General discussion


PC System requirements for Linux o/s

By badair ·
Have an older pc, 450mhz, 256kRam, 12gb HD, running windows xp pro, an upgrade from 98SE, it works but needs help- bloated registry etc, & i'm tired of farting w/it, so I wonder if this old boat anchor has enough soup to run one of the Linux based o/s that are discussed here? Really dont think I need to just pitch pc out the window, ha ha pitch windows out the window!
I am thinking of formatting HD & installing Linux from a CD that I can order from one of the websites. Then using Firefox, a Linux compatible email client & some other office pgms.
What are system requirements to run Linux o/s, browser & some office type apps? Word, excel, ms project?
Can I run ms office suite w/Linux based o/s?
Bless you all for your advice!

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by Fritz_Monroe In reply to PC System requirements fo ...

Sure it can run one of the linux distros. Personally, I like Slackware. You will have to do some configuration, but that's half the fun. I'm using Slackware 10.0 on a 450 MHz AMD-K2 with 192 Meg RAM and 2 8 gig hard drives. Works like a champ. It slows dramatically when using KDE or Gnome desktop environment, so I use one of the lightweight window managers, like XFCE.

One of the great things about linux is there's a distro available for just about every system out there. Take a look at for more choices.


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by badair In reply to
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by vicrh In reply to PC System requirements fo ...


You can run linux with your older PC. Although 256 Mbytes of RAM is enough to "run" the latest versions of "heavier" graphical environments as Gnome or Kde, you should try to save memory for other applications (Firefox, OpenOffice, etc.) in order to reduce disk trashing. You could try a "light" graphical environment as Xfce in order to save memory. For example, you can check to see the memory footprint of various grahpical environments.

Currently there are a lot of Linux distributions. Suse, Mandriva and Ubuntu are very user friendly and also easy to install.

You can only run Microsoft Office in Linux through a wine (Windows Emulator) based product called CrossOver Office as far as I know. But probably you would be happy using OpenOffice (can import/export MS formats).


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by badair In reply to
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by Prolifiq In reply to PC System requirements fo ...

I see your main goals are compatibility with your older hardware, and office software availability. Which means you'll need something that's rock-solid, with apps that "just work". So it sounds like you're about to learn some Slackware!

This is an optional step, but... download one of the available "live" Slackware-based CDs, like SLAX or others. It'll allow you to test-drive Linux without actually installing it on your hard drive or erasing any data. This way, you'll get a feel for how your hardware might interact with full-blown Slackware. (It'll also decrease the Slack learning curve, which is always a good thing.)

For a central spot to download any Linux CD you want (for free), try, if you have cable/DSL.

Now, be advised that Slackware Linux is no punk. Configuration will be tough your first time around but, like the previous responder said, that's part of the fun of learning "real" Linux. Use the online documentation and forums, and you'll be up & running in no time. And once you've got Slack set up the way you want it, your old hardware will love you for it.

You'll be able to run your Firefox, email clients & other office programs (OpenOffice, KOffice, etc.) with little to no trouble.

MS Office & many other Windows programs will run on Linux with the help of programs like CrossOver Office. CrossOver's not free, though.

And don't worry about your system requirements, you've got enough listed to run a basic Linux setup w/ browsers & office programs.

Hope this helps.

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by badair In reply to

Sounds like a deal there MacNeal.

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by sarahmeggs In reply to PC System requirements fo ...


perhaps you could take a look at gentoo? It compiles on your box at install time so it moulds itself to the available hardware for maximum performance. As previously stated, 256M isn't much memory these days, but there are some not too bad desktops with a reasonable footprint (windowmaker is one).

enjoy, sm

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by badair In reply to

Thanks Sarah, I like this idea of moulding to my hardware for best performance.

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by jmgarvin In reply to PC System requirements fo ...

Should be plenty. I suggest Fedora Core 3 or 4 with FVWM and Firefox for browing.

I would suggest, if you know what you are doing, Slackware or Gentoo.

Open Office is the office suite similar to MS Office. Abiword is a Wordalike that is quite light weight and excellent with slower machines.

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by badair In reply to

Thank you very much.

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