Windows XP ‘runs’ as well as new Linux distros on old hardware

Ars Technica post: Microsoft study finds Linux to have no advantage on older hardware. “Microsoft has published a new study that attempts to refute the claims that Linux runs better than Windows on older hardware. Do they have a point, or are they just blowing smoke?” By jeremy@arstechnica.com (Jeremy Reimer).

“Curiously, if you look at these results closely, they seem to confirm the idea that Linux will run on older hardware, at least if you are talking about Slackware and Knoppix specifically. However, overall the two operating systems ended up about the same. While this does tend to discredit the idea that “Linux runs faster on older hardware,” at the very least, it runs no worse.”

“The other point that the study brings up is that some distributions fared significantly better than others. This leads into the third major benefit that Linux fans like to tout, the diversity and customization available with Linux that is not available with Windows.”

It’s good to hear that Microsoft is working to make their software work on existing hardware, rather than expecting customers to buy new. But the comparison still misses the choice factor: you’re more likely to want to run a 5-year-old machine as a file server in the back room, or a utility kiosk with very limited functionality. With Linux, you can run the machine without a GUI only (just text-mode) or with a minimal window manager. With WinXP, you’re pretty much stuck with what Microsoft provides you.

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