Reviving old hardware with Linux


A few months ago I decided it was time to replace my old laptop. It is an Acer Aspire 1302 series, with AMD AthlonXP @ 1.6 GHz, 512 MB RAM and 20 GB hard disk. As I wrote in the previous article about openSuSE 11.1, this machine is now so deprecated compared to today’s mini netbooks, that searching the net for “Acer Aspire 1300” returns almost entirely shops for battery replacements. It’s true, the main problem with old laptops like this is finding a “live” battery, so that it runs as a real “moving” laptop and not pugged into a power socket all the time. Of course, The second major problem is that, if someone wants to be up-to-date in some serious programming (or other) suite, every new software version renders the machine slower and slower…and slower……and slower…………..

Until now, my laptop used to “struggle” under Windows XP Home SP2. I had the chance to get a spare hard disk exactly as the one bundled with this model and I decided it was time to put the current disk away as-is and try something entirely new from scratch with the new disk, something more efficient and lightweight. I had already tried several live-CD distributions (primarily Linux) and most of them they ran smoothly, despite the tight fit into 512MB of RAM.

A set of live-CD tests, along with comments on performance and screenshots, are available on my website.

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