I have ended up with a very old piece of hardware and of course the first thing I did was wipe the Windows 2000 installation and stick a few versions of Linux on it. Unfortunately it only came with 128MB of memory from factory so nothing would run very well. The PCMIA wireless card that came with it wouldn’t work with WPA2 under Windows 2000 so an upgrade was required.

£5 later I got a matched pair of Crucial 256MB sticks on ebay so I could try out Linux Mint 6 Fluxbox edition and Linux Mint 10 LXDE. Whilst both worked right out of the box I did have to configure the X11 monitor settings so that it would support the full 1024x768 splendour that the Inspiron 2500 affords you. See the gist I have setup on github for my configuration file and some short instructions on getting it setup.

In the end I decided to go with Mint 10 LXDE as it used a similar level of system resources, but ran more smoothly and of course benefited from being the latest version with full package update support.

I expected to have a load of issues getting the Belkin wireless adapter working, but in the end this distro had all the drivers so need for all those ndiswrapper recipes that are out there. It is running much better than the Windows 2000 OS was as well and benefits from having and running newer versions of all the applications I need.

Of course web streaming of Flash video is somewhat staccato with such a small CPU but it is a perfectly usable web browser and word processor.