installing Linux on a notebook 
> such as this, or can I basically just load the CD into the CD-ROM and 
> away we go?  I would appreciate any tips re traps for the unwary.

Hopefully it's as easy as loading the CD; try that first. (-:

Best of luck, and keep us posted.

-- Asheesh.

Death is nature's way of saying `Howdy'.

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