I notice a lot of references to version 4.x.  Is there any overwhelming reason
why its use seems to be still popular.  I'm wanting to set up a server (just
for play) on my home network using a PII machine.  Am I better off using an
older version for such old equipment?  If so, do any particular versions
stand out?

A lot changed b/n 4.x and 5.x (and 6.x). Enough that a lot of people haven't upgraded because what they have works, they know it, and upgrading might break an app/system of theirs that isn't broken.

That said, I've gone from 4.x straight to 6.x with my last round of servers. Granted I was starting from scratch and I didn't mind the adjustment time (by adjustment I mean getting used to /etc/rc.d/* instead of /etc/rc.xyz*, etc.)

If I were you, I'd go with 6.x.

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