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Re: [school-discuss] Linux Distro Launching From MS Windows

On Fri, Oct 14, 2011 at 5:00 AM, Michael Shigorin <mike@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Ubuntu with "mere" 384M RAM will behave vastly worse than winxp.
Haven't tested with 384 MB RAM, but I have tested with 64 MB of RAM and various operating systems and these are my results.  Some variants of Linux will run in 64 MB RAM, Windows XP is pretty much unuseable.  Windows ME and previous versions work fine with that amount of memory.  FreeBSD works even better than Linux with 64 MB.

>> The distro needs to run with *high* reliability and reasonable
>> speed on a 2.6Ghz Celeron and 384 MB of available system RAM.

>I might ask our Antique folks what they'd recommend (though it's
>rather a Russian distro but works on 64M OK) if you're not
>satisfied with the proposed solutions (including Tiny Core Linux

I know memory is inexpensive and if I'm buying a new machine, I'll get as much as I can.  However, when it comes to older machines, there's a point where upgrading is over-kill.  With one of my older machines, it's cheaper to buy a new computer than to upgrade memory, wireless connection, etc.  However, I hate the idea of throwing away a perfectly good machine that runs well and will probably last longer than a newer machine.  With judicious choice of operating system and software, one can do almost as much (as far as capabilities not speed) with an older machine as a newer one.  (Am referring to tasks like word processing, web design, calendar/pim functionality, reading ebooks, basic graphics and video display, etc., not resource intensive tasks like editing videos.)
Debian Linux using the netinstall CD works very well for lower memory machines.  So does AntiX which is based on Debian.  (I have used Slackware and some Slackware variants, but latest versions will not install from CD in 64 MB unless you make your own custom installation CD.)  As I mentioned, FreeBSD also works well and you can run applications built for Linux on FreeBSD.
Running an emulator on an older machine with lower memory or using a virtual disk system (such as WUBI) can slow things down.  About the only emulators I run are DOSBox and Mess (for CoCo emulation).  The programs for these are usually for systems with much less capability and sometimes I need to slow them down just to get them to work right.  If Colinux works similar to the FreeBSD Linux emulator (and I hear that it should), there really isn't that much of a slow down.  Rather than running one system on top of another, systems like FreeBSD's Linux emulator work in conjunction with the operating system running and access lower level kernel functionality rather than trying to emulate everything in software at a higher level.  My personal preference, when I can do it, is to rebuild whatever software I need on the system I'm on rather than running an emulator.  That's one reason I greatly prefer cross-platform portable software.  I also prefer applications that are simple to build and do one job well rather than large complex applications that try to do everything.  With well-written software (and no hardware conflicts), most operating systems are usually pretty stable.  (Then again, as a programmer, if I want to crash a system, any system, I pretty much can.  It's very easy to do while one is developing certain types of applications.)