Friday, February 25, 2011

Ubuntu Linux 10.04 LTS

Each release gets a bit better.  I have an antique HP Pavilion 7920 under my desk that I have kept around mostly because there is no one that would want it.  It is a 900 MHz Pentium with 256 MB of RAM, and a total of about 35 GB of disk space, in two separate physical drives.  (Try not to laugh too loudly.)

I sometimes upgrade the version of Ubuntu Linux on it to see if Linux has reached the point where I can recommend it to people that aren't techies as an alternative to Windows.  Each time, I find myself saying, "Not quite, but it is getting real close."  It seems as though Ubuntu Linux is asymptotically approaching Windows in terms of usability--which means that it will reach parity near the end of the century (or perhaps the millennium). Anyway: real progress.

It does seem as though its performance demands of Linux are getting more severe with time, however.  I can run Firefox or Chromium (the Linux version of Chrome) on it.  I can run one other relatively small application.  Try to open a third application, and it bogs down hopelessly.  Try to run one seriously demanding application, such as the Eclipse Galileo Java IDE, and you will die of old age before you get around to writing any Java--much less compiling and executing it.

I've thought of upgrading the RAM on this box--but oddly enough, the :Linux System Monitor application show that it is more CPU bound than RAM bound.  Upgrading it to 512 MB of RAM would enable it to perhaps even run Eclipse, but it would not be particularly quick.  It might make more sense to reinstall Windows 98 (I have the restore disks, amazingly enough) and find some charity that needs a basic computer for word processing.

I have another notebook lying around which is a Compaq NC6000 and screaming fast (considering its age).  I use this when I need to take a notebook along, and I want something smaller and lighter than the notebook that I use at home.  I have thought of installing Ubuntu Linux on it as a dual boot system with Windows XP Pro, but it only has a 20 GB hard drive, and about half of it is in use.  I have thought of buying a replacement 2.5" notebook drive for it, perhaps 60 GB or 80 GB, but this is mostly to keep my experience with Linux up, so it is hard to justify spending anything on it.  Does anyone have an EIDE 2.5" notebook hard drive >60 GB lying around that they don't need?

8 comments:

Hal Duston said...

Oh, you won't catch me laughing. Mostly because:

[root@iolo ~]# cat /proc/cpuinfo
processor : 0
vendor_id : GenuineIntel
cpu family : 5
model : 4
model name : Pentium MMX
stepping : 3
cpu MHz : 233.856
cache size : 0 KB
fdiv_bug : no
hlt_bug : no
f00f_bug : yes
coma_bug : no
fpu : yes
fpu_exception : yes
cpuid level : 1
wp : yes
flags : fpu vme de pse tsc msr mce cx8 mmx up
bogomips : 467.71
clflush size : 32
power management:

[root@iolo ~]# free
total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 380108 319692 60416 0 9380 167232
-/+ buffers/cache: 143080 237028
Swap: 522104 154516 367588
[root@iolo ~]# df -h
Filesystem Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda2 7.2G 3.4G 3.8G 48% /
/dev/sda1 99M 18M 76M 19% /boot
/dev/sdb1 9.5G 6.1G 3.4G 65% /home
/dev/sdc1 276G 272G 3.2G 99% /share
none 186M 4.0K 186M 1% /dev/shm
[root@iolo ~]# uptime
00:37:18 up 56 days, 6:43, 11 users, load average: 0.09, 0.09, 0.40
[root@iolo ~]# cat /etc/system-release
Fedora release 11 (Leonidas)
[root@iolo ~]#

Hal Duston said...

Oh, you won't catch me laughing. Mostly because:

[root@iolo ~]# cat /proc/cpuinfo
processor : 0
vendor_id : GenuineIntel
cpu family : 5
model : 4
model name : Pentium MMX
stepping : 3
cpu MHz : 233.856
cache size : 0 KB
fdiv_bug : no
hlt_bug : no
f00f_bug : yes
coma_bug : no
fpu : yes
fpu_exception : yes
cpuid level : 1
wp : yes
flags : fpu vme de pse tsc msr mce cx8 mmx up
bogomips : 467.71
clflush size : 32
power management:

[root@iolo ~]# free
total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 380108 319692 60416 0 9380 167232
-/+ buffers/cache: 143080 237028
Swap: 522104 154516 367588
[root@iolo ~]# df -h
Filesystem Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda2 7.2G 3.4G 3.8G 48% /
/dev/sda1 99M 18M 76M 19% /boot
/dev/sdb1 9.5G 6.1G 3.4G 65% /home
/dev/sdc1 276G 272G 3.2G 99% /share
none 186M 4.0K 186M 1% /dev/shm
[root@iolo ~]# uptime
00:37:18 up 56 days, 6:43, 11 users, load average: 0.09, 0.09, 0.40
[root@iolo ~]# cat /etc/system-release
Fedora release 11 (Leonidas)
[root@iolo ~]#

patrokov said...

I know it's a matter of opinion, but I'm not sure why Ubuntu has gotten the reputation of being the easiest for Windows converts. Personally, I think PCLinuxOS is a much better Linux distribution in terms of ease of use and was ready quite a long time ago.

The main problem with switching to Linux is people who use an iPhone. There is really no good way around it except to install iTunes on windows in a VirtualBox (or other VM).

After four years of using Linux, I now find myself at work thinking, "This would be so much easier in Linux..."

Richard said...

I like Linux, but Ubuntu is relatively bloated compared to distributions that focus more on tiny size for old machines. That said, I've been known to convert old P3 and P4 machines to Ubuntu to keep them alive for folks I know who don't have the money to get new computers, but generally there I want to see more than 256MB of memory to put on Ubuntu.

For small memory machines like this Puppy is probably your best bet, followed by DSL. Puppy runs fvwm-95 and is pretty much Windows 9x's interface, but snappier. And Puppy only takes ~100MB of disk to install.

Given the state of Win98 and lack of support I'd put Puppy on instead.

(And I've been running Unix and Unix clones on PC-level hardware since before Linux was first compiled.)

Robin said...

I've got a real old Compaq in the basement that's been running Fedora, SUSE or Ubuntu in cycles for years as I get curious to see how each is working currently.

Right now, I think I have Ubuntu 10.10 on it and its hardware just not keeping up any longer. I think I'm going to have to finally trash it.

Sigivald said...

I suggest dumping Gnome or KDE off of it, and running a much simpler X environment.

That should increase performance significantly.

Robin said...

Probably a good idea Sigivald.

GeoffNewbury said...

Just browsing through old posts...

I should have a 2.5" 80G drive somewhere around here or at home. The X61 laptop now has a 120G SSD in it and off-hand, I think the old drive is just a backup in a drawer. Thought it was in the USB case here, but it is a 500G drive I snagged as swag at CES a year ago!

I've got some old memory too:
128Mg PC133 SDRAM. This has 2 key slots in the base (184pin??)


512M DDR PC3200 NonECC DIMM
1G Kingston labelled only KVR400X64C3A: I think this is the same as the 512M stuff. Same physical structure: 1 key slot (210 pin??)