openSUSE 11.1 on a Compaq evo n400c with 128 MB of RAM

I installed it before I bothered to check the minimum sysreqs for 11.1, BUT, I managed to install it successfully. It ran slow as hell, so I opted for Slackware 12.2 and that seems to run better, but still kinda’ laggy. My question is this:

I currently have 128MB of RAM and plan to buy a 256 stick in the near future. That will (untill I can afford to buy another 256 stick) 384 MB of RAM. Now, openSUSE11.1 states it’s minimum amount of RAM at 256 and the recommended at 512. The max for my evo is 512 and I’m poor. With unnecessary prettiness turned down (ie, effects and window exploding, etc), should I be able to surf the web, run open office, get an snes emulator to work and not be forced to sit and wait for 10 days for a web page or resources-light app to run? If no one has any experience with this, just theories and hypotheticals will work. This laptop was deine scheisse in 2000. I’m just trying to get the most bang for my buck 10 years later. :wink:

So I think you are saying you will potentially have 384 MB?

It’s kinda low, but I’m sure there are users in this area already. You will need the DVD to install (live cd will not work).
Use the Xfce desktop and during install remove all beagle.

I’m sure some other low mem users will be able to offer some excellent tips.

Yeah, to start with, 384 KB of RAM. But I’m going to, shortly there after, buy another 256 stick for a total of 512 KB (which, unfortunately, is the max amount of ram this box can handle). I already got it to successfully install openSUSE 11.1 using my external DVDRAM drive via booting from USB. It was just so ungodly slow. The main reason that I wanna’ try to get openSUSE 11.1 on this thing is that, as far as linux distributions go, other than Knoppix, I know the most about openSUSE and I very much enjoy the simplicity (from a New-To-Linux standpoint) of One-Click-Install repo access. Though, svn checkout is pretty awesome too.

Allright, so xfce desktop environment? I’m not entirely sure how to select that during startup. Though, I am sure I can figure it out.
And, while pretty cool, Beagle does seem a tad bit weighty on the resources.

Thanks a lot, caf.

Oh dear, please don’t exceed 640kB, that’s all that anybody should have to handle. :wink:

Ok, ok, I know what you mean. :slight_smile: Firefox and OO are memory hogs. You might want to look into lighter substitutes, like Opera, Konqueror, Abiword, KWord, etc.

Do a minimal install first then add the DE as has been suggested I would try a light weight DE.

If you wanted to do it at install then from the looks of things you need Index of /repositories/X11:/xfce/openSUSE_11.1 as a repo src iirc you should be able to add it early on.

But to be honest if I was you I would do the absolute minimum install and would probable consider even an x-less install. Mainly due to the dependencies that Suse will drag in as they can be excessive. Tbh as you say slackware is struggling my understanding is slackware is very minimalist compared to Suse, so I would expect Suse to struggle even more.

Also be warned the one clicks have there benefits but in there current incantation and the fact most of the software searches are searching OBS we have many new users who end up in a mess because of them.

Personally I would like to see webpin as the prominent link here and have it only search a few usual suspects like OSS, Non-Oss, Packman and update, and leave the OBS repos well alone. Allowing more advanced users to find them and understand the implications of using them. Not to mention the ability to install using them without adding the repo.

At this part of the DVD install click other to show as here:
Installation/11.1 DVD Install - openSUSE

512MB should be OK, so long as you trim down as advised

No, things are not as dire as you make it sound. Here are the figures from an i686 notebook running stock 11.1 with KDE, just after logging in an X session but no apps running, except one terminal:

             total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
Mem:       1015588     421572     594016          0      15436     193852
-/+ buffers/cache:     212284     803304
Swap:      1044184          0    1044184

This says that a peak of 420MB was used in startup, but the actual footprint after all the buffers and cache memory are subtracted is 210MB. This means that if his notebook is roughly similar, you would expect that 384MB will allow him to start an X session with some swap being touched, and then he will have a baseline footprint of about 200-250MB and some 120-180MB for additional applications. Once I start Firefox though, it jumps to the top of the memory sorted list in “top”. That’s why it is important to run low mem apps. Of course, 512MB makes things even more usable.

Xfce is touted at being low footprint, but really some amazing work has been done slimming KDE

While I accept your point lets be honest, with it getting close to the limit it just isn’t going to be comfortable.

Lets compare your figures to mine far from stock :wink: and another distro and DE.

Using LXDE with one terminal…

            total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
Mem:       2059096     352000    1707096          0      29648     135612
-/+ buffers/cache:     186740    1872356
Swap:      2048248          0    2048248

So I have a footprint of 186MB nearly 200MB less. Then even with OO writer, browser, terminal and calc I only get to 289MB so I’m still struggling to get there oops did I forget I’m also running compiz-fusion as well.

No, not 200MB less, more like 30MB less footprint. Your figures are comparable to mine, 420/210 vs 350/185 peak/footprint. LXDE is of course a lighter DE but if you knew the history of KDE you’d know how amazing they have managed to slim it down. It used to take a goodly part of 500MB. It goes to show that you don’t have to drop down to the CLI in despair if you have only 384MB. (I have managed to install 11.1 KDE on a 256MB machine, one of the RCs I think, but it was only good for starting up the DE, and thereafter you were bouncing off RAM and swap.) With 384MB you can still do a few things with a GUI.

What will happen is that as you start browsing, you will find that Firefox will start chewing up the free buffers and cache for caching pages. It will not drive the machine into swap yet but it will slow down the response as the CPU tosses data in and out of RAM as needed.

Of course, if he isn’t wedded to using openSUSE and KDE, there are lots of lighter distros such as AntiX, Crunchbang, TinyME, Puppy, Slitaz, just to name a few. I play with those as they come out. The main drawback with them is that you will have to settle for non-mainstream apps, e.g. Konqueror instead of Firefox, Abiword instead of OO, sylpheed instead of Thunderbird, xfburn or brasero instead of k3b and so on. I like my creature comforts, my addons and my routine so I’m willing to devote RAM to the profligate programs I use. The experiments are to inform myself what I could do with recycled machines. Just today a 900MHz/256MB notebook came my way. It might make a good thin client. There is one slot for a SODIMM though, so if I can scrounge 256MB from somewhere… hmm.

Mmm I’m having a funny turn don’t know how I did that read 384MB. Though I did also forget to mention 64bit which you’ll have to confirm iirc carrys a bit more in the footprint due to larger registers I think :wink: and vmware daemons running.

To be fair we’ll never compare apples to oranges.

K3B is my gripe there just isn’t an equivalent…

I just have not got on with KDE4 so went looking and now have settled on LXDE with the bling of compiz-fusion, which kind of defeats the purpose.

The lowest-end system I’ve installed SuSE 9.1 on is a Pentium I @ 233 MHz with 128 MB Ram (the max). It was slow as heck, but it worked!

The rest of my systems at home are running 512 MB Ram alright. The only system that has been completely unusable on the systems was openSolaris which wanted more RAM.

If you want to go with openSUSE, I would try KDE 3 before KDE 4, Xfce before Gnome and then go to Window managers like LXDE (don’t know anything about it) or Fluxbox.

Also, don’t expect to run OpenOffice or Blender on the system.

Before recently, my main machine was a 500Mhz PIII w/256 MB of Ram and it ran fine for what I did with it.

I love “listening” to ‘gurus’ arguing back and forth about the best ways to solve my problems. :smiley: I learn so much it’s ridiculous.

I actually managed to go ahead and do a FULL KDE4 install with just 128 MB of RAM (though, I DO have a nasty habit of setting a 2-4GB swap space by default). It did run horridly, but I know that opensuse is rather heavy on the resources…especially in the VRAM dept. It’s just too ****ed pretty not to be. :wink:

I’m pretty sure that the notebook is on it’s way down. It was originally owned by a corporate VP and they have a nasty tendency to not care properly for their machines…especially notebooks.

I’ve been rather busy lately so I haven’t had a chance to take a stab at seeing how much better running xfce as opposed to KDE/Gnome would be, so, unfortunately, no reports on that.

I would like to run openSUSE, but, so far, I’ve managed to get away with Slackware.

I’m not afraid of doing things via command line, but I am a recently converted windows user/guru, so, TBH, I kind of NEED a gui for stupid things like music playing and such. I’m sure, with time, I’ll be able to run about 90% of my apps and such through terminal or what-have-you, but (right now, at least) I would feel more comfortable with a gui (specifically, KDE…just because I like it more than Gnome [or I’d just run Debian on this beast]).

Slackware seems slowest when I try to use the internet for anything. Mayhaps my NIC is screwed. Wakarimasen desu. I’m not opposed to using Konquorer for my web/file browsing; I’m just used to firefox, though it DOES eat resources for breakfast.

The fact that I managed to install openSUSE 11.1 on half the “required” RAM gives me hope. Especially knowing now that there is an X that is lighter on the footprint. If it comes down to it, I’ll just keep Slackware 12.2 and call it a win that I could even get this thing running again (about $200 and twice as many hours later). I just REALLY like openSUSE. And, since I got it to run pretty well on my P3/900MHz/512 machine, I have faith that it will run on my notebook as well.

Essentially, my plan (at this juncture) is to try to see how xfce runs on 128. If there is marked improvement over performance and xfce isn’t too cumbersome for a noob like me to get the hang of, then I’ll go ahead and buy the two 256MB sticks and see how it works. Since openSUSE runs fine on my primary machine, it will still be my favorite/perfered OS, but, since the majority of major distribution command lines are the same [within a reasonable margin of error], I’ll just use Slackware since it is, probably, the lightest footprint of major distributions for the power of the OS.

*I WILL keep this thread alive with updates once I get to the middle mark (384MB RAM). It just might be a while.]

Aside from that, a major reason old notebooks are problematic is that the rechargeable cells have lost their capacity, and often it costs more than it’s worth to replace them. So the notebook becomes desk bound, or portable, if you know there is going to be a power point at the destination.

I JUST bought a new battery for it because the LiIon battery died. And now, the BIOS reports it needs calibration (and there is an option in the BIOS to calibrate) in spite of the fact that I’ve calibrated it about 6 times now. Honestly, if it DOES become completely desk-bound, I’ll just take this beast apart and fashion a wacky emulator-computer-thingy out of it.

Could it be that little BIOS battery has died? I had issues with the time and stuff when my desktop’s BIOS battery died and cleared up when I took it from one machine and put it in the dead one’s place.

I also recently replaced the RTC battery, though, my teacher thought it might be due to corrosion on the battery contacts. Were it easier to clean the potential corrosion away, I’d’ve done it already (hooray for double-contractions). I’m not terribly worried about it as, honestly, I should buy a new notebook anyway. I just have the utmost faith in Linux to be able to resurrect “dead” machines and f*** microshaft.


That’s the spirit. :good:

Okay, I am well aware of the fact that it has been a wicked long time since I updated this particular thread. However, I recently started a new job and just haven’t had the time. However, I DID obtain another 128MB stick and went ahead and reinstalled openSUSE 11.1 with xfce via my USB DVDRAM device. ****ing amazing is all I have to say. I honestly never realized how much of a difference 128MB of RAM makes…even with a 4GB swap space. I’m pretty sure it’s the lack of Beagle+Firefox+other-unnecessary-scheisse, but it still runs STUPID fast…compared to what I was working with, anyway. I’m still looking at blowing the 130 dollars on a couple of 256MB sticks with KDE4, but I don’t have the money at this particular juncture considering my sword addiction. However, honestly, since this is more of a resurrection project than anything else, so far, I’m considering myself a winner. Again, I WILL update this thread as updates are relevant, and thanks ever so much for the help, folks.

On 2009-09-30, androjeans <> wrote:

> don’t have the money at this particular juncture considering my sword
> addiction.

D’ya swallow them, or just snort them?

(Sorry, had to ask. :slight_smile:

Any time things appear to be going better, you have overlooked

Oh? Whatcha got? I’ve got a few antiques and some made-for-the-trade.

I also have a friend who has a business selling swords online, but I’m not going to say any more here since that could be considered advertising. PM me if you are interested.

Or PM me and let me know what kind of swords you have!