[ubuntu-us-mi] Computer recycling

Jeff Hanson jhansonxi at gmail.com
Tue Jun 17 05:06:46 BST 2008

On Mon, Jun 16, 2008 at 8:20 PM, Daniel <prodigiouspenguin at gmail.com> wrote:
> What would be the primary goal of the project?  Standalone workstations or a
> bunch of LTSP thin clients using Edubuntu?  As far as getting the machines
> for free, it would make more sense to use LTSP (free machines = crappy
> hardware?) but then you have to get (most likely buy) a machine powerful
> enough to be the server.  El cheapo hardware should be easy to come by
> though - the public school I work at pays something ridiculous like 15 cents
> a pound to have a semitruck come and recycle the old hardware.

I work with old hardware all the time.  What constitutes "old" is a
complicated question as it depends on the target usage.

I haven't done a LTSP setup so I don't know what the minimum is.

With servers it's more about I/O, drive interfaces, and LBA BIOS compatibility.

For a firewall/router running IPCop I'm using a 450MHz K6/2 with 128MB
memory and 2GB storage space.  This is enough to keep up with a 10Mbs
Internet connection, multiple subnets, and basic IDS.  No content
filtering or proxy cache.

For my users its desktop applications.  This means OpenOffice.org, DVD
playback, and Flash.  My minimum is a 700MHz Celeron, 256MB memory,
8GB storage.  16bpp 3D acceleration at the minimum else it's too slow
for even 2D apps.

I've been doing some book editing in OOo with about 40 pages of text
and some grayscale photos in the 1-3MB range.  On a 2.5GHz Celeron
system with 512MB and Kubuntu Gutsy it's tolerable but stalls for
several seconds whenever a photo or the containing frame is selected.
It handles most kids games fine.

Game system requirements vary.  24-bit 3D acceleration required for
anything modern.  Old cards often only support 3D in 16bpp which many
games can't handle.  Here is some examples of what I've set up:

Runescape, Tremulous, Chromium, Flash, Wesnoth:  700MHz Celeron
w/256MB memory on Ubuntu is tolerable.  Can adequately handle Diablo
II under Wine.  With Gnome it's at the point of swapping when the
desktop loads.  Using XFCE helps a bit.

UT2004:  900MHz Athlon, Nvidia 5000 series AGP card.
Doom3, and Quake4:  Athlon XP 1.3GHz, 512MB memory (Thunderbirds won't
work as they don't have SSE support), Nvidia 6000 series card.

I've set up Xubuntu on K6/2 500MHz systems with 256MB memory, 8GB
storage, and 16bpp 3D (3dfx Voodoo Banshee).  It's bearable.  Wesnoth
is slow.  Blobwars is slow - like Max Payne or The Matrix bullet-time.
 DVD and Flash are useless.  Java is usable if you start it a day in

Wine of course increases the overhead of any Windows app.

You haven't really experienced computer recycling until you've spent
three days trying to stabilize a 3dfx Voodoo Banshee or Nvidia TNT2 on
a SiS chipset motherboard.  ACPI is always entertaining.  Luckily the
availability of broadband is eliminating the softmodem mess.

Recycling is painful and of questionable benefit when power efficiency
is taken into account.  It is quite educational however.  You learn a
lot when things break all the time.

More information about the ubuntu-us-mi mailing list