Ubuntu on P166
oak at helsinkinet.fi
Mon May 1 19:26:30 UTC 2006
On Monday 01 May 2006 14:30, Andy Rabagliati wrote:
> > I recently installed Ubuntu on a P166 with 96MB RAM, 2.5GB disk,
> > ATI 3D Rage+ gfx card and an external modem for internet. I.e.
> > pretty low-spec machine...
> > Some observations...
> Thanks for your lengthy feedback, some snipped by me if I have no
> > Display and window managers:
> > - I eventually ended up not using display manager and starting X server
> > directly from /etc/inittab for runlevel 5
> > - In /etc/init.d/ I have a script that starts IceWm (for the only user
> > of that machine) in correct locale automatically on bootup when
> > runlevel 5 is reached
> Nice idea, and useful in a single-user environment.
I see this setup most useful in case where:
- machine is very low spec (gdm & additional bash instances take memory)
- its users are very un-familiar with computers:
- setup should be locked down so that they cannot accidentally mess it
- they don't want to fiddle with the settings i.e. there's no point
in having separate users accounts set up for them
- adminstrator is a separate person (who can run his
own X in case he want's a diffferent setup)
> If I may *be bold*, let me declare that xubuntu is for two use cases,
> and we should aim for the intersection (useful for both). Shoot me down..
> * Low-spec machines, standalone
> * Thin client use.
Do these conflict with (an option of) automatically logging user in on
> To me, this means low-resource applications, multi-user, and economical
> network utilisation.
> Regarding network utilisation, X reports the graphics capability of the
> graphics card, and features not available are pushed back to the server.
> So, where OpenGL is run right on the graphics processor for newish
> machines, old boxes with 8-bit colorspace or PCI busses duck it, meaning
> that a Thin Client server does the work, and feeds the graphics over the
> network, with disastrous results (for me).
Well, there might be one 3D game that works well enough with Mesa software
rendering on low spec machine and is still intereresting to play. It's
called Battalion. There was also a pretty nice non-OpenGL 3D game called
Zarch (clone of Amiga-game "Virus"), but unfortunately its sources were
never released so that it could be updated / ported to other platforms. :-/
> > X applications:
> > - (u)rxvt is memory-wise much nicer than xterm (or gnome-terminal...)
> > if you want to have several terminals open with apps
> > - Surprisingly starting plain X apps like oclock or xcalc took more(!)
> > time than starting Gtk applications. When I strace'd them, they
> > seemed to be spending most of their startup loading X bitmap font
> > descriptions. I would suggest splitting non-latin X misc/bitmap
> > fonts in Ubuntu to a separate package that is not installed by
> > default. Nowadays if somebody needs non-latin text, he uses
> > something else than bitmap fonts and plain X
> I think all your suggestions are now for Edgy, but they are very
> > Gnome and desktop:
> > - Avoid Gnome desktop (panel, nautilus, evolution (backend) stuff etc)
> > like plague, it brings in a lot of services (gdm, gconf, gnome-vfs
> > etc) that eat huge amount of memory all the time with little benefit on
> > legacy HW.
In the thin client setup, things might be a bit different for non-GUI
services, at least if they are (on the server side) shared between all the
> > And if kernel kills the service because it eats too much
> > ram, desktop re-starts it, repeat from beginning... - On the other hand
> > Gnome dependencies in applications don't matter so much as long as they
> > don't require all these additional gnome services to be running all the
> > time. User can always close other apps if one of the apps is taking a
> > lot of memory (and memory usage can be seen from an applet)
> > Some nice apps that are not listed on Xubuntu page:
> > - leafpad (like notepad, much lighter than gedit)
> > - zenity (e.g. for opening calendar from IceWm panelbutton and run
> > dialog) - gpdf (deps seemed nicer than xpdf which brings in
> > lesstif) - sylpheed (*much* faster to open than thunderbird)
> There was some comment on this, but I believe sylpheed is in Universe.
So is leafpad, but I think it's nice because it's so basic/simple.
> > And things which unfortunately are not localized:
> > - xfreecd (CD-player)
> > - xpaint
> > - tuxpaint (for kids)
> I do not like tuxpaint, for its high network usage.
I guess by network usage you mean it has a lot of X traffic?
> > - lyx-xforms (nicest document processor there is ;))
> > - xjed (programmable text editor)
> > - xcircuit (somewhat like xfig, not really for computer beginners)
> > There's also surprising amount of nice games that work quite well even
> > on a P166 machine, the only problem is that they are not localized:
> I have not tried all these.
> > - ace-of-penguins
> > (collection of games like solitaire, *much* faster than pysol)
> > - circuslinux
> > - froz (text adventures + I have zenity&dialog menu script for them)
> > - frozen bubble
> Another network-killer.
Anything that deals with lots of graphics, i.e. most showy games and drawing
programs are going to use a lot of X bandwidth, unless they store their
graphics on the X server side as X pixmaps.
 Which requires more memory on the client, i.e. not so good for thin
> > - gav
> > - hatari (Atari ST emulator with ROM which source was GPL'd by Caldera
> > for those of you who don't have the original machine on the attic)
> > - heroes (tron on acid)
> > - icebreaker
> > - lmarbles
> > - ltris
> > - luola
> > - mirrormagic
> > - njam (2 player pacman)
> > - pente (renju)
> > - penguin-command
> > - rockdodger
> > - rocksandiamonds (implements all boulderdash variants out there)
> > - scummvm (graphics adventure game emulator)
> > - slashem-sdl & text-based nethack
> > - supertux
> Anything with tux in its name I have found to be a heavy
> network/graphics user. Is that the case here ?
> > - toppler (nebulous)
> > - xbl
> > - xblast
> > - xboing
> > - xdemineur (minesweeper)
> > - xgalaga
> > - xjewel (needs >600 high screen)
> > - xmahjongg
> > - xoids
> > - xscavenger
> > - xsoldier (needs >600 high screen)
> > Xjig and Xthrust would be nice too, but they work only with 8-bit
> > screen.
Koules is also nice 8-bit X game.
Of the games above, I think following are fairly light on the graphics
(i.e. X network usage):
- frotz (see also http://www.ifarchive.org/)
- gav (at least it looks ugly :))
- text versions of nethack, angband, moria, larn etc
- xmahjongg (--tileset small)
- xpilot (the original version without bitmaps) :-)
RPG games might also be playable:
- crossfire, nazghul, exult, xu4 (old ultima clones) etc
Ditto for strategy games:
- freeciv, xscorch, lgeneral, crimson fields, xfrisk
> > It would be nice to have an option in Xubuntu to use IceWm instead of
> > XFCE and to log directly to it. On lowend/memory machines it's really
> > the desktop that is killing the thing.
> I think your list of apps needs to be put on the wiki somewhere, for
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