When I said not ideal, I just meant you can't do as much heavy lifting as you could with a Core 2 Duo. XP works well enough on the Pentium M. When I say Win2k/ME/98SE is ideal, I mean those OSes are blazing fast on Pentium M systems.
So in that spirit, I can say a Core 2 Duo is not ideal, because you cannot do as much lifting as you can with a Quad-core i7. And so long and so forth.
The "heavy lifting" is all about the software that you run, and the tasks you perform; not the OS. Who cares that the OS is "blazing fast" in booting up and opening that file manager window? What are you going to do with it? Reboot and open file managers all day long? Once you start running software, you will notice that the OS's effect on performance is typically not as big as you think, but the differences between 9x/ME and XP are pretty big when it comes to supporting modern technologies.
Note that I'm leaving games out of the discussion - because with games, certain OS-specific optimizations for period-correct games can probably make a noticeable differences in favor of 9x/ME over XP. So once again we get to the point - it's all about what you intend to use the machine for.
I'm in the middle of nowhere, I can afford to have wimpy/no encryption on my Wi-Fi. WinME on a Pentium M laptop works well in that case.
Good for you, I guess. 😀 Some of us are not quite so in the middle of nowhere, though. And some of us may want to use the laptop at multiple locations. Try finding a non-WPA network at a workplace. Heck, even most coffee shops encrypt with WPA/WPA2 nowadays.
My opinion here is very niche, don't sweat it.
True, and there is nothing wrong with holding your opinion. I very much respect and admire your persistence in fighting for Windows ME's good name and showing people its good sides. 😀 But, having tried it myself recently, I could see its faults, and I would not go as far as to recommend it as a "holy grail" for everything pre-C2D. It is good for specific niches, as you say. As an all-round OS it does not come anywhere close to 2K or XP.
I don't do Steam, cloud computing or programming. My main attraction to Windows has always been games, but it has excellent daily driver and productivity software. In my case, I don't see the point in re-inventing the wheel just to get away from Windows. My interest in Windows is primarily in the past, I enjoy bucking technological and social norms.
And just like this, there are people with completely opposite use cases - for example someone who does not play games at all, and does do any development for Microsoft-specific technologies, and does not happen to share an office with a lot of people who use Microsoft Office technologies as the standard - by now (and probably as long as a decade ago) has almost no reason to prefer Windows to Linux.
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