Best Linux to Work with Wine on Old Laptop

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by stevefoobar, Jul 18, 2013.

  1. stevefoobar

    stevefoobar New Member

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    I’m considering a Linux version for an old laptop because it is starting to limp along under the weight of Windows XP SP3 and the constant updates. I haven’t even looked at Linux since some of the very first versions were made available, so I would greatly appreciate some advice and help getting up to date. I presume things have changed a lot and indeed have gotten much easier and more “mainstream”.

    I’m very technically proficient with software/hardware/networking under Windows. I’m a former UNIX guy from a long, long time ago but remember very little, even though I was quite proficient at the time. We’re talking pre-windows days here! :)

    This particular laptop is an Acer 3000 originally designed for Windows XP SP2. It has an AMD Sempron 2800+ (1.6 GHz) processor with 2 GB of RAM and a 38 GB drive currently formatted as FAT32.

    I would prefer to be able to run Wine so that I could use Windows apps—for starters MS Access 2003 and MS Office 2007 Suite (although I would consider OpenOffice if it’s compatible enough) as well as Firefox. I would also need for the Linux OS to be able to see the shared folders on my local networked Windows machines (both Windows XP SP3 and Windows 7 machines) and the Windows machines to see the Linux shared folders.

    Is this even possible?


    If so, what is the “best” (whatever that really means) version of Linux you would recommend for this purpose and hardware? I really don’t want to fiddle around constantly with the OS or have to compile my own executables, find my own drivers, etc.

    Thanks a lot!
    DevynCJohnson likes this.
  2. nickmh

    nickmh New Member

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    I had an exploratory LUbuntu install on a virtual machine with exactly this purpose in mind. I am planning on installing on a slightly more powerful machine, which means I may try XUbunut first and see how it goes. But on a low powered machine I'd be trying LUbuntu first. The virtual machine I'm using is running quite happily @ 512mb Ram and a single core processor. With Apache2, MYSQL, PHP5, Samba and a few other bits and pieces installed. This set-up boots @ 270MB of ram.

    With 2GB of ram you could quite comfortably run XUbuntu. It'll probably boot @ 300MB

    Hope that helps.

    P.S. I'd suggest Libre or Open Office as opposed to wine, if that's all you're using wine for. I've been using LibreOffice for a few years now, with no need to run MSOffice at all. Maybe install a MS Word/Excel viewer into wine?
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  3. arochester

    arochester Active Member

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    http://www.noobslab.com/2013/05/microsoft-office-alternative-kingsoft.html
  4. SLW210

    SLW210 Member

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    What graphics card and what wireless if any?

    Barring any problems with drivers, that lap should fly along with any distro.

    I agree, Dump MS Office, LibreOffice is much better.

    I run currently Ubuntu, Peppermint and AntiX. I just unloaded OpenSUSE and Kubuntu. Next to try is a lightweight distro called Bodhi.

    Just download a few distros and give them a try, there are plenty of lightweight distros.
    DevynCJohnson likes this.
  5. stevefoobar

    stevefoobar New Member

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    Thanks guys. Sorry for the incomplete hardware list. Here are the "stock" hardware devices, all built into the laptop of course:

    Audio: Realtek AC'97
    Video: SiS M760GX
    Network: SiS 900-Based PCI Fast Ethernet
    Wireless: Broadcom 802.11g

    So when I last messed with Linux (as I said in the early days!) it was a pain to find drivers--there weren't many, and you had to find them on your own, compile them, and then figure out how to integrate them with the Linux OS.

    How does it work with today's versions? I presume no compiling, but do you still have to find your own drivers? Are the drivers on the same download sites as the distros?

    Thanks again.
  6. arochester

    arochester Active Member

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    Many "drivers" are built into the Linux Kernel so much hardware (not all) just works.

    Generally there is no/little compiling. I have compiled when there is no other way, but not often and there are instructions around.

    Usually packages come from "Repositories" and are managed by "Package Managers". A package is pre-compiled and when you install it comes from the Internet and is AUTOMAGICALLY put into place. Have a look at e.g. http://www.psychocats.net/ubuntu/installingsoftware
  7. stevefoobar

    stevefoobar New Member

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    Thanks!
  8. stevefoobar

    stevefoobar New Member

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    OK, thanks guys. I'm about to give Linux Mint with Xfce desktop a shot because it appears to have a very small footprint. I have no idea if it comes bundled with Wine or not but I guess I'll find out soon enough. I hope it supports Wine since I need to run a MS Windows Access app (not MS Access itself but an exe app designed with MS Access). I think I may also try LibreOffice and see if I can avoid Office 2007 entirely. Hopefully I'll get lucky with the hardware and network folder sharing access.
  9. MikeyD

    MikeyD Active Member

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    You will be able to install Wine on Mint although I don't think its preinstalled a simple command-line "sudo apt-get install wine" should do it although I haven't used ubuntu/mint package manager in years so don't quote me on that :confused:
    Unfortunately this guide is for Gnome desktops, but it may help you with accessing a Windows shared folder:
    http://lifehacker.com/288033/mount-a-windows-shared-folder-in-linux

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