Mono required by ubuntu-desktop

Dan Kegel dank at
Thu Aug 3 07:15:51 BST 2006

On 8/2/06, Scott James Remnant <scott at> wrote:
> > to help make sure Ubuntu performed well on computers purchased at
> > large retailers like Fry's.  That's not unreasonable, is it?
> Then we're both on the same page!  ...
> Ubuntu should not exceed the hardware that people are able to own at the
> time of release, that's just common sense! ...

Mike Bird wrote:
>That formulation appears to be equivalent to Windows' requirement
>that one buy a new PC for each new release.  Surely Ubuntu can do

I'm with Mike, but I think if we make sure that
Xubuntu runs well on new ultra-low-end systems (128MB) and
Ubuntu runs well on new low-end systems (256MB), the
average midrange user will be able to update once or twice without buying
RAM.   (My measure of
"low end" is "the cheapest thing Dell sells", currently $300 & 256MB, and
"ultra low end" is "the cheapest thing Fry's sells but which they really hope
you don't buy", currently ~$200 & 128MB.)

> > > Depending which cost metric you use, the typical cost of keeping up to
> > > date is no more than $20 a month (a new computer every 2 years)....
> > > Obviously the non-western world can't afford this...  They can
> > > run the older releases or other derivatives.
> >
> > "Let the poor run old releases" isn't going to make Ubuntu
> > popular in areas that can't afford that update rate.
> >
> Which update rate?

Uh, the one you proposed, $20/month.  That's too steep for most of the world,
as you point out.

> I personally wonder why evolution and firefox need so much RAM...  I
> guess they have their reasons, but they're both worth auditing.

There is no reason in the world Firefox needs so much RAM.  See
for one way how it might be reduced.

> We both seem to agree on a useful metric for minimum requirements;
> namely currently available "entry level" PCs.  So that gives us a
> ballpark maximum of 256MB of memory.

Let's look at that 256MB number a bit more carefully.
Low-end PCs typically steal 64MB of that 256MB for video memory.
So the budget is really 192MB, not 256MB.
And ultra-low-end PCs have 128MB with 32MB stolen for video memory,
so their budget is really 96MB!

> On an i386, the base OS uses around 32MB of memory and the
> desktop uses a further 80MB of memory ... so we're using about 112MB of
> memory before we've got any user applications loaded.

On my dapper x86 system with 192MB or 512MB of RAM (booting
with either size gives similar values), all root processes total
30MB of RSS (about what you quoted), but all user processes (not including
firefox; all I have open is bash) total 163MB.  So that's 193MB of RAM before
any user apps are loaded.   Yikes!  How did you measure that 80MB?
I used the script
ps augx | grep -v firefox | grep -v grep | grep $USER | sort -n +5 |
awk '{sum += $6} END {print sum}'

> The biggest applications use about 48MB to 64MB of memory, and assuming
> the user only runs one or two at a time, we fit comfortably within the
> 256MB of memory that we sensibly set as a minimum requirement.

I prefer hard measurements.  How about we define "can run an app"
a bit more exactly.  Say, "can load a one-page document in a word
processor in 30 seconds or less on a cold cache"?   By that measure,
my 2GHz athlon laptop, when booted with 192MB of RAM, can't
handle both firefox and openoffice running at the same time.
- Dan

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