[conspire] (forw) Re: Linux install help? (For an old CoffeeNet regular?)

Daniel Gimpelevich daniel at gimpelevich.san-francisco.ca.us
Thu Dec 27 09:41:38 PST 2007

On Thu, 27 Dec 2007 00:00:19 -0800, Rick Moen wrote:

> Now, I distinctly recall when 64MB RAM was OK for a graphical
> workstation, and 128MB was ample.  In 2007, anything below about 256MB
> RAM requires special treatment, because it's frankly below the floor of
> expectations.  So, where 2007 Linux distributions are concerned, you're 
> not likely to be happy running either the KDE or GNOME desktop
> environments, and, with some of the more bloated distributions, you'll
> either not be able to run the installer program at all, or will need to
> boot an "alternate" CD or do some other RAM-saving special steps.

Today, if 64MB RAM is indeed a limitation, one is restricted to using
distributions which specialize in being able to fit in cramped spaces,
such as Puppy Linux. It should be noted that I had Ubuntu running with the
GNOME desktop on a 700 MHz laptop (P3) with 128MB RAM, and everything
worked reasonably well, except for OOo. In contrast, I had Xubuntu on a
600MHz laptop with 384MB, and it appeared considerably slower than that.
Xubuntu on a 500MHz laptop with 128MB turned out to be way too slow to be
of much use.

> So, for example, you could install Xubuntu (Ubuntu variant with the Xfce 
> desktop environment) from the "alternate install CD", because that CD
> runs just fine with 64MB RAM.  Technically, you could squeak by with the
> main "Desktop CD" graphical installer, too, as its minimal RAM is 192MB,
> but it might be a really slow installation.

The alternate installer may run with 64MB, but the resulting installed
system almost certainly will not. Also, assuming there was no GNU/Linux
installed previously, no part of the hard disk has been reserved for Linux
virtual memory, so running the Desktop installer even with 192MB is still

> The model 1750 has a 700MHz Celeron CPU, which is again OK but no
> barnburner.  It has as you say a 10GB hard drive.  It has a DVD-ROM
> drive (excellent!), and a 13.3" diagonal measure LCD panel.  Video is
> ATI's Rage Mobility-C chip with 4MB of SGRAM video memory, which is
> enough to comfortably do 1024x768 at 24-bit colour depth (true colour).
> Please note:  There is no 3D video ability in that video chip.

IIRC, that chip does have a very limited 3D video ability, and some
distributions actually support it to some degree. However, enabling that
support has been known to cause video artifacting.

> Internal modem:  It's a Lucent LT winmodem.  (Dunno if you care if that
> works in Linux; winmodems are often a pain for reasons we can discuss if
> that becomes an issue.)  Essentially, you'd need to retrofit a
> binary-only proprietary driver that will (typically) not be included
> within your Linux distribution.  Details here:
> http://www.physcip.uni-stuttgart.de/heby/ltmodem/

That information appears to be for 2.2-era kernels. There appears to be
some more recent info here: http://martian.barrelsoutofbond.org/

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