The article goes on to note that this device will apparently have 512 MB of RAM. It’s the paragraph following that portion of the article that I find most interesting: While this may not sound like enough RAM to run Xandros, this Linux operating system is well-known for its ability to run with a bare minimum of RAM. In a DesktopLinux.com review in 2006, we were able to run the latest version, Xandros Desktop 4.0, on a far less powerful system: a 6-year-old Compaq Deskpro EN Desktop with a 500MHz Pentium III processor, 128MB of RAM and a 10GB hard drive.
I find it laughable that 128 MB of RAM is considered “a bare minimum” today. It’s actually a very large amount of RAM. Back in the 1980s and even into the late 1990s, those of us in the corporate world would have been amazed to have that much RAM at our disposal. At one job, we used a Sun SPARCstation 1 with 1 MB of RAM. This was around 1991 or 1992. On this system, we ran not only a fairly busy email server, but also a couple of databases and several other backend applications. Looking back, I don’t know how we got by with such a system. Perhaps software was written with more care in those days. Regardless, we had some of the older system administrators telling us how lucky we were to have 1 MB. They recalled the days when 64 KB of RAM was considered a lot.
When it comes to desktop systems, there’s absolutely no legitimate reason why a capable desktop system needs more than 128 MB of RAM. In the early 1990s we had NeXTstation systems that worked comfortably with 12 MB of RAM. Keep in mind that these systems came with a very capable suite of desktop software, still comparable in many ways to Mac OS X today. And even then, we were dealing with relatively heavy-weight technologies like Objective-C, Display PostScript, Mach, and so forth. Yet those systems still performed very well, with 100 times less RAM than the typical low-end consumer PC today!