Lately, I’ve been working with a bunch of old laptops, and I mean old laptops: Dell Latitude C640s, with Pentium IV processors, between 256 and 384 megs of RAM, and 10 to 20 gigabyte hard drives. Not power machines, by any stretch of the imagination. Naturally, they had Windows XP for their OS, but I wondered if Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx would result in any improvement.
So I did a test. I did a fresh XP install (updated to SP3), timed how long it took to boot, wiped the machine, installed Ubuntu 10.04 with all the updates, and then timed how long it took to boot. By “how long it took to boot”, I mean how long from the moment I pressed the power button to how long the machine became responsive (i.e., you could click on something, and the menu would appear). For the sake of fairness, I paused the stop watch when I typed the password, and then started again the instant I hit the enter button.
Anyway, here are the boot times.
Windows XP: Two minutes, 45 seconds.
Ubuntu 10.04: One minute, 9 seconds.
Wow! Boot time was nearly a minute and a half faster. Ubuntu 10.04 will definitely give these old machines a new lease on life, and more importantly, a new lease on usefulness.
It may not be the Year of the Linux Desktop, but it’s definitely the Year of the Antiquated Linux Desktop.