Linked by Howard Fosdick on Tue 15th Jun 2010 21:06 UTC
Linux All of us who use computers create a problem we rarely consider. How do we dispose of them? This is no small concern. Estimates put the number of personal computers in use world-wide today at about one billion. The average lifespan of a personal computer is only two to five years. We can expect a tidal wave of computers ready for disposal shortly, and this number will only increase. And as if that isn't challenge enough, there are already several hundred million computers out-of-service, sitting in attics and basements and garages, awaiting disposal.
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Very nice article
by Moochman on Tue 15th Jun 2010 23:30 UTC
Moochman
Member since:
2005-07-06

I found the article very inspiring; it almost makes me want to go and start my own refurbishing center right away! I do think the disadvantages of Windows were a bit overstated -- a cleanly installed XP with lightweight, free antivirus and spyware software generally runs almost as fast as Linux on P4s with 512MB RAM, and in my experience transplanting the hard drive or doing in-place upgrades has zero ill effects as long as you're not using an OEM license that's bound to a specific machine. But there's no question that Linux offers a much more cost-effective solution that runs on a much broader range of old hardware, and there is definitely something to be said for the fact that every imaginable application is available free of cost. Congratulations on your work, it's great to know about this possiblity to make changes in people's lives and save the planet all at once! Awesome stuff.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Very nice article
by jokkel on Wed 16th Jun 2010 12:48 in reply to "Very nice article"
jokkel Member since:
2008-07-07

Windows 2000 and XP run better with less RAM than current Linux ditributions. After all these OSs were built for these 10 year old computers.
Yes, I'm looking at the resource hogs Gnome, KDE, Mono, X.org.

I couldn't get current linux distros to run on several older machines: a Dell Latidtude D800 laptiop with a GeForce 4 has broken video drivers. Ubuntu LTS 8.04 is the most current distro that supports it.
An iMac G5 wouldn't stop running its fans at full speed on any PPC distro I tried. So it's back to Mac OS 10.4. An old IBM laptop with only 40 MB RAM couldn't boot from the CD drive. Lots of juggling install floppies later: no PCMCIA support, so no networking. X barely ran.

Linux is fine for machines with 512 MB RAM or more. But I would only use it, if the original OS is no longer updated or no Windows license is available.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Very nice article
by lucas_maximus on Wed 16th Jun 2010 13:03 in reply to "RE: Very nice article"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

On Older Macs, I find BSD a better fit .. OpenBSD will tell you what is supported and what isn't.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Very nice article
by lemur2 on Wed 16th Jun 2010 14:23 in reply to "RE: Very nice article"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

I couldn't get current linux distros to run on several older machines: a Dell Latidtude D800 laptiop with a GeForce 4 has broken video drivers. Ubuntu LTS 8.04 is the most current distro that supports it.


Gforce4 uses Nvidia chipsets NV17, NV18, NV19, NV25, NV28.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GeForce_4_Series

The nouveau open source driver should support this for 2D just fine:
http://nouveau.freedesktop.org/wiki/FeatureMatrix

3D support is still work in progress, but you don't need that in order to run a desktop.

Linux is fine for machines with 512 MB RAM or more.


If you have that much RAM, you can easily run a full-fledged Linux desktop such as KDE 4 or GNOME with only a 500MHz class machine. A lightweight desktop, such as Openbox, Fluxbox, IceWM or JWM would run like a flash.

But I would only use it, if the original OS is no longer updated or no Windows license is available.


If you were to run a Windows OS that such a machine could support, on the Internet, it would either be bogged down to uselessness with running anti-malware, or it would be burdened with malware to the point of unusability within a week. Take your choice.

Lightweight Linux distributions are far, far more suitable for low-resource machines.

Here is a Youtube link showing MEPIS AntiX 8.5 (released April 2010) running very happily on a Pentium II.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGe0KmtT9y8&feature=related

The entire install CD is only 480M.

In theory, this distro can run Debian on as low-spec a machine as a 486 with only 64M RAM, but that would be a bit painful.

Edited 2010-06-16 14:41 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Very nice article
by Moochman on Wed 16th Jun 2010 15:48 in reply to "RE: Very nice article"
Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

I couldn't get current linux distros to run on several older machines: a Dell Latidtude D800 laptiop with a GeForce 4 has broken video drivers. Ubuntu LTS 8.04 is the most current distro that supports it.
An iMac G5 wouldn't stop running its fans at full speed on any PPC distro I tried. So it's back to Mac OS 10.4. An old IBM laptop with only 40 MB RAM couldn't boot from the CD drive. Lots of juggling install floppies later: no PCMCIA support, so no networking. X barely ran.


I noticed that two of your three examples are laptops and I think this brings up a good point: Old laptops often have very proprietary power-management systems that Linux doesn't know what to do with. For example, I had a 2002-vintage Pentium M Toshiba that had hardly any options directly available from BIOS--instead all of the hardware config was done via proprietary Toshiba Windows XP-compatible tools. Use Linux and you can pretty much kiss any form of power management goodbye. This kind of thing was standard practice back then, before ACPI was standardized across the board. So for these kind of old laptops--of which there are many--I really do think XP is the best solution.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Very nice article
by jello on Wed 16th Jun 2010 16:27 in reply to "RE: Very nice article"
jello Member since:
2006-08-08

Did you try Lucid Puppy 5 (based on Ubuntu)?

Installed it on a Laptop with 192MB of ram and runs great!

Besides, why do I need a very old computer in order to justify Puppy?

My FatDog64 Puppy (64bit Puppy) runs great on my AMD Turion64 laptop - and it's the fastest Linux distro I've ever tested (Linux Mint 64 is dog slow compared to it...)

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Very nice article
by jello on Wed 16th Jun 2010 16:28 in reply to "RE: Very nice article"
jello Member since:
2006-08-08

Forgot to mention the exact version number of the mentioned Puppy versions:

32bit: Lucid Puppy 5.0.1 (Ubuntu)

64bit: FatDog64 RC3

jello

Edited 2010-06-16 16:33 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1