[SATLUG] Switching to Linux from Windows XP

Alan Lesmerises alesmerises at satx.rr.com
Fri Jul 31 23:21:28 CDT 2015

I know the rest of the list can (and probably will) confirm or refute 
this, but my experience has been that when it comes to older hardware 
(slower CPUs, less RAM, less capable graphics cards, etc.), the main 
driver behind whether you will have a positive experience with any 
flavor of Linux will be the choice of desktop environment you use.  
Unity was mentioned before, but Gnome & KDE can also place a load on 
older hardware (again, that's been _my_ experience).  I've had good luck 
running LXDE or XFCE in those cases, and they are definitely quite 
usable and don't feel like you're giving up anything.

However, I would say that in the long-term, having hardware that can 
support a 64-bit operating system will become a more significant 
concern.  It seems that several of the more major, mainstream distros 
have already dropped support for 32-bit versions, or will soon do so.  
To me, that has implications as far as long-term support (patches & 
updates) for whatever distro you go with.

However, I would bet that the various versions or derivatives of Ubuntu 
will probably continue to package 32-bit versions for quite some time to 
come.  For nothing else, I think that doing so is entirely consistent 
with their main philosophy of trying to bring affordable computing to 
the masses (including the 3rd world), and older platforms like yours are 
the kind of tech they would want to be compatible with.

As far as one that has a generally similar look and feel as XP, I really 
like Mint, especially since it looks like they put a lot of emphasis on 
desktop usability for people who are switching from Windows.

As always, YMMV.

Al Lesmerises

On 7/31/2015 6:12 PM, Travis England wrote:
> I'm curious, what type of software running on Windows XP have you not been
> able to find a decent replacement for?
> I agree with Peter, in that we'd need to have a better idea of your
> hardware before making any solid recommendations.  I will, however, throw
> out some love for elementaryOS.  I've always had good luck getting it to
> work well, even on old hardware (my old gaming desktop I built around the
> same time as your Dell XPS was released).
> On Fri, Jul 31, 2015 at 5:58 PM, Peter Cross <pjcrux at gmail.com> wrote:
>> What are the HW specs on the XPS? You may not enjoy Unity or other new
>> GUI's due to hw limitations. YMMV.
>> On Fri, Jul 31, 2015 at 5:49 PM, Chris Montgomery <chrisncats at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>> Greetings,
>>> I've been limping along on Windows XP on a 12-year old Dell Dimenion XPS since December 2003. For the most part, I haven't had any major issues. Now, after installing some MS updates about 10 days ago I am having crashes and have lost all data on my external USB drive (mainly used for backups but there were some original media files on the drive). I have been considering moving to Linux on my desktop for a long time and it seems the time to make that move is now. The last time I had anything to do with Linux was in late 2000 to early 2001 when I ran Red Hat 7.1 on my previous desktop for about four months. Had to move back to Windows, however, since most of the software I needed to use didn't have compatible Linux versions back then. I believe the Linux software offerings have evolved quite a bit since then and I could do most of what I need to do on the computer these days by running Linux as my primary OS but also having the option to dual boot out to Windows for those few softare needs that aren't supported under Linux (mostly financial and tax packages).
>>> So, to get to the point, I have a rather urgent need to get a Linux install up and running on this machine (don't have the funds to buy new right now) because I don't want to lose anymore data. I also haven't been keeping up with what has been going on in the Linux world for the past several years other than occasionally noticing that there are lots of options for someone to choose from who wants to make the Windows to Linux switch. Folks, if you have a good recommendation or two that I can look at for making that switch in fairly short order, I would greatly appreciate knowing what you think. I have a brand new 500gb Seagate SATA drive that's been in a shrinkwrapped box sitting on the shelf for a few years that I plan to use when making the transition. I will temporarily pull the plug on my existing 120gb drive where all of my Windows programs are installed and which holds all of my data until I can get Linux running on the new drive. After that, I'll hook the old drive back up and migrate my data to the new drive and then either try to repair the WinXP install or do a fresh reinstall of WinXP to use for running the windows software that I will still need.
>>> All thoughts greatly appreciated!
>>> --
>>> Best regards,
>>> Chris Montgomery
>>> --
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