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Ah, nostalgia. My first computer was a TRS-80. Later, I could be found playing solitare on a 286 with a monochrome monitor. Sure I yearn for the simpler old days.
We need to face reality. Neither Linux nor Windows is suited for for old or skimpy hardware. They both need the equivalent power of a mainframe, that is what modern pc's offer, and that is why both are now excellent choices. Code and features have bloated because rewriting is expensive while memory and storage are cheap - economics rather than laziness. If you have taught your students to value "reusable" code, you have helped cause the bloat but it was the right thing to do.