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64mb = Limits you to command line 128mb = What you got (OK... but sluggish) 256mb = Hella Memory (for linux at least. not windows.) (I've got 256 and can run 10 instances of Openoffice, GAIM, irc, 3 instances of konqueror, and unreal tournament without a problem) 1 Gig = This is getting rather close to gods amount of memory on his linux system. This is reccememded if you are so lazy you never close any windows at all.
That is actually a poor comparison as it's also attributed to fast IO from fast disks, fast CPU, and of course fast network, but RAM is very integral in many applications, too little will actually cause serious problems, but there is no such thing as too much, not in linux.
My old machine had 128Mb and it really worked the swap file to death. A upgrade of memory would be a big help. My system uses about 180Mb to 200Mb when Mozilla, Kmail, and KPPP are running. The most memory I have ever used with a lot open is about 450Mb. I noticed memory is up a bit right now but it would make a good upgrade for the future. Save a little wear on the hard drive too.
BTW: My Mozilla take about 5 to 6 seconds on this rig, and about a minute on the old AMD 400MHz rig with 128Mb.
Distribution: Lots of distros in the past, now Linux Mint
My old pIII 666 w/300 megs runs pretty well, a couple of seconds for mozilla (i use nightly builds), open office takes maybe 20 seconds. That's on debian/unstable. My boot time is probably a bad indicator, with samba, mysql, other networking stuff opening, but even so, it's about a minute. All I know is it boots and is ready a lot faster than most of the faster windows boxes I've seen, which is kinda sad.