Got an old 486DX2 66 (66 mHz) sitting in a corner collecting dust. It has 12 megs of memory, and struggles with win95. I would like to jump into checking out linux (for the first time), with a GUI install.
Would this machine be worth playing with, or more of a headache? If worth trying, which install should I choose for such a weak machine?
It is entirely possible to have a gui, you just have to pick the right apps and interface. You wouldn't want to use KDE or Gnome. Check out the RULE project [freesoftware.fsf.org]. Light weight apps I would recommend. Browser: Dillo File Manager: Emelfm Text Editor: Nedit Window Manager: BlackBox, FluxBox, or ICEwm ICQ: CenterICQ (term based) Email: Sylpheed
Talking about painfulness, I used to run Linux on my old 486dx4-75 notebook with only 8mb of RAM back in '97. But I am not just running plain GUI + a few applications. Since I use the notebook as a demo box of one of my web-based applications, with 8mb of RAM I used to run X11 with no window manager, Netscape Navigator, Apache and Perl CGI's. I started the X11 with Netscape taking up the whole screen so it does not use a window manager. Well, that's slow...
That was the early Linux 2.0 days, and maybe you should try to use some older/not-so-bloated applications/distributions. I think with kernel 2.4 and glibc 2.2, it can be quite hard to get the system booted with 12mb of RAM.