I think that there's a great distinction between the problem handling approach in new and old hardware. By old I mean those of the early 2000's, with 2GB of RAM or less, 32bit, etc. Shouldn't we have a tag for problems with Linux running in old computers?

It seems like a broad tag and in fact, it is. I think a lot of users turn to Linux due to it's lightness when it comes to bring old computers back to life, and a lot of problems happens there, also, there are people specialized in working with computers with less resources.

It seems like I'm talking about a hardware issue, but in fact there's a lot of problems that rise from software compatibility on old machines. There's also an ambiguity I see when defining the focus of some issues like: suppose you have an old computer running an OS, you are having trouble with the low RAM resources, but you could take measures in the OS to lower the RAM consumption. Is this a hardware or software problem? Or both?

At last, I don't think that retrocomputing SE is the place for such problems, as they state in the "questions to avoid" topic:

Questions about modern, currently supported computers are off-topic. This includes questions about earlier versions of a current machine or OS.`

Therefore, a lot of OS's coming out today to help old computers get back to life wouldn't fit in the requirements there.

1 Answer 1


I see a number of problems with such a tag; in particular:

  • it would be a meta-tag — “If the tag can’t work as the only tag on a question, it’s probably a meta-tag.”
  • as you mention, it would be very broad, and therefore not a particularly good filter for users looking to follow such questions.

The variety of possible questions makes it difficult to categorise such questions in the first place. For example...

  • Is a question about a Linux system with a 2.6-vintage kernel an “old computer” question? RHEL 5 systems are still supported and run 2.6.18 (with extensions).
  • Is a question about a computer with limited memory an “old computer” question? Many embedded systems have limited memory, and questions about small-memory setups aren’t necessarily about old computers.
  • Is a question about an old piece of software an “old computer” question? It could be about running it on current systems.

I also consider that today’s questions about current systems are tomorrow’s questions about old systems; and yesterday’s questions about then-current systems are today’s questions about old systems. A lot of existing content here is useful for old computers, but that doesn’t mean it should be re-tagged, which goes against the usefulness of the tag in my mind.

This is similar in some ways to previous discussions about version-specific distribution tags: questions involving old setups should describe the setup in the question, without necessarily trying to reflect all the details in their tags.

  • 1
    seconded: "questions involving old setups should describe the setup in the question, without necessarily trying to reflect all the details in their tags"
    – Jeff Schaller Mod
    Aug 20, 2020 at 16:51

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .