[ubuntu-uk] Looking for old computers

Alan Jenkins alan.james.jenkins at gmail.com
Fri Jul 3 07:42:11 UTC 2015

I know it isn't a district but there is something you should try using on
that machine if you only have 256MB of RAM, ZRAM aka compcache (
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zram ).

Find whatever light distribution and try that on it, it should help with
the low memory situation. Many android devices make use of it and I also
used to use it on my old work laptop which frequently ended up in swap with
the workload I was using it for, after setting up compcache (it was before
the rename) my laptop worked much better.

The only worry is the compression may be a bit heavy for the old CPU but I
think it would be preferable to heavy disk swapping.

On Fri, 3 Jul 2015 08:30 Barry Drake <ubuntu-advertising at gmx.com> wrote:

> On 25/06/15 11:12, Barry Drake wrote:
> > That's interesting!  My old pentium 4 has only 256 Mb ram.  I'm going to
> > try some old dimm cards to see if any are compatible
> Hi there ...  I've had a very interesting time since then.  I didn't
> have a pair of suitable dimm cards, so I've stuck with the 256 MB.  I've
> now tried a whole lot of distros.  The very best results are with DSL -
> and there's now a DSL-N - which does quite a lot more.  And also Puppy.
>   That's probably the best way to demonstrate what is possible on such
> limited hardware.
> BUT.  When I first installed DSL to a heard drive, it worked perfectly
> and booted just fine from the hard drive.  It just happened that I put
> it on an old IDE drive that had Ubuntu 8.04 on it.  After that, I tried
> to work with another IDE drive that had been re-partitioned recently
> using gparted.  Grub could not be installed by the DSL (or Puppy)
> installer.  It threw the error that there was no corresponding BIOS
> drive.  This has to do with a change in the way the MBR works now,
> compared with back then.
> I installed 8.04 on a drive using the old hardware.  Surprisingly, 8.04
> runs on the old hardware better than I had expected!  After that, I
> installed DSL-N onto the same drive with perfect results.  Now, how to
> change the MBR on other drives without having to install 8.04 ....  I
> think I can save the first 446 bytes of the MBR to a file using dd - I
> understand that this copies only the boot information, and not the
> partition table, so it is portable to another disk.  Having said that, I
> can't find anywhere exactly what has changed in the way in which BIOS
> boot took place then compared with now.  I've just about exhausted my
> efforts to find out on the internet ...  anybody know any more?  I'm
> really curious.
> But: my answer as to the best system for seriously old computers is
> definitely DSL-N and/or Puppy.  Both seem a bit quirky at first, but
> they can both be made to do almost anything commonly needed.
> Regards,                Barry.
> --
> http://barrydrake.co.nr/
> --
> ubuntu-uk at lists.ubuntu.com
> https://lists.ubuntu.com/mailman/listinfo/ubuntu-uk
> https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UKTeam/
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