£98 Linux PCs

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£98 Linux PCs

Postby wyliecoyoteuk » Mon Jan 17, 2011 6:08 pm

Martha Lane Fox has just Announced an initiative to sell £98 Linux PCs refurbished by Remploy.
Let's hope that it is not another well meant but badly implemented scenario.
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Postby Rhakios » Mon Jan 17, 2011 9:06 pm

I occasionally read articles from the Helios project, which distributes refurbished Linux PCs in the US. What is sometimes saddening is how often people try to install Windows on them and completely eff up an otherwise fully functioning PC. I foresee the same thing happening all too often if this idea actually comes to pass in the UK.
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Postby johnhudson » Tue Jan 18, 2011 9:13 am

I see the target is just 8,000 in the first year which will hardly make a dent in the numbers without computers.
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Postby wyliecoyoteuk » Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:49 pm

It is only a pilot, let's hope that it does go well
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Postby CJLL » Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:44 am

I've tried Ubuntu on old hardware, it really doesn't work very well, and I hate to think a lot of people's first experience of Linux will be a very very poor one!
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Postby towy71 » Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:22 pm

CJLL wrote:I've tried Ubuntu on old hardware, it really doesn't work very well, and I hate to think a lot of people's first experience of Linux will be a very very poor one!
I have had great success with Ubuntu on anything from a PIII onwards as long as there was at least 256Meg of RAM, the more RAM the better ;-)
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Postby wyliecoyoteuk » Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:31 pm

Well, XP on old hardware is just as bad, but I know people who make a good part-time income from putting together Bootsale parts to build PCs with XP, just to be used for email, IM and web.
Anyway, who mentioned Ubuntu?

For the proposed use, anything that can match an Atom 230 with 1 GB of RAM will work fine.
Our Netbooks and the Kitchen PC (all Atom based) run Ubuntu fine.
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Postby heiowge » Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:32 pm

I tried it on my mum's eeepc. That had 900Mhz of processor and 1 Gb RAM. I got it to run, but XP ran circles round it for speed. The PCs mentioned sound lower spec than the eeepc used, so I can imagine having severe problems.

Have they considered Linux Mint LXDE or Puppy or the like?
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Postby CJLL » Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:00 pm

towy71 wrote:
CJLL wrote:I've tried Ubuntu on old hardware, it really doesn't work very well, and I hate to think a lot of people's first experience of Linux will be a very very poor one!
I have had great success with Ubuntu on anything from a PIII onwards as long as there was at least 256Meg of RAM, the more RAM the better ;-)


These were 2.4Ghz Pentium 4s with a whole 1/2 gig of RAM. Never did manage to work out what was slowing them down. :(
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Postby wyliecoyoteuk » Fri Jan 21, 2011 7:58 pm

Probably the half gig of RAM or the motherboard chipset drivers.
Our netbooks have Atom 1.66GHz processors Intel GMA gfx, 1.5Ghz of ram, and 8 or 16GB SSDs. Running Ubuntu Netbook Edition, they start up in about 11 seconds, shut down in 5 , and are nice to use.
The Kitchen PC is a similar Atom processor, Intel GFX and an 80GB 2.5" HDD, 2GB of ram, runs Full Ubuntu fine.
My wife's PC has a P4 @1.7GHz, 768MB of ram, ATI GFX card, 160GB 3.5" HDD and runs Full Ubuntu with no problems.
Our other PCs are far higher spec, but to be honest, not noticeably faster.

I did notice a huge boost when I upgrade my Netbook from 512MB to 1.5GB, perhaps the GFX using some of the memory slowed it down.
It ran windows7 just about usably ( I tried it as an experiment when I increased the SSD from 8 to 16GB), but there was no room for anything else, and it paged incessantly, not good for an SSD.

I would be surprised if the PCs in question were slower than 900MHz, My wife's PC is nearly 8 years old, and was not exactly cutting edge then.
It did have XPMCE on it for a short while, but it was soon moved to Linux.
It ran Opensuse for years, only recently moved to Ubuntu, and I added an extra 256MB stick which made a big difference in performance terms.


Edited to correct age of wife's PC, I didn't realise it was that old!!
Last edited by wyliecoyoteuk on Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby wyliecoyoteuk » Fri Jan 21, 2011 8:09 pm

Just reading my own post, realised that most of our computing experience is on roughly 1.7GHz single core processors, and until I need to do some photo editing, or writing with a nice big screen and a proper keyboard, that is all we need!
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