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 Forum index » House Training » Beginners Help ( Start Here)
best puppy for very old computer
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eskimo

Joined: 08 Apr 2012
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Mon 09 Apr 2012, 15:52    Post subject:  

Hi again,

thanks to everybody for their help and advice... I read through all of them and tried some of them and I was (partly) successful in the end.

First I burnt a new bootable CD with WaryPuppy 5.3 at 16x (got a good-quality Verbatim CD-RW medium for that - previously I had used a cheap noname CD-R) and tried booting the old machine from it - without success. The only difference when compared with the previous CD was a different message preceding the "Starting Windows 95" one - now it was "Boot from ATAPI CD-ROM: Failure..." whereas before it said "Boot from ATAPI CD-ROM: 1.FD (some unreadable characters) SystemType-00".

Then, as a second step, I attempted to boot my newer machine (AMD Athlon 2500XP) from the Wary Puppy 5.3 CD-RW - the OS launched without any problems so I could put aside the option that something's wrong with the CD - the problem was clearly caused by the fact that the old machine was incapable of booting from a CD-ROM (although its BIOS claims that it should be able to do it). Therefore I tried to create a WakePup2 bootable floppy - and here I came upon something which might be a bug in WaryPuppy 5.3 (but it can as well be just that I did something wrongly) - after choosing Menu/Setup/WakePup I got a message saying that WakePup was not installed and that I should install it via PET install (or what was the name of the installation tool). So I downloaded and installed a package named "wakepup2-20070919" (there were no other wakepups available), the installer said that all was OK but when I chose Menu/Setup/WakePup nothing at all happened. I tried uninstalling the WakePup, downloading it again from a different mirror, but the result was the same...

Since I suspected that the problem with wakepup2 could be that - being built in 2007 - it was no longer compatible with the recent WaryPuppy 5.3, I erased the CD-RW and re-burnt it with pup-431.iso. And it turned out that my suspicion might be right because this time after installing wakepup2-20070919 I was finally able to create a bootable floppy. And the floppy boot worked with my old PC. Moreover, it worked for both 4.3.1 Puppy and WaryPuppy 5.3 (I still kept the first cheap CD-R with Wary).

Yet I can't quite say that I'm too satisfied with the result because the full boot took 5-10 minutes (I hope, though, that after I'll properly install some Puppy to the HDD the startup won't take so long anymore) and I came across other difficulties - e.g. serial mouse didn't work (fortunately I found working the PS/2 mouse socket in the old PC that I had always thought had never worked) and Puppy couldn't find the sound card installed in the PC (I would think that this is a result of the card being ISA some manual configuration/tweaking could be needed). I also found strange that the Puppy launched in console and I had to manually type "startx" to get to the GUI (could be that the installer wanted to indicate to me that way that X wouldn't work with such old machine - it worked, though). But what surprised me most was that I didn't find 4.3.1 Puppy any quicker than its 5.3 Wary brother. So perhaps I should look for something older than 4.3.1 ? Maybe I'll try the fatfree 2.17 next(?) Or the MeanPuppy?

Now I think I'm gonna put this Puppy experiment of mine aside for a while and I'll return to it sometime later... but of course, if any ideas that you think might be useful for me come to your mind in the meantime, please write them down here for me... Thanks!
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greengeek

Joined: 20 Jul 2010
Posts: 2407
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Mon 09 Apr 2012, 16:17    Post subject:  

eskimo wrote:

Now I think I'm gonna put this Puppy experiment of mine aside for a while and I'll return to it sometime later... but of course, if any ideas that you think might be useful for me come to your mind in the meantime, please write them down here for me... Thanks!


Hey, nice work. Very detailed feedback. I think you are right that an install would greatly improve speed. If you come back to the project I'd probably still give the MeanPup a try. Some of the older, more lightweight stuff was optimised for lower memory machines.
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Dewbie

Joined: 15 Apr 2010
Posts: 1783

PostPosted: Mon 09 Apr 2012, 19:07    Post subject:  

eskimo wrote:
Quote:
(got a good-quality Verbatim CD-RW medium for that - previously I had used a cheap noname CD-R)

Don't pay too much attention to the brand name on the package.
If you use Puppy's built-in Pburn, it shows who actually manufactured it.

Quote:
Yet I can't quite say that I'm too satisfied with the result because the full boot took 5-10 minutes

Wary 5.1.1 k2.6.30.5 (the 4.3.1 kernel) boots quickly on my old Compaq Deskpro P2 / 350 / 320 MB RAM.
I tried it today on a Dell Dimension P4 / 2.2 / 1.5G RAM, and booting is unbelievably slow.
(Edit: It might be because the Dell has a CD-ROM and the Compaq has a CD burner, which apparently operates at a higher speed.)

Last edited by Dewbie on Wed 13 Jun 2012, 16:34; edited 1 time in total
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Dewbie

Joined: 15 Apr 2010
Posts: 1783

PostPosted: Mon 09 Apr 2012, 19:31    Post subject:  

greengeek wrote:
Quote:
Some of the older, more lightweight stuff was optimised for lower memory machines.

http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=65544
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sfeeley

Joined: 14 Feb 2010
Posts: 807

PostPosted: Tue 10 Apr 2012, 10:42    Post subject:  

Quote:
I hope, though, that after I'll properly install some Puppy to the HDD the startup won't take so long anymore


definitely will. Puppy tries to load as much from the CD into ram at boot. On a slow CD Rom on a slow computer this can take a lot of time. But will be much faster from HD.
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Burn_IT


Joined: 12 Aug 2006
Posts: 958
Location: Tamworth UK

PostPosted: Tue 10 Apr 2012, 11:18    Post subject:  

That 5-10 minutes is a very long time.
My guess would be that it was struggling to read the CD. Either the CD is "dirty" or, more likely, the reader in that machine is iffy. There could be dust/dirt on the lenses or it may be so old it is struggling to read the narrower tracks on a new CD.
Often, if an old machine won't read a CD, you can get round it by WRITING another CD at just 4x rather than at a higher speed.

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greengeek

Joined: 20 Jul 2010
Posts: 2407
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Tue 10 Apr 2012, 14:06    Post subject:  

eskimo wrote:
First I burnt a new bootable CD with WaryPuppy 5.3 at 16x

Burn_IT wrote:
...or it may be so old it is struggling to read the narrower tracks on a new CD. if an old machine won't read a CD, you can get round it by WRITING another CD at just 4x rather than at a higher speed

I had a lot of problems with reading CDRs on older machines till I dropped to 4x burning. Burning at 16x does seem too fast and if your burner supports 4x that is definitely the way to go. Any drive that reads it still has the option of reading at high speed if it can manage it without errors. Didn't know about the narrower tracks. I wonder when they started doing that?

I also think faster burns can increase the number of "buffer underrun glitches" that get written to a CDR when the system speed can't keep up with the rate of date transfer during burning. Old drives don't seem to like what the underrun technology does to the CD track.
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Burn_IT


Joined: 12 Aug 2006
Posts: 958
Location: Tamworth UK

PostPosted: Tue 10 Apr 2012, 15:59    Post subject:  

The narrower tracks are a result of using higher speed lasers to write the disk. In order to be able to read/write at higher speeds the laser has to be focussed more tightly so that the errors caused by "leakage" from the adjacent track is minimised.
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eskimo

Joined: 08 Apr 2012
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sun 15 Apr 2012, 07:31    Post subject: the story continues...  

Hi,

yesterday I found some time to play with my very old PC and Puppy again. First I tried downloading the MeanPup iso recommended by greengeek - burnt it to a mini-CD-RW at 4x (I found it rather difficult to get a CD-R that would accept as low a burning speed as 4x) and tried booting from the CD in the old PC. No luck - I'm beginning to think that booting from any CD is simply impossible with that machine.

So my next step was of course the WakePup floppy. Unfortunately, this didn't work either - the wakepup floppy I had created with Puppy 4.3.1 the previous week couldn't find MeanPup on the CD and boot it Sad I had hoped that it was enough to have a single WakePup floppy that can then be used to boot any Puppy from the CD (I thought so since I was able to boot WaryPuppy 5.3 with WakePup floppy created by Puppy 4.3.1). Do you think creating another WakePup floppy directly in MeanPup could help me to get over this?

Anyway, finding the floppy boot incompatible with MeanPup, I returned to WaryPuppy 5.3 and tried experimenting with that. I partitioned my HDD following the manual in puppylinux.org (I found "GParted" a very nice tool, btw.) and then performed a full installation of Wary Puppy to the HDD (/dev/sda2). I also installed the GRUB boot manager to be able to boot either Win95 or WaryPuppy (btw. I wondered - what is the difference between GRUB and GRUBDOS and which one is better?)

I was anxious to see how quick the HDD-boot of WaryPuppy would be when compared with the 5-10 mins long WakePup+CD live boot... and I found out that it was definitely quicker, although the boot behaviour was pretty strange - after choosing "Puppy Linux" from the GRUB boot menu, "Starting up..." was displayed for almost exactly 1.5 mins and during that time the computer seemed to be waiting for something (but there was no HDD activity or anything like that). Then, suddenly, the booting resumed (or started) pretty quickly and it took no more than another 1.5 mins until WaryPuppy was completely booted. Well, now I don't know what causes the 1.5 mins lag - should I blame GRUB or WaryPuppy for it? I would think that something might be wrong with GRUB config but I've no idea what it could be (and then, Windows 95 boot without any delay when selected from GRUB).

The performance of WaryPuppy itself was not as slow as I had been afraid of, however, when I tried to launch the SeaMonkey browser, the whole system hanged and only hard reboot helped (well, here I blame myself for this because I answered Yes to the question whether to install Adobe Flash Player - perhaps I shouldn't have done that - unfortunately, now I don't know how to get rid of it to see whether it causes the hang or if it is the SeaMonkey browser itself)...

The thing, which upset me most, was that WaryPuppy somehow couldn't cope with my ES1868 sound card - immediately after installation it didn't discover any sound cards. So I tried the ALSA Sound Wizard, which discovered the card - in the list there was the item "es18xx: ESS ES 1868 Plug and Play AudioDrive" (which is exactly the sound card I have) three times, then there was "legacy: Probe: legacy ISA (non-PnP) chips" once and two more items that were irrelevant (something with USB and with Apple). I tried selecting and installing the driver for each of the three "es18xx" items one after another but none of them worked (the wizard always said that the driver was successfully installed and that I can play sample.wav but in the end no sound could be heard). Then I tried choosing the "legacy ISA (non-PnP)" option - although the card is declared as PnP - selecting all compatible options offered - two ESS's, SoundBlaster and SoundBlaster Pro (the documentation of the sound card says it's 100% compatible with both SB and SBPro) - and choosing "Yes" to the question of trying all possible combinations of IRQ/DMA - the wizard ended with "Not Found" message. The sound card itself can't be broken because in Win95 it plays OK. Searching this forum I've found a description of a similar problem here: http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?search_id=1961109443&t=32774 - it's not exactly the same thing because the sound card there is ES1888 whereas I have ES1868 but indicates that ESS sound cards are something that Puppy is not a good friend of. According to the post, the only solution seems to be hacking "modprob.conf" - only I don't know how I should hack it. Any good advice on this, please?

I'm happy at least with the fact that I managed to get a serial mouse working with Puppy, because the old motherboard in the PC appears to be fighting with a PS2 mouse (every now and then it stops working). But I've been wondering - is there a way how to set the mouse to serial _before_ the X-Window starts? It is not easy to start the mouse wizard in X-Window just with keyboard (tried navigating with Tab-key like in MS Windows but wasn't successful).

OK, I see I've written too much already... I think I'll get back to Puppy again the next weekend - looking fwd to your comments in the meantime Smile
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jemimah


Joined: 26 Aug 2009
Posts: 4309
Location: Tampa, FL

PostPosted: Sun 15 Apr 2012, 09:35    Post subject:  

The hang was almost certainly because you ran out of RAM. Have you created a swap partition? You're probably going to want a much lighter browser like dillo.
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Dewbie

Joined: 15 Apr 2010
Posts: 1783

PostPosted: Sun 15 Apr 2012, 14:34    Post subject:  

@eskimo:
What Jemimah said...and Monsie mentioned the same thing on the previous page.
Did you make any RAM / swap changes before your most recent post?
This needs to be included for context.

Follow this simple formula:
(RAM only) or (RAM + swap) = 512MB.
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greengeek

Joined: 20 Jul 2010
Posts: 2407
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Sun 15 Apr 2012, 20:26    Post subject: Re: the story continues...  

eskimo wrote:
The wakepup floppy I had created with Puppy 4.3.1 the previous week couldn't find MeanPup on the CD
Any chance of trying that CD on your other system to confirm a healthy burn? If the CD is fine I would suggest it might be worth trying "Barely Pup" which is available here:
http://puppyisos.org/isos/2007-01-to-06/
It is very lightweight and won't give you any real functionality beyond file browsing on your disk drives unless you add other programmes, but it would be an interesting comparison of the booting time/issues.

Quote:
Do you think creating another WakePup floppy directly in MeanPup could help me to get over this?
Sorry, I have no experience yet with WakePup.

Quote:
I answered Yes to the question whether to install Adobe Flash Player
I don't think you have enough memory to use flash. I would recommend you evaluate the browser performance without flash first. It should still be fine for email use at least, especially if you avoid the newer versions of browsers that are memory hogs

I don't have any info to add regarding the mouse and sound card issues, except to say that trialling other puppies can give surprisingly different results, depending on the hardware the developer trialled them on.

I still recommend anyone using older hardware to trial Puplite or Akita for comparison purposes.
Akita is here:
http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=67811&start=599
Puplite:
http://puppylinuxnews.org/home/p_2/

Good luck and please keep us updated. thx
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antiloquax


Joined: 27 Jan 2012
Posts: 405

PostPosted: Thu 19 Apr 2012, 06:50    Post subject:  

I have Wary 5.3.3 running fine on a Pentium II with 196mb RAM Smile
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tommy

Joined: 04 Oct 2005
Posts: 93
Location: Italy

PostPosted: Thu 19 Apr 2012, 13:01    Post subject:  

eskimo,
256MB of ram are good to play with Akita beta 8 or Turbopup extreme 1.0. They are a Puppy 4.2 derivatives, they use a 2.6.25.16 kernel (there are TONS of drivers, games, emulators and applications for this kernel in puppy repos and in this forum) and need little CPU power to run. The former is more up-to-date. If you have an hard disc, create a 256 MB swap file or a swap partition.
I also suggest standard Puppy 2.16 or 3.01, especially if you have problems with older pci or ISA sound cards.
Puppy 2 series are faster in starting programs. On my old PC (256MB ram & no swap) it took 2 seconds to start Seamonkey in puppy 2.16 and 7 seconds in 3.01!! Pup 2.14X10 is good but is RAM hungry.

Also, if your PC has an USB port and you have a USB pendrive, don't waste CDs and install puppy on your pendrive, then boot using Wakepup or Plop boot floppy. Here you will find my post on how to modify wakepup floppy if the standard one doesn't recognise your USB pendrive.

As for hard disc, if you want to play with different puppies and don't want to mess with USB pendrives, create directories in your HD (for instance name them: wary; akita; turbopup; pup216; pup301 ecc), copy the content of the respective puppy ISO in them (vmlinuz, initrd.gz, pup****.sfs, zdrv***.sfs) then modify the file in Hard Disc: /boot/grub/menu.lst as described here:http://puppylinux.org/main/How%20NOT%20to%20install%20Puppy.htm . Pay attention to the 'psubdir' option! Puppy 2 series need a 'root=/dev/ram0' option just before the 'psubdir' option. Akita may need 'nosmp' option also. And remember that grub IS case sensitive!

As for new puppies, I have tried Puppy Wary, Lupu, Racy & newer ones but on old PCs they are too slow in my opinion.

Have fun.
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I-Dont-Know

Joined: 21 Aug 2010
Posts: 17
Location: Boston

PostPosted: Mon 30 Apr 2012, 11:37    Post subject:  How to choose which Puppy
Subject description: I don't know which Puppy to select
 

By default, I choose the latest Puppy. e.g. 5.28 because I am not familiar with all the various Puppies.

I see things called Wary and Classic Puppy etc but don't know what these variants are for.

Is there a webpage that explains what each does so that one can better understand what they are and what they do ?

Just asking.... thought someone might be able to direct me to a helpful url.

Many Thanks,
I-Dont-Know
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