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I recently came into a laptop that was no longer to be used, a Dell Inspiron 1100. I figured, I could make use of it somehow, and I did. I installed a basic Debian Lenny on it. Now its not perfect or by any means easy to use. I had to figure out how to use aptitude from the command line and such, etc. Linux is markedly frustrating for new users, but if you manage to set it up how you want, it works well.

What have I done with the laptop? I use it as a digital map and ebook reader. I installed a deb package called Viking GPS. The lappy itself does not have a GPS tracker, but you can download maps in the app off In the app you can mark waypoints and routes. So basically what I have is a sophisticated little map I can take with me in the car. It doesn't have path-finding capabilities or GPS tracking, but when you need to find your way its just as useful as a paper map. Just an idea for someone looking to make use of an older laptop in a practical way.

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01 July 2010 - 11:57 PM
That is a really good idea. Thanks for sharing!


02 July 2010 - 03:19 AM
Good! As far as a machine is going to be used for basic purposes, even a primitive OS will do. I did the same with my Armada E500 but I used Arch Linux. I use it as a backup machine which is a good idea also. I use it as a PDF reader too :)


02 July 2010 - 06:03 AM
any recommended lean linux for use as a server? hopefully with rpm support ie not debian


02 July 2010 - 08:09 AM
If you are a starter I suggest you use Linux Mint, you can do nearly most of the works by graphical applications from the start of installation(even the update process). But as you progress in Linux, you may finally reach a point where you think nothing is better than Terminal :D


02 July 2010 - 02:42 PM
Well the issue I had was that the Inspiron's specs aren't all that impressive. So not all OSes are the same. Originally I was using Puppy Linux and an application called TangoGPS, but it seemed to glitch more often than not so I decided against it. So I tried various other small ones like Xubuntu, Debian with LXDE, etc. Eventually a basic install of Debian with Gnome seemed to work just as well so I settled with that. I tried Arch Linux once upon a time but couldn't figure out how to set up X to work on it as I wanted some sort of desktop environment, I'm not much for figuring things out on the command line.

The major complaint I have about it right now is the touchpad. There's no simple package that allows you to tweak its behavior. I had to install an package called xinput and I have to input a command through the terminal in order to disable the horizontal and vertical scrolling areas. All it does is disable them, it doesn't expand the movable mouse region either so its somewhat of a pain.

If you need to determine which Linux you need olibenu I suggest navigation to They've got an advanced search where you can type the parameters you're looking for. Its how I eventually arrived at my decision to use Debian.


06 July 2010 - 05:17 AM
went to i've chosen oracle enterprise linux, mint is debian. thanks guys


08 July 2010 - 10:01 AM
I managed to take an old Gateway Laptop with a broken screen that I picked up for $50 and turn it into a web server with Ubuntu Server 9.10. It's amazing what you can do with old machinery and a little work.
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