have you got a really old computer

Ali Linx ali.linux at amjjawad.net
Sat Mar 8 11:24:17 UTC 2014

On 03/08/2014 01:30 AM, Nio Wiklund wrote:
> 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)
> mem=48M
> 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.
> -o-
> 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.

Further to my previous reply:

I have forgotten to mention that on this thread:

I manged to install - trying again to save you the trouble to go through 
all the posts of that long thread - Linux on such super old machine (P2 
with 64MB RAM and 4GB HDD) by:

1- Taking the HDD out - because the machine itself has nothing to be 
used to install Linux.
2- Plugged the HDD to another machine.
3- Linux installed - I wasted one month for this experiment because more 
than 50 different systems didn't work - check the thread.
4- Disconnected the HDD and put it back in.

One month, ladies and gentlemen. Yes, I learned a lot and proved a lot 
but the real result wasn't helpful for a daily use. Why? because these 
machines can no longer serve while we are in 2014.

I was shocked when I managed to connect to the Wireless Network and 
update the system. But that was the further I managed to go IIRC.

See the thread if you wish:

If anyone still think I'm wrong, see the thread :)

And first thing you do, check the date of that thread: October 8th, 2010

> Best regards
> Nio
Thank you!


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