Please recommend distribution for an 686 computer with a Radeon 9200 card

dgvirtual

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I am looking for a lightweight distribution for the computer described below. The main showstopper for a modern Ubuntu on that computer is the Radeon 9200 graphics card. So, I need a recommendation of a distribution (preferably - a Debian derivative) that would support that graphics card, and that would not be obsolete (I still want a secure system with current Firefox or Chrome/ium).

I tried to upgrade Kubuntu 14.04 on that old computer (686 architecture, Pentium 4 with two cores, 4GB RAM, with a Radeon 9200 card). Upgrades to 16.04 and 18.04 went fine, but I could not launch the graphical environment afterwards. So I downloaded a Kubuntu 18.04 iso to get to a fresh start, but the graphics on the screen were glitchy at first and, when I asked to try without install, I saw the same white squares on the black screen as before. So, I understood that the graphics card is no longer supported.

Please help!
 
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Alexzee

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Check out Linux Lite or Lubuntu.
Aside from those distro's you could give MX Linux a spin too.



Is your machine 32-bit or 64-bit?
And is it a Dell? Sony? Toshibia? or Lenovo? Make and model # of your machine would really help us to help you.
 

dgvirtual

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Hi, thanks for responses. For now I have installed a last-known-to-work version of Ubuntu 14.04 (Lubuntu, actually).

I was thinking that newer kernel versions and newer versions of open source Radeon driver are tested on newer hardware, so it is no wonder that older hardware starts to fail, isn't that so? And Radeon 9200 card is back from 2004...

Anyway, to try newer versions I need to find a way to tweak settings on a live system prior to install. Is it possible to try 'nomodeset' parameter if I cannot change the boot sequence (as I assume I cannot on a bootable DVD)?

As to my hardware: it is a 32 bit (not 64 bit) computer, and it is not a brand name computer...

Here are a few hardware-info gathering command outputs:

$ lscpu
Architecture: i686
CPU op-mode(s): 32-bit
Byte Order: Little Endian
CPU(s): 2
On-line CPU(s) list: 0,1
Thread(s) per core: 2
Core(s) per socket: 1
Socket(s): 1
Vendor ID: GenuineIntel
CPU family: 15
Model: 2
Stepping: 9
CPU MHz: 2593.462
BogoMIPS: 5187.28

$
$ sudo lshw -short
H/W path Device Class Description
===================================================
system Springdale-G
/0 bus D865PERL
/0/0 memory 64KiB BIOS
/0/4 processor Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 2.60GHz
/0/4/5 memory 8KiB L1 cache
/0/4/6 memory 512KiB L2 cache
/0/4/1.1 processor Logical CPU
/0/4/1.2 processor Logical CPU
/0/3c memory 3GiB System Memory
/0/3c/0 memory 1GiB DIMM DDR Synchronous 400 MHz (2,5 n
/0/3c/1 memory 1GiB DIMM DDR Synchronous 400 MHz (2,5 n
/0/3c/2 memory 1GiB DIMM DDR Synchronous 400 MHz (2,5 n
/0/3c/3 memory DIMM DDR Synchronous 400 MHz (2,5 ns) [e
/0/100 bridge 82865G/PE/P DRAM Controller/Host-Hub Int
/0/100/1 bridge 82865G/PE/P AGP Bridge
/0/100/1/0 display RV280 [Radeon 9200]
/0/100/1/0.1 display RV280 [Radeon 9200] (Secondary)
/0/100/6 generic 82865G/PE/P Processor to I/O Memory Inte
/0/100/1d bus 82801EB/ER (ICH5/ICH5R) USB UHCI Control
/0/100/1d.1 bus 82801EB/ER (ICH5/ICH5R) USB UHCI Control
/0/100/1d.2 bus 82801EB/ER (ICH5/ICH5R) USB UHCI Control
/0/100/1d.3 bus 82801EB/ER (ICH5/ICH5R) USB UHCI Control
/0/100/1d.7 bus 82801EB/ER (ICH5/ICH5R) USB2 EHCI Contro
/0/100/1e bridge 82801 PCI Bridge
/0/100/1e/8 eth0 network 82562EZ 10/100 Ethernet Controller
/0/100/1f bridge 82801EB/ER (ICH5/ICH5R) LPC Interface Br
/0/100/1f.1 storage 82801EB/ER (ICH5/ICH5R) IDE Controller
/0/100/1f.2 storage 82801EB (ICH5) SATA Controller
/0/100/1f.3 bus 82801EB/ER (ICH5/ICH5R) SMBus Controller
/0/100/1f.5 multimedia 82801EB/ER (ICH5/ICH5R) AC'97 Audio Cont
/0/1 scsi0 storage
/0/1/0.0.0 /dev/cdrom disk DW-548D
/0/1/0.1.0 /dev/sda disk 320GB WDC WD3200AAKB-0
/0/1/0.1.0/1 /dev/sda1 volume 3052MiB Linux swap volume
/0/1/0.1.0/2 /dev/sda2 volume 295GiB Extended partition
/0/1/0.1.0/2/5 /dev/sda5 volume 295GiB Linux filesystem partition
/0/2 scsi2 storage
/0/2/0.0.0 /dev/sdb disk 80GB SAMSUNG SP0812C
/0/2/0.0.0/1 /dev/sdb1 volume 24GiB Windows NTFS volume
/0/2/0.0.0/2 /dev/sdb2 volume 49GiB Extended partition
/0/2/0.0.0/2/5 /dev/sdb5 volume 49GiB HPFS/NTFS partition
/1 wlan0 network Wireless interface

Here is, specifically, the graphics card info:

$ lspci -v | grep "VGA" -A 12
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] RV280 [Radeon 9200] (rev 01) (prog-if 00 [VGA controller])
Subsystem: Gigabyte Technology Co., Ltd Radeon 9200
Flags: bus master, 66MHz, medium devsel, latency 32, IRQ 16
Memory at e0000000 (32-bit, prefetchable) [size=128M]
I/O ports at a800
Memory at ff8f0000 (32-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=64K]
Expansion ROM at ff8c0000 [disabled] [size=128K]
Capabilities: <access denied>
Kernel driver in use: radeon

01:00.1 Display controller: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] RV280 [Radeon 9200] (Secondary) (rev 01)
Subsystem: Gigabyte Technology Co., Ltd Radeon 9200
Flags: bus master, 66MHz, medium devsel, latency 32


So, how do I check if any of the modern distros would work on my computer without installing it?
 

Alexzee

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To try a distro without installing it you can do 1 of 2 things.

Install Virtual Box and see how the Linux os runs.
OR> you can download the 32-bit .iso of the Linux os you want to try and make it bootable on a usb thumb drive and run it live.

In order to get the usb to boot you'll have to go into your BIOS in the boot section and make the usb thumb drive to be the first choice in the boot menu.
Save the changes and exit.

Upon exiting the BIOS it should start booting into the Linux .iso that you made bootable on the usb thumb drive.

You can use Rufus to make the .iso bootable:-

OR>
You can use Etcher:-
 

dgvirtual

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Have a look 32 bit and 64 bit Debian based.
Have to learn the Antix ways so a mild learning curve.

Don't know about the Radeon 9200 graphics card.
I have a Radeon 9250 graphics card and it seems to work with Antix Linux.
Antix sounds promising. Downloading an iso now...
 

dgvirtual

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To try a distro without installing it you can do 1 of 2 things.

Install Virtual Box and see how the Linux os runs.
OR> you can download the 32-bit .iso of the Linux os you want to try and make it bootable on a usb thumb drive and run it live.
I was trying to avoid downloading a lot of distros only to be disappointed at the outcome – I seem to be unable to find a current distro in Ubuntu ecosystem that would not conflict with my hardware. I will try Antix, see how that goes. Will perhaps just burn it onto a DVD - that was the usual way before the USB sticks became large enough :) I did a lot of that a decade and more ago.
 

Alexzee

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Antix should run well for you on that machine.

Let us know how it goes.
 

captain-sensible

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Check out Linux Lite or Lubuntu.
Aside from those distro's you could give MX Linux a spin too.



Is your machine 32-bit or 64-bit?
And is it a Dell? Sony? Toshibia? or Lenovo? Make and model # of your machine would really help us to help you.
looks like 32 bit
 

wizardfromoz

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G'day @dgvirtual and welcome to linux.org :)

Got some easy-peasy options to try provided you are prepared to put in the legwork to see what best suits you and your beast (machine).

  1. Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light-weight_Linux_distribution will give you some options to match against your specs. You could then go to
  2. Distrowatch's page hit ranking https://distrowatch.com/dwres.php?resource=popularity - if they are in the Top 100 broadly speaking, they will have good support. Tunnel further to get to homepages and check features etc.
  3. If you get a short list, then a search under system requirements <name of distro> to see if they still fit the bill
  4. Use Andy's tip on Ventoy or ask us for another multiboot burning solution, to try the Live versions on the beast.
  5. Choose one and install.
Linux Lite 3.8 32-bit might have been a good call (I have used it) but being based on Ubuntu 16.04 its EOL (end of life) will be maybe 20 April 2021, only months away.

LXLE is an option, run system requirements search for that.

I ran an older version of it for a couple of years on a Compaq Presario (2005) I have with only 512 MB RAM, and it was adequate.

HTH

Chris Turner
wizardfromoz
 

wizardfromoz

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BTW - might be wishful thinking on the Zoom, but who knows?
 

dgvirtual

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Thanks everyone,

Antix worked for me, so I am staying with it for now. Got an up-to-date firefox and snappy user interface. A very primitive distribution, but my son seems to be doing his remote schoolwork on it fine (except for Zoom, but that must be nightmare to set up on a distro that has no PulseAudio anyway, and where I barely got a snapshot from webcam - no video somehow; an Android phone works fine in that respect).

I have also tried again to load Kubuntu 18.04 live disc with the nomodeset option at boot, but that did not help (I got all kinds of errors that I was too lazy to investigate, and no graphical environment).
 

Alexzee

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Glad to hear Antix worked for you.
 


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