Ubuntu 7.04 on a 450Mhz K6-2, 256Mb

Edit: Unfortunately, the images originally included in this post are gone, because of hosting problems in late 2009. My apologies.

So here’s the rundown on a full Ubuntu 7.04+ installation on the ugly little Sotec laptop. This is a K6-2 at 450Mhz, with 256Mb of PC100 (I think), and a 40Gb 5400rpm Hitachi hard drive. Network is via Xircom Realport RBEM56G-100 wired PCMCIA adapter.

Look familiar? ;) A full default installation took almost two hours. There were 118 updates, and the full system upgrade took another hour and a half (but that includes downloading from the Japan archives, which were mysteriously slow).

After it’s over and completely updated, startup is about 3:18. Shutdown is a little faster, around 0:38.

Sound works great, or at least as great as can be expected through laptop speakers.

Video works fine, but the default installation sets the color depth at 24 automatically, which the SIS card can’t do, so I get the default 800×600 boxed effect. Correcting that is a breeze; I just edited the xorg.conf file to change the color depth to 16 and everything bounces back to 1024×768.

CDROM and hard drive access are normal, and the touchpad works fine. USB ports are good. I’d test the floppy drive … but I can’t find a floppy disk. Sign of the times, I guess. … :roll:

The only quirk — and it is an unexpected bonus, in a way — is that the network connection sometimes seems to malfunction. The installation procedure (I did this off the alternate CD) found it immediately and connected right away, which was a surprise. I thought I was going to run into issues between the 2.6 kernel and the PCMCIA hardware. But Ubuntu worked it out on its own.

However, I get a mysterious, occasional nonworking connection. The router shows a live wire and the PCMCIA card is lit, but Ubuntu can’t get a network assignment, and I have a strange eth0:avah address in ifconfig. Perhaps that’s something special for Gnome, but I don’t see those anywhere else. If I take eth0 down and then back up again, eth0:avah disappears. But dhclient still can’t grab an address from the router.

Which is all moot point, really. Performance is absolutely abysmal. The start time is enough of a reason not to use the Gnome desktop on a machine this slow. But to add insult to injury, Firefox takes about eighteen seconds to start. Just getting a terminal more than five or six. Nautilus needs about as long to appear. When I tell Gnome to shut down, I have to wait almost four seconds for the shutdown/reboot dialogue.

It’s horrid.

But I don’t really blame anyone for that. This machine wasn’t ever meant for a full honking Gnome desktop, least of all one of this dimension. I forgive everyone involved, including myself, for subjecting this poor machine to such treatment.

The next step is a full Xubuntu 7.04 setup, to see if there’s much improvement. I don’t hold out hope, but I am willing to give it a shot.

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11 Responses to “Ubuntu 7.04 on a 450Mhz K6-2, 256Mb”


  1. 1 Panu 2007/09/05 at 4:13 PM

    I have tried both kubuntu and xubuntu on P3/600mhz machine and both are awfully slow. only *buntu that managed to run nicely was Fluxbuntu beta that I tried last year. They should come up with full release when Gutsy is released.

  2. 2 alexandru 2007/09/05 at 8:31 PM

    For a faster system, you can try Puppy Linux. Does a good job with hardware detection and is highly customizable (if you don’t like the default window manager, which is fast but… you can easily install another one).

  3. 3 Mike 2007/09/06 at 2:47 AM

    You really should try Debian Etch, it’s much faster and it uses much less memory than Ubuntu. Debian Etch with Gnome desktop runs just fine on P3@650Mhz laptop with 256MB RAM. After boot only about 100MB ram is in use. And eg. all of these are running: Beagle, NetworkManager, PowerManager, Update-notifier, Glipper, Avahi, PulseAudio etc etc.

  4. 4 Debianero Follonero 2007/09/06 at 3:14 AM

    I agree with Mike, you’d try Debian Etch.

    I’ve that same machine, K6-2 at 450Mhz, but with 128Mb of RAM and is running flawlessly with Etch and XFCE.

  5. 5 oxidor 2007/09/06 at 5:38 AM

    3 minutes for booting ? that is very slowly…

  6. 6 Fisher 2009/02/27 at 10:06 PM

    Maybe you should take a lookk in Slackware. I used Slackware 10 with a K6 II 450 and 64 megs of ram. Runned pretty fast, I could even watch DVD/DIVX!!


  1. 1 Zenwalk 4.6.1 on 450Mhz K6-2, 256Mb « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2007/09/09 at 8:52 AM
  2. 2 Fluxbuntu 7.10 RC on 450Mhz K6-2, 256Mb « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2007/11/22 at 9:51 AM
  3. 3 Maybe it just takes three minutes « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2008/03/16 at 8:14 AM
  4. 4 Expected and unexpected « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2008/03/31 at 7:33 AM

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