[Smaug] Fedora 12 Beta now available

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Thu Oct 29 13:03:27 PST 2009

Quoting Peter Belew (abcruzww at gmail.com):

>  These are actually "Samuel" CPUs, so there is a problem with some
> distros, which as you say seem to try to run i686 kernels or other
> programs and crash - I've seen that happen. Staying with generic 386
> or 486 kernels works generally. But then there are sometimes some
> display issues ...

Aha!  Yes, there was a great deal of sturm und drang about that on 
Linux forums, when those system were new.  You might actually remember
that.  ;->

[Your three AMD systems:]

> I think most of these system have 512MB of RAM.

Just to correct my earlier posting, the "400 MHz" bit suggests they're
_K7_-class CPUs, not K6.  But the same remark applies, that these are
not pre-i686.  Anyway, with 512 MB RAM, you really _should_ be able to
use them as full-service graphical workstations, if you want, provided
you don't _waste_ RAM -- in which category, I would include GNOME and
even XFCE4.

On a *buntu variant, if you just delete the symlink
/etc/alternatives/x-session-manager, that alone removes the worst source
of wasteage.  Then, you can do "sudo apt-get install icewm".  Then, 
"update-alternatives --config x-window-manager" to reset the value of 
/etc/alternatives/x-window-manager as per your preference.  After
restart, you'll find there are a _lot_ fewer pointless processes

Speaking of that, it's always worthwhile, on lower-RAM machines, to 
actually review the process table.  I am finding, to my amazement, that
a lot of Linux users just aren't bothering to even understand what's
running on their machines, let alone actively decide what _should_ run.
So, it really, really pays to learn to understand the output of "ps" and
"top" -- especially the RSS and VSZ figures that detail process memory

Early in my *ix usage, I came up with a useful heuristic for identifying
what's a useful process.  A useful process is one that, if you kill it,
you miss what it does.  (That's _slightly_ tongue-in-cheek:  It's worth
at least attempting to determine what a process is and why it's running,
before clobbering it just out of curiosity.  However, the larger point
is a serious one:  It's your machine.  Shouldn't it run only what _you_ 
want, and not a whole lot of junk you don't desire?)

Ancillary to that, you also have a strong incentive to understand your
system's init process -- System V Init for traditional Linux distros,
Upstart for *buntus and some others -- in order to better control what 
launches at startup and what doesn't.

Going through that exercise averts, among other things, the spectacle I
see at many LUGs of people deciding the only desktop distro suitable for
PIII-class machines is Puppy Linux (or DamnSmallLinux, or AntiX).  One 
can do a lot better.

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