New to Linux-Some basic questions

Discussion in 'all things UNIX' started by roark37, Mar 24, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. roark37

    roark37 Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2006
    Posts:
    190
    Hello,

    This weekend I tried Linux for the first time using Live CD's. I tried both Puppy Linux & Damn Small Linux and I chose them as I read they were small and better for an old machine and I am using an old 2001 Compaq with Windows ME and 128k ram and a celeron processor. I got both Puppy & DSL to work off the CD and it was really easy but the performance was not really good. Not even close to as good as this old PC when using Windows ME. My questions are the following:

    Is the lack of performance mostly just due to running off a Live CD and is that common? Will adding another 128k or more of RAM make a difference in the Live CD performance? If I actually installed Linux rather than Live CD would that make a huge difference in performance even with the 128k RAM? And should that performance likely be better than Windows ME? If I try the actual install route is the amount of RAM I currently have enough for most Linux distros or should I still stick to smaller/lighter packages and which would you recommend?

    Lastly this old PC has basically not been used for the last 2 years so I thought it would be perfect to experiment with. I have been really surprised as to how well it runs with Windows ME. Other than a little slower boot up and slower when opening an application, once opened I don't really notice a huge drop in speed when compared to my newer XP machine with 512k ram. If I added another 128k ram or even 256k would that likely make a huge difference for Windows ME and any Linux option I may use?

    Thanks in advance for any help.

    roark
     
  2. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Posts:
    8,698
    Hello,

    To answer your questions:

    Yes, that's common.

    More RAM won't do a difference because if the live CD can be mounted entire into RAM, then it's there. Extra memory won't make a difference. It will allow you to do more stuff without flushing some of it away, but the performance won't be improved.

    You'd getter a much better performance installed, no doubt.

    Compared to Win Me? Dunno, depends on the system. But in general Linux performs better than Windows on similar hardware.

    You should stick with lighter distros - try installing Puppy, DSL, maybe SLAX. You might even get lucky with Xubuntu or even openGEU.

    Adding RAM never hurts.

    Mrk
     
  3. bktII

    bktII Registered Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Posts:
    224
    Using VirtualBox (www.virtualbox.org) on my laptop, I am currently running DSL 4.2.5 and Puppy 3.01 as guest OSs installed to the hard drive on a Debian host. Both DSL and Puppy run fine when I allocate them 128 MB of RAM, although DSL runs a bit faster and can have more apps open at once. My processor is an AMD 1.8 GHz.

    Since Windows ME seems to run OK for you on the old PC, I would not bother adding RAM; unless you can buy used RAM for cheap at a local computer repair shop.

    If you want to buy new RAM, I would recommend adding 256 MB or 512 MB to your XP box (assuming that it will support additional RAM). With 768 MB or 1 GB of RAM on your XP box, you could download and install virtualbox (it's free) for Windows XP and run DSL and Puppy (as well as many other distro's) virtualized.
     
  4. roark37

    roark37 Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2006
    Posts:
    190
    Thank you both for your answers.

    I am a little confused, especially with Puppy as I had thought since it loaded completely into RAM(something like 70MB on the version I used) and I had more than enough for that, it would be really fast. So I must be misunderstanding something as to how it all fits together.

    One other question about the low RAM and Windows ME. I did a search and have seen some recommendations to adjust the Virtual Memory. There were claims that this would boost speed and the recommendations were that both min & max virtual memory be set at three times actual RAM, so in this case 384k. Would that really make a difference meaning a noticeable one? And if not triple actual RAM what amounts would you recommend? It is set now to the default where Windows adjusts on its own.

    I had a similar question on using a registry cleaner as there were claims I found that this would give great improvements in speed. Now this old PC has never had the registry cleaned. Would using something like CCcleaner or something like to clean up registry possibly make a difference in overall performance?

    Thanks again.

    roark
     
  5. bktII

    bktII Registered Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Posts:
    224
    @Roark37

    I recommend that you start a new thread with regard to these questions regarding Windows Me. You are more likely to get help from past/current users of this OS.
     
  6. NGRhodes

    NGRhodes Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    Posts:
    2,331
    Location:
    West Yorkshire, UK
    It is loading the files into a ram disk, which is part of the ram allocated as a file system, which means you actually have less available ram to run apps with, for the file cache. Also you cant run a swap file (which temporary stores unused running programs, to allow more ram for currently running programs).
    That 70mb ram would probably leave you with only ~50mb ram to actually run anything with.

    I tried many live cds from Fedora to Ubuntu via virtualisation and all of them performed sub standard with 128 mb ram trying to run the gnome desktop, upgrading to 256mb really made things far faster and usable.
     
  7. lodore

    lodore Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2006
    Posts:
    9,006
    live cd's are always alot slower than having the distro installed.
    windows ME is the worst windows ever made anyway so...... surprised your still using windows ME....
    but ye so if you can dual boot with linux then do so to experience the true speed of linux.
     
  8. bktII

    bktII Registered Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Posts:
    224
    "I am a little confused, especially with Puppy as I had thought since it loaded completely into RAM(something like 70MB on the version I used) and I had more than enough for that, it would be really fast.

    @roark37

    In order to load DSL and Puppy into RAM, you need to use the following boot paramaters as this behavior is not the default for booting:

    boot: dsl toram

    boot: puppy pfix=ram

    Did you run with these boot parameters? If not, then you likely ran via a live CD.

    The older PC has 128 MB of RAM. Note that the minimum recommended RAM for Puppy is 128 MB. For DSL, it is between 24 and 64 MB. Puppy uses a Linux 2.6 kernel and heavier apps such as Abiword and Gnumeric, while DSL uses a Linux 2.4 kernel and lighter apps such as Ted and Siag. Puppy is "heavier" than DSL.

    Below are system requirements for DSL and Puppy.

    http://damnsmalllinux.org/wiki/index.php/Minimum_Hardware_Requirements

    Minimum Requirements for DSL with X-window
    * 486dx or 100% compatible processor
    * 16mb ram (24mb recommended)
    * dual-speed CDROM (quad-speed or better recommended)
    * 1.44mb floppy drive (for boot floppy, if needed)
    * VGA monitor and video card
    * a mouse (serial, ps/2, usb)

    Recommended Specs
    * Pentium 200mhz
    * 64mb ram
    * 8x CDROM
    * 1.44mb floppy drive (for boot floppy, if needed)
    * VGA monitor and video card capable of handling at least 16 bit color
    * a mouse with a scroll wheel

    http://www.puppylinux.org/wikka/MinReq

    Minimum Hardware Requirements

    Puppy has been tested on a few very old machines but the best results for the standard release of Puppy Linux to run at a reasonable pace have been achieved with the following:

    CPU : Pentium 166MMX
    RAM : 128 MB physical RAM for releases since version 1.0.2 or failing that a Linux swap file and/or swap partition is required for all included applications to run; 64 MB for releases previous to 1.0.2
    Hard Drive : None
    CDROM : 20x and up
     
Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.