Death of Window XP Is a Golden Opportunity for Linux
NEWS ANALYSIS: Old hardware doesn't necessarily mean Windows XP users need to buy a new box. Linux just may be their solution.Microsoft's Windows XP dies on April 8, and I will not be among those who mourn its loss. The sad part about the death of XP is that those who still run it might not even realize that their operating system is now dead. After 12 years, Microsoft is no longer going to be providing security updates for Windows XP, which has plenty of people concerned. The death of XP, however, could be a golden opportunity for Linux—or it could just be yet another missed opportunity for the Linux desktop. Windows XP, given its age, is running on older hardware that in many cases is still operational but simply lacking in the power to be upgraded to Microsoft's Windows 7 or 8 operating systems. In some cases, those old XP machines are running in very cost-constrained environments where there is simply no additional funds for a hardware refresh, let alone a full operating system refresh. Linux is a potential solution. For older, resource-constrained hardware, there is no shortage of options in the Linux desktop world. Unlike Microsoft's monolithic Windows operating system, there are multiple flavors of Linux distributions and Linux desktops to suit nearly any need or user preference. As opposed to most Windows upgrades, Linux can be freely obtained without cost, and it might just fit the bill for many Windows XP users.
While there certainly are some resource-heavy distributions and desktops, there are also low-resource options. For example, modern Linux distributions including Ubuntu, Fedora and SUSE all have an option that could enable a user to run the LXDE Linux desktop. LXDE is a very low-resource desktop that I have been able to run successfully on Pentium III-class machines (RAM memory is always a concern, so the more the better). There are also really small Linux distributions like Puppy and TinyCore Linux that offer very small footprint options to users.