One caveat is that if you prepare a hard drive with Linux in a PC with one CPU, such as a Pentium, and then install the drive in a PC with a 486 CPU, you should either make sure that a 486-based Linux kernel is installed, or perform a post-install of an appropriate kernel after moving the hard drive.

Installing Ubuntu on legacy hardware will be easier if you choose to use more recent Pentium-class PCs, but even older Pentium PCs can be used and purchased at a fraction of their original cost. Such PCs can easily handle many mundane but useful tasks. Some of the tasks suitable for older hardware include

• Acting as a firewall, router, or gateway

• Audio jukebox and music file storage server

• Handling electronic mail

• Hosting a remote printer and providing remote printing services

• Network font server

• Providing FTP server access

• Remote logging capture

• Secondary network-attached backup server

• Serving as an Intranet (internal LAN) web server

• Unattended dial-up gateway, voice mailbox, or fax machine

• Use as a "thin client" workstation for basic desktop tasks

Older PCs can handle any task that does not require a CPU with a lot of horsepower. To get the most out of your hardware, do not install any more software than required (a good idea in any case, especially if you are building a server). To get a little performance boost, add as much RAM as economically and practically feasible. If you cannot do this, cut down on memory usage by turning off unwanted or unneeded services. You can also recompile a custom Linux kernel to save a bit more memory and increase performance (see Chapter 35, "Kernel and Module Management").

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