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Thread: have you got a really old computer

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  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 not Convergence, This is now Gnome
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  4. #4
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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

  5. #5
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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

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

    Quote Originally Posted by sudodus View Post
    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,
    I guess I am where ventrical was yesterday morning: It boots fine from the CD, and I am able to run graphically fine after entering "startx" and after remembering to find an old mouse to plug in. For ventrical's "what /path/ ... what /filename/ ... keeps asking" part, miine told me what command to use at the end of the boot up sequence. However, it is complaing about an invalid partition table for sr0 (The CD-ROM drive). I'm confused and entered "q" a few times until I finally got out.

    Edit: ventrical posted while I was typing. Seeing the pictures I tried just a what the hell "u" (even though there is no such thing as USB on the computer) and am making progress... Looks as though it is going to take about 30 minutes....
    Last edited by Doug S; March 9th, 2014 at 08:04 PM.
    Any follow-up information on your issue would be appreciated. Please have the courtesy to report back.

  7. #7
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    Re: have you got a really old computer

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug S View Post
    I guess I am where ventrical was yesterday morning: It boots fine from the CD, and I am able to run graphically fine after entering "startx" and after remembering to find an old mouse to plug in. For ventrical's "what /path/ ... what /filename/ ... keeps asking" part, miine told me what command to use at the end of the boot up sequence. However, it is complaing about an invalid partition table for sr0 (The CD-ROM drive). I'm confused and entered "q" a few times until I finally got out.

    Edit: ventrical posted while I was typing. Seeing the pictures I tried just a what the hell "u" (even though there is no such thing as USB on the computer) and am making progress... Looks as though it is going to take about 30 minutes....
    I think using the 'u' option actually toggles the USB option <off> and then goes right to hddisk.
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  8. #8
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    Re: have you got a really old computer

    Quote Originally Posted by ventrical View Post
    I think using the 'u' option actually toggles the USB option <off> and then goes right to hddisk.

    the 'u' option actually toggles the USB-only option <off/on>

    It is there to make it safer for the standard usage of mkusb, to flash systems into pendrives. In other words, avoid overwriting internal drives by mistake. I have already made a second parameter 'all' that set the USB-only option <off>, so that internal drives as seen without toggling. But I have not uploaded any system with it yet. I will also make desktop icons to launch the installation directly (using that option).

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug S View Post

    Edit: ventrical posted while I was typing. Seeing the pictures I tried just a what the hell "u" (even though there is no such thing as USB on the computer) and am making progress... Looks as though it is going to take about 30 minutes....
    My NEC Ready has two USB ports (believe it or not) version 1.1 or sumthing I am going to use a Verbatim 8GB 3.0 USB and give that a whirl. But I would really like to get it working with hdds.

    patience

    @sudodus

    Can I use 'mkusb' on a faster machine, ie; like the one I downloaded the iso to?
    Last edited by ventrical; March 9th, 2014 at 08:19 PM.
    This is not Convergence, This is now Gnome
    Ubuntu Development Version Testing Blog Remarks
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  10. #10
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    Re: have you got a really old computer

    Quote Originally Posted by ventrical View Post
    My NEC Ready has two USB ports (believe it or not) version 1.1 or sumthing I am going to use a Verbatim 8GB 3.0 USB and give that a whirl. But I would really like to get it working with hdds.

    patience

    @sudodus

    Can I use 'mkusb' on a faster machine, ie; like the one I downloaded the iso to?
    Sure, use it on an Intel i5 or i7 if you have one. mkusb is a simple shell-script using standard linux commands (plus pv, if you want to watch the progress).

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