We have a number of questions on SuperUser, asking which Linux distribution to use on the poster's old PC, and giving specs of said old PC.

A number of these questions have been closed as Duplicate. Which seems reasonable except that the correct answer for a PII/128Mb machine isn't the best answer for a 1GHz P4/1Gb machine.

As quack quixote notes, we can't leave them separate, or it would be appropriate to close them as too localized.

Is there some better way we could handle these questions?

Perhaps we need to come up with a good general question, and then redirect all the existing questions to that one?


  • 5
    thanks for opening this conversation here, douglas.
    – quack quixote
    Commented Apr 4, 2010 at 15:22

3 Answers 3


We could try and emulate the somewhat tame beast that is the Free antivirus solutions for Windows.

Each answer to the question would list one distro with specs at a minimum on what it takes to run listed.

Poncho Linux

Minimum requirements

Processor: Pentium III, 1GHz
RAM: 256MB

Or reverse it and have minimum specs listed as the lead with the answer fleshed out with a list of suitable distros.

Processor: Pentium III, 1GHz


  • Poncho Linux (10MB free)
  • Breadbasket (15MB free)


  • Tyrell Flavour Linux (30MB)
  • Not your pappy's linux (20MB)

Who knows.

  • 1
    I think reversing it might be best - the person comes with a computer and wants a distribution, so it makes sense to index by computer (specs).
    – Douglas Leeder
    Commented Apr 4, 2010 at 15:48
  • So the reverse would need a little breakdown, don't you think? @dou
    – random
    Commented Apr 4, 2010 at 15:56
  • 5
    I like going by distro. Yes, people come to the site with computer specs, but indexing the information that way is going to be a total nightmare. You'll have to put each distro multiple times on the page, and there will always be edge case questions like "my hardware isn't exactly like the one on there." If there's just suggested minimums, the answer is more obvious to the user.
    – Jon Seigel
    Commented Apr 4, 2010 at 16:02
  • 3
    Plus, if you list by distro, the votes can show which is more popular/possibly used by the community. @jon
    – random
    Commented Apr 4, 2010 at 16:05
  • @random: Agreed.
    – Jon Seigel
    Commented Apr 4, 2010 at 16:08
  • Ok, by distribution is the clear favourite. If required the question itself could be edited with links by vague spec levels, but the answers themselves should be single distributions.
    – Douglas Leeder
    Commented Apr 4, 2010 at 16:39
  • It might be a leader now, but let's give it time for others to chime in and offer a better version. @dou
    – random
    Commented Apr 4, 2010 at 16:42
  • 4
    The "one answer per distribution" is quite good, because it allows to find information depending on each of them. However, this doesn't really answer the question, it is only a grouping of information. (And votes will only tend to suggest the most popular ones) Grouping by configuration would be more answering the question, providing answers like "what can I do with this configuration". But the problem is, it is too wide, and hard to include any kind of configuration. So I think only the "per distribution" is really possible, even if it's not ideal, it will be a good source of info.
    – Gnoupi
    Commented Apr 4, 2010 at 17:03
  • @random: you got a link to "Tyrell Flavour Linux"? i need it for my Bladerunner-themed server...
    – quack quixote
    Commented Apr 4, 2010 at 18:24
  • 1
    Wonderful idea. I'd love to take some time to do this with similarly themed SF topics.
    – Kara Marfia
    Commented Apr 4, 2010 at 21:54
  • I always have the same feeling @Kara... But it helps having people like Gnoupi, quack and random around on SU, they clean up all the mess!
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented Apr 18, 2010 at 10:31
  • Was this implemented? Is this placeholder question anywhere? I wanted to add that Slitaz ran awesome for me on a hopelessly old P2. Commented Feb 12, 2012 at 11:09
  • No, but consider contributing to the tag wiki for Linux perhaps @cam
    – random Mod
    Commented Feb 13, 2012 at 15:50
  • The Linux tag wiki looks a bit minimal, so it feels awkward to put in it what I know about a single (not very popular) distribution, and leaving out a lot of the most popular ones (plus, I'm not sure what would be the "minimum requirements" for something like Ubuntu ("it works" is quite relative). Maybe a mod or someone with more rep could ask such a template question? I don't know how it works, but I don't feel I'm in the position of asking it. Commented Feb 14, 2012 at 0:22

Perhaps we can ask our own 'Jeopardy' style question, which a suitable vague title, and a content that makes it clear the question applies generally.

The answers could give advice for different performance levels of computers.

Obviously this approach would have to be agreed with the moderators or else the question would rapidly be closed as duplicate...

  • 3
    You mean like that one: superuser.com/questions/100360/…? I think it's a good idea in general (and you could tag it "faq" as well). If you see questions coming back often, it's a generally good idea to make such a central question yourself, in my opinion. Not especially a "universal answer" one, but at least one we can link to, as a knowledge base.
    – Gnoupi
    Commented Apr 4, 2010 at 16:47
  • i would like to see SU's "faq" tag expanded, and this seems like a good topic for one.
    – quack quixote
    Commented Apr 4, 2010 at 21:38

So I'll make another proposal - a synthesis of existing proposals.

A community wiki question, following the lead of 'What to do if my computer is infected by a virus or a malware?'.

""" Which Linux Distribution should I use?

This question is coming back often, in slightly different forms, so this faq attempts to provide the composite answer.

I want to try Linux on my computer, which distribution should I use?

I have a current machine and want an easy to use distribution: links to answers - including Ubuntu :-)

I have a 2004 era machine (Pentium 4, 1GiB memory): links to answers

I have a 2000 era machine (Pentium 3, 256 MiB memory): links to answers

I want a distribution using cutting edge/bleeding edge programs: links to answers

As it is community wiki, feel free to edit this question to improve it as well.


Each answer would be a single distribution, with minimum requirements, links to the distribution vendor, and any highlights. Historical version minimum requirements could be included, where the versions are still supported.

  • 1
    this is... well, not horrible, but probably not ideal. it would probably end up looking a lot like the Official SOFU FAQ, which is great now, but took a lot of work to get that way.
    – quack quixote
    Commented Apr 18, 2010 at 10:57
  • @quack I haven't seen anything better - I think we need to have the indexes/mappings in the question, or else people won't find the question useful for the stated purpose.
    – Douglas Leeder
    Commented Apr 20, 2010 at 19:31
  • 1
    when i first looked at this i thought "links to answer" indicated links to other "recommend a linux distro" questions. i see now you're intent is somewhat more self-contained. it looks like a maintenance nightmare... but i'll let you try it if you want.
    – quack quixote
    Commented Apr 20, 2010 at 21:47
  • 1
    @quack, @Douglas - I'm not sure indeed if it's worth creating (or linking to existing) separate questions for each of these cases, like it is done on the "FAQ" on Meta. It will scatter the information, especially that most of times, you will want to add/see if a particular distribution works for more than one. Concentrating on one question has the advantage that you can include a "what worked on an older machine works on a new one" clause, to avoid repeating the same distribution over and over again.
    – Gnoupi
    Commented May 2, 2010 at 7:35

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