[lug] Recommendations For Older Hardware?

Garett Michael Shulman shulmang at Colorado.EDU
Wed Aug 4 18:26:07 MDT 2010

Hey, Rob!  I haven't tried in the last year, but previous to that I was never able to get windows XP running very well in VMWare on Linux.  Even with 4GB RAM it chunked something fierce.  I had tried on Gentoo and Debian.  However, I would think that the distro would be less important that the amount of RAM and which window-manager/desktop-environment was used.  Avoiding Gnome & KDE in favor of ratpoison, icewm, etc. may free up some resources.  I would think that Debian derivatives like ubuntu or knoppix, or fedora derivatives such as centos would all run VMWare similarly well.

On Aug 4, 2010, at 3:53 PM, Robert Racansky wrote:

> On Thu, Jul 15, 2010 at 10:45 AM, Robert Racansky
> <robert.racansky at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Despite the subject line of this e-mail, this isn't about where to
>> dump my old unwanted PCs, global warming, or inviting Jeffrey Haemer
>> over for dinner.
>> What Linux distributions would work well on old hardware, and have
>> Windows-compatible RDP/RDC clients available.
>> Since you can get VMWare ESXi for free at
>> http://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere-hypervisor/index.html
>> (registration required, blah blah blah) , I've been thinking about
>> setting up one central server at home to run virtual desktops, and use
>> cheap, old hardware as thin clients to access the virtual machines on
>> the ESXi hosts.
>> If this works out for me, I'd probably recommend it for all the people
>> I've done home/tech support for over the years.
> I don't think I was exactly clear on what I wanted to accomplish, so
> let me elaborate.
> I'm looking for a light-footprint host operating system, that would
> then use VMWare Player to run a Windows guest operating system.  As
> much as it pains me,  getting some people to switch from Windows is
> not worth the hassle.
> As I mentioned earlier, I was thinking about going with ESXi, but that
> requires a 64-bit CPUs, and most of the older machines I'm working
> with have 32-bit CPUs.
> The reason I'd want to run Windows as  a guest in a virtual machine is
> (1)  if something goes wrong, I can re-install the VM from a snapshot.
> I've never trusted Windows System Restore.
> (2)  as a way to introduce users to non-Windows operating systems, by
> having other guest VMs installed on the same system.  "If you just
> need to get on the web to check your e-mail, or Windows is too slow,
> try  using this _____ Linux virtual machine instead."
> (3)  If something goes wrong with Windows, and it inevitably will, the
> host operating system can be used to test/verify network connectivity.
> Since a guest virtual machine, most likely WindowsXP or Windows 7,
> will be the user's primary OS, the host operating system needs to be
> lightweight, stable, and easy enough to support that even I -- with
> very little Linux experience -- can do so if need be.
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