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Thread: have you got a really old computer

  1. #1
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    have you got a really old computer

    We want to try a new 'community' kernel for Trusty Tahr. Many people help to build an Ubuntu based operating system around it, a system that should work on most computers (maybe except some of those brand new ones that cannot switch off UEFI).

    We have a wide variety of computers, but have not found any really old one without PAE capability. I'm not talking about Pentium M and Celeron M, I'm talking about CPUs before Pentium II:

    Pentium Pro, Pentium (i586), or Intel 486 or maybe the corresponding generation of AMD from 1993-1997.

    I have an old computer from 1998, and it has a Pentium II CPU at 400 MHz, so it must be older. Check for a clock frequency at or below 200 MHz.


    If you are a happy owner of such a jewel, please help us test that the non-pae kernel really works in a computer without PAE capability.

    -o-

    Edit 1: After testing for a couple of weeks we have found that pre-pentium computers are not really an alternative for Trusty. We have also found, that Trusty needs more RAM to be installed via the conventional installers. Even the Ubuntu mini.iso will have problems at 128 MB RAM, trying to install a basic server.

    I think there are many computers around with 'more powerful' CPUs (for example Pentium III, some old Celerons, and corresponding AMD CPUs), but only 128 GB RAM. It is worthwhile to try installing Lubuntu Core Trusty or the plain text version of Trusty in such computers using 9w.

    -o-

    Edit 2: There is a new wiki page for the 9w installer can install systems with 80 MB RAM to install and run the Ubuntu mini.iso based text system.

    Lubuntu Core Trusty
    needs 128 MB RAM to run and at least 256 MB RAM to be really useful.

    See this wiki page https://help.ubuntu.com/community/9w

    and this page, where you can download the 9w iso files http://phillw.net/isos/linux-tools/9w/


    Examples of non-pae CPUs

    1. Early Pentium M with 1.2 GHz clock frequency. (The later Pentium M CPUs have PAE capability even if they lack a PAE flag).
    2. Old ViA-processors around 1GHz
    3. Transmeta Crusoe
    (4. Pre Pentium II CPUs are too old and weak to be tested for this purpose)

    You can test for the PAE flag with the following command

    Code:
    grep --color pae /proc/cpuinfo
    If you are a happy owner of such a jewel, please help us test that the non-pae kernel really works in a computer without PAE capability.
    Last edited by sudodus; May 15th, 2014 at 08:17 AM.

  2. #2
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    Re: have you got a really old computer

    I have an old computer that I use for minimum requirements testing for Ubuntu server edition. Currently, it is running the development 14.04 server edition. The CPU is a Pentium Pro at 200 Mhz. It has 128 Megabytes of memory. The computer was purchased on 1996.08.31. I'll PM you a link to its hardware profile (the OS part of that link is a bit outdated).

    Edit: Sorry, I think my old Pentium pro is PAE capable. I have an even older 486 50Mhz in the closest that I could have a look at. I do not recall how much memory it has. The current OS is Red Hat linux about version 5.
    Last edited by Doug S; March 7th, 2014 at 09:01 AM.
    Any follow-up information on your issue would be appreciated. Please have the courtesy to report back.

  3. #3
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    Re: have you got a really old computer

    Lots of olde stuff here, Where is it? The kernel.
    This is Rolling Release
    Warnings for New Beta Testers& Helpful Terminal Commands:
    Running Trusty /devel/@ 5.120GHz32bit/ Please put [ prefix] on New Threads!

  4. #4
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    Re: have you got a really old computer

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug S View Post
    I have an old computer that I use for minimum requirements testing for Ubuntu server edition. Currently, it is running the development 14.04 server edition. The CPU is a Pentium Pro at 200 Mhz. It has 128 Megabytes of memory. The computer was purchased on 1996.08.31. I'll PM you a link to its hardware profile (the OS part of that link is a bit outdated).

    Edit: Sorry, I think my old Pentium pro is PAE capable. I have an even older 486 50Mhz in the closest that I could have a look at. I do not recall how much memory it has. The current OS is Red Hat linux about version 5.
    I am testing the installer now, but have not uploaded anything yet. Maybe I can upload an iso file during the weekend.

    The installer itself, with a Debian i486 kernel, uses 18-22 MB RAM idling with only a text screen (before starting X). And the Ubuntu based kernel will need more RAM.

    I think the current version would be able to install with 64 MB staying in text mode (with the Debian kernel), but I think 80 MB is the bottom level of RAM in a serious test for a Trusty kernel (so in practical life, 96-128 MB RAM).

    The installation is done with mkusb (which comes with the iso file), a special method, that uses very little memory. It will be interesting to see if

    - it boots at all from the CD with the Debian installer (or maybe chainloads from Plop on a floppy to the CD)
    - you can install the image
    - it boots with the installed Lubuntu
    - the graphics work, or if you can only run the computer in text mode.

    -o-

    You can prepare reading these links and the attached file kappa.zip, which contains the newest version of

    - the scrip mkusb and the manuals mkUSB-quick-start-manual.pdf and GrowIt.pdf
    - md5sum:
    Code:
    2b8797d4af041ea8b3fc74  kappa.zip
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1958073

    Best regards
    Nio
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by sudodus; March 8th, 2014 at 07:32 PM. Reason: modified the RAM limits due to my own tests

  5. #5
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    Re: have you got a really old computer

    Quote Originally Posted by ventrical View Post
    Lots of olde stuff here, Where is it? The kernel.
    I hope to be able to upload an iso file with it during the week-end. I want to test it more before uploading it, so that I know that it works for me

  6. #6
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    Re: have you got a really old computer

    i have a old box
    http://reviews.cnet.com/desktops/hp-...-31099901.html
    please don't ask me to install to that thing, it is god awful slow, and i have never had working sound in linux on that box the couple times i have tried
    if you give a grub 2 boot entry and a iso file i will try it
    Last edited by pqwoerituytrueiwoq; March 8th, 2014 at 06:57 AM.
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  7. #7
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    Re: have you got a really old computer

    Quote Originally Posted by pqwoerituytrueiwoq View Post
    i have a old box
    http://reviews.cnet.com/desktops/hp-...-31099901.html
    please don't ask me to install to that thing, it is god awful slow, and i have never had working sound in linux on that box the couple times i have tried
    if you give a grub 2 boot entry and a iso file i will try it
    This will be interesting

    The iso file, that I intend to upload contains 'everything needed' to flash an installed system (which will be booting from grub).

    mkusb and a compressed image file.

    64 MB RAM seems to be the minimum specified. How much memory is there in your HP Pavilion 6640C?

    If only the mininum RAM the installer will probably run, but I don't know about the Trusty system with a non-pae kernel. It is close to the limit. Depending on the drivers activated (and how much memory they need), it just might boot into text mode. If you have 96 MB RAM or more, the memory will not be a bottleneck, at least not in text mode, but there might be other issues, for example the graphics.

    In that case, remove the boot options quiet splash and add text (and maybe nomodeset)

  8. #8
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    Re: have you got a really old computer

    9w - an installer for old computers

    So I uploaded a directory with an experimental installer and two sample systems to install. The installer is based on a Debian system with an i486 kernel, and it can install any kind of [free] operating system. There are two sample systems which expand to 4 GB

    Lubuntu Trusty non-pae built february 23 - 'Ltrusty-npae-feb23.iso'

    Lubuntu Saucy PAE-for-Pentium-M - 'LubuSaucy-pae2pm-4GB.iso'

    9w comes as a hybrid ISO file, that works from CD/DVD and cloned from USB. So it is simple to make install media for most old computers.

    See this link

    http://phillw.net/isos/linux-tools/9w/
    Last edited by sudodus; March 8th, 2014 at 03:31 PM.

  9. #9
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    Re: have you got a really old computer

    I brought out my old NEC Ready 9710 with Pentium MMX 166MHz 32bit virtual/physical. I had to test the PLOP floppy disk and it works just great. Had to find a compatible CD-ROM (as those were one of the First PCs that would set-up to boot from CMOS) and I have the original CD ROM unit working!

    It has only 80MBs of RAM so I further tested the Grub Rescue "live" CD (which is LDXE circa 2011) and it booted -and is running- just beautifully , however .. very slow load up time.

    I am going to try a few more experiments and then perhaps try your method(s) but I want to see if I can actually install trusty Lubuntu to a hard drive from a CD or at least mini.

    Regards.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8lfK...ature=youtu.be
    This is Rolling Release
    Warnings for New Beta Testers& Helpful Terminal Commands:
    Running Trusty /devel/@ 5.120GHz32bit/ Please put [ prefix] on New Threads!

  10. #10
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    Re: have you got a really old computer

    I have a ca. 1997 Micron computer with a 200 MHz Pentium MMX. It ran RedHat 5.0 just fine - my first experience with Linux.

    If that ain't old enough, I also have a ca. 1992 Zeos 486DX2-66 at a whopping 66 MHz. It only has 32 MB of RAM, though, and anyway, I can't seem to find the hand-crank to start 'er up

    All my other old computers are 16-bit, or indeed, 8-bit. I should start a museum...

    [edit: I did a bit of research, and the Pentium MMX did NOT have PAE, so perhaps I'll give your kernel a try...]
    Last edited by sgage; March 8th, 2014 at 07:04 PM.

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