Don't throw away your old PC - a success story.

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Don't throw away your old PC - a success story.

Postby Papasot » 8. May 2017, 16:15

Yesterday, a friend came to me with an old PC, asking "can you make it work, or I should recycle it". That PC doesn't seem to have hardware issues, but the hardware is nothing to write home about. Actually, far from it. Frankly speaking, it is a crappy PC for any today's, yesterday's, or anything similar, standards.
I must give emphasis on this, because the end of the story is surprising. We are not talking about a mediocre machine here. We are talking about a more-than-12-years-old box (doesn't even have SATA ports, I saw the old large IDE cables again, almost forgot they existed). What's inside? An Intel 1.8 GHz CPU (32-bit - single core, of course), a crappy on-board graphics card, 2 x 512 Mb RAM chips (BIOS says 960 Mb are available to the user), an old hard disk (38 Gb, makes quite some noise), and a DVD-reader.
The guy isn't exactly a newbie in GNU/Linux (although he said "I don't know machine language", and I eventually realized he actually meant he doesn't know how to use the command line). He was aware of a few distros, and even installed a few himself. He said the most lightweight distro he could find for this machine was XUbuntu (he tried several Ubuntu variations in the 14 and 17 version branch). Well, the so-called "most lightweight" distro was actually a disaster: dead slow on everything. Trying to open the basic menu? wait for a while. Trying to open Leafpad? be patient, it will eventually pop-up. He said the system is simply not usable, and he was right.

Given all the above, I was thinking if I should even bother with this oldie, trying to make it anything useful. However, I recalled that, 10 years ago, I tried Slackware on a machine that was very old back then, and it actually worked very well. So I said "I can try to install Salix but, frankly, don't expect much". I was also thinking that maybe some distro specifically made for old hardware would be a better choice. However those distros typically come with restrictions (very old kernels, libc, etc), and package availability is limited.
Surprisingly, the guy insisted we should try another Ubuntu derivative. I said forget about it, how much Ubuntu crap you want to try before realizing it won't work? He reluctantly agreed we should try Salix. I downloaded Salix-Live Xfce 32-bit (The live version because I knew if I tried the text-based installation he would run away). At least the DVD player on this PC worked, and we were ready to go.

The good news were apparent just by seeing Salix-Live booting and running. The system was far from being slow-responding. I installed Salix from the Live version, and after a few minutes, we had a fully working system. Granted, it won't win any benchmarks, but it IS working pretty well. Actually, it works much better than my best expectations, given the limited hardware resources. The guy wanted several multimedia players as well (including some "heavy" ones I never use myself), and also LibreOffice, Audacity, etc. I explained what exactly Sourcery is, and he installed some applications from there too. Performance using all the above was impressive, compared to what this very PC was one hour earlier, running Ubuntu. In fact, there is no comparison: it was like bringing back this old PC from the grave.

The net result is that, not only Salix literally transformed this oldie to a decent desktop PC, but also another guy found his way to Salix very quickly. I needed to explain a few things and he was ready to go. He called today to thank me and said he will also install Salix on his "main" computer (which is actually a mediocre laptop). Well, he better thank Salix developers.
A pleasant detail in this forum: several people pick a picture of their pet as their avatar. Who am I to do otherwise? ;-)
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Re: Don't throw away your old PC - a success story.

Postby mimosa » 8. May 2017, 16:51

What a heartwarming story 8-)
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Re: Don't throw away your old PC - a success story.

Postby gapan » 8. May 2017, 19:08

Thanks for posting that. :)
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Re: Don't throw away your old PC - a success story.

Postby ChuangTzu » 8. May 2017, 21:23

What a great share!

This is the best way to grow/expand anything: word of mouth and personal experience from people you/they trust.

Also, since you installed Salix you will not need to help him much admin. his computer, imagine if he did install another *buntu.... :shock: :lol:
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Re: Don't throw away your old PC - a success story.

Postby djemos » 15. May 2017, 17:05

This pc with 1GB RAM it is turbo using salix :)
I use one old P4 in 1.8 GZ with 384 MB RAM. This pc is running salix-xfce as well slackel -openbox. I have a HP 710C old printer connected which i use to print with samba from all laptops existed at home. If i could find 128MB more ram (512MB) it will be even faster.
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Re: Don't throw away your old PC - a success story.

Postby Papasot » 19. May 2017, 16:25

djemos wrote:This pc with 1GB RAM it is turbo using salix :)
I use one old P4 in 1.8 GZ with 384 MB RAM. This pc is running salix-xfce as well slackel -openbox. I have a HP 710C old printer connected which i use to print with samba from all laptops existed at home. If i could find 128MB more ram (512MB) it will be even faster.
Actually,
I am planning to resurrect an old Pentium 4 with 512 Mb RAM. Luckily the hard disk is big enough to install both Salix and Slackel. Full review of that machine when it's ready - stay tuned. :D
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