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EmperorofUnivrse
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 3:00 am    Post subject: Gentoo on old computer? Need hardware advice Reply with quote

Hi guys,

My laptop died, and I recently acquired a Pentium 3 533Mhz with 128 megs of ram to tide me over. It has a 6gig hard drive.

Can this system run gnome or kde? Do I even have enough hard drive space to compile gnome/kde? (I am willing to wait for long compile times)

What optimizations do you recommend? I was thinking -Os and -fomit-frame-pointer, as well as -march=pentium3. Should I use -O2 or -O3 instead? I need as much as I can get out of this system, and I've heard good things about -Os in terms of overall performance and responsiveness.

One other question: is -Os compatible with LDFLAGS optimizations? I've never messed with LDFLAGS and figured I'd try it out this install.

Thanks for your thoughts.
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ChrisWhite
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 3:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't mess with LDFLAGS!

I have an 875mhz here, I recommend -Os, as it optimizes for size, and at the same time creates a faster load time (smaller size = less time to load to ram). I'd recommend gnome, heck, I'd even say xfce to be honest.
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quippy
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

my fluxbox consumes about 60MB of RAM after boot without any apps i dont think you should install kde or gnome on such an old system... on the other hand i dont know for what you want to use ur laptop
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fangorn
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 8:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For modern kde or gnome I would not recommend under 256 MB RAM. Maybe it wil work, but as soon as you load any application it will swap. That is not fun at all.

All the *box window managers are a good choice or my favourite fvwm (with a reasonable amount of eye candy :wink: ) and rox, filer, thunar, ... as graphical file manager. Maybe give XFCE a try, as it is designed for small footprint.
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JeliJami
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Box 1:
Code:
$ cat /proc/cpuinfo
processor       : 0
vendor_id       : GenuineIntel
cpu family      : 6
model           : 6
model name      : Celeron (Mendocino)
stepping        : 5
cpu MHz         : 501.235
cache size      : 128 KB
fdiv_bug        : no
hlt_bug         : no
f00f_bug        : no
coma_bug        : no
fpu             : yes
fpu_exception   : yes
cpuid level     : 2
wp              : yes
flags           : fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat pse36 mmx fxsr up
bogomips        : 1003.10

$ free -m
             total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
Mem:           186        174         11          0         15         78
-/+ buffers/cache:         80        105
Swap:          494         40        453



Box 2:
Code:

$ cat /proc/cpuinfo
processor       : 0
vendor_id       : CentaurHauls
cpu family      : 6
model           : 7
model name      : VIA Samuel 2
stepping        : 2
cpu MHz         : 666.805
cache size      : 64 KB
fdiv_bug        : no
hlt_bug         : no
f00f_bug        : no
coma_bug        : no
fpu             : yes
fpu_exception   : yes
cpuid level     : 1
wp              : yes
flags           : fpu de tsc msr cx8 mtrr pge mmx 3dnow up
bogomips        : 1334.52

$ free -m
             total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
Mem:           368        345         22          0         21        206
-/+ buffers/cache:        117        250
Swap:          494          0        494


As you can see, both have a rather slow CPU.
But they are both running kde, smoothly :)
That's probably because of well chosen USE flags.

You will need more RAM though; 128 will not suffice for Gnome or KDE

Make sure to check out http://www.gentoo-wiki.org/Safe_Cflags.

Good luck!
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yngwin
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ChrisWhite wrote:
Don't mess with LDFLAGS!

Care to explain? As far as I understand this is a safe optimization:
Code:
LDFLAGS="-Wl,-O1"


I agree with the choice for -Os, so I'd go with:
Code:
CFLAGS="-march=pentium3 -Os -pipe -fomit-frame-pointer"


You can try KDE of course, it would be interesting to see how much you can minimize it (-Os should help there). One plus is that Konqueror doubles as filemanager and browser. But you could be better off with xfce or fluxbox.
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EmperorofUnivrse
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I shouldn't have spoken :) It turns out I lost the bid from my universities surplus, but I think I might be getting a slightly better computer from my friend with 256 megs (still a P3).

When I make the system, I will go ahead and use -Os, but I don't understand the warning about LDFLAGS. I don't understand why
Code:
LDFLAGS="-Wl,-O1"
isn't safe. I was under the impression it was. Could you please explain this or give me a reference?

Also, should I use -pipe when compiling? Isn't it a bad idea for low RAM systems? (Low RAM is kind of relative, I suppose 10 years ago 128 megs was a huge amount, and I don't know how long this has been around)

Thanks for your opinions. This box probably won't last long, I'll be building a Core 2 Duo soon! This community is awesome :)
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ChrisWhite
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yngwin wrote:
ChrisWhite wrote:
Don't mess with LDFLAGS!

Care to explain? As far as I understand this is a safe optimization:
Code:
LDFLAGS="-Wl,-O1"


File a bug with modified LDFLAGS and see what happens :P. I generally don't recommend LDFLAGS modifications if you're not ready to catch something when it goes wrong. More advanced users can propably pull it off, as they'll know what to do if something breaks.
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Dammital
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry your 128MB deal fell through, but you'll be much happier at 256MB.

Yes, I would have recommended -Os (and "optimize for size" in your kernel config) with that 128MB box. Contrary to other posters above, I successfully ran GNOME on such a machine for a couple of years. Load times for large applications were miserable, and very large web pages were slow to compose, but otherwise the system was usable.

And yes, 6GB is enough to compile with.
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lennert
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2006 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Runnin kde and stuff on a celeron 433 with 256mb ram is acceptable I think. It will take quite some compiling so use openoffice-bin and look at wiki for the CFLAGS of your system.
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DOSBoy
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2006 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My recommendation for the desktop: wmii.

Takes some getting used to, but I find I'm much mor efficient with it than with a full DE like gnome or kde.
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