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Hello! I have one 486 and two 386 machines. Since they are too old to run current windows, I want to utilize the machine by running some distribution of Linux.
Please suggest a light Linux for them. Is it possible to find some Linux distro. that can also provide GUI to run on these old machines? If that is not possible, can I utilize these machines for some other purpose? Maybe, simply for training purpose (at least training on Linux shell commands etc.).
I try linux on different machines, AV is best for strong machines when it comes to video/audio editing. On my Pentium II I use DSL(damn small linux) which is fine but I had problem with com mouse that I needed to fix manually. As for i586 that's too old, where did you get one? You can try gentoo on that, or any linux with optional GUI that you can skip. I don't really see much benefit from CLI alone (like shell or DOS).
I highly recommend recycling them. Depending on where you live, you can probably find a second-hand Pentium 4 with 1gb of RAM (minimum specs for full-featured distro like Ubuntu) for under $100 or a Pentium 3 with 256mb of RAM (enough for Puppy, SliTaz, AntiX, etc) for free. Check Craigslist, Freecycle, Goodwill, friends, neighbors, family, local businesses, etc.
I agree with Snowpine. The days of 486 and 386 computers are likely past, even in Linux world, unless you want to get something really old; I know that Slackware 10 is still available. Even 486s are almost two decades old.
Even original Pentiums (commonly and inaccurately referred to as "Pentium 1s") are becoming iffy.
If you want to try something for grins and giggles, Tinycore is likely your best bet.