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I love Linux. I'm looking for an excuse to install Linux...
I've installed Ubuntu 8.10 on a separate partition, and installed Xfce (to replace Gnome). Unfortunately, even with the light-weight window manager, Xfce, Linux still runs significantly slower than Windows 98 (at least 5x slower). It boots slower, it shuts down slower, the window manager loads slower, every application imaginable opens slower -- including the terminal. I'm thinking of replacing Ubuntu with Slackware (since it has a magical place in my heart), but if I'm not going to get a significant increase in speed over Win98, it's really not worth my time, as I'm only using Linux for testing my wxWidget projects on another platform.
Does anyone think Slackware is going to run "better" than Windows 98?
You are not saying what kind of hardware you are testing, though. We can't really tell you what should you be using when we have no idea what kind of processing power are you using.
Windows 98 is an OS from, well, 1998. You are testing OSes that are from 2009/2010 on (probably) very old hardware, which will require -no doubt- a very careful selection of the software you are going to use. Ubuntu, Slackware or fooLinux will not matter if you continue to use xfce, firefox 3.x and thunderbird, since you will be swapping to disk since the middle of the boot process, and until your box has switched off.
Probably more ram will help with that, but, as said, I can only guess when I have no idea what kind of hardware we are talking about.