Zenwalk vs iloog on an ancient Compaq laptop

Testing Zenwalk version 4.2 on an ancient Compaq Presario 1260 Laptop (AMD K6@333 with 64Mb RAM).

0) Install CD Boots pretty fast
1) Autopartition does not work, or it did not work for me. I’ve tried it two times both giving me an empty partition table thus being unable to continue the installation.By the way, why does it need at least 1Gb of swap space ?
2) Why can’t netpkg use more than one mirror concurrently since they’ve got different packages ? I’ve tried to select 2 mirrors from the menu but I didn’t work. Am I doing something wrong ?
3) XFCE was not light enough for this ancient laptop. I tried disabling various stuff from the panels…but it was still very slow to work with. So I used netpkg (from the command line) to add Fluxbox. Fluxbox was a lot faster than XFCE but still applications were pretty slow to start.
4) There was no APM support on the kernel. No battery status for the laptop 🙁

Overall I think that zenwalk is an “ok” distro but it’s still pretty rough around the edges. It still need some slackware-ish hacks to behave like it should.

The good part about Zenwalk testing was that it made me “install” iloog on a hard disk for the first time, so I could compare the two. Zenwalk and iloog.

I booted the iloog livecd,
a) rsynced /(root) to /mnt/hda2,
b) mount /proc, /sys to /mnt/hda2 and chrooted to it,
c) changed /etc/fstab to suit the laptop’s hard disk (beware to remove some of the noexec, nosuid options),
d) created a /etc/lilo.conf from /etc/lilo.conf.example and ran “lilo”
e) disabled some init scripts needed by the livecd for autoconfiguration
f) rebooted

and … the result was very very good. Applications start in a lot less time than they start with zenwalk and are generally more responsive. Firefox, for example, is actually usable in iloog in contrast with zenwalk where there was no way to use it…it took around 1 minute just to start it! I didn’t expect to see such a difference because zenwalk is supposed to be a “light” distro specifically for old machines (ok, maybe not as old as mine :P)
The bad thing is that since iloog is based on gentoo, it is almost impossible to emerge new applications on that laptop while it is very easy to do so with zenwalk using netpkg. It may be possible to install new application on iloog with a) distcc but it requires another strong PC to act as the “compiler PC” , b) by getting binary packages from another user’s repo (that sounds more like science fiction) debianizing the gentoo/iloog.

If anyone has an ancient laptop, like the one I have, he/she might want to give iloog a shot. It may revive it…

P.S. All that may be a bit biased towards iloog since I am the one developing it. I still think though that iloog is more suited as a livecd for educational/scientific purposes than as an installable meta-meta-distro (since gentoo is already a meta-distro). Once you actually install it to your hard disk it’s not iloog any more…but gentoo.

P.S.2. The latest iloog beta is here: . If anyone tests iloog livecd please leave a comment.