Discussion:
Debian on an old PC
(too old to reply)
Vegard Lundby Rekaa
2005-01-05 14:36:44 UTC
Permalink
I need some advice. Is debian fit for a Pentium 100MHz PC with 16MB RAM
and approx 4Gb harddisk? Are there anyone who has experience with such a
slow machine running debian (or any other linux dist)?
Depends on what software you decide to install on it.
What do you want to do with the box?
With this box I am trying to convince my father that linux is an excellent
replacement for windows98se for writing textdocuments and maybe some
scientific documents. He needs a machine with a simple gui, openoffice.org
and some other simple programs. For the window-manager I had xfce in
mind, which is as I have understood, the easiest to lern of the small
wm's.

Vegard
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Vegard Lundby Rekaa
2005-01-05 13:54:43 UTC
Permalink
I need some advice. Is debian fit for a Pentium 100MHz PC with 16MB RAM
and approx 4Gb harddisk? Are there anyone who has experience with such a
slow machine running debian (or any other linux dist)?

Regards Vegard
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Jacob S
2005-01-05 14:06:07 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 5 Jan 2005 14:54:43 +0100 (CET)
I need some advice. Is debian fit for a Pentium 100MHz PC with 16MB
RAM and approx 4Gb harddisk? Are there anyone who has experience with
such a slow machine running debian (or any other linux dist)?
I'm currently using a Pentium 133Mhz with a 3GB hard drive for my
firewall. It does, however, have 64MB of ram instead of 16MB.

You could probably use your computer for similar purposes, though I
would recommend trying to get a little more ram in it. You could
also use it as a dumb terminal for running off a terminal server.

HTH,
Jacob
Robert Waldner
2005-01-05 14:50:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jacob S
I need some advice. Is debian fit for a Pentium 100MHz PC with 16MB
RAM and approx 4Gb harddisk? Are there anyone who has experience with
such a slow machine running debian (or any other linux dist)?
16 MB RAM is ok, provided you don't want anything (graphically) fancy.
But for, say, fvwm2, mutt and a couple xterms it should be usable.
Post by Jacob S
I'm currently using a Pentium 133Mhz with a 3GB hard drive for my
firewall. It does, however, have 64MB of ram instead of 16MB.
Heh. I have a 386 with 4 MB RAM as a firewall ;) (although getting
Woody on it was quite an adventure, as the installer alone needs more
memory).
Post by Jacob S
You could probably use your computer for similar purposes, though I
would recommend trying to get a little more ram in it. You could
also use it as a dumb terminal for running off a terminal server.
cheers,
&rw
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Ron Johnson
2005-01-05 14:08:37 UTC
Permalink
I need some advice. Is debian fit for a Pentium 100MHz PC with 16MB RAM
and approx 4Gb harddisk? Are there anyone who has experience with such a
slow machine running debian (or any other linux dist)?
Depends on what software you decide to install on it.

What do you want to do with the box?
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Jason Crowe
2005-01-05 14:23:47 UTC
Permalink
I need some advice. Is debian fit for a Pentium 100MHz PC with 16MB RAM
and approx 4Gb harddisk? Are there anyone who has experience with such a
slow machine running debian (or any other linux dist)?
We ran our mail server on a Pentium 133 for a couple of years. We
processed a few thousand messages a day about half of them running
through spamassassin. But, we had 128 Megs of ram.

A machine that old can still be useful, but you have to use it in the
right spot. If you don't have a great deal of traffic, it would make a
great router, firewall, mail server, web server, dns server,
etc....Maybe even all of the above. (however, more ram would help.)

I probably would try to avoid using as a desktop. It can be done with
some of the lightweight gui's, but i don't think it would be pretty. ;)
Rob Bochan
2005-01-05 14:51:36 UTC
Permalink
I need some advice. Is debian fit for a Pentium 100MHz PC with 16MB RAM
and approx 4Gb harddisk? Are there anyone who has experience with such a
slow machine running debian (or any other linux dist)?
I have an old Tandy 486-SX/16 meg, with a 540 meg hard drive, that I use as
the family mail server/spam filter. I gave it 100 megs for swap and it still
have 230 megs free! It's a pretty lean install that runs Debian Stable with a
custom 2.2.x kernel that has minimal hardware support built in. It runs
postfix, spamassassin, and fetchmail. Mail is accessed via the popa3d
program. There's no outside access to the machine. It's by no means a
speed-demon, but it works well enough for my purposes.
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Ron Johnson
2005-01-05 15:41:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rob Bochan
I need some advice. Is debian fit for a Pentium 100MHz PC with 16MB RAM
and approx 4Gb harddisk? Are there anyone who has experience with such a
slow machine running debian (or any other linux dist)?
I have an old Tandy 486-SX/16 meg, with a 540 meg hard drive, that I use as
the family mail server/spam filter. I gave it 100 megs for swap and it still
have 230 megs free! It's a pretty lean install that runs Debian Stable with a
custom 2.2.x kernel that has minimal hardware support built in. It runs
postfix, spamassassin, and fetchmail. Mail is accessed via the popa3d
program. There's no outside access to the machine. It's by no means a
speed-demon, but it works well enough for my purposes.
Can you show us what it's dmesg looks like? (As an attachment,
so that the lines won't wrap, or a URL?)
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Nate Bargmann
2005-01-05 23:24:46 UTC
Permalink
I need some advice. Is debian fit for a Pentium 100MHz PC with 16MB RAM
and approx 4Gb harddisk? Are there anyone who has experience with such a
slow machine running debian (or any other linux dist)?
I recently upgraded my old 486/100 to Woody (stable). Debian is on a
1.5 GB partition and it has 28 MB of RAM. I have XFree-3 set up on it
and use IceWM instead of another environment. It is booting kernel
2.4.18 without any problem.

It's too pokey for a daily desktop system anymore and I really only
plan to do some ham radio stuff on it. Heh, I started with Slackware
Linux on that box back in '96 and even had XFree running from a 150 MB
partition!

- Nate >>
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Paul Johnson
2005-01-06 02:40:51 UTC
Permalink
I need some advice. Is debian fit for a Pentium 100MHz PC with 16MB
RAM and approx 4Gb harddisk? Are there anyone who has experience with
such a slow machine running debian (or any other linux dist)?
It'll happen. But be prepared for a very slow, console-only system.
Wouldn't make a bad router or small mail server...
--
Paul Johnson
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Harland Christofferson
2005-01-05 14:25:31 UTC
Permalink
I need some advice. Is debian fit for a Pentium 100MHz PC with 16MB RAM
and approx 4Gb harddisk? Are there anyone who has experience with
such a
slow machine running debian (or any other linux dist)?
Regards Vegard
--
i have a 2.4 kernel running on one PII 133MHz machine w/ 16MB of
RAM and a 40 GB HDD and another PII 200MHz machine w/ 32MB of ram
w/ a 6.something GB HDD.

no problems as far as I can tell ... the machines are slow though.


----------------------------------------------------------------------
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http://www.zerocrossings.com/
Harland Christofferson
2005-01-05 14:46:32 UTC
Permalink
Post by Vegard Lundby Rekaa
I need some advice. Is debian fit for a Pentium 100MHz PC with
16MB RAM
Post by Vegard Lundby Rekaa
and approx 4Gb harddisk? Are there anyone who has experience
with such a
Post by Vegard Lundby Rekaa
slow machine running debian (or any other linux dist)?
Depends on what software you decide to install on it.
What do you want to do with the box?
With this box I am trying to convince my father that linux is an
excellent
Post by Vegard Lundby Rekaa
replacement for windows98se for writing textdocuments and maybe some
scientific documents. He needs a machine with a simple gui, openoffice.
org
Post by Vegard Lundby Rekaa
and some other simple programs. For the window-manager I had xfce in
mind, which is as I have understood, the easiest to lern of the small
wm's.
Vegard
well, that machine is a slow machine for windows too ... the PII
200 MHz machine i use has KDE on it as a desktop. it is functional
but slow. i think it would be slow w/ win98 as well. what is the
alternative, to buy newer windows software? if so, spend your $ on
a motherboard/cpu combo from a place like pricewatch.com and install
debian on it.


----------------------------------------------------------------------
Zero Crossings, Inc. -- Embedded and Digital Signal Processing Systems

http://www.zerocrossings.com/
James Vahn
2005-01-05 14:44:59 UTC
Permalink
I need some advice. Is debian fit for a Pentium 100MHz PC with 16MB RAM
and approx 4Gb harddisk? Are there anyone who has experience with such a
slow machine running debian (or any other linux dist)?
I held the top slot in the BogoMIPS-HOWTO for slowest system for many years-
a 386SX/16 w/8 megs of RAM. Used a pair of them (and Hercules MDA) to get
Netscape on the internet (orange hi-res screen). One ran X, the other ran
Netscape. Held 'em together with duct tape. ;-)

Yes, yours'll work. Take a peek at WindowMaker (wmaker), I ran it on a
486DX4/100 w/24 megs for quite some time before moving to a P133 w/64
megs running KDE.
Ron Johnson
2005-01-05 15:21:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by James Vahn
I need some advice. Is debian fit for a Pentium 100MHz PC with 16MB RAM
and approx 4Gb harddisk? Are there anyone who has experience with such a
slow machine running debian (or any other linux dist)?
I held the top slot in the BogoMIPS-HOWTO for slowest system for many years-
a 386SX/16 w/8 megs of RAM. Used a pair of them (and Hercules MDA) to get
Netscape on the internet (orange hi-res screen). One ran X, the other ran
Netscape. Held 'em together with duct tape. ;-)
XFree 3.1 and Netscape 1.x?

I hope you took pictures!
Post by James Vahn
Yes, yours'll work. Take a peek at WindowMaker (wmaker), I ran it on a
486DX4/100 w/24 megs for quite some time before moving to a P133 w/64
megs running KDE.
KDE 1.x?
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PGP Key ID 8834C06B I prefer encrypted mail.

Anyone who thinks that religion is Sooo Eeevil should remember:
- The number of Soviet citizens that the "religion is the opiate
of the masses" Soviets killed or let starve is between 20M and
60M.
- The number of Chinese killed or allowed to starve by the
Chinese Communists is estimated to be as many as 66M.
Now *that* is True Evil.
Frank Gevaerts
2005-01-05 14:47:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Vegard Lundby Rekaa
I need some advice. Is debian fit for a Pentium 100MHz PC with 16MB RAM
and approx 4Gb harddisk? Are there anyone who has experience with such a
slow machine running debian (or any other linux dist)?
Depends on what software you decide to install on it.
What do you want to do with the box?
With this box I am trying to convince my father that linux is an excellent
replacement for windows98se for writing textdocuments and maybe some
scientific documents. He needs a machine with a simple gui, openoffice.org
and some other simple programs. For the window-manager I had xfce in
mind, which is as I have understood, the easiest to lern of the small
wm's.
Forget openoffice.org with 16MB RAM. It needs at least 64MB, but I
wouldn't use it with less than 128.

Frank
Post by Vegard Lundby Rekaa
Vegard
--
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"Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place.
Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are,
by definition, not smart enough to debug it." - Brian W. Kernighan
Tim Kelley
2005-01-05 15:09:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Vegard Lundby Rekaa
I need some advice. Is debian fit for a Pentium 100MHz PC with 16MB RAM
and approx 4Gb harddisk? Are there anyone who has experience with such a
slow machine running debian (or any other linux dist)?
Depends on what software you decide to install on it.
What do you want to do with the box?
With this box I am trying to convince my father that linux is an excellent
replacement for windows98se for writing textdocuments and maybe some
scientific documents. He needs a machine with a simple gui, openoffice.org
and some other simple programs. For the window-manager I had xfce in
mind, which is as I have understood, the easiest to lern of the small
wm's.
No way, forget running that on a P100 with 16MB. I am frankly
surprised windows 98SE runs on it either.

slink might run ok on it at the console.
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Norberto Altalef
2005-01-05 16:17:27 UTC
Permalink
I need some advice. Is debian fit for a Pentium 100MHz PC with 16MB
RAM
and approx 4Gb harddisk? Are there anyone who has experience with
such a
slow machine running debian (or any other linux dist)?
Depends on what software you decide to install on it.
What do you want to do with the box?
With this box I am trying to convince my father that linux is an excellent
replacement for windows98se for writing textdocuments and maybe some
scientific documents. He needs a machine with a simple gui,
openoffice.org
and some other simple programs. For the window-manager I had xfce in
mind, which is as I have understood, the easiest to lern of the small
wm's.
16 MB is not enough for Open Office . Forget your idea, your father is
going to believe that Win98 is better than linux :)
Some time ago, I was testing several slow machines in order to replace
some Windows 98 boxes.
Running Win98, Office97 and IE 5 with 16 MB RAM the machine is very very
slow, but is usable.
To obtain something similar or may be worst performance you need a light
window-manager (like IceWM) and at leat 64 MB RAM.
An alternative, but taking a totally diferent way is use the slow machine
as a light client, using LTSP or PXES, but you will need a powerful
machine as a server, a network and a lot of work, but the performance is
better.

Norberto
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Vegard Lundby Rekaa
2005-01-05 19:48:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Norberto Altalef
16 MB is not enough for Open Office . Forget your idea, your father is
going to believe that Win98 is better than linux :)
Some time ago, I was testing several slow machines in order to replace
some Windows 98 boxes.
Running Win98, Office97 and IE 5 with 16 MB RAM the machine is very very
slow, but is usable.
To obtain something similar or may be worst performance you need a light
window-manager (like IceWM) and at leat 64 MB RAM.
An alternative, but taking a totally diferent way is use the slow machine
as a light client, using LTSP or PXES, but you will need a powerful
machine as a server, a network and a lot of work, but the performance is
better.
Norberto
Thanks for the help everybody!!! I'll just buy me some more RAM, and run
debian with a light wm. If its slow it wont be the end of the world...

Cheers Vegard
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Ron Johnson
2005-01-05 20:31:51 UTC
Permalink
[snip]
Post by Norberto Altalef
16 MB is not enough for Open Office . Forget your idea, your father is
going to believe that Win98 is better than linux :)
Some time ago, I was testing several slow machines in order to replace
some Windows 98 boxes.
Running Win98, Office97 and IE 5 with 16 MB RAM the machine is very very
slow, but is usable.
To obtain something similar or may be worst performance you need a light
window-manager (like IceWM) and at leat 64 MB RAM.
Instead of OOo the pig, why not AbiWord?
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France, where are they in expressing their condemnation of such
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Ron Johnson
2005-01-05 15:18:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by Vegard Lundby Rekaa
I need some advice. Is debian fit for a Pentium 100MHz PC with 16MB RAM
and approx 4Gb harddisk? Are there anyone who has experience with such a
slow machine running debian (or any other linux dist)?
Depends on what software you decide to install on it.
What do you want to do with the box?
With this box I am trying to convince my father that linux is an excellent
replacement for windows98se for writing textdocuments and maybe some
scientific documents. He needs a machine with a simple gui, openoffice.org
and some other simple programs. For the window-manager I had xfce in
mind, which is as I have understood, the easiest to lern of the small
wm's.
As Harland said, this is a a bit too low powered.

OpenOffice will be slow to load even with 128MB RAM, but will
function.

I don't know what PC prices are like in .no, but here in .us, you
can get a minimally adequate box for only US$300.
http://www.sub300.com/info.htm

Tiny has one for GBP319.
http://www.tiny.com/packages.php?prodid=10987
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Jefferson, LA USA
PGP Key ID 8834C06B I prefer encrypted mail.

All of the "reporting" about Laci Peterson & Michael Jackson
reminds me of the Don Henley song "Dirty Laundry": "Can we do the
operation? Is the head dead yet? You know, the boys in the
newsroom got a running bet. Get the widow on the set, we need
dirty laundry."
Ron Johnson
2005-01-05 15:59:28 UTC
Permalink
[snip]
hence an easier sell. Supporting really old kit is IMO a royal
time-wasting pain at the best of times. I know some people enjoy it, but
I can think of more fun things to do.
Better said: it's a geek hobby, not fit for human consumption. ;)
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Jefferson, LA USA
PGP Key ID 8834C06B I prefer encrypted mail.

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Sue Spence
2005-01-05 16:51:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ron Johnson
[snip]
hence an easier sell. Supporting really old kit is IMO a royal
time-wasting pain at the best of times. I know some people enjoy it, but
I can think of more fun things to do.
Better said: it's a geek hobby, not fit for human consumption. ;)
Your "correction" misses my point. I said *supporting* really old kit is
a pain.

I play with the stuff fairly regularly for my own purposes. There is a
tidy pile of scavenger fodder next to my desk right now, and boxes of it
on racks in our office. However, for various reasons, I really don't
like to do IT support for family and friends on old gear. It's a mug's game.
Ron Johnson
2005-01-05 20:34:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Sue Spence
Post by Ron Johnson
[snip]
hence an easier sell. Supporting really old kit is IMO a royal
time-wasting pain at the best of times. I know some people enjoy it, but
I can think of more fun things to do.
Better said: it's a geek hobby, not fit for human consumption. ;)
Your "correction" misses my point. I said *supporting* really old kit is
a pain.
I play with the stuff fairly regularly for my own purposes. There is a
tidy pile of scavenger fodder next to my desk right now, and boxes of it
on racks in our office. However, for various reasons, I really don't
like to do IT support for family and friends on old gear. It's a mug's game.
Some people think it's *fun* to work on the old stuff. You sound
like you might be one. I agree, though, that supporting someone
else's ancient kit is a pain.
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Jefferson, LA USA
PGP Key ID 8834C06B I prefer encrypted mail.

"There never was a good war or a bad peace."
Benjamin Franklin
Well, I think I have to disagree with Mr. Franklin...
Sue Spence
2005-01-05 15:53:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Vegard Lundby Rekaa
I need some advice. Is debian fit for a Pentium 100MHz PC with 16MB RAM
and approx 4Gb harddisk? Are there anyone who has experience with such a
slow machine running debian (or any other linux dist)?
Depends on what software you decide to install on it.
What do you want to do with the box?
With this box I am trying to convince my father that linux is an excellent
replacement for windows98se for writing textdocuments and maybe some
scientific documents. He needs a machine with a simple gui, openoffice.org
and some other simple programs. For the window-manager I had xfce in
mind, which is as I have understood, the easiest to lern of the small
wm's.
Is this the same machine he has been using, or another one that was
lying around available for an experiment? If the latter, I hope this
machine doesn't have a crummier spec than the one your father is already
using. It needs a lot more RAM, as others have noted. I used to run
linux on a P-160 with 96MB, and it was usable. I don't know if
openoffice would've run on it, though.

If I were trying to get my dad to use linux I'd try to pick up a cheap
used machine of more recent vintage or (better) a bottom of the range
new PC. It would be much easier to install and more pleasant to use and
hence an easier sell. Supporting really old kit is IMO a royal
time-wasting pain at the best of times. I know some people enjoy it, but
I can think of more fun things to do.
Kent West
2005-01-05 16:09:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by Vegard Lundby Rekaa
I need some advice. Is debian fit for a Pentium 100MHz PC with 16MB RAM
and approx 4Gb harddisk? Are there anyone who has experience with such a
slow machine running debian (or any other linux dist)?
Depends on what software you decide to install on it.
What do you want to do with the box?
With this box I am trying to convince my father that linux is an excellent
replacement for windows98se for writing textdocuments and maybe some
scientific documents. He needs a machine with a simple gui, openoffice.org
and some other simple programs. For the window-manager I had xfce in
mind, which is as I have understood, the easiest to lern of the small
wm's.
Absolutely not. The box will work, but it won't convince your father
that Linux is an excellent replacement for Windows98se for the tasks
mentioned. It might work if you drop the openoffice.org, and use
something lighter weight, like Abiword or vim, and teX might be better
suited to "scientific documents", but he'll be frustrated by the
learning curve. If you want to convince him that Linux is a good
replacement for Windows _as a workstation_, you need more horsepower.
--
Kent West
***@acu.edu
Alvin Smith
2005-01-05 16:43:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by Vegard Lundby Rekaa
I need some advice. Is debian fit for a Pentium 100MHz PC with 16MB RAM
and approx 4Gb harddisk? Are there anyone who has experience with such a
slow machine running debian (or any other linux dist)?
Depends on what software you decide to install on it.
What do you want to do with the box?
With this box I am trying to convince my father that linux is an excellent
replacement for windows98se for writing textdocuments and maybe some
scientific documents. He needs a machine with a simple gui, openoffice.org
and some other simple programs. For the window-manager I had xfce in
mind, which is as I have understood, the easiest to lern of the small
wm's.
Vegard
No. You need a minimum of a Pentium 233 with 64 MB RAM to have much success
running any GUI + Openoffice, even xfce.

Of course you could run a text based application to do text editing, such as
Emacs...

But I like mcedit.
--
peace,
Alvin Smith
http://www.alvinsmith.com
Paul Johnson
2005-01-06 02:47:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alvin Smith
No. You need a minimum of a Pentium 233 with 64 MB RAM to have much
success running any GUI + Openoffice, even xfce.
And realistically on the user-side, you're looking more at getting a
machine that will run KDE with decent performance if you're trying to
convince a Windows user.
--
Paul Johnson
***@ursine.dyndns.org
http://ursine.dyndns.org/~baloo/
Vegard Lundby Rekaa
2005-01-06 10:07:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul Johnson
Post by Alvin Smith
No. You need a minimum of a Pentium 233 with 64 MB RAM to have much
success running any GUI + Openoffice, even xfce.
And realistically on the user-side, you're looking more at getting a
machine that will run KDE with decent performance if you're trying to
convince a Windows user.
For a total replacement of OS I know KDE is the only one to convince the
windows-fanatics, but that will have to wait untill he gets a faster PC.
Luckely the man who are to be convinced care more about the text editing
tools than all other details. Hopefully only this slow PC with a decent
texteditor will convince him that open-source is the best option.

I will take Nate's advice and try with iceWM... Afterall, it doesn't hurt
to try, a slow machine with linux is better than one with windoze!!

Thanks, best regards from Vegard
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Ron Johnson
2005-01-06 17:49:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Vegard Lundby Rekaa
Post by Paul Johnson
Post by Alvin Smith
No. You need a minimum of a Pentium 233 with 64 MB RAM to have much
success running any GUI + Openoffice, even xfce.
And realistically on the user-side, you're looking more at getting a
machine that will run KDE with decent performance if you're trying to
convince a Windows user.
For a total replacement of OS I know KDE is the only one to convince the
windows-fanatics, but that will have to wait untill he gets a faster PC.
Luckely the man who are to be convinced care more about the text editing
tools than all other details. Hopefully only this slow PC with a decent
texteditor will convince him that open-source is the best option.
If *text* editing is really the most important thing, then why not
stay in console mode? vim or joe should fit the bill.
Post by Vegard Lundby Rekaa
I will take Nate's advice and try with iceWM... Afterall, it doesn't hurt
to try, a slow machine with linux is better than one with windoze!!
Thanks, best regards from Vegard
--
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Ron Johnson, Jr.
Jefferson, LA USA
PGP Key ID 8834C06B I prefer encrypted mail.

Some former UNSCOM officials are alarmed, however. Terry Taylor,
a British senior UNSCOM inspector from 1993 to 1997, says the
figure of 95 percent disarmament is "complete nonsense because
inspectors never learned what 100 percent was. UNSCOM found a
great deal and destroyed a great deal, but we knew [Iraq's] work
was continuing while we were there, and I'm sure it continues,"
says Mr. Taylor, now head of the Washington
http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0829/p01s03-wosc.html
Vegard Lundby Rekaa
2005-01-06 18:05:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ron Johnson
If *text* editing is really the most important thing, then why not
stay in console mode? vim or joe should fit the bill.
The texteditor he needs has to be able to replace every function of MS
Office Word, wich means reading .doc-files, setting up tables, as well as
having a spellcheck-option.
Post by Ron Johnson
Post by Vegard Lundby Rekaa
Thanks, best regards from Vegard
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Ron Johnson, Jr.
Jefferson, LA USA
Cheers, Vegard
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Nate Bargmann
2005-01-06 22:58:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ron Johnson
If *text* editing is really the most important thing, then why not
stay in console mode? vim or joe should fit the bill.
Ugggh! The surest way to send someone running back to Windows is dump
vi(m) on them. Emacs isn't much better. I don't mean to start another
editor flame war, but folks, we have to ease the transition of those
wanting to come over to our favorite OS by guiding them to tools they
can feel familiar with.

I may have not have jumped the MS ship seven years ago had I not found
FTE. It probably lacks many of the features that make vi(m) and Emacs
popular with many, but after all these years it is still my favorite
editor. I wish it's user base were a bit larger so it would receive
some active development. The nice thing for me is that I have a text
editor that uses keystrokes and actions common to OOo and many apps on
Windows (which I use at work).

I'm not a coder so I probably don't demand as much from an editor as
many on this list. I think FTE is a good choice for newcomers to a
Linux as it has both console and X11 packages. If most Windows users
were familiar with edlin, I'd be less vocal about dumping them into
vi(m). I realize familiarity with vi is necessary at times, but for
the most part, users like family members aren't going to deal with that
situation as we'll be their sys-admin.

- Nate >>
--
Wireless | Amateur Radio Station N0NB | Successfully Microsoft
Amateur radio exams; ham radio; Linux info @ | free since January 1998.
http://www.qsl.net/n0nb/ | "Debian, the choice of
My Kawasaki KZ-650 SR @ | a GNU generation!"
http://www.networksplus.net/n0nb/ | http://www.debian.org
Kent West
2005-01-06 23:02:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Nate Bargmann
I may have not have jumped the MS ship seven years ago had I not found
FTE.
Wow! I was not aware of this editor. I do like it (for familiarity
reasons - don't know about power yet).

Thanks for mentioning it.
--
Kent West
***@acu.edu
Ron Johnson
2005-01-06 23:22:22 UTC
Permalink
[snip]
Another cool thing is that it's also cross-platform so I have it
available on a FreeDOS partition.
Speaking of FreeDOS, does anyone have WordPerfect 6.0 DOS laying
around? I'd love to install it in dosemu.
--
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Ron Johnson, Jr.
Jefferson, LA USA
PGP Key ID 8834C06B I prefer encrypted mail.

I wish the USA could get out of the UN. But a forum where
governments can talk is too useful. The next best thing is to
only pay a fraction of our dues. Or find a better forum.
Nate Bargmann
2005-01-06 23:13:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Kent West
Post by Nate Bargmann
I may have not have jumped the MS ship seven years ago had I not found
FTE.
Wow! I was not aware of this editor. I do like it (for familiarity
reasons - don't know about power yet).
Thanks for mentioning it.
You're welcome. :)

Another cool thing is that it's also cross-platform so I have it
available on a FreeDOS partition.

- Nate >>
--
Wireless | Amateur Radio Station N0NB | Successfully Microsoft
Amateur radio exams; ham radio; Linux info @ | free since January 1998.
http://www.qsl.net/n0nb/ | "Debian, the choice of
My Kawasaki KZ-650 SR @ | a GNU generation!"
http://www.networksplus.net/n0nb/ | http://www.debian.org
Ron Johnson
2005-01-06 18:22:10 UTC
Permalink
[snip]
Post by Vegard Lundby Rekaa
Luckely the man who are to be convinced care more about the text editing
tools than all other details. Hopefully only this slow PC with a decent
texteditor will convince him that open-source is the best option.
I will take Nate's advice and try with iceWM... Afterall, it doesn't hurt
to try, a slow machine with linux is better than one with windoze!!
No. All you're going to do is frustrate him.
--
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Ron Johnson, Jr.
Jefferson, LA USA
PGP Key ID 8834C06B I prefer encrypted mail.

If you go into a drug store that has it's own brand of Vodka, you
just may be in Louisiana...
Simon Huggins
2005-01-06 11:52:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul Johnson
Post by Alvin Smith
No. You need a minimum of a Pentium 233 with 64 MB RAM to have much
success running any GUI + Openoffice, even xfce.
And realistically on the user-side, you're looking more at getting a
machine that will run KDE with decent performance if you're trying to
convince a Windows user.
Why? What's wrong with xfce? :)

Simon.
--
No pressure, huh? Glad I'm not the Commander - Tommy
Okay, Lareo, take her out - Jason
Galaxy Quest.
Ron Johnson
2005-01-06 17:43:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Simon Huggins
Post by Paul Johnson
Post by Alvin Smith
No. You need a minimum of a Pentium 233 with 64 MB RAM to have much
success running any GUI + Openoffice, even xfce.
And realistically on the user-side, you're looking more at getting a
machine that will run KDE with decent performance if you're trying to
convince a Windows user.
Why? What's wrong with xfce? :)
*Wrong*? Nothing. It's just *different*.
--
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Ron Johnson, Jr.
Jefferson, LA USA
PGP Key ID 8834C06B I prefer encrypted mail.

Vegetarian - an old Indian word meaning 'lousy hunter'.
donald szatkowski
2005-01-05 17:21:22 UTC
Permalink
Forget my prior, for you and the command line - Okay

For you father, and gui - Forget it, too slow.
donald szatkowski
2005-01-05 17:16:52 UTC
Permalink
I am running Debian v 2.4.27-1-386/gcc 3.3.4 and Debian 1:3.3.4-9
(testing) on an OLD Gateway 100 mhz with 128 mb ram. Command line
operation is great, gui is less than desireable, in fact unusable due to
time lags. This is still a very usable box! Go for it!
Ron Johnson
2005-01-05 20:35:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by donald szatkowski
I am running Debian v 2.4.27-1-386/gcc 3.3.4 and Debian 1:3.3.4-9
(testing) on an OLD Gateway 100 mhz with 128 mb ram. Command line
operation is great, gui is less than desireable, in fact unusable due to
time lags. This is still a very usable box! Go for it!
You do us a great disservice by not mentioning which GUI you use.
--
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Ron Johnson, Jr.
Jefferson, LA USA
PGP Key ID 8834C06B I prefer encrypted mail.

The average girl would rather have beauty than brains because she
knows that the average man can see much better than he can think.
Ladies' Home Journal
Nate Bargmann
2005-01-05 23:30:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by Vegard Lundby Rekaa
For the window-manager I had xfce in
mind, which is as I have understood, the easiest to lern of the small
wm's.
Disclaimer, I've barely used XFCE and then only from a Morphix CD. My
first impression was that XFCE would be very foreign to someone used to
Windows. I would recommend IceWM with simple thme like Nice or Blue
Curve for someone used to Windows. The hot-keys are largely the same
as is the look and fell although it can be themed wildly. It's also
quite light-weight and works well on a slower box.

- Nate >>
--
Wireless | Amateur Radio Station N0NB | Successfully Microsoft
Amateur radio exams; ham radio; Linux info @ | free since January 1998.
http://www.qsl.net/n0nb/ | "Debian, the choice of
My Kawasaki KZ-650 SR @ | a GNU generation!"
http://www.networksplus.net/n0nb/ | http://www.debian.org
James Vahn
2005-01-06 02:08:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ron Johnson
Post by James Vahn
I held the top slot in the BogoMIPS-HOWTO for slowest system for many years-
a 386SX/16 w/8 megs of RAM. Used a pair of them (and Hercules MDA) to get
Netscape on the internet (orange hi-res screen). One ran X, the other ran
Netscape. Held 'em together with duct tape. ;-)
XFree 3.1 and Netscape 1.x?
Don't know about X, but that sounds right for Netscape - I'd guess 1.47 ..
No window manager, it was a text mode UUCP leaf for news/email. All X did
was run Netscape through the xinit startup script. I used a PLIP connection
(parallel port network) between the two boxes.
Post by Ron Johnson
Post by James Vahn
Yes, yours'll work. Take a peek at WindowMaker (wmaker), I ran it on a
486DX4/100 w/24 megs for quite some time before moving to a P133 w/64
megs running KDE.
KDE 1.x?
KDE 2.x on the P133, didn't think KDE 1.x had a chance on the 486 and
have never seen/used it. By the time my "hardware" was capable, KDE 1.x
was no longer current.
Paul Johnson
2005-01-06 02:42:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Vegard Lundby Rekaa
With this box I am trying to convince my father that linux is an
excellent replacement for windows98se for writing textdocuments and
maybe some scientific documents.
Just not going to happen with that machine. Spending a couple dozen
dollars on a newer old machine will go a *long* way for usability and
performance, however.
Post by Vegard Lundby Rekaa
He needs a machine with a simple gui, openoffice.org
and some other simple programs.
OpenOffice.org raises the bar to a recent (5 years) machine.
--
Paul Johnson
***@ursine.dyndns.org
http://ursine.dyndns.org/~baloo/
Kenward Vaughan
2005-01-06 15:10:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by Vegard Lundby Rekaa
I need some advice. Is debian fit for a Pentium 100MHz PC with 16MB RAM
and approx 4Gb harddisk? Are there anyone who has experience with such a
slow machine running debian (or any other linux dist)?
Depends on what software you decide to install on it.
What do you want to do with the box?
With this box I am trying to convince my father that linux is an excellent
replacement for windows98se for writing textdocuments and maybe some
scientific documents. He needs a machine with a simple gui, openoffice.org
and some other simple programs. For the window-manager I had xfce in
mind, which is as I have understood, the easiest to lern of the small
wm's.
Attaining your goal will be tied entirely to who your father is when it
comes to assessing the system. Is he interested in what you propose,
or is this a project of your own? If he is _interested_ then wm's
which deviate more from a Windows perspective will not be as much of an
issue, especially if he's willing to listen to the Knowledgable One
(you ;-) patiently walk through a brief working tour of it.

Blackbox/fluxbox come to my mind as very easy to use wm's which appear
to be fairly light. Along with simple features such as window shading,
multiple desktops, and window resizing/moving using the alt keys, an
interested person could quickly see some nice things about being
different.

You mention scientific writing. What type? I personally use LyX for
all my work (I teach chemistry at a community college) and find it does
all I want, with LaTeX as its backbone. The only time I ever need
OO.org is to allow me to see/print out .doc files from admin types at
school who don't understand/care about more universal forms such as pdf
files.

On your machine the primary holdup to a system such as this would be
memory--the likes of which cost about a $1/stick at our local
"re-compute" store.

If he likes what he sees then maybe a hardware upgrade would happen
automagically... ;)

HTH,

Kenward
--
In a completely rational society, the best of us would aspire to be
_teachers_ and the rest of us would have to settle for something less,
because passing civilization along from one generation to the next
ought to be the highest honor and the highest responsibility anyone
could have. - Lee Iacocca
Vegard Lundby Rekaa
2005-01-06 18:31:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Kenward Vaughan
Attaining your goal will be tied entirely to who your father is when it
comes to assessing the system. Is he interested in what you propose,
or is this a project of your own? If he is _interested_ then wm's
which deviate more from a Windows perspective will not be as much of an
issue, especially if he's willing to listen to the Knowledgable One
(you ;-) patiently walk through a brief working tour of it.
The only "demand" he has for participating in this project is that he can
have a machine where he can write/read his text-documents (therfore
OpenOffice) and mail. Besides that I am free to choose linux-dist and wm.
I belive his will to try and learn linux is there so that shouldn't be a
problem.
Post by Kenward Vaughan
Blackbox/fluxbox come to my mind as very easy to use wm's which appear
to be fairly light. Along with simple features such as window shading,
multiple desktops, and window resizing/moving using the alt keys, an
interested person could quickly see some nice things about being
different.
You mention scientific writing. What type? I personally use LyX for
all my work (I teach chemistry at a community college) and find it does
all I want, with LaTeX as its backbone. The only time I ever need
OO.org is to allow me to see/print out .doc files from admin types at
school who don't understand/care about more universal forms such as pdf
files.
Today he uses 'Scientific Notebook', I'm not sure excactly what that
program does. He's a teacher in what we call "furter going school" (it
sound pretty stupid when I translate it directly) (its the 11. -> 12. year
of school for the young of norway). I will tell him to look up LyX, maby
the right thing.
Post by Kenward Vaughan
On your machine the primary holdup to a system such as this would be
memory--the likes of which cost about a $1/stick at our local
"re-compute" store.
I got hold of 128MB RAM from a friend. Now there is a total of
128+16=144MB RAM. Don't you think that is enough for OO.org and WM when
he's prepared for a slow machine?
Post by Kenward Vaughan
If he likes what he sees then maybe a hardware upgrade would happen
automagically... ;)
I won't give up untill that happens, so its just a matter of time. The
more open-source and the less Microsoft, the better!!!!
Post by Kenward Vaughan
HTH,
Kenward
Fun to here from all of you guys, best wishes from Vegard
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Alvin Smith
2005-01-06 19:25:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Vegard Lundby Rekaa
Post by Kenward Vaughan
On your machine the primary holdup to a system such as this would be
memory--the likes of which cost about a $1/stick at our local
"re-compute" store.
I got hold of 128MB RAM from a friend. Now there is a total of
128+16=144MB RAM. Don't you think that is enough for OO.org and WM when
he's prepared for a slow machine?
I would be surprised if that old machine could recognize more than 64MB. Have
you tried the memory in the machine?

Tell you what... Download a bootable Linux CD with a LightGUI and run that on
the machine. That way you can try it before you commit.
--
peace,
Alvin Smith
http://www.alvinsmith.com
RRPotratz
2005-01-06 19:33:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alvin Smith
Post by Vegard Lundby Rekaa
Post by Kenward Vaughan
On your machine the primary holdup to a system such as this would be
memory--the likes of which cost about a $1/stick at our local
"re-compute" store.
I got hold of 128MB RAM from a friend. Now there is a total of
128+16=144MB RAM. Don't you think that is enough for OO.org and WM when
he's prepared for a slow machine?
I would be surprised if that old machine could recognize more than 64MB. Have
you tried the memory in the machine?
Tell you what... Download a bootable Linux CD with a LightGUI and run that on
the machine. That way you can try it before you commit.
I would be surprised if that old machine could *boot a cdrom*. Have

you tried *that*?

;-0
Vegard Lundby Rekaa
2005-01-06 20:42:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by RRPotratz
I would be surprised if that old machine could *boot a cdrom*. Have
you tried *that*?
;-0
It can't boot from cdrom, it has one (4X) but the system doesn't know of
it untill an OS is loaded (i.e. win98se). I'm forced to install linux with
floppy disks.
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William Ballard
2005-01-06 20:50:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Vegard Lundby Rekaa
It can't boot from cdrom, it has one (4X) but the system doesn't know of
it untill an OS is loaded (i.e. win98se). I'm forced to install linux with
floppy disks.
Don't use this piece of crap as a desktop machine.
Use it as -- the world's coolest router!
Download One! OpenBSD floppy, put two network cards on it,
and in 2 minutes have OpenBSD installed.

Edit pf.conf, put it in the corner, and forget about it.
I have done this with an ancient Pentium 90 laptop with
32MB of ram and I haven't had to touch it in a year.
John Schmidt
2005-01-06 21:00:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Vegard Lundby Rekaa
Post by RRPotratz
I would be surprised if that old machine could *boot a cdrom*. Have
you tried *that*?
;-0
It can't boot from cdrom, it has one (4X) but the system doesn't know of
it untill an OS is loaded (i.e. win98se). I'm forced to install linux with
floppy disks.
Try using this:

From Debian-boot mailing list:


Smart Boot Manager (http://btmgr.sourceforge.net/) can be started from
floppy and allows some older computers to boot from CD. That's how I
loaded my firewall/router machine with Sarge.

Might be worth a try. --Don


John
David Jardine
2005-01-06 21:37:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by Vegard Lundby Rekaa
Post by RRPotratz
I would be surprised if that old machine could *boot a cdrom*. Have
you tried *that*?
;-0
It can't boot from cdrom, it has one (4X) but the system doesn't know of
it untill an OS is loaded (i.e. win98se). I'm forced to install linux with
floppy disks.
Can't you change the boot order in the BIOS setup to look for
cdrom first? Debian install CDs are bootable, surely?

David
--
David Jardine

"Running Debian GNU/Linux and
loving every minute of it." -Sacher M.
John Schmidt
2005-01-06 21:44:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Jardine
Post by Vegard Lundby Rekaa
Post by RRPotratz
I would be surprised if that old machine could *boot a cdrom*. Have
you tried *that*?
;-0
It can't boot from cdrom, it has one (4X) but the system doesn't know of
it untill an OS is loaded (i.e. win98se). I'm forced to install linux
with floppy disks.
Can't you change the boot order in the BIOS setup to look for
cdrom first? Debian install CDs are bootable, surely?
David
--
David Jardine
"Running Debian GNU/Linux and
loving every minute of it." -Sacher M.
Old pcs often can't boot from a CD even if they have one. You might be able
to flash the BIOS to upgrade it, but that assumes there is an update out
there (highly unlikely).

John
Ron Johnson
2005-01-06 21:55:58 UTC
Permalink
[snip]
Post by John Schmidt
Old pcs often can't boot from a CD even if they have one. You might be able
to flash the BIOS to upgrade it, but that assumes there is an update out
there (highly unlikely).
Even P-120s can't boot from CD.
--
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Ron Johnson, Jr.
Jefferson, LA USA
PGP Key ID 8834C06B I prefer encrypted mail.

"Peace is not made at the council table or by treaties, but in
the hearts of men."
Herbert Clark Hoover
Paul Johnson
2005-01-07 15:27:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Schmidt
Old pcs often can't boot from a CD even if they have one. You might
be able to flash the BIOS to upgrade it, but that assumes there is an
update out there (highly unlikely).
If it's too old to boot from a CD, wouldn't it also pre-date flashable
BIOS?
--
Paul Johnson
***@ursine.dyndns.org
http://ursine.dyndns.org/~baloo/
Kent West
2005-01-07 18:53:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul Johnson
Post by John Schmidt
Old pcs often can't boot from a CD even if they have one. You might
be able to flash the BIOS to upgrade it, but that assumes there is an
update out there (highly unlikely).
If it's too old to boot from a CD, wouldn't it also pre-date flashable
BIOS?
No, I remember flashing old AT&T 6300 (4.77MHz 8086 PC) PCs here on
campus because they had a Y2K-style glitch in the BIOS; it wouldn't go
beyond 1987 or thereabouts (my memory is hazy).
--
Kent West
***@acu.edu
CW Harris
2005-01-07 19:33:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Kent West
Post by Paul Johnson
Post by John Schmidt
Old pcs often can't boot from a CD even if they have one. You might
be able to flash the BIOS to upgrade it, but that assumes there is an
update out there (highly unlikely).
If it's too old to boot from a CD, wouldn't it also pre-date flashable
BIOS?
No, I remember flashing old AT&T 6300 (4.77MHz 8086 PC) PCs here on
campus because they had a Y2K-style glitch in the BIOS; it wouldn't go
beyond 1987 or thereabouts (my memory is hazy).
Hey! I'm using one of those as a text terminal (typing this on it
actually). The display is a bit slow on long listings, but I *really*
like the feel/key placement of the keyboard.

Back more on-topic for this thread, I still use some older PC's. But
*fast enough* is pretty relative. One can manage with some pretty slow
hardware until you try something faster. I used gdm/enlightenment on an
AMD 686 ~150Mhz with 48MB memory for sometime. But after trying faster
hardware it really starts to seem intolerably slow.

What I find is the biggest problem on older hardware is actually getting
large amounts of memory for them. They don't really have enough memory
slots to add, and by the time you replace them with larger DIMMS the
cost becomes a significant chunk of an all-around better used machine.

(Of course if the machine is new enough to use current memory modules
then it becomes much easier.)
--
Chris Harris <***@rtcmarketing.com>
-------------------------------------------
GNU/Linux --- The best things in life are free.
Kent West
2005-01-07 20:23:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by CW Harris
Post by Kent West
Post by Paul Johnson
Post by John Schmidt
Old pcs often can't boot from a CD even if they have one. You might
be able to flash the BIOS to upgrade it, but that assumes there is an
update out there (highly unlikely).
If it's too old to boot from a CD, wouldn't it also pre-date flashable
BIOS?
No, I remember flashing old AT&T 6300 (4.77MHz 8086 PC) PCs here on
campus because they had a Y2K-style glitch in the BIOS; it wouldn't go
beyond 1987 or thereabouts (my memory is hazy).
Hey! I'm using one of those as a text terminal (typing this on it
actually). The display is a bit slow on long listings, but I *really*
like the feel/key placement of the keyboard.
I vaguely remember liking the old machines; maybe it was the keyboard; I
can't remember for sure.

And back to Paul's question, the more I think about it, the more I think
the 6300 BIOS patch may not have been a flash after all, but rather a
TSR (that's Terminate and Stay Resident, for you young whippersnappers;
the DOS-days equivalent of a background service/daemon). So perhaps Paul
is correct.
--
Kent West
***@acu.edu
Johnny
2005-01-07 19:17:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul Johnson
Post by John Schmidt
Old pcs often can't boot from a CD even if they have one. You might
be able to flash the BIOS to upgrade it, but that assumes there is an
update out there (highly unlikely).
If it's too old to boot from a CD, wouldn't it also pre-date flashable
BIOS?
I have installed Debian 3.0r2 i386 vanilla on a 2 older computers in the
133 MHz with 32 RAM HD 1.2G with no problem. These computer did boot
from the CDROM and also installed from boot-floppy also on other
computers that can't boot from CDROM.
I do use KDM to log into Blackbox, Fluxbox, KDE, GNOME. The text editor
that I use is ee from the command line and also use MC (Midnight
commander). I have experimented with a ttyS0 modem to connect to the
internet no problem but it was slow, now using DSL much faster to get
updates and installing other applications with no problems. I am still
experimenting with other linux distro to see if they install but I still
come back to Debian because I can choose which kernel to install like
some other Linux distros you dont have that choice.



Johnny
Vegard Lundby Rekaa
2005-01-06 21:57:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Jardine
Can't you change the boot order in the BIOS setup to look for
cdrom first? Debian install CDs are bootable, surely?
David
--
David Jardine
Tried that, Not Possible
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Ron Johnson
2005-01-06 21:30:15 UTC
Permalink
On Thu, 2005-01-06 at 19:31 +0100, Vegard Lundby Rekaa wrote:
[snip]
Post by Vegard Lundby Rekaa
I got hold of 128MB RAM from a friend. Now there is a total of
128+16=144MB RAM. Don't you think that is enough for OO.org and WM when
he's prepared for a slow machine?
Is it actually installed, or do you just have the DIMM?
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Vegard Lundby Rekaa
2005-01-06 21:57:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ron Johnson
Is it actually installed, or do you just have the DIMM?
Nothing installed yet!
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Sam Watkins
2005-01-08 16:47:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Vegard Lundby Rekaa
I got hold of 128MB RAM from a friend. Now there is a total of
128+16=144MB RAM. Don't you think that is enough for OO.org and WM when
he's prepared for a slow machine?
FWIW I installed OO.org on my pentium MMX 200MHz with 128Mb RAM the
other day (after reading your email). It takes a while to start but
works fine after that. If you use a sensible window manager (not KDE or
gnome, maybe icewm) I guess it would work fine on your old computer,
apart from taking a while to start up.

It will be a lot slower than the appropriate version of microsoft office
for that machine, though.

I think we would end up with much better software if all developers were
forced to use old, slow computers :) I remember how good and fast the
software was on my old RISC OS Acorn with 4MB RAM (Impression, Sibelius,
Artworks). Something is seriously wrong with the way people write
software these days!
Ron Johnson
2005-01-08 22:12:14 UTC
Permalink
[snip]
Post by Sam Watkins
I think we would end up with much better software if all developers were
forced to use old, slow computers :) I remember how good and fast the
software was on my old RISC OS Acorn with 4MB RAM (Impression, Sibelius,
Artworks). Something is seriously wrong with the way people write
software these days!
I have to somewhat disagree. Much modern software just *does
more*(1) than, and is more integrated with the DE, than old(2)
software.

And don't forget that s/w written in C++ is larger and slower
than C programs.

But yes, VM can make people sloppy. OTOH, it can allow them to
write easier-to-read s/w, because of the lack of need to write
dense, hard to debug, code that wrings the last bit of speed out
of the box.

Ron

1) Which sometimes, but not always, is Creeping Featuritis.

2) Macintosh excepted, but it had it's own problems: the geniuses
who wrote it had to be brilliant to squeeze all that greatness into
a 64KB ROM, and the hacks they had to do mad it difficult to make
multi-finder, do protected multi-tasking, and port the s/w to Power.
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not bite you. This is the principal difference between a man and
a dog."
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William Ballard
2005-01-08 22:30:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ron Johnson
2) Macintosh excepted, but it had it's own problems: the geniuses
who wrote it had to be brilliant to squeeze all that greatness into
a 64KB ROM, and the hacks they had to do mad it difficult to make
multi-finder, do protected multi-tasking, and port the s/w to Power.
Reminds of the old farts who used to tell me how they'd fit 100 people
onto a system with 256K of memory. Each client would get allocated 2K.
:-)
Ron Johnson
2005-01-08 22:57:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by William Ballard
Post by Ron Johnson
2) Macintosh excepted, but it had it's own problems: the geniuses
who wrote it had to be brilliant to squeeze all that greatness into
a 64KB ROM, and the hacks they had to do mad it difficult to make
multi-finder, do protected multi-tasking, and port the s/w to Power.
Reminds of the old farts who used to tell me how they'd fit 100 people
onto a system with 256K of memory. Each client would get allocated 2K.
:-)
I'm one of those old farts.

My 1st job was as a mainframe COBOL programmer. The machine, an
Amdahl PCM of an IBM 4030, had a 1.6 MIPS CPU and 6MB RAM, but yet
supported ~75 on-line users plus 10 batch queue slots. Pretty
amazing.

The way it did it, of course, was that IBM pushed a lot of the
work out towards the edge: FEPs (front-end processors) handled the
incoming data from smart block-mode terminals, and the disk and
tape controllers (boxes 1/2 the size of the main box) had their
own intelligence. And, of course, CICS allowed the application to
"forget about" a user until s/he pressed the XMIT key.
None of this the-main-CPU-handles-every-keystroke-from-every-terminal
stuff that saps the resources of interactive systems like Unix &
VMS.
IBM knew what it wanted to do: build fast transaction-processing
systems, and it did a great job of it.

Programming it was a true pain in the fscking a**, though. Blech!
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Sam Watkins
2005-01-09 20:20:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Sam Watkins
I think we would end up with much better software if all developers
were forced to use old, slow computers :) I remember how good and
fast the software was on my old RISC OS Acorn with 4MB RAM
(Impression, Sibelius, Artworks). Something is seriously wrong with
the way people write software these days!
I have to somewhat disagree. Much modern software just *does
more*(1) than, and is more integrated with the DE, than old(2)
software.
The RISC OS software I mentioned is better than similar modern software,
I have not seen any equivalent modern software which I would prefer.

Sibelius, for example, is an absolutely top-notch music scorewriting
program. Artworks is a vector-drawing program which is better than
anything else I have seen. Impression was a very good, easy to use
desktop-publishing / word-processing program. All of these programs
used good quality anti-aliasing and ran quickly on an 8Mhz CPU.

Similar "modern" software runs very slowly on my 200Mhz PC, because it
is poorly written in inadequate programming languages.

As for the "DE", anyone who has used RISC OS can only feel contempt for
modern desktop environments. For example, RISC OS uses drag-and-drop to
save files, which means you can keep filer windows for the relevant
working directories open, and simply drag an icon to them to save, and
drag icons between applications to transfer them. Much unnecessary
browsing was avoided. This is the feature of RISC OS I miss most.

The quality of the RISC OS GUI in general, and the user-interfaces of
the applications, was very very high, much better than anything else I
have seen. All KDE and Gnome developers should be compelled to acquire
and play with an old RISC OS box, so they can stop imitating microsoft
and playing creeping-featuretris, and learn the right way to do it!
Post by Sam Watkins
And don't forget that s/w written in C++ is larger and slower
than C programs.
All of that software I mentioned was written in ARM code, not C.
Kind of sucks if you want to port it to a different CPU,
but the ARM is the best CPU anyway, who needs the others ;)

Better stop reminiscing about the good old days...
Post by Sam Watkins
But yes, VM can make people sloppy. OTOH, it can allow them to
write easier-to-read s/w, because of the lack of need to write
dense, hard to debug, code that wrings the last bit of speed out
of the box.
True, but contemporary code is next to unreadable anyway, due to poor
languages and libraries.

C, C++, java, perl are definitely not "easy to read". I would say they
are gratuitously difficult to read, especially perl. Python can be
almost easy to read. I understand pliant and haskell are pretty good,
but I don't know them very well. ARM code isn't all that readable ;)

I'm working on an "easy to read" language, similar to C / C++
(it translates into C / C++). Currently I'm implementing macros and
efficient co-routines, which latter are fairly hairy to implement in C,
so no one uses them. Co-routines are the best :)
Ron Johnson
2005-01-09 20:55:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Sam Watkins
Post by Sam Watkins
I think we would end up with much better software if all developers
were forced to use old, slow computers :) I remember how good and
fast the software was on my old RISC OS Acorn with 4MB RAM
(Impression, Sibelius, Artworks). Something is seriously wrong with
the way people write software these days!
I have to somewhat disagree. Much modern software just *does
more*(1) than, and is more integrated with the DE, than old(2)
software.
The RISC OS software I mentioned is better than similar modern software,
I have not seen any equivalent modern software which I would prefer.
Sibelius, for example, is an absolutely top-notch music scorewriting
program. Artworks is a vector-drawing program which is better than
anything else I have seen. Impression was a very good, easy to use
[snip]
Post by Sam Watkins
and play with an old RISC OS box, so they can stop imitating microsoft
and playing creeping-featuretris, and learn the right way to do it!
Read this about what Andy Hertzfeld says were some of the big
mistakes in designing the Macintosh.

http://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?project=Macintosh&story=Mea_Culpa.txt&topic=Software%20Design&sortOrder=Sort%20by%20Date

They did *amazing* work, but there were many memory-saving short-
cuts that came back to bite them.

I bet the people implementing RISC OS and it's apps were written
the same way.
Post by Sam Watkins
Post by Sam Watkins
And don't forget that s/w written in C++ is larger and slower
than C programs.
All of that software I mentioned was written in ARM code, not C.
Kind of sucks if you want to port it to a different CPU,
but the ARM is the best CPU anyway, who needs the others ;)
The VAX is the best CPU. Who needs traditional HLLs when you've
got MACRO-32?
Post by Sam Watkins
Better stop reminiscing about the good old days...
Post by Sam Watkins
But yes, VM can make people sloppy. OTOH, it can allow them to
write easier-to-read s/w, because of the lack of need to write
dense, hard to debug, code that wrings the last bit of speed out
of the box.
True, but contemporary code is next to unreadable anyway, due to poor
languages and libraries.
C, C++, java, perl are definitely not "easy to read". I would say they
are gratuitously difficult to read, especially perl. Python can be
They are made unreadable by clever programmers. I *hate* clever
programming. Especially by mediocre programmers. And I knew I
was vindicated in that heretical thought when I found this quote:

"Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first
place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible,
you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it."
Brian W. Kernighan

You can be clever in any language, even COBOL and Ada.

Of course, C just begs for clever programming, and hands you an
AK-47 aimed straight at your feet.
Post by Sam Watkins
almost easy to read. I understand pliant and haskell are pretty good,
but I don't know them very well. ARM code isn't all that readable ;)
I'm working on an "easy to read" language, similar to C / C++
(it translates into C / C++). Currently I'm implementing macros and
efficient co-routines, which latter are fairly hairy to implement in C,
so no one uses them. Co-routines are the best :)
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PGP Key ID 8834C06B I prefer encrypted mail.

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Oscar Wilde
Vegard Lundby Rekaa
2005-01-09 17:31:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Sam Watkins
Post by Vegard Lundby Rekaa
I got hold of 128MB RAM from a friend. Now there is a total of
128+16=144MB RAM. Don't you think that is enough for OO.org and WM when
he's prepared for a slow machine?
FWIW I installed OO.org on my pentium MMX 200MHz with 128Mb RAM the
other day (after reading your email). It takes a while to start but
works fine after that. If you use a sensible window manager (not KDE or
gnome, maybe icewm) I guess it would work fine on your old computer,
apart from taking a while to start up.
It will be a lot slower than the appropriate version of microsoft office
for that machine, though.
Thanks for your experiences. I'll remember this!
Post by Sam Watkins
I think we would end up with much better software if all developers were
forced to use old, slow computers :) I remember how good and fast the
software was on my old RISC OS Acorn with 4MB RAM (Impression, Sibelius,
Artworks). Something is seriously wrong with the way people write
software these days!
You have a point.
Post by Sam Watkins
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Wendell Cochran
2005-01-09 13:02:32 UTC
Permalink
Date: Sun, 9 Jan 2005 03:47:08 +1100
From: Sam Watkins <***@fastmail.fm>

[snip]
Post by Sam Watkins
I think we would end up with much better software if all
developers were forced to use old, slow computers :) . . .
With 15-inch screens, & dial-up connectivity.

(Other restrictions may apply.)

Wendell Cochran
West Seattle
Joshua Lee
2005-01-09 13:46:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Wendell Cochran
Post by Sam Watkins
I think we would end up with much better software if all
developers were forced to use old, slow computers :) . . .
With 15-inch screens, & dial-up connectivity.
The dial-up consideration would help. I have to use the Woody
installer because the Sarge installer doesn't include PPP support.
Believe it or not, not everyone who uses Linux has DSL, a cable modem,
or a T1 at their disposal.
Ron Johnson
2005-01-09 20:27:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joshua Lee
Post by Wendell Cochran
Post by Sam Watkins
I think we would end up with much better software if all
developers were forced to use old, slow computers :) . . .
With 15-inch screens, & dial-up connectivity.
The dial-up consideration would help. I have to use the Woody
installer because the Sarge installer doesn't include PPP support.
Believe it or not, not everyone who uses Linux has DSL, a cable modem,
or a T1 at their disposal.
Have you filed a "critical" bug?
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Waldi Ravens
Joshua Lee
2005-01-09 20:58:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ron Johnson
Post by Joshua Lee
Post by Wendell Cochran
With 15-inch screens, & dial-up connectivity.
The dial-up consideration would help. I have to use the Woody
installer because the Sarge installer doesn't include PPP support.
Have you filed a "critical" bug?
It's already noted in the eratta. Basically as something they don't
plan to fix.
Metherion Wathen
2005-01-11 21:43:20 UTC
Permalink
I've got debian woody running on an old Packard Bell P100, a 6 GB HD,
64Mb RAM; so I guess its possible.

I got both Gnome and KDE desktops running on it. I'm trying to upgrade
to Sarge but am having trouble getting X installed.

Otherwise I'm quite happy with it. My 2 cents avoid a full blown desktop
and use just windowmaker or blackbox (they seemed to be the most
responsive on my system.)

If you do use a desktop Gnome "seemed" to run faster than KDE - for some
things.

HTH,

mw
Vegard Lundby Rekaa
2005-01-12 08:06:29 UTC
Permalink
Good to here it works...
Thanks for the tips,
Cheers Vegard
Post by Metherion Wathen
I've got debian woody running on an old Packard Bell P100, a 6 GB HD,
64Mb RAM; so I guess its possible.
I got both Gnome and KDE desktops running on it. I'm trying to upgrade
to Sarge but am having trouble getting X installed.
Otherwise I'm quite happy with it. My 2 cents avoid a full blown desktop
and use just windowmaker or blackbox (they seemed to be the most
responsive on my system.)
If you do use a desktop Gnome "seemed" to run faster than KDE - for some
things.
HTH,
mw
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Bill Turner
2005-01-25 11:48:12 UTC
Permalink
Hello,

Vegard Lundby Rekaa wrote:
| Good to here it works...
| Thanks for the tips,
<snip>

|>I've got debian woody running on an old Packard Bell P100, a 6 GB HD,
|>64Mb RAM; so I guess its possible.
|>
|>I got both Gnome and KDE desktops running on it. I'm trying to upgrade
|>to Sarge but am having trouble getting X installed.
|>
|>Otherwise I'm quite happy with it. My 2 cents avoid a full blown desktop
|>and use just windowmaker or blackbox (they seemed to be the most
|>responsive on my system.)
|>
|>If you do use a desktop Gnome "seemed" to run faster than KDE - for some
|>things.

Sarge here on 700 MHz Intel, 256MB RAM and 40GB hdd split 50-50 windows
ME and Linux. Runs KDE and GNOME well enough I guess. It's a friends
system. He was crying the blues one day about the BSOD that shows up
all too often in ME and I talked him into setting up dual-boot. Every
day that goes by he moves more and more to the Linux side of the
dual-boot. :)

Not all that long ago I had a P-100 with 2GB and 32MB RAM. KDE and
GNOME out of the question, but even with the limited RAM on that system
I was able to run ICEWM and XFCE very well. With 64MB you should be
able to run XFCE-4 on Sarge and have a very enjoyable experience. For
those times I find it necessary to run X for installing something as
root I run XFCE. I just like the 'lean and mean' feel of it I guess. :)

If you install ICEWM you might also wish to install the IceME (Menu
Editor) and the IcePref (Preferences Editor) as that will make your life
much simpler. Both XFCE and IceWM can have the KDE and GNOME apps as
part of their menus as well so you aren't really 'losing' anything
except maybe a bit of 'bloat' :)

Speaking of 'lean and mean' you might also wish to consider taking a
look at Vector Linux. <http://www.vectorlinux.com> . I ran that for
quite a while and was very happy with it. It's based on Slackware but
Robert and the guys have done a wonderful job of 'taming' Slackware and
making a 'user-friendly' distro that is full-featured yet still fits on
a single CD. The wonderful thing about Linux is the choice.

I really like Debian. If I didn't I wouldn't run it. But sometimes you
have to 'fight it' to get it to do things your way. Like forcing
something 'on hold' that it wants to 'un-install' even though you know
you need it. I have tried a lot of different distro's. Just to see how
things worked. For me that's really a lot of fun. Others might not feel
the same way about that though.

laterzzz

Bill

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Type bits /keyID Date User ID
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Key fingerprint = 2AC6 D850 97A0 5D3A FB22 9237 24DA 6DCC 89F6 CC2B
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