Minimal requirements

Sometimes, one encounters in web forums newbies who have heard the rumor that Linux can be run on old computers. Usually they either have a three to four years old 3 GHz box with a lot of RAM or some dusty old 486 they used for running Windows 95 a decade ago.

In the first case, one could easily run any modern linux on the box. In the second case, it is best to discourage the newbie. Her first contact with Linux would probably be a disaster and she might decide to never again try that crappy operating system.

I would suggest the following requirements:

  • P200 for a reasonably usable desktop with X Windows, probably with a minimal distro like DSL or DeLi

  • Hard drive: 600-800 MB for a bare minumum system, > 2 GB for a useful multi-purpose system, 3 GB for a full-sized system like Slackware

One can install and use Linux on hardware with lower specs. It might, however, be too difficult for a newbie to get a reasonable system running. For those willing to learn and use a simple system, even P100 will not be too old.


migchiel said...

hi newbi here ;)
Runnig a xubuntu 10,4 on a powermac g4 533 mh with more then enough room and ram but i'm not happy with the cpu use 90% in idle situation

Any body know about a good distro for this particular machine ?
i tried to install older xubunti 9.10 but i can not get it to boot

Mikko said...

I myself use Debian with iBook 600 MHz 384 MB RAM. I'm quite happy with the performance, your mileage might vary.

You should at least try LXDE desktop instead of Xfce. Xfce is really not very lightweight...