have you got a really old computer

Nio Wiklund nio.wiklund at gmail.com
Fri Mar 7 21:30:41 UTC 2014

2014-03-07 01:53, Nio Wiklund skrev:
> Hi,
> We want to try a new kernel for Trusty Tahr, that is developed by
> PhillW. Many people help to build an Ubuntu based operating system
> around it, a system that should work on most computers (maybe except
> some of those brand new ones that cannot switch off UEFI).
> We have a wide variety of computers, but have not found any really old
> one without PAE capability. I'm not talking about Pentium M and Celeron
> M, I'm talking about CPUs before Pentium II:
> Pentium Pro, Pentium (i586), or Intel 486 or maybe the corresponding
> generation of AMD from 1993-1997.
> I have an old computer from 1998, and it has a Pentium II CPU at 400
> MHz, so it must be older. Check for a clock frequency at or below 200 MHz.
> If you are a happy owner of such a jewel, please help us test that the
> non-pae kernel really works in a computer without PAE capability :-)
> Best regards
> Nio

Hi again,

After some [private] replies offering tests on old enough hardware, I
can report the following results:

You can try the installer (to find out if it boots and runs in text mode
with really low RAM). An older computer might need less RAM for drivers
than my IBM Thinkpad T42 with Pentium M CPU.

*The Debian installer, live in an iso file*

It starts in text mode and uses 18 MB RAM when idle  (and 22 MB in a
newer computer with AMD Athlon dual core 4400+), but I have problems
below 64 MB, set with the boot option (text is default)


in an old IBM Thinkpad T42 with Pentium M CPU.

it cannot unpack initramfs

*Ubuntu Trusty installed system with Phill's non-pae kernel*

The Ubuntu Trusty kernel needs more RAM, now after some
testing I would say at least 64 MB, but I have problems below 80 MB, set
with the boot options

text mem=64M

in the same old IBM Thinkpad T42 with Pentium M CPU.

When idling

free -m  # shows 38 MB RAM used
htop     # shows 39 MB RAM used

but it seems more RAM is needed at some stage of the boot process.


The really old computers available so far have too low RAM, except one,
with a Pentium Pro at 200 Mhz. It has 128 Megabytes of memory. The
computer was purchased on 1996.08.31. But it has a PAE flag and should
be PAE capable.

I'm starting to think, that most computers if not all, that are old
enough to lack PAE capability have too low RAM anyway for our new Ubuntu
flavour non-pae kernel.

The outstanding exceptions are Celeron M and Pentium M, that lack the
PAE flag, but in most cases have PAE capability.

Best regards

More information about the Lubuntu-users mailing list