Really slow response from Ubuntu LiveCD

Daniel Robitaille robitaille at
Mon Aug 18 18:17:36 UTC 2008

On Mon, 18 Aug 2008, Bob Jonkman wrote:

> Hi all:  Yesterday I was trying to fix someone's really old PC by 
> removing Windows98 and installing Ubuntu (7.10).  The PC dates from 
> 1999, and holds a maximum of 128 MiBytes RAM. I tried installing more 
> RAM, but the  motherboard configuration switches max out at 128 MiBytes 
> and additional RAM just isn't recognized.
> With Win98 still on the computer I tried to run the Live CDs Ubuntu 
> 7.10 and Kubuntu 7.10 so that I could rescue all his documents by 
> copying them to a thumb drive (Win98 doesn't support thumb drives 
> without additional drivers).
> Unfortunately, both Ubuntu and Kubuntu were abysmally slow.  It took at 
> least 30 minutes to get through the booting and get to a file browser 
> so that I could copy the files (which took less than a minute).  
> Dragging a window couldn't be done in real time - it took over a minute 
> for the window to appear at the new location, and in the meantime the 
> mouse cursor was completely unresponsive.
> I also tried Knoppix 4.10 (a CD from 2005), and in comparison it was 
> wonderfully snappy and responsive.
> I left Win98 on the computer, since I didn't want to risk such poor 
> response with Ubuntu installed.
> Is it possible that Ubuntu would work much better once installed on the 
> hard drive?  If so, what might be causing the poor performance on the 
> Live CD?  Are Live CDs known to be much MUCH slower than installed?  
> How come Knoppix was so much better?
> I'm sure everything would work better with more memory, but this PC 
> hardware isn't capable of more than 128 MiBytes.
my personal experience with my laptop with 256mb of ram is that the
Ubuntu live CD was not usable after Dapper (6.06) with the same
experience than ours (i.e, very slow). 

But I was able to install Ubuntu relatively easily using the curse-based
installer (look for the "alternate CD").  So you don't get the live CD, and
fancy graphical install, but it will install.  But that's with 256mb.

But I have no idea about the performance of running Ubuntu using only
128mb of ram.  Last time I had this type of configuration, I was using
Fedora Core 1, so it has been quite a few years, and many versions ago
the of the various components of a Linux distro.

 Daniel Robitaille

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