If you plan to run Senior Linux (whatever it turns out to be) eventually you'll probably want to use a desktop computer. So what kind of hardware to look for? There's a lot out there.
Peruse below the orange antimacassar for a look if you'd like.
Linux on the desktop starts with a desk.
If you're just entering the workforce, don't assume that you'll be working sitting down. The future may well be the Canon (at least at one division) model: no chairs to sit in (except for the CEO, of course) and rigidly enforced minimum walking speed (except for the CEO, of course). Or maybe you'll be working at a company on the American plan: three minute bathroom breaks - max. I think these trends are the result of MBA'ism and its one guiding light, "Metrics." In short, counting keystrokes. Or calls taken. Or widgets produced. But whatever the cause or causes, the future of work looks pretty grim from where I'm seated. At a desk. At home. But there is some good news (at least for seniors) wrapped up in that bundle of misery.
The same metrics-obsession that leads management to micromanage walking speed and the time that workers spend on the throne also brings us the CCRC, (Corporate Computer Replacement Cycle). And for seniors on a tight budget looking for a computer, the CCRC sets-up a pretty sweet situation for buying a used workstation.
Why? Because the CCRC, like rental-car resales, floods the market with lots of serviceable gear. On an ongoing basis. It's an imperfect analogy, of course. Hertz or Avis is probably going to offer a much longer warranty than "Jim-Bob's Live Bait and Off-lease Computer eBay Store." Fortunately a computer breakdown is unlikely to leave you stranded in the middle of the desert. So an extended warranty on a used workstation may not be that important for most of us. And used workstation buyers have one huge advantage: fashion.
Or should I say, anti-fashion.
Workstations are not as kool as laptops. Workstations are not as kool as ipads. Workstations are not as kool as Android smart-phones. Or iPhones. Or Mac Minis. Or the forthcoming Mac Pro. And workstations are not as kool as some gamer's overclocked PC with blue neon lights inside shining out through clear plexiglass side panels. Instead, workstations are the Chevy Caprice sedans, the Buick Roadmaster station wagons and the Ford Crown Victoria police pursuit vehicles of computerdom. Only more so. And subject to far less market demand.
How to spot a workstation.
If you've worked in a cubicle with a desk and a chair, you've probably used a workstation. They sort of go together. Workstations and servers are different. Modern servers tend to be short, as in not very tall. (Length is a different story). An industrial or pro-audio-type 19"-wide rack will often host several servers, stacked on top of one another. Servers tend to be very powerful, sometimes noisy, and with somewhat limited options for connecting peripherals. The text you are reading at this very moment and your replies (please) are no doubt routed through servers of this type. Unless you are very comfortable with concepts such as Serial attached SCSI (SAS), you don't want a server. No matter how powerful or robust.
Non-corporate desktop computers are at the other end of the spectrum. That gamer's overclocked PC with blue lights inside shining out through clear plexiglass side panels is a non-corporate desktop computer--almost guaranteed. The PC you use at home is probably a non-corporate desktop computer too. Should you buy one of those? I'd say probably not, unless you know its complete history. A machine built by a gamer has likely been overclocked. A mass-market PC may have been gently used, or perhaps the owner's three year old used the DVD tray as a sippy-cup holder. Home use differs from corporate use in one important way--there's no IT department at home. That's good if you're looking to re-purpose your new (new to you) computer. But I'd suggest that if you're buying a used computer, buying one that's only been used under the sharp eye of a nosy, busybody IT department is a pretty good idea. And that means a workstation.
Next time: what to look for in a used workstation when you aren't able to open it up. In other words how can you tell which are Chevy Caprice sedans, or Buick Roadmaster station wagons; and which are the Ford Crown Victoria police pursuit vehicles.