[sf-lug] LXDE Rocks !

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Tue Jun 29 13:25:55 PDT 2010

Quoting Akkana Peck (akkana at shallowsky.com):
> Rick Moen writes:


> > It actually should run OK on a _128 MB_ total G3, if you have bothered
> It may want to use nearly all of that, though, so it may end
> up swapping if you use multiple tabs or if you want to run other
> sizable apps at the same time as Firefox. I remember when I had
> to run Firefox and OpenOffice, or Firefox and (ugh) Adobe acroread,
> simultaneously on my 192M laptop. It worked but it was very slow.

Absolutely.  You would with 128MB total RAM be able to only a limited
amount of _other_ things simultaneously with Firefox, and I would think
OpenOffice.org would be the last thing you'd attempt in that capacity,
as it has the worst case of bloat I know of on Linux aside from certain
AV and specialised rendering examples.

(Note that I specifically mentioned AbiWord and Gnumeric as more-suitable 
choices on relatively low-spec machines, so as to attempt to avoid the
need to run OpenOffice.org.)

I was talking last night offlist with my friend George Pope about the
two key problems that lie behind all this:

1.  Many Linux newcomers seem to never get around to even figuring out
_how_ to take charge of what processes launch at startup time, let alone
doing so.  Which is why I keep hearing extreme solutions like
Puppy Linux / DSL / Tiny Core on 128 MB RAM machines, instead of just
being selective about what runs.

2.  Many Linux users, not just newcomers, have absolutely no idea how to
read the memory columns of 'ps' and 'top', and thus cannot say where
their systems' memory is being used.

(I see that your slides attempt to address that.  Good.)

> For a really small machine, like 128M, there's some advantage to
> starting with lightweight distros -- not because they have fewer apps,
> but because they're set up to run with lightweight kernels and without
> requiring all the extra daemons like gconfd and hal and gvfs that
> distros like Ubuntu build in even if you don't run a gnome desktop.
> You can excise those even from Ubuntu, but it's more work and
> may require rebuilding some apps from source if you want full
> functionality.

Yes, though it's not necessary to revert all the way down to lightweight
distros to accomplish that.  You can disable most of that junk with
conventional but less-bloated distributions such as Debian, selecting an
appropriate runtime kernel from those provided precompiled, and then
turning off undesired kernel features at the module level.

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