Ubuntu on XP capable hardware

Now that support for XP has been ended by Microsoft, there has been talk of how Linux (Ubuntu) could step in to fill the void.

If your XP capable hardware has two or more Gig of ram, you should be good to go.
Don’t bother trying if you believe the Ubuntu minimum specification page here:- https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Installation/SystemRequirements 
Ubuntu Desktop Edition

  • 700 MHz processor (about Intel Celeron or better)
  • 512 MiB RAM (system memory)
  • 5 GB of hard-drive space (or USB stick, memory card or external drive but see LiveCD for an alternative approach)
  • VGA capable of 1024×768 screen resolution
  • Either a CD/DVD drive or a USB port for the installer media
  • Internet access is helpful.   
  •  good “rule of thumb” is that machines that could run XP, Vista, Windows 7 or x86 OS X will almost always be a lot faster with Ubuntu 

This is nonsense, and must refer to a very early version of ubuntu. 
A bit like saying, XP can run on a Pentium2 300 MHz with 128 of ram. It could when it first came out, but the service pack3 version in use now would struggle.
To be fair, further down the article, this appears:-
Ubuntu Desktop 11.04 and up uses Unity as the default GUI while the previous releases used GNOME Panel by default. In order to run Unity the system needs a more capable graphics adapter – see more here or below:
* 1000 ΜHz processor (about Intel Celeron or better)
* 1024 MiB RAM (system memory)
* 3D Acceleration Capable Videocard with at least 256 MB”
And then this:-
“From experience, we all know that it is recommended to have 2048 MiB RAM to properly run a day to day Ubuntu.
A good start should be with minimum 1024 and recommended 2048 MiB RAM.
Why didn’t they just say this at the beginning? To make things worse, after pointing out the real minimum specification, they go on to suggest that Windows 2000 era machines would be usable with a bit of work!
Machines that are 10 or more years old (originally preloaded with “Windows ME” or “Windows 2000”) that don’t meet these guideline will probably require some work to revive (the RAM usually needs to be upgraded to the level described above). You could try a lighter-weightdistro or a minimal install of Ubuntu.”
I dug out an old machine from this era still running XP reasonably well to test with.
Points to note:
Ubuntu is too big to fit on a CD, and machines from this era can not boot from USB.
Also, machines from this era did not come with 512M memory, this one was running perfectly well with 256. It was also connecting to the internet using an onboard modem, and had no network card.
To do the test, I had to double the amount of memory to 512, it would not be able to accept the one or two gig of memory suggested,  I also had to swap out the CD for a DVD drive. Technically, a network connection is not required, but I added a network card anyway.
After an hour, Ubuntu 14.04 was still saying “preparing to install” on the screen, and was abandoned at that point.
Next, Lubuntu 14.04. After an hour,  Lubuntu was about one quarter of the way through the install and was abandoned.
Then on to something slightly more realistic, a Pentium4 1800 with 768M memory.
This installed Ubuntu 14.04 in about 40 minutes, but was unbearably slow in use. Unusable.
Lubuntu (LXDE) was usable, but not as responsive as XP had been.
Ubuntu needs at least two gig of memory. And while the light version with LXDE (Lubuntu) worked with 768, it was better with one gig, and this is on a Pentium4 1800, not a Celeron 1000 as suggested on the Ubuntu page.
In summary, machines bought running XP just before the switch to Vista should be OK, but don’t expect Ubuntu to be faster than XP on it. Lubuntu might be faster, but don’t count on it.
Bodhi Linux is based on Ubuntu, but uses the Enlightenment E17 window manager, and is noticeably faster than Lubuntu.
If Bodhi Linux is not fast enough on your hardware, then try Puppy Linux, Damn small Linux, or one of the many other Linux distributions designed for old hardware. 
These are the observations from the tests, if anyone knows better, please let me know in the comments.
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s