[NBLUG/talk] Request for hardware and distro recommendations

S. Saunders sms at sonic.net
Wed Apr 26 14:53:01 PDT 2006

On Wed, April 26, 2006 12:33, Roger House wrote:

> 1.  Is it even reasonable to try using this machine for Linux?  Some
> facts:
>         x86 Family 6 Model 7 Stepping 3
>         500 Mhz (?)
>         261,492 KB RAM
>         12 GB disk

I'd probably want to bump up the RAM (gui stuff these days is just nasty
with bloat, even in the *NIX world), maybe disk too (if you're "exploring"
the new world of Linux, you may want to install a *LOT* of different

As others have noted, if you want to run it as a server (i.e. don't need
all the pretty user-interface bells & whistles) this box may be just fine

> 3.  What Linux distro is recommended?
> My primary aim here is to learn Linux and associated software from the
> ground up from hands-on experience.  I should say that I'm a software
> developer who has been around since punch-card days (you know all
> those old greybeards who show up at NBLUG meetings?  I'm one of
> them) so I have some technical background.

Start with a "Live CD" distro (the OS/app's on a bootable CD) -- several
have suggested Ubuntu, and Knoppix has a good rep too (both are based on
Debian -- and going straight Debian is another entirely-viable choice, but
likely more work and more confusing up-front).

Fedora has, I think, a Live CD option, and has the asset of being the "big
player" these days because RH has pushed so hard on the commercial front. 
CentOS is the "free" version of RHEL, but AFAIK isn't available as a

You can probably get a couple or three LiveCD's cheaply through NBLUG, and
try the variants to see if you have any preference.

Last but not least -- you might browse a bookstore, find a book/CD set
that appeals, and decide based on the *book* rather than the distro.  As
has already been noted, there are MANY "right" decisions of distro, making
other considerations (e.g. a good book!) possibly the most-relevant

I can report that my father-in-law was given a Ubuntu install over a
broken MS-Win system and HATED it, largely because he couldn't find
adequate documentation for when he had questions -- he was MUCH happier on
his MS-Win system with a plethora of MS-Win stuff available; and while he
was never a "programmer" by trade, he used computers starting with Illiac
on up to academic UNIX systems at UCSF.

- Steve S.

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