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

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Thu Dec 27 10:52:12 PST 2007

Quoting Daniel Gimpelevich (daniel at gimpelevich.san-francisco.ca.us):

> 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 would be sad to think so, because many much better distributions
(Debian and Slackware coming immediately to mind) can work just fine 
on such machines given reasonable work in reducing startup processes and
selecting a suitable window manager.

E.g., if I had a nickel for every person I heard say 64MB machines aren't
good for anything better than Puppy Linux, but who never so much as
tried switching to Icewm and cutting the number of virtual terminals,
I'd have -- oh -- at least Muni fare.

> Xubuntu on a 500MHz laptop with 128MB turned out to be way too slow to be
> of much use.

Xubuntu would not be my first pick with that little RAM, but did you
even _try_ cutting down the startup processes, or was this just a
default install?  If the latter, then that's my overall point:  On a
low-spec machine, you're not done when the installer finishes.


> The alternate installer may run with 64MB, but the resulting installed
> system almost certainly will not.

I checked the docs before I said so, and you appear to disagree with
them.  A bit.  "Once installed, Xubuntu can run with 64 MB RAM, but it
is strongly recommended to have at least 128 MB RAM."  Fortunately,
Elizabeth's machine is substantially beefier.

> 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 ill-advised.

Again, I will simply note that the docs disagree with you.  You may
indeed be right, but I'm quoting http://www.xubuntu.org/get as a first
approximation (and recommending against that installer, anyway).

[Rage Mobility-C 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.

Hmm, you're right.  The Mobility series had that weird naming scheme
that made them difficult to correlate with the main desktop series, but
this particular chip was a low-power version of the Rage Pro -- a bit 
like a somewhat lackluster NVIDIA RIVA 128 or 3dfx Voodoo.

[Lucent LT winmodem:]

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

Good find.

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