Gaming Lagoon

Gaming Lagoon


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Modern OS on ancient hardware.

I am currently using, at this very moment, while I am typing, the latest completely updated version of Gentoo. I can surf the net, play movies and my window manager even has transparency. I am developing my Partalog program on it and transferring files, home movies taken with my Flip, to my home server over the internet. In other words pretty much everything which the average computer user uses.

As you probably guessed, I am not at home right now. I am in a completely different city altogether. Yet I still have the need to spin some bits and bytes. I can't help myself. I am a computer junkie and have no desire to follow any twelve step program :)

Unfortunately I am not rich. I am married with children and like Mr. Bundy, forever handing out money. At least I like my work though. So this means that I am not using this on a netbook, I don't have the latest quad core hyped up iWhatever. Yet I am using the exact same operating system on my home desktop/server as I am using on this primitive beast. I even have it set up with the same window manager, drop down consoles and other little tweaks to make my computing experience uniquely me.

Sure, using ancient hardware like this does have some drawbacks. Things do take just a little bit longer to load up, Something like taking a minute to start up compared to forty seconds on my dual core home machine. Starting up programs takes maybe fifteen seconds instead of ten. I can live with that, it is no more than the delay windows users have on their super modern machines once all the anti-virus and anti-spyware crap is installed. This little piece of history actually seems to run faster than most of the poorly maintained windows computers I see.

This little computing buddy of mine was nearly sent to the great junk heap. It was languishing and lonely, gathering dust because nobody could use it. It was not capable of running modern windows and the power connection was flaky. So I rescued it, gave it some love and it is in return loving me back :) What is it?

It, is an over twelve year old IBM ThinkPad i1400 Series laptop. The hard disk is only 12Gb, of which I still have over 7Gb free. I have expanded it's ram up to the maximum size of 256Mb and fixed up the flaky power port. It has no touchpad, instead using a keyboard nipple as a mouse and its cpu is a little pentium III running at only 500Mhz. Yes, even the cheapest and smallest netbook, heck even most mobile phones are more powerful than this.

Yet, on this ancient, dinosaur of computing history is able to run the latest Linux with ease. It only has, as I said, 256Mb, ram yet hardly uses any swap space. Once the programs are loaded up they perform without any problems. I could even update Gentoo, which means compiling programs, in the background, surf the net and work on my Partalog program all at the same time.

There is no possible way I could run any windows on this machine and do what I can now do with this little trooper. It yet another reason why I like Linux. It doesn't matter what I use, what the hardware specs are, I can still run the latest, modern, operating system available.

What old hardware do you have which is gathering dust because it is considered too old for modern programs? What could you use them for if they could only run an up to date operating system? Well now is your chance. Take them out, dust them off and give them some Linux loving. In return they will faithfully love you back :)

1 comment:

  1. I still have my old Commodore 64. I might just have to get it out and see if she still boots!