pc recycling with free software

David Gerard dgerard at gmail.com
Tue Nov 3 22:35:14 UTC 2009

2009/11/3 Michael G <lists.n.forums at googlemail.com>:

>> I know that there are many gnu/linux distributions which can no longer
>> even be installed on very old computers because of their size and/or
>> distribution method; can you recommend any of the 100% free
>> distributions for this purpose?

> Depends on how you define "old". On a 10 year old system (say, a
> Pentium II with 128 mb of ram) you can easily run the current version
> of Debian even with the not bad-looking LXDE gui.

In my experience, the sticking point is not CPU, even a P-II does fine
- it's memory. KDE or GNOME are going to be a world of pain in 256MB,
you want at least 512MB and preferably as absolutely much as will
physically fit (typically 1024MB on motherboards of the time). A
smaller DE would of course be better.

As a practical usable machine, the main problem I find is that Firefox
is way too fat these days.

If you don't want a web browser, your life is much easier with memory.
I was recently using an ancient Thinkpad 560X as the household server
- Pentium MMX 233MHz (not P-II, original Pentium), 96MB memory and
Debian squeeze in command-line mode, no X at all. It served the
contents of a large USB disk over SMB and recorded sound from the USB
turntable and the cassette deck hooked to it quite well.

- d.

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