I wish I had noticed this thread earlier.
In my opinion, one of the more unfortunate things going on in IT
at the moment is the needless disposal of a large number of perfectly solid enterprise desktops. I can guarantee you that (at least until they were knocked over in an festival of gross stupidity) most of those boxes ran just fine, and were only retired because of their age. Old computers like that, instead of being melted down or placed in landfills (where they pose an environmental hazard) could instead be donated to schools in third world countries, or otherwise put to good use. A range of open source operating systems such as DSL Linux, MINIX, and Dillo Linux, as well as the proprietary (and rather hard to obtain) Microsoft Windows Essentials for Legacy PCs, exist specifically for running on older hardware, so its not as though these devices would be completely unsupported (and of course you could also use OS
/2 or Win95/98 or another legacy OS
, if you wanted to). An old Pentium 1 or 2 box (or even an 80486) is ample for surfing the web and accomplishing basic productivity tasks, and in many cases, older computers such as those depicted above are more energy efficient than their newer, faster replacements (enterprises, over the past 5 years, have really felt the pain of that as the electricity bills for data centers and desktop deployments keep rising). Reliability is also sometimes better, due to the fact that a number of older systems do not require a case or CPU fan (resulting in fewer moving parts), and the observed downward trend in hard disk reliability.
Unfortunately, the pervailing trend is to want the latest and greatest irrespective of the cost. IMO for 85% of users (with engineers, developers, artists/designers, scientists and gamers being the exceptions), PCs such as those being wasted in the attached video running a user friendly Linux distribution would be perfectly adequete and reliable for day to day use.