I recently completed a major update of my oldest internal Linux Server here at hrpr.com. The server, whose name is Doofus, is hosted on a Dell Dimension XPS T500 that has been in service here since April 1999.
For the last eight years, Doofus has been running Slackware, which is a hard-core, no-frills, very stable Linux distribution that has been around since dirt was new. If you aren’t on speaking terms with command line shells such as Bash and are not familiar with the Linux Directory Structure and its contents, then Slackware is probably not for you.
Back to the update stuff…
I was getting ready to download the latest, greatest version of Slackware and install it on Doofus when it suddenly occurred to me that I had recently downloaded the latest version of Ubuntu Linux and had made an installation CD-ROM for it. It was the Desktop Edition, but as a local test server, it would do just fine. I was also curious to see how GNOME would perform on a Pentium III with 256M of RAM. After all, I was essentially starting with a blank slate and could revert back to Slackware if I really wasn’t satisfied with Ubuntu.
I did the Ubuntu install and, as usual, it was fast and uneventful. Doofus rebooted and up came the GNOME GUI. And surprise, surprise! It was quite responsive. The mouse was responsive and GUI applications ran fast enough to meet my "wait-time" expectations. Which really didn’t matter much anyway since Doofus would be running 99.99999% of the time as a server with remote administrative access via SSH and/or Webmin.
I am still a Slackware fan and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys tinkering at the command line level and/or wants to learn Linux from the ground up. However, Ubuntu brings added value such as automatic notification of security updates, a more feature rich software package manager and other administrative tools that make life a bit easier.
And who knows, next week I may change my mind again and install Slackware Linux on Doofus yet one more time.