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I have a Pentium 133MHz, with 90 MB of RAM running Slackware 9.1 and it works pretty well. You actually have a ton of text-only applications that are very powerful under Slackware.
1. Word Processing: Vim + TeX + ispell + enscript.
2. E-mail: mutt or pine. Of course, mutt is more powerful, but pine is easier.
3. WWW: links.
4. FTP: NcFTP.
5. File operations: mc or bash ( of course! ).
6. Programming: gcc, python, perl, etc (all work in console mode).
7. Spreadsheet: sc.
8. Audio: mpg321 or workbone.
9. News: tin or trn.
10. Graphics: seejpeg.
11. Games: the entire 'Y' group of packages.
12. Telecom/BBS: minicom (if you need to use a modem) or ssh.
Etc... etc... Check out the 'A', 'AP' and 'N' groups of packages for more ideas. Make sure you use 'screen' to manage all this, and you are all set!
Some people might even say that you only need to learn emacs and you will be able to do all this and more!
Of course, using X11 is a bit more comfortable for some of these functions, but console mode still offers a ton of functionalities, and run very well even on limited machines.
screen is a program. From the package description:
screen (screen manager with VT100/ANSI terminal emulation)
Screen is a full-screen window manager that multiplexes a physical
terminal between several processes (typically interactive shells).
Each virtual terminal provides the functions of a DEC VT100 terminal
and several control functions from the ISO 6492 (ECMA 48, ANSI X3.64)
and ISO 2022 standards (e.g. insert/delete line and support for
multiple character sets). There is a scrollback history buffer for
each virtual terminal and a copy-and-paste mechanism that allows
moving text regions between windows.
Never used it... but it sounds cool :-) Think I'll try it myself as well :-)
Actually GPM is very comfortable to copy & paste text in the console
I usually do a ls to get a package i want to install, then i just doble-click it (highlight the file) then midle click, and magic, don't have to type it :P
Forgot to say that using links with -g option (uses framebuffer) works very good too, it's almost like using a browser on X.