Edit: Unfortunately, the images originally included in this post are gone, because of hosting problems in late 2009. My apologies.
This isn’t my first time to put a working Linux graphical system on a true Pentium, but it is the first time I’ve done it on less than 16Mb.
That’s the old Xorg version 7.3 off the Crux 2.4 CD, along with IceWM and the bulk of the WinClassic2 theme I stole from my Thinkpad setup (it was just quicker to copy it all across the network, than to start fresh ). As you can see in the image, the desktop is using under 7Mb of memory, out of the 12Mb or so that’s left. (Plus a teeny bit of cache.)
But this is relatively quick, although I might be looking at it through rose-colored glasses. Startup to the console login is about 35 seconds, with X taking almost as much time to reach the desktop. I’m sure some of that is due to swapping, since I really don’t think X can get going on less than 12Mb of memory. Once it’s up it might shed some unnecessary files, but I’m guessing loading all its libraries and crap are a good deal more than 12Mb.
Right now the software array is mostly CLI-based, with xterm as the host. I’m hunting down some GTK1.2 applications to see how it fares with those, but of course the time it takes to compile them, even on the 1Ghz host, is a factor.
(Just for giggles, I downloaded the GTK1.2 version of Firefox 2 from lamarelle.org, but that’s compiled for i686, and of course it wouldn’t work. And who am I kidding? Firefox on 16Mb? Ha!)
And best of all, that column of blue pixels has started working again. Joy!