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Will Linux’s Hardware Requirements Stifle Its Acceptance?

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Linux’s ability to run on old or budget hardware has long been a popular talking point among free software advocates. Yet in recent years, the system requirements of mainstream desktop Linux distributions have been skyrocketing. At the same time, Windows 8 is slated to demand fewer resources than its predecessors. What could this mean for Linux? Here are some thoughts.

Before we get ahead of ourselves — and I get flamed for spreading FUD — let’s state the obvious: Linux still can be plenty friendly to old or otherwise “slow” computers. The Damn Small Linux distribution, for example, can be installed in full on as little as 50MB of disk space, and run perfectly well on a 486 processor — with a graphical user interface. It’s not the Linux kernel that’s become resource-hungry, but the distributions that are built on top of it.

In addition, system requirements are always a fuzzy thing.

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