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I want to use an old laptop to make a dual boot pc using xp and a version of linux. The laptop is an old Compac Presario 2200 with 512 mb of ram. I am currently reinstalling XP to "clean it up". My question is...I want to install Linux so I can install an old online game system for a Mud (circle 3.1)..not for public use or anything...just on my home network for me to goof around with coding, building zones etc(learning)...I am guessing I need a server version of Linux? I hear Unbuntu is newb friendly? Would the desktop version serve my purpose? or..is there a way to have both? I plan on installing the whole thing(Linux)..or as much as I can on an external 500gb My Book, and keeping xp on the internal drive. So..does this sound feasible?
Any information appreciated
You should be able to set up a server on any Linux distribution. A current Ubuntu or probably any of the current full distributions won't run well if they run at all on 512MB of RAM. You can select a different than standard Desktop Environment which may help. If you do an online search for Linux on older computers or Linux distribution for low RAM computers you will find a number of links such as the one below:
Distribution: Debian Sid AMD64, Raspbian Wheezy, various VMs
Linux doesn't really come in server and desktop versions in the way you may think. "server" versions tends to refer either to something like Debian Stable or CentOS where the packages are older but tested and guaranteed to receive fixes for longer or, like Ubuntu I think, are just installers that don't give you a desktop environment on a default install so you only have a terminal.
It is perfectly normal to install, say, CentOS on a desktop and use it day-to-day as you would any other OS. This also doesn't preclude you from installing any server programs on it.
Your machine is low on RAM and will likely be slow if you used a more modern desktop but something like Lubuntu could be a good choice.
Ubuntu may be newb friendly, but it's not old computer friendly, and it won't like 512MB at all! I don't think the installation disk will run with your video either, and that would apply to derivatives like Lubuntu.