[TriLUG] lightweight linux distro/pc giveaway
tomed at bellsouth.net
tomed at bellsouth.net
Sun Mar 25 13:07:17 EDT 2007
Isn't it an issue of applications? In other words, can you run openbsd with
OOOffice, Firefox, Tbird, Evolution and name your resource hog app, on
the old hardware you describe?
When the RH installer throws you into a "low memory" install, I assume
it is bypassing all of these "porky" apps and selecting a non-gui app
suite with a much smaller resource footprint.
At Sun, 25 Mar 2007 11:47:11 -0400,
> Jim Ray wrote:
> > Go on and try Microsoft Vista for that type of machine :-)
> When the Pentiums first came out, I had a Pentium 60MHz with 1GB hard
> disk. It came with 16MB RAM which I upgraded to 32MB. This would have
> been circa 1994.
> Windows ran pretty well on it as a desktop OS but I had other things in
> mind. I was running a semi-popular BBS in Philadelphia at the time and
> wanted this primarily to be a BBS box with secondary role as my desktop.
> I installed desqview on it and it ran reasonably well. Trying to stuff
> as much into high memory as possible was a challenge but eventually I
> had a few nodes of my BBS running in desqview sessions and no desktop
> functionality. The multitasking in desqview wasn't smooth so while
> things ran quickly, each DOS session had bursts of activity. Callers
> would experience this in the form of a couple of lines of text scrolling
> at a time with pauses in between.
> So then I bit the bullet and bought OS/2 at the Electronics Boutique at
> the local mall.
> OS/2 ran fantastically on this box. I ran a few phone lines for the BBS
> in DOS sessions in the background and had a fantastic GUI desktop
> running in the foreground. Dialup internet wasn't hard at all to set
> up. The web was more of a curiosity in its infant stages at this point
> so email and nntp news were more heavily used. I managed to setup an
> nntp news feed for my BBS users, which made my BBS that much more
> popular. I added a few more phone lines and the performance wasn't so
> flawless anymore.
> So then I found out you could replace the Presentation Manager in OS/2
> with various other front end interfaces. I picked one called "tshell"
> which was functionally a lot more like desqview. It basically allowed
> me to set up a number of command line virtual consoles and run each node
> of the BBS in one (I was still running on Renegade software, which ran
> on a DOS emulation layer in OS/2). So I lost my desktop but the BBS
> handled 8 phone lines plus my sysop console in a way that my users raved
> about. They thought I had a dedicated pentium box for each phone line
> and couldn't believe it when I told them I indeed had all 8 lines
> running on one box. There was also a trick some sysops used to do
> involving setting up a second computer as a games server with a serial
> connection to the bbs machine but I didn't have to do that. It all ran
> on one box.
> After I took down the BBS, that machine made for a fantastic OS/2
> desktop for several years before it got zapped in a storm.
> I've had a number of other first generation Pentiums (and still do).
> Especially Pentium 100 and 133MHz machines with 16 or 32MB of memory.
> They are very useful as an indicator of just how porky Linux is
> getting. Using Red Hat as a test distro, I think the point of no return
> was in the transition from Red Hat Linux 6.2 to 7.0 (well before Fedora
> Core). That's just going from memory. I'm pretty sure that's when RHL
> became fairly useless on old hardware. As an interesting point of
> comparison, Windows 98 also runs pretty well on this hardware.
> Even the most current version of OpenBSD runs great on these old
> machines. It doesn't just limp along. It is actually very usable and
> if you're a command line guy you might find you don't mind the old
> hardware much at all.
> Remember, in 1994 a Pentium 90MHz was considered a top end workstation.
> These machines have not gotten any slower as they get older. What has
> changed? First and foremost, software has gotten porkier and porkier.
> Secondly, our expectations have changed.
> Participation in the OLPC project will be good for Red Hat directly, and
> the Open Source community as a whole indirectly. Porting Linux to this
> hardware is going to highlight so many of the inefficiencies that have
> crept into Linux over the years.
> Interestingly I tried installing RHEL5 on a test machine to try it out.
> It had 256MB of memory. Insane by 1994 standards. OS/2 wouldn't know
> what to do with all that. My biggest servers probably had that much in
> 1994. Today, RHEL5 installer calls that "low memory" and forces a text
> mode installation, and various other "low memory" compromises. Does
> anyone else see something wrong with this picture?
> Note, I'm not trying to single out Red Hat. I use it on all of my
> production servers at work. So I have my hands on it more often than
> other distributions. I've seen similar problems with other major
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