I am currently using XP Pro with service pack 3 on my PC. Over the years I have tried several versions of Ubuntu and have always had to go back to XP Pro. While XP Pro seems to work fine, I am always drawn to Ubuntu for some reason. Maybe it is because of the features etc...

I would like some advice as to whether I should install Ubuntu 10.04 on my PC. My PC is circa 2002 with 512MB or RAM and an 80GB HD. I don't want to spend any money upgrading this old PC.

asked 03 May '10, 19:37

Randy's gravatar image

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edited 11 May '10, 09:48

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You have a few options here. There is a version of Linux based on Ubuntu and Debian called Easy Peasy. You could also run any of the following 32 bit systems. Trisquel 3.5, Ubuntu 7.04LTS, Pardus 2009.1, just to name a few. If you go to http://distrowatch.com you can look at various Linux OS's and a few Open Source Software (OSS). The descriptions of each will give you what is required to run a system. 512MB of RAM will run most Linux OSS. I HOPE this HELPS.

(03 May '10, 23:23) ilbts58

I forgot another option is Mint 8. I know it will run on your computer.

(03 May '10, 23:24) ilbts58

You have the same name as my father.

(04 May '10, 03:48) Jub

I just installed Ubuntu 10.04 in VMware Fusion on my Mac. Looks good. Now I have to mke up my mind whether to install it on my PC again. I don't use any specialized software on my PC that is only XP or Windows centrix so I think I should be OK.

(04 May '10, 17:29) Randy

Ubuntu runs with a smaller memory footprint than Windows XP anything. The Linux kernel can run as small as 256kb while the Windows kernel runs no smaller than about 18MB which is 18432kb... Linux runs faster than XP and is also truly multithreaded where XP tends to attach itself to every process in the system causing lockups, freezing, and crashing. I've seen Linux systems up for over a year at a time without any need to be rebooted or shutdown. If you are on Windows it's like you have to pack up and move your office every few days... just brutal..

(05 May '10, 09:06) shreddies

Please accept an answer so the question/answer can be finished. Or provide more details so we can help.

(20 Apr '11, 13:58) rfelsburg ♦
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Making a transition from Windows to Ubuntu is more an issue of what application packages you are using than the OS itself.

My advice to anyone using windows is to make a transition to multi-platform (free is generally better) application software first. Get used to the software you will be using under linux while you are still under windows.

For example switch from using IE to Firefox, outlook to thunderbird, ms office to open office and so on, and use them under windows. Once you are accustomed to them under windows, the transition to ubuntu is pretty transparent.

The first time I used Ubuntu there was a lot more research and tracking things down. Things like 'why won't youtube work' missing codecs for music and video files and so on. This time, I install ubuntu, point the music player at my collection of music files, when it doesnt have a decoder for a file, it asks if you want to install it, when you press yes, it does the rest.

Installing Ubuntu is far easier and smoother now than installing XP. In fact, it's easier to switch from XP to Ubuntu, than from XP on one machine to XP on another.

One could argue that what I'm saying is subjective, so I will quantify a bit. I helped someone buy a computer system for her new business. It took me 2 days to get her system set up and running smoothly, with application software, virus checking, firewall etc. Right after that I set up almost the identical collection of applications with Ubuntu 9.1 on similar hardware.
That took me 1.5 hours. A 10 to 1 ratio in man hours.

Next time someone asks me for help, I will only help if they are open to trying Ubuntu so that i can save a day and a half of of my own time and have happier end user right away. Then an ecstatic end user when she discovers she needs an extra piece of software and finds that synaptic will install it for her at the push of a button, and for free.


answered 03 May '10, 22:59

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Pierre 1
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OOPs in my enthusiasm for Ubuntu I forgot to answer the question. I installed 9.1 on an oldish hp AMD64 3100+ with 512M memory and 40G hard drive, it was comparable, even less sluggish than XP SP3 which had been running on the same machine. The install went without a single hitch.

(03 May '10, 23:08) Pierre 1

Thanks for the advice!! I am running Firefox mainly and have tried Open Office before when I was running Ubuntu 9. I really like Ubuntu because it is free and offers so much. I just don't like when you have to go to the command line on occasion to solve issues. Because I am using Mac OS 10.6 (Which I love), I want to make sure that my secondary computers which are PC's have software running that is similar to the Mac OS. Ubuntu seems to fit the bill. I was just concerned whether 10.04 would run on my current PC with 500MB of RAM and an 80GB HD.

(04 May '10, 11:31) Randy

I've had Ubuntu installed for over a year now. Although I like it much more than XP, I still needed XP for software\hardware that isn't compatible with Ubuntu. My option was to either dual boot or get a separate machine. I decided to get a separate machine. I have my Ubuntu on my souped up machine and I got a cheaper refurbished machine for my XP (about $230). This was doable as I had a non-oem XP disk. Otherwise, if I didn't I'd had to use the cheaper one as my Ubuntu machine. I also bought a Belkin switch so that I can switch PC's if I have them on at the same time.

I use Ubuntu for 95% of my task including connecting to work from home. The one hardware that I couldn't use Ubuntu for was a Canon Scanner. Most software I can use Wine under Ubuntu such as Adobe photoshop and Quicken 2008. Games I haven't had too much luck with so I needed windows for that.

I'm currently running Ubuntu 9.10 but i've been hearing good word on 10.4. I had originally started on 9.04 and upgrading was a breeze to 9.10.


answered 03 May '10, 22:26

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I have a Canon N650U (old USB scanner) on my Debian 5.0 machine (pretty similar vintage to Ubuntu gutsy or so ...). It worked easily. In contrast, the same machine used to crash regularly from driver issues in Win XP. I use "XSane" which came with the Debian distro. Try hooking up your scanner and ask for help if no workie! I think all I had to do was add my name to the /etc/group file for authorized scanner user.

(11 May '10, 20:02) pcardout

I have been running Fedora for some time. I used to be an XP Pro bigot. I got fed up with crashes, blue screens, and finally MS asking me to register my computer and bend over to let them know everything I was doing with my computer. Enough!

I downloaded Fedora 8 a couple years ago. I'm now on Fedora12. I can't say enough about it. I haven't had any crashes, no viruses, no problems whatsoever ... well, except for when I did something stupid when I was playing around with a configuration file. With OpenOffice.org3, I can do anything I need.

As for dual boot, I ask: Why? Everyone has there favourite windoz based system they can't find an open source for (mine are Punch! Home Design, Corell Draw, and a few others).

So, instead of running WindozXP and Fedora on the same box, I installed wine (~>yum install wine) in the Fedora environment, which shows up under 'Applications' after installation. Then, open the wine foldout menu, and open Wine File, which looks/acts exactly like Windows Explorer. Then put your windowz application CD in the drive, find it in the wine directory folder (under /media/...), double click on the setup or install file on the windows-based installation CD, and it will install on the c:-drive (even though linux doesn't know what a c:-drive is) under whatever windows directory you want (usually Program Files, which wine creates for you during wine setup).

Once installed, go back to the Fedora Applications foldout menu, and like magic, there will be your newly installed windows application under the Wine/Programs menu item, ready for you to coddle, cuddle or otherwise make you feel at home (away from home). I even installed Windows Office Professional under Wine for those cases I get some files from friends/associates who haven't caught on yet that Linux/Fedora is a faster, finer, friendlier operating system (BY FAR!) This allows me to view their files, modify them or do anything else I could ordinarily do in WindozXP.

A Fedora Fanatic

This answer is marked "community wiki".

answered 04 May '10, 01:46

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Is Fedora a better distro than Ubuntu 10.04?

(04 May '10, 11:39) Randy

Another way to have the best of both worlds is to run Windows as a Virtual Machine in Virtual Box or VMWare Player, both absolutely free and superb. It uses less resources than running two operating systems side by side. I started off running Linux distros as VM"s in a Windows 7 host, and before too long realised that I had it completely the wrong way around and now I run Windows xp and 7 as VM guests in my Linux machine. Once you come over, you rarely go back! Pretty much everything works fine in a VM- network connections, peripherals like printers and scanners, CD and DVD's and anything else you want to use. If you do run into any strife: the community support, knowledge base documentation and plain, useful help available covers pretty much every known situation and then some.


answered 04 May '10, 03:44

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I think a good way to get a feel of a distro is in a Virtual Machine.

If you like it, either install it or do a dual boot.

You can have Windows under a Virtual Machine in Linux if you need it.


answered 05 May '10, 22:20

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Here's you're answer, if you ask me. Install a Linux distro, and then download and install the PUEL version of VirtualBox here: http://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Linux_Downloads

Next, copy an iso image of your WinXP to your hard drive (You'll thank me for doing it this way later), and set that iso as your CDROM device.

Boot the guest (Your VirtualBox virtual machine that is going to be WindowsXP) and the install will occur normally, although quite a bit more quickly than if you were installing from the real CDROM drive.

Once you get to the first iteration of your mACROsFOT O/S, save a snapshot of that iteration and move on. Saving snapshots of appropriately named images of your OS is both important and convenient, for rollbacks, forking the installations, and disaster recovery.

Naming conventions like "clean install - pre SP3", etc., will help to remind you when you want to run your OS in that version or fork the evolutionary tree with other software, etc...

When you're done running your Windows Guest for the day, don't shut down the machine, but just stop it, and then when you want to run it again later it will boot instantly, with all of the running apps you had running and everything!

Hope that helps!

Kindest regards,




answered 14 May '10, 22:19

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accept rate: 20%

I don't think the latest version of Ubuntu 10.04 will run very effectively on a computer circa 2002, the latest Ubuntu release is targeted at competing with the most current operating system releases. Perhaps a previous release would be a better choice

You might be able to turn some of the Graphical features off and then 10.04 would run fine, posting the CPU / memory/front side bus/ back side bus / motherboard chip-set / video card specifications might garnish responses from people running similar platforms .

my bigger question is .... what made you revert to XP Pro sp3 last time ? Ubuntu may not be headed in a direction that will ever allow you to switch, for example I run 1 Microsoft OS simply because I need to run several programs that are only available on that platform, and there aren't any plans for Open source equivalents.


answered 03 May '10, 19:54

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Others will have to address whether your computer will handle Ubuntu 10.04, but if you enjoy using linux you can also try PuppyLinux or Damn Small Linux, both of which should work. I use ubuntu as my regular system now after having used XP for years. Ubuntu is great, though not without its own issues. Puppy is lightning quick and just fine for surfing the internet, creating word processing documents, and running spreadsheets. Best wishes.


answered 03 May '10, 19:57

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Depends on the CPU


answered 03 May '10, 20:33

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Sorry, forgot the rest..

Personally, I've found that this revision (Ubuntu 10.04) of Linux runs REALLY slick. If it were me, I would give it a shot and see if it runs to your liking.

For someone wanting to learn Linux or have never used Linux before, I would tell them to use Ubuntu. Before you took the dive though, I would check to make sure that all the programs you need are able to run off of the Linux platform.

(03 May '10, 20:36) 3vix_6

Try Debian stable, should run fine on it. Gnome can run on those 512 (Im doing that right now), but you could go for a lighter Desktop like xfce or lxde


answered 03 May '10, 20:34

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Asked: 03 May '10, 19:37

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Last updated: 04 May '11, 11:40

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