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willy

'Real-life' minimum hardware config for Linux desktop ?

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It depends. If you want them to be a firewall/router, or even a low-volume web server or file server you sould be OK. It you want it to be a workstation, running KDE or GNOME, it'll be very fustrating to say the least.

Steve

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A Pentium machine with enough memory can make a decent machine for email, browsing the web and some light word processing....provided you install a fairly lean linux distro along with a lightweight window manager.

I would use slackware along with icewm on a very lowend machine. Enlightenment with most of it's eye-candy options turned off is also pretty good. Make sure to check out all the tweak guides available, as most distros still leave a lot of room for optimization out of the box.

DEFINATELY avoid redhat and mankdrake....they're absolutely dreadful on a lowend machine. Ss far as a memory straped pentium or 486........firewall or router hardware at best.

-Chris

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It really depending on what you're trying to accomplish with Linux. There are certainly Linux distributions out there that will run on a 386 with 8MB of RAM.

http://gd.tuwien.ac.at/opsys/linux/baslinux/

It also depends on how much you value your time. Compiling a recent kernel on a 386 with 8MB of RAM could take hours, but you could certainly surf the web and such.

I ran Linux for years on a 486 DX/2 66. It was a top-of-the-line PC at the time (1992?), and was considered quite fast.

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I can't imagine mozilla running well on a 486 or 386......and a good number of sites these days break in Netscape < 6.0. There's certaiinly an issue of here of doing it because it's useful.....or doing it because you can :-)

-Chris

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You *can* do pretty well for a Linux workstation provided a few things:

1. Resign yourself to not using the latest KDE or GNOME. There are great alternatives to this, including middle/lightweight WMs like WindowMaker (the WM I use personally).

2. Max out RAM. Linux on a workstation does OK starting at about 64MB. X-ish programs are simply memory hogs, and web browsers are always the worst offenders. You can get away with as little as 16MB on a minimal GUI desktop, but I'm making the assumption you'll want a decent browser.

3. I'd say to shoot for at least something that'll do MMX. Anything above that, given enough RAM, should be tolerable.

My bare minimum suggestions for doing anything like a workstation are, roughly, Pentium MMX 166, 64MB RAM, 2GB hard disks. You might be able to slide on the CPU even a bit more. I have access to a 200MHz Motorola StarMax (PPC workstation) running Linux and it's absolutely usable, but I find my cranky old Sparc 20 (dual 110MHz) a little too slow for day-to-day work.

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Just wonder what can a 486 and a P120 can do ? Or, I am simply wasting my time ?

RAM will be the key issue. I have used a Pentium 233 with 32MB and it was perfectly usable. I have also used a Pentium 133 with 64MB of RAM, again it was perfectly usable. If you can get a nice hard drive in there, you will have a perfectly usable workstation.

As a webserver, both of the machines above would make very good file servers and very decent web servers, capable of serving thousands of static pages a day. If you have a server with tons of dynamic pages, then you may need something a bit more robust.

Use either ReiserFS or XFS as your filesystem. They are fast faster than Ext2 or Ext3. They also rebuild quicker.

Good luck,

Yuyo

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I found interesting this topic.

But what about the HDD ?

Only Mercutio has said :

, Pentium MMX 166, 64MB RAM, 2GB hard disks

If I remember well, an older Slackware can install on FAT partitions .

Is that still true ?

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yes there are ways to install linux on a fat partition......even running the whole linux filesystem as a loopback device off the fat partition.

-Chris

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Im using Connectrix VPC off winxp to run redhat 7.3 (very handy for testing). It's running off an P3 850 so that's puts the cpu at roughly P2 200MHz (best case scenerio) for relative performance (25% host cpu)--which is the closest my experience comes to running linux off a box with a slower/older CPU.

Gnome and KDE run, but they are extremely sluggish to the point of impracticality. Grant it, we are working with hardware emulation here, I have little doubt that a 386 could even approach that already lacking level of performance. Gnome and KDE just are just not that optimized yet (but someday they will be).

My advice is to stick with command line unless you enjoy experimenting (which is fun too). The latest redhat installs can be easier to setup initially than a windows machine if you chose that route.

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