Got some older computer equipment lying around? Don’t throw away those old PCs just
yet. Whether you’re cleaning out or upgrading the computers in the office or at home, you
should be able to find something to do with them.
Have some desktop PCs lying around and gathering dust? Instead of throwing them away, consider making one into a web or mail server, using one to experiment with Linux, or converting one into a router. Here are five great ways to breathe new life into old equipment.
As we’ll discuss, you can use them for experimentation, routing, security, file or
Internet serving, and more. Use these five suggestions to make one of the projects your
late-night endeavor on the weekend or your new project at work.
1. Install Ubuntu or other distribution to experiment with Linux
If you haven’t already, you could discover the world of free and open source computing
by fiddling around with Linux. Within an hour or so, you can download and install Ubuntu,
or one of the other thousands of distributions (distros) onto your old PC. You can even
test it out before installing anything to your hard drive, using the live CD mode of some
Ubuntu has become very popular, especially for Linux newbies. “Ubuntu” is an ancient
African word, meaning “humanity to others,” hence its philosophy and mission to better
the computing world. You can read
more about this distro and download
Ubuntu from its site. (See also: Discovering Ubuntu as a Windows User.) Other distributions can be
found at DistroWatch.com.
Once you boot into a desktop version of Linux, you’ll see that, though it looks
different from Windows, it still has the same main features. There’s still a start
menu–usually better organized than in Windows–and icons on the desktop. Average users
should be fine typing up documents, browsing the Web, and doing other basic tasks.
The biggest advantage is that you’ll now have access to hundreds of thousands of
totally free applications. Some are small projects, however some rival that of their
commercial counterpart, such as OpenOffice.org and Microsoft Office. Most distros are
actually loaded with all the day-to-day software you’ll need: an office suite, e-mail
client and calendar, Web browser, photo editor, and more.
For additional applications, you can use the Package Manager to search for and install
other software that’s listed in the distro’s repositories; or download programs directly
from a developer’s site and build them manually.
Linux is actually the operating system for many computer and networking devices. The
rest of the ideas in this article also use Linux-based software.
Read the rest pf this article at Wi-Fi Planet.