WindowsXP will reach the end of it’s supported life shortly. Millions of people will dump their old machines and buy mass-produced cheap-as-possible new computers with Windows 7 and 8 on them. Millions more will probably just keep using XP – unsupported – for as long as they can.
Once upon a time, Linux was “the answer” for older hardware, but have you looked lately at the big popular distros? I’m talkin’ ’bout Linux Mint, Ubuntu, PCLinuxOS, etc. They won’t exactly fly along on that old hardware either! So you look for the popular “lightweight” Linux flavors like Linux Mint Xfce, Xubuntu, Lubuntu. Maybe they’ll run okay even on older hardware (I love my Xubu on the old Dell), but here’s the thing: When the current Long-Term-Support editions reach end-of-life, good luck finding any of them that still fit in a CD.
The most popular distros are great, but most of the newest versions will simply not run very well on machines that presently run WindowsXP.
My old Dell runs pretty okay on Linux Mint Xfce and Xubuntu, but here’s the thing with them now: The newest editions no longer fit on a CD, and my old machine can’t burn DVDs. And as the last of the top distros that still fit on a CD (“LTS” editions of “lightweight” Mint and the ‘buntus, for example) reach their end-of-life, there will be many more users like me looking for a stable, reliable, well-supported Linux distro that we can actually burn to a CD instead of ordering a DVD and waiting for it to arrive in snail mail.
There are other “light” distros, but very few that are Debian-based and still fit on a CD. Not even the venerable and ultralight Crunchbang Linux fits on a CD anymore! Coming from Xubuntu, Crunchbang was the first place I looked because I wanted a Debian or Ubuntu base, and Lubuntu totally misbehaves on my computer. But alas, it too is too big for a CD. And again, my old computer won’t burn DVDs. OSDisc.com sells Crunchbang DVDs, but their information is so out of date I don’t really trust it anymore. And don’t tell me to use Plop Linux to make my computer boot from a USB port. It has never worked on this old faithful box. Nor on two or three other computers I’ve tried it on. Next up: AntiX.
Bingo! Easy 45-minute installation from a slender little CD followed by warp-speed performance. With Debian’s rock solid reputation for dependability and stability, too, not to mention it’s huge repositories.
AntiX is on it’s way up the “distro chart” in a big way. It’s only a matter of time.
PCLinuxOS’s superb LXDE edition still fits on a CD and flies along on my very modest 10-year-old Dell (Celeron, 512 RAM). And it’s a heckuvalot easier to install and configure than AntiX. So for the technically challenged, it may be the better option. PCLinuxOS just celebrated 10 years, by the way, and it sure looks like they’ll be around for at least another ten years.