[Smaug] Fedora 12 Beta now available

cerise@armory.com cerise at armory.com
Thu Oct 29 13:16:11 PST 2009

On Thu, Oct 29, 2009 at 02:03:27PM -0700, Rick Moen wrote:
> 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
> usage.
> 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?)

I'd add to that: "Will it bother you to have to start it manually when you
need it?"  I print so rarely that I start cups only when I need it and
turn it off right afterwards.

It's amazing how much smaller one can make a basic Linux system if they go
by the executables they need rather than trusting a set of binary packages.
I'm actually in the process of watching someone take a hand-rolled initrd
and try to build something as small using a more 'formal' process.

Of course, along the same lines, you also have people who are dependent on
binary versions of the kernel.  Adding things as modules that you can plug
in or out at a given time is also a great way to cut down on memory usage.
> 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.

Gentoo's worked great for me as far back as 486s & SparcStation 5s.  In no
small part because during the build process, you can specify with some
granularity the features you need.  The number of shared libs you have in
memory at any given time does add up -- especially when graphics through X
are involved.


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