Online article: "Microsoft funds African PCs amid open source debate"

Cefiar cef at
Wed Oct 5 20:58:11 CDT 2005

On Thursday 06 October 2005 00:06, Jeff Waugh wrote:
> We have to be very careful (or work very diligently) if we're going to push
> this line of reasoning. Windows XP runs fairly comfortably with 256MB RAM,
> while FOSS desktops with comparable features and user experience generally
> do not.

I would qualify that it does only if:
 1. You don't intend to run Office (even OpenOffice).
 2. You turn off Themes support and Active Desktop (both of which are on by 

And if you install the new version of MSN, it turns on the Disk Indexing 
Service by default. I've seen 1.6 Ghz Pentium M's with 512MB RAM brought to a 
complete crawl (not running any apps other than Notepad, and typing takes 
anything up to 20 seconds to update the screen!) because the indexing service 
is chewing up all the RAM and/or thrashing the disk.

So, I'd say that it's possible to run XP in that config on older hardware 
(I've got an Athlon 700 at work setup like that), but that it requires 
tweaking to the setup. Some of this stuff is easier to tweak in XP, while 
some in Ubuntu. Getting better support for lower end machines in Ubuntu (by 
default) would be nice.

> I don't think we own the moral or technical high ground on this issue at
> the moment.

I'd say we're about level, but we can turn that into an advantage if we take 
note and actually get stuff done.

 Stuart Young - aka Cefiar - cef at

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