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It isn't actually new. I just bought it second-hand for 50 pounds. But it's miles better than the Fujitsu-Siemens Scenic I was using. Dual core, 2 GB of RAM, 80 ...
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  1. #1
    Linux Engineer hazel's Avatar
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    My new computer


    It isn't actually new. I just bought it second-hand for 50 pounds. But it's miles better than the Fujitsu-Siemens Scenic I was using. Dual core, 2 GB of RAM, 80 GB hard drive.

    I am writing this out of live Bodhi. The hard drive has Windows 7 on it but obviously I'm going to scrub that. I shall need a bit of help and advice about partitioning, etc.

    For a start, do I need a swap partition for this size of memory? I suspect not. My instinct is to partition off 10 GB for Crux (still my favorite distro), 10GB for my data partition, and make the rest an extended partition where I can keep other distros. One of them will probably be Debian Testing. Another might be Slackbody or perhaps standard Slackware with KDE. I've never used KDE before but with this amount of memory I could afford it.

    And what about file systems? I've always used ext3 up till now. Does ext4 have any advantages? And is it compatible with LILO (my favorite loader)?

    I'm looking forward to the adventure.
    "I'm just a little old lady; don't try to dazzle me with jargon!"
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  2. #2
    Linux Guru rokytnji's Avatar
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    Congrats on the new gear Hazel.

    I don't run /swap on my 2gig of ram small netbooks ssd drives with AntiX. Single core processors also. Ext4 is OK to use also. I would run 64bit operating system also with those specs.

    Code:
    # blkid
    /dev/sda1: LABEL="PQSERVICE" UUID="84C0247FC0247996" TYPE="ntfs" 
    /dev/sda2: LABEL="SYSTEM RESERVED" UUID="9C2425202424FF40" TYPE="ntfs" 
    /dev/sda3: LABEL="Acer" UUID="6AC2CA02C2C9D28D" TYPE="ntfs" 
    /dev/sda5: UUID="26a54718-3581-4c8b-958a-a03d4ce2b96f" TYPE="vfat" 
    /dev/sda7: UUID="a6ae8d53-ff84-420d-93f2-820aeee3722a" TYPE="ext4" 
    /dev/sda6: UUID="9b2b59c3-470f-4a0f-82d0-9c933bc0ca4a" TYPE="ext4" 
    $ inxi
    CPU~Dual core AMD Athlon X2 L310 (-MCP-) clocked at 1197.037 Mhz Kernel~3.9.2-antix.1-amd64-smp x86_64 Up~1:50 Mem~440.9/3703.6MB HDD~250.1GB(23.2% used) Procs~112 Client~Shell inxi~1.8.47
    About Lilo. I have no idea though I bet Lots of Slackware users use exotic file systems and use lilo just fine with them.
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  3. #3
    Penguin of trust elija's Avatar
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    To my mind, 10GB seems a bit small for data but you know your requirements better than I do and I don't think it would hurt to have a 2GB swap partition just in case it is needed. On such a system I would set vm.swappiness to somewhere between 1 and 10 so that it will only be used when needed.

    I have used lilo with ext4 in the past so it shouldn't be much of an issue. To really make the most of KDE's eye candy you will need a fairly good graphics card.

    Enjoy your new machine, your Crux compile times should be a bit more bearable on it
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  4. #4
    Linux Engineer hazel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elija View Post
    To my mind, 10GB seems a bit small for data but you know your requirements better than I do and I don't think it would hurt to have a 2GB swap partition just in case it is needed. On such a system I would set vm.swappiness to somewhere between 1 and 10 so that it will only be used when needed.
    I've always made do with a small data partition because I don't store music or other media. But you're right; with this amount of disk space I could assign 20 GB and never notice it.

    I have used lilo with ext4 in the past so it shouldn't be much of an issue.
    But are there any advantages to it compared with ext3?

    To really make the most of KDE's eye candy you will need a fairly good graphics card.
    It doesn't actually have a card, just an onboard chip - i915, which is a lot more up-to-date than the i810 I'm using at the moment. But if all that the big DEs offer is eye candy, perhaps I'll pass on that one.

    Enjoy your new machine, your Crux compile times should be a bit more bearable on it
    It wasn't the compile times that made me bid a sad farewell to Crux. I could always leave big jobs running overnight and often did. But I just didn't have enough memory to build big packages like xulrunner without the kernel's oom-killer crashing the build.

    I shall have to work slowly, calmly and carefully. First, clear the disk of MS rubbish and partition it. Then copy over clones of my present AntiX system and my data partition, and install LILO. That will give me a working system. Then, if I do decide to use ext4, rebuild the kernel to handle it (maybe the stock kernel that I use for a fallback already does - I'll have to check that). Then install Crux.
    "I'm just a little old lady; don't try to dazzle me with jargon!"
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  5. #5
    Linux Engineer MASONTX's Avatar
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    Congrats on the new computer. Nature abhors a vacuum, so I bet you fill the 80 GB HD sooner than you think.
    Registered Linux user #526930

  6. #6
    Penguin of trust elija's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hazel View Post
    But are there any advantages to it compared with ext3?
    ext4 can handle bigger files and filesystems than ext3. It is also faster and more reliable.

    Quote Originally Posted by hazel View Post
    It doesn't actually have a card, just an onboard chip - i915, which is a lot more up-to-date than the i810 I'm using at the moment. But if all that the big DEs offer is eye candy, perhaps I'll pass on that one.
    Both of those would handle anything that Compiz would throw at them so maybe it will handle KDE, especially 4.10 which is the fastest KDE so far.
    What do we want?
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    Doesn't really matter does it!?


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  7. #7
    Linux Guru Jonathan183's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hazel View Post
    But if all that the big DEs offer is eye candy, perhaps I'll pass on that one.
    A DE will give you:-
    1. A wide range of applications (with consistent look & feel)
    2. Ability to do things easily without understanding whats going on
    3. Eye candy

    You might find 1 above appealing (but the apps you can run on a WM your used to - and just pick the ones you want), but from some of your previous posts I doubt 2 & 3 are going to be a convincing reason for you to run a DE.

    Give them a try or you'll never know, but don't be suprised if you switch back to your favourite WM

  8. #8
    Linux Engineer hazel's Avatar
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    In the mean time I looked up a wiki on ext4. Some of the advantages are irrelevant to me. I don't want to use terabyte-sized disks or have hundreds of directories. But I like the idea of assigning and storing data block addresses as ranges rather than individually. It sounds a lot more efficient. So I'll try it.

    Here is my current idea on partitioning:
    sda1 10 GB ext4 Crux
    sda2 2 GB swap
    sda3 20 GB ext4 /home/data
    sda4 extended partition covering the rest of the disk
    sda5 10 GB ext4 AntiX clone (transitional)

    The plan is to unpack the archive copy of my current AntiX setup onto /dev/sda5, edit /etc/fstab and /etc/lilo.conf appropriately, and run /sbin/lilo. That should give me a bootable system. I'll have to use the stock kernel; my hand-built one won't work on the new machine. Then copy all my data onto /dev/sda3, which will give me more or less the system I have now.
    Then install Crux.
    Then replace AntiX by Debian Testing.
    Then recreate Slackbody/Slackice on /dev/sda6.
    Then... well, we'll see.
    "I'm just a little old lady; don't try to dazzle me with jargon!"
    www.hrussman.entadsl.com

  9. #9
    Linux Engineer hazel's Avatar
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    Well, I've now got a bootable AntiX system. It boots fast too, even with the stock Antix kernel. But there's no data on it as yet; that's still on the old machine. Worse still, I have no network. I can get connected when I boot from System Rescue (which is what I'm doing now) but not when I boot the hard drive. I still haven't worked out why. The kernel does recognise the network card (Intel e1000) and loads the correct driver for it but all attempts to bring up the eth0 interface fail. If I can't solve this in the next few days, I'll have to put up a question in the appropriate forum.

    There are other annoyances too, like very small font in virtual consoles. But boy, is it fast!
    "I'm just a little old lady; don't try to dazzle me with jargon!"
    www.hrussman.entadsl.com

  10. #10
    Linux User Steven_G's Avatar
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    Hey Hazel,

    I'm late to the party on this one. But, a word to the wise from experience: You may want to consider backing up a step and starting over.

    You see, one of the bad things about doze is that it can be infected with both BIOS level and boot sector malware that require the horribly unsecure doze APIs to install, but once installed many can become platform independent and nearly undetectable.

    I work with a lot of used equipment. Rather than bothering to try to track down hard to detect possible boogy men I take two steps; just for peace of mind.

    1) I use a clean win pxe disc that I've built to re-flash the most up to date BIOS. This will not only flush any hidden crud but will also give you access to the best BIOS for the system. And, if the BIOS is locked and cannot be re-flashed that is potentially a sign of heap big bad mojo!

    2) I run a DBaN setup to do a single wipe and to change state to all zeros on the drive to flush the boot sector. You don't have to nuke all 80 GB though. DBaN starts with the boot sector, you only have to let it run about 10 minutes instead of for days on end.

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