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  1. #1
    Just Joined! Sam Liu's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    USA baby

    Running a GUI on 128mb Ram, 700mhz Intel Celeron "coppermine" Processor

    Yeah the problem was that I had this junk computer that ran windoze ME and I was like hmm 30gb hdd isnt shabby...but 128mb ram sure is. I left this computer untouched for around 5-6 years now. I at one point tried mandrake 8.2 but since it was so slow with the gui I gave up. Also tried a gui install of alt version 6.06 ubuntu LTS but dapper was too slow.

    I went on a journey to put this machine to use and I finally found somethings that work.

    1) DSL - Damn Small Linux - Works but tacky and overrated. I dont like it. I like my start button
    2) Puppy Linux - Good but crashed my other computer so I dont trust it. Also I'm trying to run a server here
    3) Ubuntu 6.06 ALT LTS Text install, then apt-get xubuntu-desktop. BAM. I win.

    Yes, what I did was take the 6.06 alternate disc, install "server", (text) and then I got xubuntu-desktop. I found XFCE to run SO FREAKING FAST on my computer that it boots up faster than all the windows XP computers I have here at home.

    But everything still reads my computer as ubuntu, not xubuntu. I only got the XFCE and other stuff but like my installation was like half-assed or something, I had to install thunar by myself and after making a link "gksudo thunar" I could browse as root and it was awesome and one simple apt-get and I had a lamp set up like *snap* that.

    SO yeah if you have an old computer you wish to turn into a server or a very decent desktop computer go ahead, do what I did. Its amazing I tell you.

    XFCE pwns.

  2. #2
    Linux Guru AlexK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Yeah, I did something like that about a year ago. Put Gentoo + KDE on an ancient Duron/Athlon 800 with 256MB RAM, it surprisingly was faster than the Win 2000 install on it before.

    Then out of curiosity, I added SUSE to that box with KDE and it was damm slow...
    Life is complex, it has a real part and an imaginary part.

  3. #3
    Sounds like you have plenty of HD space. What I'd suggest doing is using Mandrake or Fedora. Then rebuild your kernel pulling everything out that isn't needed. (Always save previous kernels in /boot and remember to put them in your Grub or Lilo menu in case you remove something that actually is necessary)

    Next, KDE and Gnome are both memory hungry. You give up alot of frills using Windowmaker or other light desktop managers but you'll have a very small footprint in the Ram if you use one of them. There are several out there.

    Next use chkconfig to yank out all services you don't need. You should really do that anyway. A service that is running and not being used is nothing but a chance to get hacked with no value in return. So kill sendmail, the ISDN daemon that seems to install and run by default, etc. I typically kill 5-10 on my first boot into a new install. There are several more such as performance monitoring that are just nice things to have but hardly needed.

    Gives you a list of all your services and their run levels.
    chkconfig --list

    kills the service.
    service [some service] stop

    Turns the service off permanently.
    chkconfig --level [service name] 2345 off

    I've run many a Linux box with 256megs of ram and done pretty well with it. With a little kernel pruning you can have a pretty fast box even with 128 megs.

    Whatever window manager your using, there is tons of junk in it. Grab the sources, and then recompile without the junk.

    Shut down anything on the taskbar you don't actually need.

    Reduce the number of console sessions to 1. The default is 5 I believe. Each uses a small amount of RAM but your wanting every byte you can get in this case. Leave one running though. Every so often the window manager up and dies on you and that's the only way to safely kill whatever is ailing the machine.

    Give yourself extra VM. It's slow yes but will help prevent you from running out of memory.

    Close down apps with mem leaks on a frequent basis. Firefox is the worst offender of the software I run. It has an evil memory leak, especially some of the plugins like the flash plugin.

    Streamline the other apps you run. The Gimp and Firefox for example both have a number of plugins, many of which you are unlikely to ever use. Most of the time no real reason to pull them out, in your case there is. Instead of Firefox you may well want to go with Opera as a browser as it has a significantly smaller footprint.

    Last idea, don't use RPMs. Compile everything from source. That in theory will give you smaller binaries. Doesn't always work out that way but often enough to be worth the extra effort.


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