August 03, 2006
I know what you're thinking. Who still uses those crap systems? Well, some people are still using their old computers that run just fine using an older OS, but would completely crap itself if you attempted to install and run XP on it. I have a 1.8 Ghz machine still running ME on it because, well, it works. And I haven't had the multitude of issues that other people have had with that, let's be honest, toy operating system.
In any event, Microsoft no longer provides support for Windows 98/ME. All of you users are on your own. Or you were until now. Excerpt:
Xandros, in responding to Microsoft's July 11 announcement that it will discontinue security patches and technical support for Windows 98, 98SE, and ME, is offering a 50 percent mail-in rebate to users who "upgrade" to either the Xandros Desktop Home Edition or Home Edition Premium versions of its Linux distribution.
An estimated 50 million people around the world still use the older Windows systems, according to market analyst IDC.
The regular Home Edition sells for $39.99, and the premium edition sells for $79.99. If users upgrade their operating system from Windows 98, 98SE, or ME to Xandros 4.0, they can receive a 50 percent mail-in rebate, the New York City-based company said.
According to the company, the Xandros Desktop Home Edition or Home Edition Premium OSes can be installed alongside unsupported Microsoft Windows -- even on older hardware, eliminating the need for new hardware required by a Windows XP or Vista upgrade.
And here are the details on what Xandros will do for you:
Today, as three older members of the Windows family depart, Xandros is more than able to take up the needs of these, and other, Windows users. More so than almost any other Linux desktop, Xandros is designed to look and feel like Windows.
It starts with a KDE 3.42 desktop interface, with some enhancements to increase its Windows-like look and feel. In fact, you can, as I did, set it up to mirror a typical Windows environment and fool users into thinking they're actually using Windows.
This is helped, in no small measure, by the inclusion in the Home Premium Edition Xandros Desktop Linux 4.0 of CodeWeavers Inc.'s Crossover Office 5.03 Standard Edition. With CrossOver, you can run many popular Windows applications. For example, I was able to run Office 2000 and 2003, Quicken 2004, iTunes 5.01, and Macromedia Dreamweaver MX.
Can it run all Windows programs? No, it's not even close, but Crossover on Xandros can run many of the most commonly used one. It also makes it very easy to install and use Windows applications on Linux. In past combination packages of Crossover and a Linux distribution, it's been something of a chore getting the pairing to integrate.
That's not the case, here. For instance, if you want to install a Windows application, you just download or pop in its installation CD, and the system takes care of all the details. You could easily be fooled into thinking that you were installing a Windows application on a Windows system.
In addition, the Premium Edition of Xandros also comes with Versora Progression Desktop. This is a Windows to Linux migration tool.
It's a very handy tool that deserves a review in its own right. With it you can transfer such basic system settings as your wallpaper and screen saver to Linux, and, more importantly, your email and documents from, say, Outlook and Word, to Evolution or Thunderbird for email and OpenOffice.org 2 for your documents.
It's very, very handy. There are a few gotchas to keep an eye out for. For example, very complicated Office documents, such as macro-empowered Excel spreadsheets, are unlikely to make the transfer well. Still, I'd say 90 percent of users could move everything they have from Windows to Xandros and not lose anything of significance.
What Windows 98 and ME users may find far more interesting, though, is that I was also able to run Xandros reasonably well on a Compaq Deskpro EN Desktop with a 500MHz Pentium III, 128MB of RAM, and a 10GB hard drive.
Was it great? No, but Xandros ran as well as 98SE or ME ever ran on this six-year-old computer. XP? On this system? Forget about it!
This, more than anything else, is why I think any current 98 or ME user should look to Xandros. This Linux will just work on the system you're using today, and you won't even need to re-learn that much.
Interestingly enough, I've got a machine at home that's gathering dust right now. It's technical specifications mirror almost exactly the old machine that Vaughan-Nichols listed. I think that I might take give it an upgrade and milk some more years out of it.
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