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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Good article...
by UltraZelda64 on Wed 16th Jun 2010 02:46 UTC
UltraZelda64
Member since:
2006-12-05

...it just reminded me about my ancient Gateway (which according to records was shipped in May 2001). It has a pathetic 256MB PC800 RDRAM, which I've been wanting to upgrade to something more usable for years now. Problem is RDRAM has always been freaking expensive. I just checked online again and it seems the RAM is somewhat cheaper... I'm really considering doing the upgrade, possibly max it out to 2GB. I've kept it going good for almost a decade, with no hardware failures and several performance upgrades and additional PCI cards... I'd love to see it running happily for another 5-10 years (at least). It's still on 24/7 (unless it storms) and used every day. It's served me well, and I don't don't know how I could ever get rid of it, even with a more powerful system. I've become attached to it. Maybe I'll be able to get that RAM for its tenth birthday. ;)

That said, in my opinion 256MB is just NOT ENOUGH any more. Even for those distros that *can* run in 256MB, I'd still rather have 384MB; most "light" distros seem to just barely get by and don't have very comfortable GUIs. They're usable, but IMO not good for everyday operating systems. Those KDE3 and Gnome-based distros are typically best at 512MB RAM, though some are quite impressive with 256. KDE4... hah... better have about a gig minimum (and I'm not 100% happy with its performance with that on a 64-bit system).

Similarly, a PIII is the minimum processor I'd use; PII is just too slow for me. It was back in the late 90s, it is now. If you want no GUI or anything fancy it'd be alright though.

Honestly, I'm not sure I'd recommend something less than a PIII with at least 512MB RAM to anyone else either, unless their use is seriously limited. Of course, I wouldn't have to... because they seem perfectly happy getting "cheap" new computers with more power/memory/storage than they'd ever know what to do with every time their old one takes a shit (which is usually something dumb like Windows product activation, battery that costs more to replace than it's worth, malware, etc... just as the article mentions).

I've given up talking to them about computer problems, because they ALWAYS decide to just get a new machine anyway. Even if I recommend against it. Somehow it's already better, as if a 150GB hard drive only 40% full and 2GB of memory, which they don't even use half of, is not enough.

Edited 2010-06-16 03:05 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: Good article...
by UltraZelda64 on Wed 16th Jun 2010 07:43 in reply to "Good article..."
UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

Hmm... I hate to talk to myself (or reply, LOL...) but I just remembered Xfce. For some reason, even though it was one of the first Linux desktops I used for an extended period of time, I forgot all about it. It does run quite well with 256 megs of RAM... but still, I'd say 384 would be better anyway, just to be safe. I know I used to run into frequent swapping in Zenwalk with 256 megs in Xfce... all it takes for any desktop (or hell, even a simple window manager like openbox) to swap (ie. run low on RAM) is a single instance of Firefox. Add a couple more programs to the mix and you're sure to experience some noticeable (and eventually frequent) slowdown.

Edited 2010-06-16 07:56 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Good article...
by nt_jerkface on Wed 16th Jun 2010 22:31 in reply to "RE: Good article..."
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

all it takes for any desktop (or hell, even a simple window manager like openbox) to swap (ie. run low on RAM) is a single instance of Firefox.


Yea this is the real problem. You can get an OS to boot into 256mb of RAM but that says nothing about the applications. I have found Chrome in XP to be tolerable as long as there is at least 368mb, but 512 should really be considered the minimum. Slow hard drives can also make the swapping a lot worse. A lot of those old laptops have anemic 4200rpm drives that get crushed by swapping memory demanding programs like browsers. XP runs just fine on 512mb as long as you have a decent hard drive. I was shocked by how well XP ran on a p3 500mhz machine that had a 7200rpm drive.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Good article...
by joelito_pr on Fri 18th Jun 2010 16:27 in reply to "RE: Good article..."
joelito_pr Member since:
2005-07-07

Should try LXDE, I've used it with 128MB of ram and runs Debian with reasonable performance.

Reply Parent Score: 2