Linux with old 32-bit hardware

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Sometimes it may be necessary to use old computers. Linux operating systems are perfect for this task. There are a lot of articles and recommendations on the Internet for selecting software and specific distributions for this task. But there is a key problem: recently all browsers (and some other programs) have ceased to support old processors (most 32-bit).

Mozilla Firefox (from version 48), Google Chrome (from version 34), Skype (from version 6.2), Adobe Flash (from version 11.2) require a set of SSE2 processor instructions to work. All AMD up to Athlon 64 and all Intel up to Pentium 4 processors do not support the set of these instructions, respectively, the mentioned programs will not start at all or will “fall” with errors. To check whether your computer supports these instructions it is possible by means of a command:

sudo lshw -C cpu | grep -i sse2

If your hardware does not support that instructions, there will be no output after it.

No matter what Linux distribution you have installed (Debian, Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora, etc.), how much RAM you have, and how fast it all works – key software such as a browser can make your workstation unusable if your processor (such as Athlon XP or Pentium 3) does not support SSE2. Using old versions of the programs is also not an option – Google Chrome and Skype old versions will not work at all, outdated Firefox – will not be able to open most of today’s sites and will in many cases be unsafe or severely slowed down.

For example, for the minimum functionality you can use primitive browsers such as Links or SlimBoat – but they will not have any video and the implementation of most features of JavaScript.

But, good, the decision nevertheless is available.

– Browser

For today, the only actual browser without the need to have SSE2 support is Palemoon special build. You can download the version from the author of this build by clicking this link, and just in case we copied it to our server. Just unzip the archive and run the palemoon executable file. It will run JavaScript, modern sites and even videos (of course not as fast as on SSE2-enabled processors).

– Flash

It’s better not to use Adobe Flash technology at all, but if you need it, you can try using the old official version or, better yet, special builds like the one described here.

– Skype

Older versions of Skype are no longer supported by Microsoft, they just won’t work. Therefore, the official Skype client cannot be used on an old computer. But you can try to use the web client (use Skype via web-browser) or, if video and audio communication are not required, you can use a special plugin for the Pidgin client.

If you have any problems with running any other software on your old Linux computer – write about it in the comments – we will tell you what to do with it.

  1. Anonymous says:

    Злакси крутой.

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