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Hello, I'm configuring a thin client to be used as an Internet radio. I installed Lenny using 'Standard' choice from the taskel. Other packages are : - MOC (Music On ...
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  1. #1
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    Lenny on CPU VIA 800-Mhz with 256-RAM


    Hello,
    I'm configuring a thin client to be used as an Internet radio.

    I installed Lenny using 'Standard' choice from the taskel.
    Other packages are :
    - MOC (Music On Console)
    - Fluxbox window manager (with base setup)
    - conky (to monitor resources)

    Hardware is :
    - Processor: VIA Eden 800 MHz
    - RAM: 256 MByte DDR266 RAM
    - Flashcard is 2-Gb
    - Graphics card: VIA 2D/3D graphics with MPEG2
    - Sound card: AC97 2.2


    After Lenny installation packages are +- 390, disk usage is +- 40%

    It runs fine but ... with time to time some freezes at level 99%.
    By 99% I mean system seems to react (ie. mouse will move somtime) but is in fact totally useless.
    When freeze happens conky shows usages approx. less 25% for CPU, less than 75% for RAM.

    My questions are :

    - are there some logs files where I can trace some problems of resources ..etc.. ?

    - this hardware is enough for a Lenny light-weight config ? I will consider yes here...


    Note : Yes I know lots of good light-weight distros exist elsewhere in the Open community are they're great, but here I just would like to test Lenny and setup myself as an exercise (and hopefully a fully working Internet radio too).

    Thanks for attention.
    Bye,
    Bruno

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by bcostacurta View Post
    Hello,
    I'm configuring a thin client to be used as an Internet radio.

    I installed Lenny using 'Standard' choice from the taskel.
    Other packages are :
    - MOC (Music On Console)
    - Fluxbox window manager (with base setup)
    - conky (to monitor resources)

    Hardware is :
    - Processor: VIA Eden 800 MHz
    - RAM: 256 MByte DDR266 RAM
    - Flashcard is 2-Gb
    - Graphics card: VIA 2D/3D graphics with MPEG2
    - Sound card: AC97 2.2


    After Lenny installation packages are +- 390, disk usage is +- 40%

    It runs fine but ... with time to time some freezes at level 99%.
    By 99% I mean system seems to react (ie. mouse will move somtime) but is in fact totally useless.
    When freeze happens conky shows usages approx. less 25% for CPU, less than 75% for RAM.

    My questions are :

    - are there some logs files where I can trace some problems of resources ..etc.. ?

    - this hardware is enough for a Lenny light-weight config ? I will consider yes here...


    Note : Yes I know lots of good light-weight distros exist elsewhere in the Open community are they're great, but here I just would like to test Lenny and setup myself as an exercise (and hopefully a fully working Internet radio too).

    Thanks for attention.
    Bye,
    Bruno
    Hello Bruno - I have a couple of motherboards with a different 800 mhz VIA cpu - but it has a similar problem. The problem with my computers is that the CPU is ALMOST a 686, but there are one or 2 686 instructions missing. Some installers recognize it as a 686, but when it hits the unimplemented instruction, it freezes or crashes.

    You might do a web search to see if that Eden CPU is really a 686. If it isn't, see if there's a way to install using a 486 or 386 kernel. I'm running Ubuntu on my VIA systems, without such a problem.

    I did a search just now on Google - search for "VIA Eden cpu i686" - you'll find that your CPU is in the not-quite-686 class, as is my VIA Samuel CPU.

    So try Ubuntu or see if you can control what kernel is installed for Debian. A 386 or 486 kernel should work fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by velikij View Post
    You might do a web search to see if that Eden CPU is really a 686. If it isn't, see if there's a way to install using a 486 or 386 kernel. I'm running Ubuntu on my VIA systems, without such a problem.

    I did a search just now on Google - search for "VIA Eden cpu i686" - you'll find that your CPU is in the not-quite-686 class, as is my VIA Samuel CPU.

    So try Ubuntu or see if you can control what kernel is installed for Debian. A 386 or 486 kernel should work fine.
    There is an option to install 486 kernel with the Lenny expert install.

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    Quote Originally Posted by r31griffo View Post
    There is an option to install 486 kernel with the Lenny expert install.
    Thanks - I'll have to try the expert install on my VIA systems soon - right now I'm involved in some Ubuntu testing on them. It looks like this should work for Bruno!

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    Quote Originally Posted by velikij View Post
    Hello Bruno - I have a couple of motherboards with a different 800 mhz VIA cpu - but it has a similar problem. The problem with my computers is that the CPU is ALMOST a 686, but there are one or 2 686 instructions missing. Some installers recognize it as a 686, but when it hits the unimplemented instruction, it freezes or crashes.

    {snip}

    So try Ubuntu or see if you can control what kernel is installed for Debian. A 386 or 486 kernel should work fine.
    VIA does seem to specialize in CPU's with instruction sets that aren't *quite* up to their peers; I have an older 800MHz VIA Samuel (Samuel 2?) as my inactive reserve desktop; it's almost impossible to find distros newer than 2008 that work on it. Most current LiveCD's fail at boot with the error "CMOV instruction needed". Currently, I have Ark Linux 2008 installed on it, but I'll have to look into that expert Lenny install, thanx for the tip.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xheralt View Post
    VIA does seem to specialize in CPU's with instruction sets that aren't *quite* up to their peers; I have an older 800MHz VIA Samuel (Samuel 2?) as my inactive reserve desktop; it's almost impossible to find distros newer than 2008 that work on it. Most current LiveCD's fail at boot with the error "CMOV instruction needed". Currently, I have Ark Linux 2008 installed on it, but I'll have to look into that expert Lenny install, thanx for the tip.
    I have the same problem with live CDs on the VIA systems - would love to try the current Fedora or Mandriva, but they won't boot for the same reason. Also some won't recognize the on-board display controller. I think it's rather stupid of the distro creators to issue a live CD that doesn't work on 486 systems - after all, it's for a demo, for installation - then you or the installer can select the right kernel. Another thing is throwing out manual selection of screen resolution - some display controller / monitor combos can't be recognized automatically.

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    Kernel is a 486 from Debian Lenny v5.0.4 via expert installation mode.
    uname -r : 2.6.26-2-486

    Unfortunately it does not work...

    I still have time to time (around once per hour) a quite full freeze.
    I can restart the Fluxbox but at a very slow and unusable speed.
    RAM and disk are correct with less than 50%.
    A top command display a Xorg at 99%.
    A problem with Xorg ?
    I cannot restart it with crtl+alt+backspace, and have to shutdown system to restart it.

    Bye,
    Bruno

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    Quote Originally Posted by bcostacurta View Post
    A problem with Xorg ?
    I cannot restart it with crtl+alt+backspace, and have to shutdown system to restart it.
    Recent versions of Xorg have the Ctrl+Alt+Backspace-restart feature disabled, so that's okay.

    How do you start your X server? You could probably hit Ctrl+Alt+F1 to get into another virtual terminal and kill X from there to see what happens.

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    Indeed using Crtl-Alt-F1 opens another virtual console. From there I can restart the Xorg.
    From boot xdm is used to start Xorg and Fluxbox.

    About my thin client freezing sometimes (the subject of this email thread), I let it running 48-hours during the week-end without any problem.
    So for the moment, well .. I don't know.

    I'll post more information as soon I can give concrete and precise information.

    Reminder : kernel is a 486 as the VIA seems to be not a true 686. However I had one or two freeze last week with this 486 kernel version.

    Bye,
    Bruno

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    Hello,

    should I try to compile my own kernel ?

    Indeed from kernel menuconfig there is a CPU choice VIA processor, which obviously seems to correspond to the VIA Eden processor present in my thin client.

    Reminder : I tried the 486 kernel from the Lenny standard installation but I still face some freeze time-to-time. Probably due to some minor CPU instructions differences between both CPU.

    Thanks for your advice.
    Bye,
    Bruno

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