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View Full Version : Good Freeware Operating Systems For 486's - P2's



frozenfire75i
November 22nd, 2008, 03:27 PM
I got a lot of them systems ranging from 486's to 533's. What's a good O.S that would run well on the 486's and maybe a diff. one for the 200's and up!

I don't want to buy copys of windows for each system!

Ole Juul
November 22nd, 2008, 03:41 PM
There are several free versions of DOS around and that would be my choice anytime. For the 200s and above Linux will work. I find that the most polished distro that will work without having to know a lot and figuring out how to tweak it for old machines is Vectorlinux lite. It's based on Slackware, but don't let that scare you. It "goes in easy". :)
PS: The older 5.1 is probably best.

ScrappyLaptop
November 24th, 2008, 09:57 PM
FreeDOS, if you want MS Dos compatibility. Plus Arachne, or Lynx for Dos if you throw networking into the mix.

If that is not an issue, go with Basic Linux. DeliLinux, too. I've even built out Freesco a few times into full blown systems with great results. If you really want to learn Linux you could always try Linux From Scratch and end up with a system completely optimized to your hardware...

For the 'bigger' systems, I like Puppy Linux and there is a scaled back version of Ubuntu called U-lite.

Mike Chambers
November 25th, 2008, 03:09 PM
linux.

even a 486 can use linux effectively if configured properly.

Yzzerdd
November 25th, 2008, 06:36 PM
Well...

I don't think you'd have to buy seperate copies of Windows for EVERY machine. Microsoft doesn't even monitor how many times XP is installed(trust me, I've been installing the same disc on many PCs for the last 2 years), so I pretty well doubt their watching Windows 95, 98, ME, etc.

But if you're still not swayed I'd definately go Linux. Pretty cool having a supported O/S on such an old computer, even cooler that it's very functional.

--Jack

IBMMuseum
November 25th, 2008, 08:40 PM
Well...

I don't think you'd have to buy seperate copies of Windows for EVERY machine. Microsoft doesn't even monitor how many times XP is installed(trust me, I've been installing the same disc on many PCs for the last 2 years), so I pretty well doubt their watching Windows 95, 98, ME, etc...

They might not be watching, but they have the terms laid out even recently to still cover back to at least Windows 95. XP is considered bound to the motherboard - even if you have a motherboard failure, Microsoft wants you to replace it with exactly the same thing, or you void the license. Maybe this thread will have to be placed in ¨Rants¨ as people weigh in on this position.

(anyway Windows 9x, NT, 3.1x, and DOS versions are remarkably easily to gain authentic CDs and license keys right now, even for free)...

Chuck(G)
November 25th, 2008, 09:29 PM
Has anyone fooled with ReactOS (http://www.reactos.org/en/index.html)?

Ole Juul
November 26th, 2008, 12:23 AM
Has anyone fooled with ReactOS (http://www.reactos.org/en/index.html)?
I'd be interested in hearing people's reactions too. The idea of being able to use that huge resource of MS-Win compatible software without dancing with MS is certainly enticing. I really wish them well, but somehow I'm afraid that it won't collect the momentum to really go anywhere because if it does, MS will get on their case in some way.

Another OS with a completely different agenda is Minix3 (http://www.minix3.org/). It's stable and usable. I've tried it but it poses some hurdles for an amateur like me. :) Still, the idea of the microkernel and "self healing" drivers running in user space is exotic and offers some interesting possibilities.

Trixter
November 26th, 2008, 08:18 AM
Some suggestions:

Damn Small Linux

Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs (google it)

Puppy Linux

Chuck(G)
November 26th, 2008, 08:41 AM
Not freeware, but free--you can request a copy of eComStation's OS/2 (http://www.ecomstation.com/) that's fully functional. Kind of cool in a retro sort of way.

Terry Yager
November 26th, 2008, 01:40 PM
Is Micro$oft still handing out free licenses for W2K? (Where's Walter when ya need 'im?).

--T

Mike Chambers
November 26th, 2008, 09:45 PM
Some suggestions:

Damn Small Linux

Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs (google it)

Puppy Linux

FLP is fantastic! been using that one for a while. it makes a celeron 533 i have run pretty darn fast. like the regular win XP, it won't work on a 486 though of course.

Ole Juul
November 26th, 2008, 10:46 PM
That's the first time I've heard about FLP so I went to mr Google to see. Boy, the home page gives you more catchwords on the first page than you'll get in a week at a Fundamental Baptist Bible Camp! :) So I went to Wikipedia and that page seems to avoid anything controversial, such as details of the software. It did say that "the operating system does not include full support for terminal-based connections" which made me wonder how it can be a client - unless by terminal they mean "text". Also, nobody mentions price. Oh well, if Mike likes it, it must be OK. :)

Actually, now that Trixter mentions DSL and Puppy, I have to agree. Those two are solid reccommendations for older machines. I had suggested Vector because it is perhaps more comfortable for non Linux users - thinking that you were maybe going to give the machines away.

Terry Yager
November 27th, 2008, 12:36 AM
I knew I had this somewhere:

http://www.mar.partners.extranet.microsoft.com/becomeamar.aspx

--T

mbbrutman
November 27th, 2008, 06:18 AM
I knew I had this somewhere:

http://www.mar.partners.extranet.microsoft.com/becomeamar.aspx

--T

You are treading on thin ice here. It's not for free copies of Win2K .. here are the program requirements:


What Does It Take to Become a Community Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher?

To be a Community Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher, you must:
Supply 20 or more computers per year to charities, schools, or families.
Be a commercial, nonprofit, school, college, or government-based refurbisher.
Be located in any of the countries of North America, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean (with the exception of Cuba).


I'd never heard of this program before. If I were to be refurbishing machines for redistribution this sounds like a good way to do it. (Linux is free, but it isn't as usable for the target audience.)

frozenfire75i
November 27th, 2008, 07:34 AM
Yes I looked it over and signed up! It cost 5 bucks per copy for XP or 2K and you also can get Office. So five or ten bucks per system to save it from the landfill or recycler and make it useable again. Is wonderful!




You are treading on thin ice here. It's not for free copies of Win2K .. here are the program requirements:



What Does It Take to Become a Community Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher?




To be a Community Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher, you must:

Supply 20 or more computers per year to charities, schools, or families.
Be a commercial, nonprofit, school, college, or government-based refurbisher.
Be located in any of the countries of North America, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean (with the exception of Cuba).


I'd never heard of this program before. If I were to be refurbishing machines for redistribution this sounds like a good way to do it. (Linux is free, but it isn't as usable for the target audience.)

chuckcmagee
November 27th, 2008, 08:03 AM
It will likely be 2 or more years until ReactOS is really ready. As expected, ReactOS is just barely into alpha right now.

eComStation is not free. Somewhat expensive. I have been installing their second version releases for at least 2 years. Not sure if they will ever have a final release. They might just close their doors before then. The OS/2 kernel has never been released to public domain which means it is more or less frozen in 16 bit land. Not likely to ever be released either.

Terry Yager
November 27th, 2008, 08:45 AM
Yes I looked it over and signed up! It cost 5 bucks per copy for XP or 2K and you also can get Office. So five or ten bucks per system to save it from the landfill or recycler and make it useable again. Is wonderful!

Mebbe M$ ain't as evil as we make 'em out to be<choke***gag...>...

--T

Terry Yager
November 27th, 2008, 08:49 AM
You are treading on thin ice here. It's not for free copies of Win2K .. here are the program requirements:

Yeah, this is one of those rare occasions where I'd actually read the EULA before committing to it (I started to...really I did...just fell asleep before I finished).

--T

Chuck(G)
November 27th, 2008, 11:12 AM
eComStation is not free. Somewhat expensive. I have been installing their second version releases for at least 2 years. Not sure if they will ever have a final release. They might just close their doors before then. The OS/2 kernel has never been released to public domain which means it is more or less frozen in 16 bit land. Not likely to ever be released either.

No, but the liveCD demo ISO is free for the asking. As far as I can tell, it's not hard to get from that to a hard disk installation if you have a few OS/2 tools at your disposal.

At one point in time, IBM distributed free CDs of Warp and a bunch of tools in an attempt to get developers interested in it. Labeled "The IBM Developer Connection". I'm not certain of its "official" status, but I didn't ask for it and I didn't pay anything for it. I was a registered OS/2 SDK owner, however.

Druid6900
November 27th, 2008, 11:28 AM
Yes I looked it over and signed up! It cost 5 bucks per copy for XP or 2K and you also can get Office. So five or ten bucks per system to save it from the landfill or recycler and make it useable again. Is wonderful!

Yes, I have the XP and Office ones as well and that's why it usually COSTS me to donate computers (along with, usually, having to buy HDs and RAM), but, it all works out because I get tax chits to my Vintage/Legacy operation to offset profits.

So, if you're going to play this charity game, that's the way to do it.

They get them all fixed up, tested, OpSys and Apps and ready to go, add in a certificate from one of the local ISPs and deliver them to the families on their list.

I suppose I could sell them to people without the software, but, this donating thing is the single flaw in my, otherwise, nasty disposition.

Terry Yager
November 27th, 2008, 12:30 PM
I suppose I could sell them to people without the software, but, this donating thing is the single flaw in my, otherwise, nasty disposition.

Keep working on it, you'll get better with practice. I can give you curmudgeon lessons (for a nominal service charge).

--T

Terry Yager
November 27th, 2008, 12:40 PM
Mebbe M$ ain't as evil as we make 'em out to be<choke***gag...>...

--T

Then again, mebbe they're not so altruistic after all. Ya gotta figger, those computers had software on 'em at some point, and it's a pretty good bet that it was M$ software. They're actually getting a second byte at the same apple, wringing an X-tra 5 or 10 buck$ out of each machine. Just business as usual.

(I feel better now...all the world is as it should be)...

--T

frozenfire75i
November 29th, 2008, 07:16 AM
HE HE Ya good ol' Evil-Soft could not just give ya a free copy they gotta make something on the same system... Your right everthing is better now!

That start's to add up over time, 5 bucks here 10 bucks here when you get to 40 systems' that like 300 bucks!



Then again, mebbe they're not so altruistic after all. Ya gotta figger, those computers had software on 'em at some point, and it's a pretty good bet that it was M$ software. They're actually getting a second byte at the same apple, wringing an X-tra 5 or 10 buck$ out of each machine. Just business as usual.

(I feel better now...all the world is as it should be)...

--T