The ideas in this article may help you breathe life (and some additional security) into your old machines and make better use of Linux on aging hardware. A lack of physical memory can severely hamper Linux performance. Llearn how to accurately measure the amount of memory your Linux system uses. You also get practical advice on reducing your memory requirements using an Ubuntu system as an example.
Boost Linux Performance on Old hardware
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2009-05-23 3:32 pmdarknexus
Yes, Win2k was great with memory usage and management… too bad it’s basically dead save for very minor security updates when MS feels like it. I’d rather run something a bit more modern, personally, even if I have to tweak it a little.
If you look for something like that, use Debian+XFCE. It’ll beat the crap out of Xubuntu. 🙂
2009-05-23 2:48 pm_gbk
I’ve had good luck with Debian+ROX.
2009-05-23 6:42 pmDoc Pain
And me with FreeBSD 5, XFCE 3 and applications “from the past”, e. g. mplayer, xmms, xchat (Gtk 1 of course), OpenOffice 1. Of course, XFCE 3 doesn’t make a very good desktop environment, but who cares, when everything else runs quite well? You can still create a productive system using older hardware, if you choose the software well. This is true for Linux (as described in the article) as well as for the BSDs.
True story: My oldest productive system was a 150 MHz P1 with 64 MB RAM, later 128 MB RAM (4 x 32 MB EDO). It ran several things at once: Compiling a kernel, downloading an ISO per FTP, playing MP3 with XMMS, recording a CD at 4x speed, and surfing the web with Opera (still responding well).
And today, with the oh so great hardware, people complain about skipping audio playback when they open a web page… uh… does it have to be that way, or is there something wrong? Does the bload, erm… the features, the many many features in modern software act up to date hardware as if it would be outdated already? 🙂
I got 5.5mb of ram and less than 45 second boot to a full linux with X, desktop manager, wallpaper, conky and a terminal on a P100 with 16mb of ram (I did that for testing purpose). I had to install the most basic windows manager (I took DWM over TWM) and URXVT as terminal, feh for wallpaper manager, own C 5 line autologin instead of slim/KDM/GDM, Xvesa instead of xorg and other improvements like that, but it work like a charm! Application are dillo2 (web browser), xpdf, emelfm, xmms and some other GTK1 apps (plus come term apps).
2009-05-23 9:06 amh3rman
Neat, I like that.
2009-05-25 7:27 pmbob_bipbip
no, i cannot.
because my target is “powerfull machine” (yes, to compare, p4 1,2ghz, 256mb ram …) i only could go to 47mb after a free. but i only use ubuntu/debian app in offical repos. no (re)compile.
an yes, i can print, remote x and transfert files (with ssh/scp)
since i add ram to go to 768 (oh my god, huge!!!), in fact, i didn’t add anything but preload.
since, i can use modern app (firefox, ooo.org). i used these before, but it swaped. i like to use modern app to be “compatible” with Microsoft world.
with preload, this laptop is very very sppedy
I think all the memory numbers would be more readable if the author has used free -m command to show memory in megabytes instead of kilobytes 🙂
Edited 2009-05-23 05:07 UTC
The article’s over two years old! I wonder how the current versions of the apps tested would compare to the two-year old versions in terms of bloat^H^H^H^H^H memory usage
I have a couple of thinkpads with the same specs as described in the article. Installed Windows 2000 on them with opera, abiword and other memory friendly apps. Memory usage is as good or better than what this guy achieves, without the hassle.
Oh and thanks for linking to 2 years old articles…