Linux investigate

The success of Linux doesn't rely on Microsoft's garbage

Find out why Jack Wallen doesn't think Linux should be installed on old, unsupported Windows XP machines.

linux_with_windows_garbage.jpg
With Windows XP about to finally meet its demise, many users are espousing its replacement with Linux. It makes perfect sense, because there will be millions of machines out there that are no longer supported by Microsoft. Those millions of machines can either add to our already insurmountable garbage problem, or they can continue to be used, sans updates.

Microsoft Windows without updates. That's little more than a security vulnerability in the wings. It would only be a very short matter of time before each and every one of those machines came crashing down. Instead of letting that happen, it's a very seductive proposition to grab a Linux distribution and resurrect that old machine. Why not? It's been part of the war cry of Linux for the longest time. 

Honestly, I'm all for keeping those millions of machines out of the scrap heaps, but I don't know how I feel about the Linux community crying out for everyone to use their out-of-date hardware for Linux. The success of Linux as a legitimate desktop operating system cannot, in any way, hinge on dumpster diving in Microsoft's garbage. In fact, winning the desktop war -- on any front -- cannot (and will not) be had by picking up any of the slack that smacks of the past. Success must begin in the present and quickly move into the future.

Consider this: The speed at which technology advances is now faster than ever. Yes, there's a large faction of people who hold onto the past (for various reasons, such as financial), but the vast majority of people who hold any influence over the world technology look to the future. This is also true of the mobile computing world -- it's all about the latest and greatest. The "what have you done for me lately" mindset is thick. 

With this in mind, Linux needs to embrace the future in ways that no other platform can. But how? By leading the charge of evolution and breaking ground that has yet to be broken. Linux has always been in a very unique position as a platform -- the open source nature means it's not beholden to a corporate entity, nor does it have to follow the same “rules” that tend to shackle Windows and OS X. Linux is free to do and be what it wants. With that wind behind its sails, Linux can re-define how people think about and use their PCs.

Canonical is doing just that with Unity, Xmir, Touch, and more. Although a good percentage of the Linux community is barking up a rather angry tree about the change they're bringing about, it's time they all got over themselves. Linux needs change -- from top to bottom -- and the Linux community needs to let go of the old ideas and ways, because the “I've always done X and X should be the way it is” mindset only hamstrings the platform. Linux needs to be agile, and if it can reclaim its ability to dodge the punches and adapt with lightning-quick reflexes, then there's nothing it can't do in this over-clocked evolutionary society.

Yes, people may grouse about change, but most quickly get over it when they realize that change is for the better. When Linux developers honestly listen and take the suggestions from the community to heart, all those major changes to the desktop can evolve in such a way as to absolutely benefit the end user -- and that is advancement for the people that the masses can stand behind.

However, if Linux continues to hold on to the same dusty war cries it's espoused for years, it won't get anywhere. Sure, Linux can resurrect that old hardware. You can slap Puppy Linux on it, but all you'll get is a lightning-fast computer that can't interact with modern business in a satisfying way. Plus, you'll have an old-school interface and a cumbersome package management system. Don't take this the wrong way, I'm not dogging on Puppy. In fact, I like Puppy Linux... just not as much as I like the idea of Linux pushing the boundaries of modern modality and showing the computing world just what it's capable of.

Linux has more untapped potential than any other platform. It's time we all embrace a “Linux for the future” idealism and slough off the old “stuck in the past” platform. More than any other platform, Linux can boldly go where no OS has gone before and do so faster. Care to join me?


About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

64 comments
.Ne0
.Ne0

Question: How many high-end Graphics capable Desktops/Laptops/Tablets ship with Linux installed ?

NONE ! They either have Windows or Mac installed.

So it doesn't matter which OS Linux is replacing.

clubhous
clubhous

Interesting article...... I myself was introduced to Linux while trying to figure out what to do with an old machine. However I quickly found that the OS certainly was not limited to old machines or its capabilities as an everyday OS.  An operating system I installed on an old desktop soon found its way onto my laptop. I've had it installed aside window ever since.   I currently have a Linux distro installed beside Windows 7 on a very robust i7 Toshiba.  Aside from a few apps that either wont run in Linux or web apps that only work in Internet Explorer, I find myself booting into Linux more than Windows.  It just runs more consistently.  So far I've never run into a compatibility issue that wasn't documented.  A little research is all it takes to avoid issues.   

dbielaski
dbielaski

Don't know if I agree that that the 'war cry of linux' has been to repurpose aging machines.  Most distros support current and emerging technology....it's just that linux has also done much (more than Microsoft, at least) to try and accommodate the different needs of users who support open-source software, including those who prefer a minimalist installation that works on barebone hardware, for example.

In fact, one of the major reasons that Linux can not be "agile" with "lightning quick-reflexes" is that it has so many different computing needs being met.  That is why there is so much variety and choice available, with different flavors of kernels, shells and distros:  that freedom offered to users to select the option which best meets their needs is exactly why there is a growing movement away from proprietary operating systems like Windows and even Mac OS X (which developed from an open-source core) to Linux.

"Latest and greatest" is nice, but usually not essential for those who have made (or are making) the move to Linux.  A continued commitment from the corporate entities (Dell, IBM, HP, Oracle, etc). contributing to development of the Linux kernel andfrom  the creators/producers of the large number of Linux distributions, coupled with continued growth and support of the user base and community adopting Linux, is much more important to those who truly support the concept of open-source computing.

trilithium
trilithium

Old hardware consumes too much electric power. Over time that costs so much that it is worth getting more efficient machines. I ditched my old tower PCs and CRTs at home for laptops and tablets. No more belching heat and noise. Far less space taken up. Portability. So many reasons to change.

avmendes
avmendes

Ah yes! The 5% solution is finally going to prevail. And Macs will dominate the desktop. Yes! Now is the time! Yes we can! Yes we can!

Stick with what you do best. Replace legacy Unix on proprietary hardware with Intel based commodity computers. True in the 90's, true today!

InstructorJWN
InstructorJWN

If you really want to "capitalize" on XP Demarkation, then a simple solution would be a linux distro that effectively "reclaims" a windows machine as a file server and retains the users data and such on a "new" network appliance.  Rather than a replacement for junk, this would keep the users information and provide a launch platform for future expansion.  ALSO, a distro needs to be put out there that has a couple of minor tweaks to provide XP users with a welcome path to new apps.


for example, a launch bar that has all the applications within eash reach.  also a control panel that again simplifies access.  finally (and this is really big) a smooth way to load the new distro on a Windows 8 "big box" computer via a thumb drive "launcher" thhis could be a < 1GB stick that has only the thin client necessary to pull the rest of a distro down from the net.

The key to success for taking the desktop is ease of use. 

Another really BIG thing would be to have the Network appliance load inventory the software on the users old bmachine and produce an install script for their new machine that provides same functionality (aka Office > Libre, Photoshop > Graphics app that mimics it, essentially giving them the same (or very similar) suite of open source apps that they had on th e"old" machine.

 IF you make the transition painless (or less painless than learning Metro / NEW windose, you will give poople the change they deserve.

 This will work.  If I had free time, I'd put out a distro with the loader myself, but already working two jobs.

 Used to do this for a living at a VERY BIG company, and trust me, make it repeatable, easy to use and convenient, and you will get the market.

Problem thus far is too many developers tryign to be implementers and sales people.  I was / am both and frankly you need to understand customers to make good products that really market themselves.

This is the key and major fact that LINUX has suffered from for 10 years, essentially bad marketing and bat installs.  The install has to be smooth as that is the initial customer contact.  If the install has issues, the customer will NEVER like it.

Seamless, no errors, and simple interface. 

 My / Our solutions went worldwide ina fortune 50 company because to borrow the phrase of a friend "It just works".

 That is what everyone who used our solutions said, and that is the key.  No "glitches, no special features, 

 Your goal to make a successful product, have the customers saying "IT JUST WORKS" !









dogknees
dogknees

"Microsoft Windows without updates. That's little more than a security vulnerability in the wings. It would only be a very short matter of time before each and every one of those machines came crashing down."

How much do you want to bet that my old XP machine will crash? Every one of them, are you serious?

Knighthawk5193@Yahoo.com
Knighthawk5193@Yahoo.com

While I can see the logic and argument for the article, I disagree about needing Linux to be forward thinking.....Linux is ALREADY forward thinking, just about any device you purchase today?...can run Ubuntu / Fedora / openSUsE etc. As for the machines of the past, well that also is a two fold issue, while it IS feasible to run out and buy a new machine and then throw Linux on it and have it go for years and years.....the REAL "value" of Linux?...is that even if you DON'T have or purchase a new machine it can still run for years and years on your existing one....without having to be upgraded with the latest & greatest, and it can STILL remain secure. The push to make Linux "mainstream" is not as crucial an issue to die-hard *Nixer's.....as it is for those who already know within themselves that Windows has......is.........and probably WILL continue.....to let them down, and they don't know how to approach the Open Source community without looking foolish....(can you imagine the "Windows Warrior" who has to openly admit that his favorite OS is a  pile of crap?...and that he's going to delete it and install (GASP!) Linux in it's place?).....I have no problem running Linux on my old hardware,....but I also enjoy running Linux on my NEW hardware as well.....and as my hardware "ages"....I don't necessarily throw it out....I re-purpose it for testing....storage.....tinkering etc. And THAT'S what using Linux is really about....its not about trying to make it "something for everyone"...its about making it "what YOU NEED it to be"!......granted there are "corporate" themed distros that are more than capable of being used as a desktop.....server......workstation......print server...etc. But the majority of Linux users "at home" care more about being able to accomplish what it is THEY need to do without being stuck with silly licenses preventing them from using the full features of the app.....or being prevented from using a program because it doesn't work nice with "Operating System XYZ".....Linux is already positioned within the workplace even deeper and more solidly than windows.....as company after company has willingly made the switch to hardened Linux servers in their datacenters and their edge technology. I will admit that it would be nice to walk into a consulting gig and see Fedora / CEntOS / Ubuntu / openSUsE / or any of the other myriad distros staring me in the face when I power up, and who knows?....that might become more of a commonplace happening than previously, but for now it is what it is...and while dumpster diving is NEVER going to be something *Nixers will ever have to do....(as evidenced by System76....ZaReason.....etc) it also doesn't mean that if you have an older device you have to toss is in order to "move forward".......okay!.....said my piece...getiin' off the soapbox and goin' home! LoL!

aboba0
aboba0

Been thinking about this for a bit before commenting. I disagree Jack. 

I've worked with plenty of people who don't feel any need and don't actually have one for new services / capabilities beyond what XP or Windows 7 provide. Having a secure system is not even a conscious requirement. If asked it is expected as a feature of the system. 

Their requirements are email, web browsing, writing letters, etc. These people often can't distinguish between web browser, mail client, and document editor programs. What they distinguish is the use case. "I click here to do my email, here to write letters, here to get news, there to do my pictures." They aren't aware/don't understand they're using different programs or whether they're working with local or remote files.

If they're faced with being unable to their routine tasks they'll seek out a replacement computer to do them. As a result they'll be moving to the latest Windows after purchasing whatever is available online or in the nearest store.

To the degree that Linux proponents recognize when these folks are at the point of buying to continue doing what they already do, "click here to do... <whatever>," there's an opportunity to solve the user's problem and raise Linux' profile.

I believe most of these people wouldn't be comfortable with or see a need for changing a brand new system they just bought. Changing one they were going to replace anyway, to see if they don't actually have to replace it, is a transition that I think would meet less resistance. 

After they make that transition and learn their needs can be met with Linux then, when it is time for a new system, hopefully they'll be at a point where they're considering Linux as a viable alternative.

Raise the Linux profile two ways, from the bottom up with tech laggards, and top down with early adopters.  Your article's about the former so I'm concentrating here on why this is an opportunity to pursue and not simply "...dumpster diving in Microsoft's garbage."

Apryl Raynell Williams
Apryl Raynell Williams

Why not use Linux to bring old computers back to life. It has been done before with major success.

stuart_lesnett@lesnett.
stuart_lesnett@lesnett.

Jack maybe should buy new equipment for all of us..  I'm sure other half would appreciate it. Ubuntu's  latest 2 releases are less than acceptable to a majority of us.  The provider is becoming more like Microsoft in the way is handles customers much like the left turn that Red Hat took causing many people to look for another solution.  Linux has been around for many years has never been able reached the end user success level as Windows from 2,301,311 and on.  Maybe should just work for Ubuntu and a couple of hardware manufacturers.

RobinHahn
RobinHahn

I get Jack's point - Linux isn't just for failed MS systems, and yeah, I can agree with that, to a point. 

I do feel that this argument tends to put the cart before the horse, for business, at least. 

For SOHOs, for example, simply 'marketing' GNULinux as a low/no cost solution doesn't really provide a concrete roadmap for a given business to follow for the transition and implementation. There are several factors to consider for GNULinux to be viable to a SOHO, such as inter-connectivity with existing services and systems, training of staff to the software, adapting the GNU solutions to that industry (not the other way around), to name a few. 

And this would have to be a business-by-business/industry-by-industry challenge. A solution for a bakery won't work for a dry-cleaners or a fitness centre or a panel-beater mob. So, the Linux community - who have done incredibly well at providing an excellent desktop environment for the general user (email, internet, printing, image/music/video, etc) - need to embrace businesses they are familiar with with tailored solutions. 

The biggest obstacle, of course, is mindset: "we've always done it this way ... it works for us, why change ... support for this new system is going to be far too costly ... my accountant uses xyz and Windows, so he required abc software (Windows-only) to run ... no one here knows anything about this OS" and, to be honest, these are valid considerations. Each would need to be addressed methodically (good feedback system) to insure the transition is guaranteed a long-term success.

Sure, it can be done, and on new, U-Beaut systems, too. The move to Linux by Steam is going to help a lot in that regard. But just as Windows has been "all things to all people", so GNULinux needs to be seen not only as safe, secure, solid and reliable, but also incredibly flexible in terms of providing for all needs of businesses.

sunworks
sunworks

 Mr. Wallen presents false choices in a very poorly thought out, shallow article. There is no reason the Linux world cannot both push  boundaries and replace old XP machines with Linux at the same time. 

Wallen acts like he has a grudge or is angry and that's not real effective.

edwardtisdale
edwardtisdale

As I post my comment, I am using a refurbished Dell Latitude D430 on which I have installed Linux Mint 15 with Mate and let me tell you, it is all I need. Just because Linux can work on more advanced machines doesn't mean it's not the best solution for an economical laptop or desktop.  In fact it's more than economical, I actually prefer it to Windows. What a terrible thing to say, "you shouldn't install linux on old xp machines". 

BrightLibra@Gmail.com
BrightLibra@Gmail.com

On many levels, Jack is right. Remember, life is about perspective and when we are hammers the whole world is full of what? Linux (UNIX) has become THE OS for people who want to work and be productive with science. The ability to shed the burden of closed source is a basis for that, but there IS a future we all have to be aware of. BYOD is not just "wow" thinking but here, now. Knowing that, Linux (Ubuntu) has to start offering software that may not be as open and free as we are used to, but something that is an MS Office beater is really needed for the common school environment. Picking up Skype and thinking it is the modern alternative to the Public Switched Telephone Network has to be seen as what it is - trying to develop IP telephony in ways Micro$oft wants but only Linux really can. 

 There are so many places that Jack is right here, take off the blinders and see his real point is being open and free in our own thinking and perspectives. 

Thought provoking, Mr. Wallen, thank you. 

bobp
bobp

The end of XP seems like an ideal way to introduce Linux to new users. They have a need that Linux fills - for free. Granted, once they decide they like Linux, they will continue to use it on new machines. But why not take advantage of a golden opportunity for Linux to gets its foot in the door?

penguinpete50
penguinpete50

"Yes, people may grouse about change, but most quickly get over it when they realize that change is for the better."

As I told my daughter just before she cast her first vote (it happened to be a presidential election), "Not all change is good".


I fail to see how rejuvenating old hardware (and saving money thereby) is "dumpster diving in Microsoft's garbage".  I'm currently running a system I built after Katrina flooding destroyed my old systems.  It has never had Micros##t on it.  It's 8 years old and certainly not state of the hardware art.  If Mr. Wallen can keep himself on the hardware bleeding edge, all I can say is "It must be nice to be rich".

SnoopDougEDoug
SnoopDougEDoug

WTF? This has been one of Linux's mantras from day one: Got old hardware that runs crappy or is no longer supported on Windows? Try Linux. I don't see how this changes the push to keep Linux up-to-date. Supporting legacy devices has always been one of the reasons people love Linux. Got an old printer that Windows 8 no longer supports? Not a problem, we still have a driver for that.

edward.keating
edward.keating

I'm using a laptop which may have run XP or Vista at one point in its past but is now running Win7pro just fine. I prefer an older premium laptop (cost over $1K) as a refurb (which now go for about $250) as you usually have higher screen resolution and upgraded components. This platform has a far from obsolete core2 duo at 2Ghz and a 500Gb drive. I've picked up several of these with different capacity drives, some still run XP for dedicated wireless capture, the others Win7.  I frequently use both current and older versions of Linux on recycled machines as it runs well and fills a need. I can use Ubuntu 11.04 in 512Mb to run an adequate AAA server (on a virtual Box VM hosted on Win XP) which was a whole lot easier to configure than the equivalent Microsoft product which expects a machine 4 times bigger and faster. Using a Linux distro on a older PC can develop skills which can be used on virtually all embedded systems running Linux. It's also a lot easier to debug with the additional peripherals which come along for the ride and the cost equally attractive. Free vs the cost of a development board and host system has its advantages. If you need to develop a proof of concept before a larger deployment, putting your code onto different older machines will also help you develop more platform independent  skills.

CFWhitman
CFWhitman

One more point that I could add to my recent post is that I have a 4 year old laptop with a Core 2 Quad processor and 4GB of RAM.  I run Ubuntu Studio on it, and I am having trouble justifying the purchase of a new one to myself.  The only real shortcomings the laptop has are a TN screen rather than IPS (I'm spoiled by my desktop and tablet screens) and a 320 GB hard drive with no SSD.  I have run short on space on the drive, but that's what my server with mirrored 2 TB drives is there for.  When I log onto the laptop, I still feel like I'm using a new machine.  It seems ridiculous to replace it.

CFWhitman
CFWhitman

As much as I encourage people to go ahead and use Linux on new hardware, I think that a lot more people get exposed to the virtues of Linux by installing it first on old hardware and seeing how well it works.

My nephew has had a laptop for the past several years by virtue of my salvaging laptops that have been written off by my company as too old.  Sometimes they might need a new power adapter, a new battery, or a bit more RAM (though I can usually salvage some of these parts, especially RAM, from another laptop from the same time period that quit working and is also being written off).  He has actually passed off his old laptop to his younger brothers.

Just to be clear, his current laptop is about 6 years old with 1.5 GB of RAM, a Core 2 Duo (64 bit) processor, and some kind of business Nvidia graphics.  It runs Ubuntu Studio 64 bit just fine, works acceptably for lots of games, and plays YouTube videos and online Flash based games without breaking a sweat.  His old laptop is more like 8 years old with 1 or 1.5 GB of RAM (I can't remember which off hand), a Centrino (32 bit) processor, and Intel graphics, yet it still runs Xubuntu perfectly well, works acceptably for a fair number of games, and plays YouTube videos and online Flash games without trouble (better than you might expect).  Both laptops run faster than they did with their original XP installations with all the updates (updates are important, but I've noticed that XP gets more resource hungry as the updates are applied).

When 6 year old hardware runs great and 8 year old hardware runs well just by using a full featured distribution with XFCE (or LXDE or Enlightenment) as the desktop, I have a hard time not encouraging people with old computers that they aren't eager to spend the money to replace to just run Linux on them.

Gerry_z
Gerry_z

I actually see both sides of the story.  I have a fairly new (less than 6 months old) quad core system with 22gb of ram that shipped with Windows 8.  I struggled trying to get it set up to dual boot with Kubuntu which is my daily operating system.  Finally I just wiped Win8 and installed 64 bit Kubuntu.  I have no regrets.  I also have an old Acer netbook that shipped with XP that is set up to dual boot with Puppy Linux.  The Xp partition is still there but rarely used.  The netbook runs great on Puppy and is very handy to take when I just need something simple and lightweight for email, etc.  For task that absolutely need Windows (unfortunately I still run into that occassionally) I have a quad core laptop running Win8.1.  My home media center computer runs Kunbuntu 13.10, but has a Win8 partitiion.  The unit originally shipped with Vista and was set up to dual boot when new.  I've upgraded the Windows partition to 7, now 8.  It hasn't been booted into Windows in weeks.  I've resurrected lots of older machines with Linux distros, but I also love the way the new versions run on up to date hardware.  There no reason we can't have it both ways.

jbdough
jbdough

have to disagree.  How are you being any different that the microsoft industrial complex building bloated cumbersome OSs that require faster CPUs and more RAM to accomplish what over 90% of users have been doing since 1992:  surfing the web, emailing, IMing and streaming videos. 

I am no tree hugger, but there is substantial environmental impact associated with the manufacture of hardware, and I feel strongly it is unconscionable to not wring the last bit of utility out of any of it. I've been running Linux on bone-yard jalopy PCs for 7 years, and will continue to be about 5 years post-dated on any BIOS.

No wait! UEFI and secure boot?? What am I thinking?  Gonna run right out and buy the newest thing I can find. NOT.

Matt Kearns
Matt Kearns

Just my thoughts: - Linux is only free if your time is worth nothing. - Using Linux to resurrect a machine too slow for Windows is a good idea, and worth looking at if you're a consumer, but it's not a viable business strategy. You're replacing sunk cost of buying new Windows machines for training personnel to use Linux which will likely far exceed replacing hardware. - That all said, if you have some low power-requirement units that are not going to be used by non-Linux personnel, then shifting those off to Linux boxes isn't a bad idea, but transitioning from one version of Windows to another is acrimonious enough, imagine updating a fleet of disparate linux distros and versions.

Joshua Morden
Joshua Morden

What do you mean by "old"? There are many early-gen Core 2 Duo PCs that originally shipped with Windows XP and would run blazing fast with Linux. With virtualization the way of the future, business could save a ton of money by installing a free OS such as Ubuntu or CentOS on existing desktops, and then have these machines connect to virtual desktops with Citrix Xenapp.

Tinman57
Tinman57

  Pretty strange, I'm having a supercomputer Workstation built with Linux 64 bit installed.  My old (but by no means slow) XP system is going to a friend who's computer just went out on him.  The ONLY reason I'm not keeping my old system is because it don't support the new high-speed SSD's.

Michael Johnson
Michael Johnson

I agree to a point. It'd be good to toss linux on the old machines to keep them alive for people that actually need them, but I also think that linux should try to jump ahead of the curve as well. In short, it should be trying to attack on all fronts.

Barry Arendt
Barry Arendt

I 100% DISAGREE, With this article what he needs to keep in mind is not everyone can afford to upgrade or buy a new computer with Windows 7 or 8. This lets folks that cant afford the latest and greatest technology still be able to use there older computers. Also, in my opinion Linux is more secure then other OS'es. Even if you can afford a newer computer some folks like to be frugal with there money. Not to mention these machines are kept out of land fills. I could not think of a better way to recycle a computer then to load a OS that is fully supported and puts life back into older hardware. (case in point) I run my business on Linux and older machines and it has saved me a lot of money. I also, know a lot of other folks who do this as well.

jelabarre
jelabarre

So if you are so determined I shouldn't use my old, yet perfectly functional hardware, are you planning on buying new hardware for myself and my family?  Because under the New Great Depression, (still here despite what the current administration and their pals might tell you) we don't and won't have the budget to get those new, flashy machines you are so intent we should buy.  If not, then we will continue to re-purpose whatever used hardware we can find.


Hallie Lynn
Hallie Lynn

If you're a google apps user none of the "windows burden" applies - I know a lot of users have to have windows for proprietary software but the machine is still licensed for XP and can be run in a VM with snapshots (in case of infection due to no updates).

Visionary I.T.
Visionary I.T.

Life cycle management is important especially in larger environments, that said it's generally best to replace desktops that are 5 years or older to control support costs. For Linux enthusiast however it's not a bad idea.

HallieLynn
HallieLynn

We are a Google Apps company with about 200 XP desktops in the field (next project) that we're going to load a custom Ubuntu image (removing unneeded softwares, lock down internet access etc. Luckily we dont need all those 'great windows features' he's talking about.   If all else fails, that machine is still licensed for XP and we can throw it up in a VM for essential windows tasks.  Even then, snapshops and roll backs will be nice if there ever is an infection due to the machine being out of date.

This will save us quite a bit of money in the long run since these workstations only require a web browser. 

Moving to linux does not seem like a good idea for large companies but small/mid size who want to save money (and have a personal IT person) could do it based on what software they rely on. 

Chris Glahn
Chris Glahn

I don't see installing Linux on these old machines as a cop-out for Linux. Extending the life of an existing machine doesn't necessarily squelch the "want" of something better, stronger, faster and more capable. There will be things that newer hardware offers that may be of benefit (USB 3, SD slots, faster wi-fi, better hardware for streaming video etc) -- the edge that Linux has in this constant change, is better consistency. Unlike the Windows XP change where upgrading hardware means a foreign desktop look and feel, and the frustration of dealing with those changes (XP to Windows 8.x) a change from Windows XP to Linux Mint (my preference) is that the hardware is renewed. Freed from the legacy code that plagues Windows. Free from the bloat of some coding, and also free from the need for Anti-Virus AND Malware scanning programs. Linux Mint makes a better performing computer - while still using a similar enough environment ... and then there's the benefits to Linux (update manager, the amount of freeware (without nags, or reduced function) ... Overall I think those that convert from XP to Mint will have a better computing experience - - if approached carefully and making sure that the hardware and necessary software is checked first.

Malcolm Jackson Ukip
Malcolm Jackson Ukip

If you are on a UK state pension install Ubuntu on your existing kit if you are short of money. My wife and I have used Ubuntu for about 8 years now. It is all for free, and we don't have to buy stuff like Norton antivirus. If we had to use Microsoft stuff we would not be able to afford going on the internet.

Крис Скотт
Крис Скотт

pfft I do not, he sounds like an Ubuntu n00b and therefore has no credibility to speak on terms of the linux community. A better suited argument for ditching these old boxes is they are simply a waste of energy. The energy consumed to the amount of computational power will always be a negative number. Most $50 ARM devices with linux on them will outperform these old XP era boxes while consuming next to nothing of energy. The next argument is linux DE's are not always light weight and push the limits of todays hardware. Just because the kernel is labeled Linux does not mean its old hardware magic sauce. Yes lightweight ones do exist WMFS or no Xorg service at all. Sure they can still be fun for practicing some advanced networking rules using the box as a router or IDS even IPS and setting up some nics for bridged routing with crazy iptable rules. Great educational purposes their. This is not a linux issue, it always boils down to you either know what you're doing or you don't.

Chuck Mazon
Chuck Mazon

Obviously, converting XP machines to Linux won't be a good solution in many cases, but refusing to make the switch in more ideal situations as a matter of principle is simply foolish. Linux will run very well on these "old" machines, much better than XP, so why not make the switch where it is a good fit? Increased implementation of new Linux machines are the goal, but we just aren't there yet. Putting as many Linux systems as possible into the hands of users is how we get there.

Scott Harrison
Scott Harrison

For me I get "We're sorry, page not found - Tech Republic"

1ndy
1ndy

Linux doesn't meet my needs. nuf said.

whitewolf60
whitewolf60

@dognees...Agreed! And how many times have Windows Updates brought systems "crashing down"?

I'll be using primarily XP for personal use (I also have physical and virtual machines with Vista, 7, 8, and various Windows Server editions as well as Linux distros) for the forseeable future...though recent (last month or so) clean installs of XP have involved major difficulties in manually updating through Windows Updates. Apparently, Microsoft is trying to force an "early" exit from the OS.

Meanwhile, I've downloaded every important XP update from the Microsoft Update Catalog to allow offline updating of future clean installs.

Of course, after the end of support, any business use of XP would require critical evaluation. Liability and compliance issues would need to be taken into account.

But I have no doubt that my first PC, a SONY laptop manufactured in the UNITED STATES in late 2001, will be humming along swimmingly with XP for longer than some apparently believe possible : )

edwardtisdale
edwardtisdale

@Barry Arendt Win7 or 8 isn't necessarily the latest and greatest either.

VhinzSanchez
VhinzSanchez

@Chuck Mazon I must agree.  But using some articles are just pointing that to make the XP machines useful is to install linux on them.  Not that bad, the article also has a point that we should NOT only use linux on old boxes, it can perform well on new computers and technologies as well.  But making a switch will enable (should be former) XP users experience Linux which will HOPEFULLY shun them from using Windows (atleast at home...and more hopefully at their office).  While increased implementation of Linux is the goal, introduction to Linux will be the start to make them trust it.  

phoenyix
phoenyix

@whitewolf60 Some businesses around here are still using windows 98 with no problems.