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[aprssig] Interesting setup ... but will it work?

Dave Baxter Dave at emv.co.uk
Mon Dec 1 10:06:10 UTC 2008


You can run Win2k or XP etc on just about anything with a Pentium or AMD
in.  Though you will need "Plenty" of RAM installed, and you will have
to "tune" it, so as not to run background stuff you don't need or want.
I've found that 2k needs at least 256MEG to be happy, 128Meg "Bare
minimum!".  512Meg or more and it run's well, even on slower processors.
XP needs 512MEG or more to be likewise (256 bare minimum), with a Gig or
more preferable.  In both cases the PC's capacity to host RAM is the
limitation, not the processors capabilities, though that of course helps
make things whiz along...   A healthy hard drive also helps (SpinRite to
the rescue!) though massive storage capacity is not needed.

You will also need to "Tune" the system to kill unwanted services, such
as  XP's "Wireless Zero Configuration Service" for example, on a PC that
never had, and will never have a Wireless network card...   

Check out Black Viper's website for running service info
http://www.blackviper.com/ and what is good, needed, or just plain

For example, just look at how little RAM even XP "Needs" to run in Safe
mode.  Even that is more than good enough to run UiView as a stand alone

However, I wouldnt recomend anything less than a P100 for Win2k, and a
P400 for XP, both with "Plenty" of RAM to minimise hard drive swap file
activity.  The user interface can be a bit sluggish, but once loaded,
most programs will run just fine, with the exception perhaps of some
modern soundcard DSP based software, or things that presents lots of
high res graphics.  UiView for example will run quite hapily on some
realy old hardware, so long as you can keep the OS happy, and don't use
mega size maps...

Don't fall into the Windows vs Linux trap re "security"...  Both systems
can be locked down hard, or be so wide open as to be a hackers
parradise, it depends (like everything else) on how you set them up.

Use (for example) the Free version of ZoneAlarm as a firewall on Win2k,
and turn on XP's Firewall (if not SP2 or later) and that will be a good
start.   Most of the more recent Linux's have their own firewal's, but
sometimes you need to go find and activate that option.

Likewise, both systems need to be kept up to date.  Currently MS are
still fully supporting W2k for security updates, as much of the
commercial world still run's with it.  Vista has not had the takeup in
comerce/industry as MS would have liked (no suprise there then?)  While
Linux is slowly gaining in popularity, but can be a painful exersise, if
you don't know that system.  (It has to be said, that many who do know
their way arround Linux, still have trouble, just as many of us who know
our way round Windows can also suffer!)

If you are unlucky enough to be stuck with hardware that will only realy
run W9x (though, in general, subject to enough RAM being present, if it
run's 95, it should run 2000 at least) then check some of the many third
party sites for archives of all the MS updates.  Not strictly legal
perhaps, but if an old system "Must" be rebuilt, you can get as up to
date as you can.  There are still a few third party firewalls you can
have, but in general, those older system need to be tucked away behind a
good router to be safe.

Interestingly, the WMF vulnerability of a couple of years back, was also
patched for Win98 and later via the automatic update system when that
was fixed!  Well after the "official death" of 98!...   I only found
that out, when an old 98 machine I have for compatibility testing
purposes recently found and did that update, all by itself when I dug it
out it's resting place and connected it to my LAN to extract some needed
data from it (email passwords, dont ask!).  Imagine the suprise when the
first thing it did was a successfull update, after more than 3 years
gathering dust!

You used to (until recently) even find some updates for Win3x if you dug
deep enough on MS's sites.  But as MS are now no longer issuing W3x
licences (they only just stopped doing that!) for the embedded world,
that may have something to do with the disapearence of those support
files, unless they've just moved them even further out of sight.

Cheers All.

Dave G0WBX.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jason KG4WSV [mailto:kg4wsv at gmail.com] 
> Sent: 29 November 2008 13:07
> To: TAPR APRS Mailing List
> Subject: Re: [aprssig] Interesting setup ... but will it work?
> On Fri, Nov 28, 2008 at 5:15 PM, Stephen H. Smith 
> <wa8lmf2 at aol.com> wrote:
> > Essentially, if a machine is old enough to have ISA slots, 
> it probably 
> > can't safely be used on the Internet since you can't run  
> modern OS'es 
> > or security on it.
> Only if your definition of "modern operating systems" is "windows"
> (which is about 180 degrees out of phase with reality). It 
> would run a lightweight linux install just fine.  A full up 
> APRS client with detailed mapping may be a bit sluggish, but 
> I think Kurt, one of the xastir developers, still pulls out 
> an old 486 to test xastir on every so often to make sure it 
> still runs.
> -Jason
> kg4wsv

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