Revive Your Old Personal Computer (PC) Hardware with Xubuntu Linux – Get Off Of MS Windows

Xubuntu 8.10 intrepid ibex default desktop

I had a really old pc sitting downstairs in the basement, and was thinking about chucking it in the garbage, but then I thought I could revive or breath new life into it somehow, and use it as strictly a downloading machine (Bit Torrent) and Secure (SSH) file server.

The old pc specification is as follows:

CPU / Processor: Intel 433Mhz
RAM / Memory: 320MB
Video: Onboard video
Hard Drive: 8GB
Network Card: 10Mbps (connected by wire to router)

Now taking a look at the specs, there is no way Microsoft Windows XP can run on this machine fast enough to be usable. So, the obvious choice is Xubuntu linux, which is the lighter version of Ubuntu made for low specification or older computer hardware. Xubuntu uses XFCE windows manager, which uses less CPU and memory resources.

After downloading the FREE Xubuntu 8.10 Desktop and burning it to CD, I did the installation. It took no more than 8 minutes with the standard settings, if you want to do a lot of disk allocation customizations…well it may take you longer.

Anyway, once installed the Xubuntu linux operating system was very usable. Mouse movement is fast enough, and loading up FireFox web browser wasn’t too bad. I could actually surf the web quite well. One of the main reason for the old computer though was to use it for a Bit Torrent downloading machine. By default a Bit Torrent (BT) client called “Transmission” comes pre-installed with Xubuntu linux, so downloading files from Torrent sites was a breeze and I get speeds of up to 900kbps…fast. Now, I have a old computer to set and forget all my BT downloads.

Another function that I wanted this out-dated PC to perform was to be a SFTP server. This was simple to do, bascially just go to the Synaptic software installer in Xubuntu and do a search on software packages that contain the text “openssh” and the results will show up. Just read the details of each package and install the one that says “allow secure file transfer and secure shell sessions.” After setting up the router to allow port 22 (SSH protocol) on the firewall to be forwarded to this Xubuntu box, I can access this Xubuntu machine from any where in the world using a SFTP Client like Filezilla over the internet to upload and download files to it.

This whole setup, only took about an hour of my time, and I didn’t have to buy any new hardware. It was part of my effort to get off of the unsecure Microsoft Windows XP / Vista platform within the household. One great thing is I can leave this Xubuntu machine running and connected to the internet without worrying about viruses such as confiker, because simply said “Linux do not catch computer viruses.”

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