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I am moving from Windows to Linux on many (different) machines. Some machines are older (slow) while others are newer.
I can seem to find the right one.
I've tried DSL, Puppy, Fedora, Zonbu, Ubantu...some more.
FINALLY settled on Ubantu because of ease of use.
Now it is running DOG SLOW even when installed on Hard disk on some of my machines. Will not install on others.
I/We are not Linux people. Just wanting a simple OS and simple apps to preform simple tasks. I don't want to have to learn Linux to customize it.
Firefox, thunderbird, Openoffice, Pidgin, EASY Add/Remove programs in menu, CD/DVD burning & Playback.
I've tried so many it is getting annoying, especially when I download it and the MD5 checksums don't match. That happens often. We don't need to discuss this issue.
Are there any FAST, STABLE versions with the features/applications I want built in to the distro that have EXTENSIVE hardware recognition so it can run fast on any pc?
I don't care if it is KDE or GNOME or whatever. Just something that will work with no hassle.
Ubuntu will run slow on old machines. But if you really like Ubuntu, you can try install Xubuntu. It will use XFCE instead of Gnome and that will help speed some things up. Or try a different window manager (LXDE, IceWM, windowmaker, enlightenment, fluxbox, etc).
Unfortunately, when you start talking about old machines, most of the time you're going to have to get your hands a little dirty if you want the speed when using one of the common distros (Ubuntu, Fedora, Opensuse, etc). But many times it is just a little bit dirty like uninstalling Gnome and installing LXDE.
Personally, I use Debian and on an old machine I will just install a bare bones system (command line only) and then only add the things I want. This helps them to be light enough for my use, but still gives me the opportunity to pig it up with things like OpenOffice if I have to. You can do the same thing with most of the other distros too, I just prefer Debian proper.
Distribution: Centos, knoppix, Fedora, Mepis, Zenwalk, Mint
I have found the smaller distros do a better job with older machines, I have been trying out zenwalk on an old PIII and it has breathed some new life into the old box. It has mp3 support and flash out of the box, nice hardware recognition. My wife who my wife even prefers it to other Linux which runs Centos. You can check out some other small distros if you want I have found some of them to be very user friendly to people switching to linux.
You didn't tell us the specs on the hardware. For example, not enough RAM === Slooooowwww. With modern OSes and SW, I regard 512Meg as the minimum. I do have a P-III with 320Meg and it does work---at least with most distros.
Ubuntu Versions are great to try for conversion from windows to Linux; Debian based distros are really awesome. I suggest something that is well documented, try their live CD's first before install to see what you like.
A misconception frequently voiced is that using a distribution such as DSL or Puppy is going to be fast on old hardware no matter what. It is going to be fast as long as you stick to using the software which comes with it. But as soon as you install Open Office, Firefox or any software based on Gnome or KDE libraries, all speed advantage goes down the drain and the system will be too slow to perform in a usable fashion. Modern programs need (relatively) modern hardware. You won't find an old computer (say, much less than 1 GHz, less than 512 MB of RAM) which will run Open Office or Firefox without noticeable lag.