Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 21st Sep 2006 14:51 UTC, submitted by michuk
Linux "Is Linux a good choice for your old PC? In this article I'm going to examine the main issues connected with using GNU/Linux on some very old hardware. I will also cover choosing a distro, a desktop and the key applications for such a configuration."
Thread beginning with comment 164290
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
An interesting challenge I suppose...
by Dave_K on Thu 21st Sep 2006 16:06 UTC
Dave_K
Member since:
2005-11-16

Getting a modern OS running reasonably well on pre-Pentium II hardware is an interesting challenge, but I'm not sure why anyone would really want to use such an old computer. Not when much faster computers are easily available for next to nothing.

Once you're running a 500Mhz+ system with a decent amount of RAM, Windows 2K/XP, or pretty much any Linux distribution will run well enough without any messing around. With well chosen applications, for example running Opera rather than IE, or Abiword rather than OpenOffice/MS Word, a system like that will still be perfectly responsive and usable.

I wonder how many people spending $500+ on a Dell or PC World computer would be just as happy with the old P3 desktops that are thrown away by offices all the time. It's not that long ago that those P3s would have been high end systems, used professionaly for graphics and DTP, obviously one can still cope with basic home office tasks and internet access. My local PC recycling centre get so many P3s that only the best actually get sold, the rest are given away to anyone who wants them, or are broken down for their scrap value.

When you consider the computers you can pick up for free these days, trying to use a 486 or P75 as a general purpose desktop just seems like masochism to me.

Reply Score: 2

Harald Member since:
2006-03-10

Getting a modern OS running reasonably well on pre-Pentium II hardware is an interesting challenge, but I'm not sure why anyone would really want to use such an old computer. Not when much faster computers are easily available for next to nothing.

There are all sorts of good reasons.

For example, testing the speed of software.

When the question of browser rendering speeds was debated here a while back, it was great to put IE, Mozilla and Opera side by side on really slow hardware where you could actually see the rendering happen.

Cleared up pretty quick for me which had the quickest rendering engine.

Reply Parent Score: 1

Gadget Member since:
2005-10-21

Which had the quickest rendering on old hardware?

Reply Parent Score: 1

rcsteiner Member since:
2005-07-12

Not all old computers are bad computers. I use PPro/200 machines at home, for example, which just barely qualifyi as pre-PII hardware (they're 686-class chips, but no MMX) and they all work fine. Win2k runs on that hardware just fine as long as you give it enough RAM, and I'm finding a number of Linux distros work relatively well.

I'd love to pick up a faster box or two, but even a small $100 purchase is something I need to budget for right now. If I knew of a source of free P3 hardware, I'd be taking advantage of it, but I don't. Consider yourself lucky. :-)

Reply Parent Score: 2