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Mr_Shameless
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 12:31 pm    Post subject: will gentoo work on PII MMX 300, 256MB RAM? Reply with quote

Hi. I have an old computer which is a Pentium II MMX 300MHz with 256MBs of RAM, 4.3GB hard drive, currently running Windows 98 SE. Everybody knows windows 98 sux. It cant even recognize a USB stick. This computer is too old for windows XP, though.

Im considering replacing windows 98 with a linux distro, and I like Gentoo. The reason I choose Gentoo is that among the Linux distros I've try, plus FreeBSD, it has been the fastest and most responsive so far. No matter what people say, I do feel the difference between Gentoo and other distros.

Now I wanna ask if any of you has any experience on this.

Im planning to install IceWM, iDesk, Opera 6, Gaim, Audacious, Mplayer, Abiword, Gnumeric, XPDF, GQview, Leafpad, XFE on that machine. CFLAGS="-march=pentium2 -Os -pipe -fomit-frame-pointer", LDFLAGS="-Wl,-O1".

1. Will these programs work well? I dont care how long it takes to compile the programs. I just need to know how they will perform on this machine.

2. This computer does nothing important. So, can I omit the system log?

3. Is the hard drive a little too small? Will the above programs fill it up? I think I will use 32MB for /boot and 256MB for swap.

4. Is there any kernel other than gentoo-sources that works well on older machines?

(PS) 5. Apps based on GTK and QT, usually which is better on old machines?

Thank you :)


Last edited by Mr_Shameless on Wed Jun 13, 2007 1:23 pm; edited 1 time in total
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di1bert
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would go for it. It's going to take a long while to compile things though...

Quote:

1. Will these programs work well? I dont care how long it takes to compile the programs. I just need to know how they will perform on this machine.

The only one I see being a problem is Opera but it's minor (might be a little slow)

Quote:

2. This computer does nothing important. So, can I omit the system log?

You can but it'll cause problems when you need to debug your system

Quote:

3. Is the hard drive a little too small? Will the above programs fill it up? I think I will use 32MB for /boot and 256MB for swap.

No, just try and keep your distfiles clean (maybe write them to a DVD+RW)
You might want a little more swap...but there are plenty of arguments about this. I'd go for 512MB of swap...

Quote:

4. Is there any kernel other than gentoo-sources works well on older machines?

I'd go for Gentoo sources...it's stable and quick...that's my 0.02c :)

-m
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Mr_Shameless
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Opera 6 works acceptably on windows 98 on that machine. I dont know how it will perform on Gentoo.

By the way, in case it is too slow, is there any alternative? Usually I see people suggesting Dillo as a lightweight web browser but it is too "simple", not supporting javascript :D.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There doesn't even seem to be a ebuild for Opera 6 on my system :?

I'd stay away from anything QT as to me it seems a little bloated...Perhaps try
galeon or kazehakase for a lighter web browser, both of which are built on GTK and
both are fairly light...

-m
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John R. Graham
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I run a 90 MHz P1 with 128Mb or RAM as a home router. Gentoo runs fine on it, but compiles are sloooow. :)

- John
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Mr_Shameless
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for your suggestions of browsers. I will check them out :)

I dont know why i enjoy so much the feeling of using an old machine and trying to find the most efficient things for it. This is called masochism, rite? lol :D
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Cyker
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Opera is probably the fastest full-featured browser you're likely to find.

I used Opera 5->8 on the precursor to this system, which was an AMD K6-3 400 (I forget the RAM... it was more than 256MB 'tho. Probably 512?), and it was perfectly usable.
I know from previous experience that on older systems it's *much* faster than than Konqueror, Galeon and Firefox (Well, it was Phoenix back then IIRC).

Try 9 first and see how it goes, otherwise just download 6 from Opera directly and install it yourself into your user area - Manually installing apps that have nothing depending on them is perfectly fine - Not everything has to be emerged! ;)
But if you do emerge it, use the qt-static version - It's far more stable and slightly faster than the qt-shared version which Gentoo defaults to for some reason. (It also saves you having to install QT if you don't have it already! :))

--
Apps built on GTK1 will also be find on your system but, unless things have changed drastically, anything GTK2 will be pretty bloaty and sluggish.
(The difference between gtk-gnutella(GTK1) and gtk-gnutella(GTK2) on my K6-3 was just scary. On my current system, a dual-core opty, the difference feels negligible...)

--
Any of the standard kernels should be fine - Trim out as much as you can, then compile all the rest into the kernel itself (Maybe a handful of modules for stuff you might need, but only rarely) and you'll be fine :)

--
For optimum speed, I'm afraid you'll have to avoid KDE or GNOME (I see you figured that already 'tho ;))
IceWM is a good choice.
If you do feel the need for a desktop manager 'tho, I can highly recommend XFCE.

Also, and I haven't tried this, but if you have a half-decent 3D card in that box, beryl might be an option too - It'll take a lot of the actual drawing load off your main CPU too!
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

john_r_graham wrote:
I run a 90 MHz P1 with 128Mb or RAM as a home router. Gentoo runs fine on it, but compiles are sloooow. :)

- John


use distcc.

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ChojinDSL
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As long as you compile everything either via distcc or completely on another machine and then just transfer the binaries, gentoo will probably be the best distro for that PC.

The harddrive space might get a little tight though. You can solve this by either constantly keeping an eye on /usr/portage/distfiles, /tmp and /var/tmp and deleting files if necessary.

You can also host /usr/portage via NFS from a different machine if you should choose so. You only need it when you are emerging.

I once installed a Gentoo Stage1 on a Pentim 1 (no MMX) with 96MB Ram. I compiled everything on a different pc using a chroot installation and then copied everything via rsync.

I forget how large the Harddisk was, but its was quite small. So I had a identical chroot installation on a faster pc which I used for compiling and then only copied the finished binaries. On the Target PC itself I got rid of /usr/portage alltogether.

I have to say I was very pleasantly suprised with how useable this machine was.

I installed Dillo, Opera and Firefox, as well as XMMS, AbiWord and a few other apps. The whole thing was running on a fluxbox desktop.
I even installed mplayer but it was simply too slow for divx and xvid so I got rid of it again.

Firefox of course took a while to get started but once it ran it was quite useable, even with tabs. Opera was the better choice in this case since it ran faster. Dillo was extremely quick, but not really that useable since it was lacking a lot of features and displayed a lot of websites incorrectly.

The best thing about it was, I was able to have Abiword open in the background, several tabs in Opera, Sylpheed-claws fetching email, and still have xmms playing mp3s smoothly and uninterrupted in the background.

Your machine should be able to handle pretty much everything you throw at it rather well. Apart from maybe mplayer. I was able to play DVDs and divx/xvid videos on a PentiumII 300mhz, so you never know.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NotQuiteSane wrote:
john_r_graham wrote:
I run a 90 MHz P1 with 128Mb or RAM as a home router. Gentoo runs fine on it, but compiles are sloooow. :)

- John


use distcc.

NQS


Or even better: mount your routers filesystems on a faster gentoo machine, chroot and do your emerging - see my mini-HOWTO (method 3) or the Wiki.
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rwf
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I run Celeron (Memdocino) -- cpu MHz 399.109. Mem 256984k

I have no problems. I initially installed kde and gnome. Later removed them. Run mozilla-firefox/openoffice/opera/java

You 'might' have a problem w/ disc space though.

Code:

localhost ~ # df -h
Filesystem            Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/hdb3              57G  9.0G   48G  16% /
udev                  126M  572K  125M   1% /dev
none                  126M     0  126M   0% /dev/shm
localhost ~ # du -sh /usr/portage/distfiles/
3.3G    /usr/portage/distfiles/
localhost ~ # du -sh /var/log/portage/
589M    /var/log/portage/
localhost ~ # du -sh /usr/src
627M    /usr/src
localhost ~ # du -sh /var/tmp
822M    /var/tmp
localhost ~ #


Good luck.
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zxy
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i just finished an install on p2 333Mhz (overclocked to 418Mhz) 256Mb and 20Gb disk.

I installed lots of kde apps. Konqueror works ok here as a browser, too. And firefox was installed just because it is needed for some special apps, but works ok, as does Opera.

Mplayer is working ok for watching movies (it was impossible to watch them on Windoze)

KTorrent is working ok. (I didn't even want to try azureus here :wink: )

I didn't use gentoo-sources for a long time, instead some patch-sets from Unsupported Software have shown much more responsive system.

I use LDFLAG hashstyle=gnu from binutils 2.17.50.* and it has proven to speed up the startup times of programs.

The hard disk you use is a bit small, but IIRC I had made a Gentoo install on 4Gb drive once.

Oh, and setting the write caching to on helps, too:
Code:
hdparm -W1 /dev/hda


Anyway, Gentoo on p2 it is possible and usable. Afriend of mine that uses it likes it much more than Windoze. But it did take a week to compile the toolchain (a few times), and all the other stuff (with some delays when i was not near the machine, ofcourse )
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cwr
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2007 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I run Gentoo 2005.1 on a Pentium-S with 64MB of RAM; however, I don't
use a windowing system. It's slow to boot (and shutdown) but a fairly
practical test machine for eg. wireless networking. I'd add more memory,
but the board runs more slowly with 96MB due to the strange M/B caching
hardware.

It runs Win 98SE ok, and you can in fact get USB flash drives, at least,
working under Win 98 SE. However, you have to get the appropriate
USB card and memory stick drivers from the net, and that's not easy.

I got Gentoo onto the system by booting it with the Damn Small Linux CD,
and then downloading pre-compiled binaries from another Gentoo box.

Hope this helps - Will
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2007 12:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Opera 6 ebuilds can be found at http://sources.gentoo.org/viewcvs.py/gentoo-x86/net-www/opera/?hideattic=0

Though no guarantee it'll install on a recent system as those ebuilds were removed at least a couple years ago.

And when you download the ebuild you'll need to change it to use "www-client" instead of "net-www" as the category.
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Mr_Shameless
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2007 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wow, thank you really :)
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bertaboy
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2007 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would only recommend it if you have another computer compiling for you. I felt compiling programs was tough enough on my 800mhz P3 I have laying around, I couldn't imagine what it would be like on 200mhz.

If you can't have another computer do the heavy lifting for you, I would recommend Slackware. I had that running on an old Gateway 200mhz computer a while back and that seemed to be appropriate.
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John R. Graham
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You all might be interested in this topic: "most insane machine you ever installed Gentoo on ?" My personal peak of insanity was a 90 MHz Pentium I with 80 MiB of RAM and a 4.5 GiB hard drive (successfully installed, still in use today as a home router).

- John
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gohmdoree
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2007 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i have gentoo running on an old micron pentium 233 mmx, with 64mb of ram. i forget how much disc space i have, might be 10gb.

it runs okay more or less. compiles do take longer, but distcc on a faster machine shouldn't be so bad.

its really just been a bare bones machine that i just mess around with.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2007 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

di1bert wrote:
There doesn't even seem to be a ebuild for Opera 6 on my system :?

I'd stay away from anything QT as to me it seems a little bloated...Perhaps try
galeon or kazehakase for a lighter web browser, both of which are built on GTK and
both are fairly light...

-m

Because firefox is so much better at memory management than Konqueror! (and using all the same libraries for all the same programs makes no sense at all, especially when lacking resources!)
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2007 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

di1bert wrote:
There doesn't even seem to be a ebuild for Opera 6 on my system :?

I'd stay away from anything QT as to me it seems a little bloated...Perhaps try
galeon or kazehakase for a lighter web browser, both of which are built on GTK and
both are fairly light...

-m


This is one of the most recurrent misconceptions that there are in the OSS world.

To start with, gtk2 is not any lighter than qt. To continue with, the two browsers you suggested use Gecko as the rendering engine, so, they are not lighter than firefox or seamonkey, which are two beasts. Nothing using gecko can be considered light, KHTML is much lighter.

There are tons of bad things that I could say about konqueror, but those that you said are not correct.

The lighter full-blown browser, is konqueror. And after it, opera. The rest are all gecko based, and are beasts. The only problem with konqueror is that if you use all its capabilities (ftp, file browsing, ssh, man, info, bluetooth... and a big list of many others), it starts loading kio-slaves, and then it is not that light, since each additional kio-slave can take several megabytes of ram.
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PaulHindt
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2007 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have Gentoo installed on a Celeron 300a w/ 192MB ram and a 10GB hard drive. It is running on Fluxbox w/ Firefox, Gaim, and Openoffice even! Things run a bit slow but not too bad. The only downside is that it took a couple days to compile all that stuff. I would say go for it.
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Hossie
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It works fine. Even KDE and Firefox run fine. KDE takes a few days to compile though, I think kdelibs alone took nearly a day.

Code:
~ # grep -e model\ name -e MHz /proc/cpuinfo
model name      : Pentium II (Deschutes)
cpu MHz         : 350.813
~ # grep -ie memtotal -ie swaptotal /proc/meminfo
MemTotal:       255168 kB
SwapTotal:      502700 kB
~ # uptime
 16:18:06 up 258 days,  7:00,  4 users,  load average: 0.00, 0.00, 0.00


:D
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ahurst
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't try and use a recent LiveCD - they only run on i686+.

If only the Universal x86 CD was still around - sigh.

Andy
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2007 2:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ahurst wrote:
Don't try and use a recent LiveCD - they only run on i686+.

If only the Universal x86 CD was still around - sigh.

Andy


The Pentium II is an i686 class processor.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I686
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2007 8:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

chump wrote:
ahurst wrote:
Don't try and use a recent LiveCD - they only run on i686+.

If only the Universal x86 CD was still around - sigh.

Andy


The Pentium II is an i686 class processor.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I686


I wrongly assumed it was in the same class as the AMD K6-III, which I found suddenly unsupported.

Hence disgruntled mumbling..

Andy
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